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Month: January 2008

satoday

satoday

after a long hard day of eating Fatburger, Jamba Juice, and Rubio’s fish taco’s, laying on the beach and playing tennis…

We decided to head back to the my hood for some fresh crab. The 99 Ranch Asian grocery store on Victory blvd sells live crabs for about $2 a pound. $15 later we had two big boys and a little sister.

Like lambs to the slaughter…or…crabs….to the pot…they flailed about helpless as we ushered on their doom.

first we had to make sure they brushed their teeth

Then it was into the hot tub with friends.

This is before we turned on the jets

mothra

mothra

On Friday Beverly and I went to see the premiere of Cloverfield in Westwood with friends George and Sue. We were surprised to find a very mixed reaction with respect to gender. Going in we all knew it was a “monster movie.” It seems the females were particularly turned off by the “home-movie” aspect, where the males thought that it added a new sense of realism to a tired genre. The reactions were so opposite that George and I spent most of the night amazed not by the film but by our girlfriends’ opinions of it. Having seen Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (which makes you appreciate AVP#1 …how sad is that?) only five days before – I thought the film was great at what it was trying to do.

As a film it wasn’t perfect. There were continuity issues, character flaws, etc. It was something new – but hardly on the groundbreaking level of a sci-fi film like The Matrix. It employed the same marketing techniques by surrounding the content of the film in mystery; we never see the “monster” in the advertising, just as we never saw the “real (future) world” in the ads for The Matrix.

The monster itself was fairly cool looking – although it didn’t seem to have a purpose to it’s ramblings about in Manhattan. It seemed to keep traipsing through the same neighborhoods – but only when our characters happened to be in the vicinity of course. Beverly and Sue were also quick to point out that a woman can’t run from monsters in high heels for very long.

The CG was very good – although not perfect. A dead-pan shot of the monster late in the film looked just a bit too slick. J.J.Abrams needed to borrow a page from WETA workshop and make his monster look damaged after being bombarded – by bombs. Still – the matte paintings of a destroyed city are perfect, and I know how difficult it is to squeeze a moving monster into a “shaky cam” shot and have it appear grounded. Keep in mind the budget for this film was only 30 million dollars. (for a little perspective that is about 100 million less than the Godzilla atrocity starring Matthew Broderick that was unleashed upon the world a few years ago)

The monster is about the size of a modern Godzilla – the traditional monolithic size just large enough to be truly unstoppable – but small enough to still be thought of as an animal and not a force of nature. Up until the release many (including myself) had hoped that the film’s secrecy contained a reincarnation of the Cthulhu. Not so. The monster is a low lumbering quadruped with two eyes and giant teeth – and a long mobile tail. Because the characters are trying to stay away from the monster (although do a terrible job of it) the writers had to introduce a secondary creature – this time in the form of giant lice that fall off of the monster once it has been out of the water for a while.

— by the way — if this monster can swim underwater through the ocean (viral ads showed it destroying an oil rig in Japan before coming to Manhattan) and breathe air – wouldn’t we have seen it surface somewhere by now… or at least detected it’s movement? There are several details like this in the film that force you to suspend your disbelief – but it isn’t hard as the movie moves at such a speedy frenetic pace before finishing up in under 85 minutes.

I would say if you like monster movies (i.e. if you’re a man) this would be a good way to spend that uneasy part of a weekend afternoon too early to eat dinner but too late to get into anything time consuming.