10 Cloverfield Lane

I’d say better than the first one here, but let’s face it, this isn’t a sequel.  It’s namesake fell short for putting a cool twist on the monster movie gnere, because too much focus was on the shaky cam, found footage style of the film then on the actual substance.  At least in my opinion.  A woman is abducted, or saved, by a conspiracy obsessed guy played by John Goodman.  And the rest of the movie follows that thread.  We consider her a prisoner, but we only know from word of mouth from a single source, if there is still a world to escape to up above, or if there truly was some sort of attack.  Cloverfield failed to me, by trying to hard to hold on to what it was, while this movie, at it’s most basic level, is always what it set out to be.  There are only three actors in the entirety of it, enclosed to a small space.  The camera pretty much follows Michelle’s point of view through much of the movie, without reverting to a shaky cam, home movie quality.  The music adds great substance, and the sound editing is superb.  We go from a long time of total silence, to a sudden banging noise, or a scuffle, or the sound of broken glass, and it makes us jump, even as we see it coming.  Is it the best movie ever?  No.  Is it worth seeing?  Yes.  The acting is good, the premise is solid and fairly simple, and the set pieces are great.  And when you finally find out the truth, you have a perfect wtf moment, that is sometimes lacking in cinema these days.  Check it out, or don’t, but while this film has many horror overtones, it is not really a horror movie per se.  So don’t let that force your hand, if you aren’t really into the horror genre.  I don’t know what I call it, but at least a good way to spend a couple hours.

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Heart-Shaped Box

I just finished reading Joe Hill’s enticing ghost story, “Heart-Shaped Box,”  a book that follows an aging rock god, by the very punny name of Judas Coyne in the events following his purchase of a dead man’s suit.  Well technically he bought the suit, as well as the ghost of the man who owned it.  And as we learn the details of just how this suit came to be in his possession, we just want to keep reading it and reading it until we are done.  Joe Hill is great at setting up a narrative, a gift for prose certainly inherited from his father, one Stephen King, and surprisingly good at making realistic characters within the framework of the utterly fantastic.  His books: Horns and NOS4A2 are also well worth a read if you are at all intrigued by this book.  The action is non-stop, the story never gets tired until the last page, and the premise of a haunted suit is surprisingly clever.  I know ghost stories are a dime a dozen, but good ghost stories are much harder to come by.  This is one of those. Check it out at your local library and or bookstore.  Yes, reading is still cool.