I missed this on opening weekend but got around to seeing it last Saturday. I went to the AMC on West 84th Street for the first time since they renovated a year or so ago and the seats are now all basically leather recliners. It’s a little nuts. I really love the original Cloverfield and although I suspected this one had very little, i.e. nothing, to do with the first one, I love John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. so I was excited to see 10 Cloverfield Lane.

The movie opens up to the main character, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), racing in her car down an empty road somewhere in the midwest probably while looking intermittently down at texts from her (now ex-)fiance asking her to please come back and not run away because she apparently always runs away when things get hard. When she turns on the radio, we hear about a massive blackout across much of the country (aliens?) and eventually she is driven off the road. When she wakes up, her leg is injured and she is chained to the wall of a steel vault with a mattress to sleep on. 

John Goodman appears after she’s had a few minutes to freak out, bringing her food, telling her he saved her life, and the questions begin. John Gallagher Jr. is introduced shortly thereafter. Goodman also saved his life and he now sleeps on a cot behind some food racks. He needs a shave. 

I walked out of the theatre a little perplexed. I wasn’t sure what to make of what I had just seen. Was John Goodman a good guy or a bad guy? There are probably 3 times that we’re lead to believe that he’s the good guy, with equally as many strikes against him where we’re left thinking he’s a total psychopath. Did he save them from something outside? Is the air really unbreatheable outside? Did he kill a girl? Why is he keeping them down there? I think he was probably really a psychopath but there obviously was something outside so was it just giving him a good excuse to abduct people? So many questions. 

I need to read up on analyses written about 10 Cloverfield Lane, but I enjoyed it. There was lots of tension and suspense, and unlike Cloverfield, they actually didn’t show the monster until the very end. 

Saturday night was the kick off of Kevin Smith’s national tour to promote, and screen, his newest movie Red State.  Once I heard the premise of the movie (evangelists taking their god-worshipping to the next level – murder) and watched the trailer, I knew I had to see it.  Spoilers ahead!

The god-obsessed family, the Five Points (I think that was their “church” name), live in a compound in middle America that is completely guarded by a hideous makeshift fence with an underground chapel.  The town they live in has recently suffered from two homicides with no clues as to who the culprits are.  Surprise, surprise!  It’s this family.  They’ve taken to doing “the lord’s work” and killing sinners themselves by knocking them unconscious, then wrapping them from the night down in shrink wrap and hoisting them onto a cross in their chapel.  After they’ve said some prayers for the sinner, they finish them off.  I won’t give it all away but three local teens are captured and the audience watches their struggle to get out of their compound.  The local police have also caught wind that this family has recently purchased enough machine guns and riffles, and bullets, to keep an army at war satisfied for a few years.  The investigation starts, and the movie doesn’t stop until the final line, “Shut the fuck up!”

Prior to tonight I’d never seen a Kevin Smith movie, and I don’t plan on going back and watching Mall Rats, but he did an excellent job with Red State.  He never gives you what you want, keeping you on the edge of your seat, and is always surprising you with who will and won’t die.  The cinematography is interesting with a lot of up-close and in-your-face angles. The ending is also hilarious. I’m pretty sure everyone in Radio City tonight thought that shit was really about to go down.    

Even though the story is obviously fiction, when you think about it, this doesn’t seem so far fetched from something people like the Phelps’ could eventually do.  But let’s cross our fingers for the best.  Kerry Bishe and John Goodman gave the stand-out performances, with honorable mentions for Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, and Ronnie Connell who portrayed the three boys who were kidnapped.  

After the movie, Kevin Smith took part in an audience Q&A with a majority of the leads from the film, including recent Academy Award winner Melissa Leo.  I’d heard his Q&A’s were epic but this one left much to be desired.  A lot of people walked up to the microphone to pitch their movies, or tell Smith or Goodman that they were huge fans.  Luckily, Kevin Smith fans do not sit idly by while crap questions get asked.  They boo and shout obscenities.  

Red State is being released on October 19th, 2011.  For more information about Kevin Smith’s Red State Tour click here.  

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