10 Cloverfield Lane - Everywhere
10 Cloverfield Lane arrived almost out of the blue, with a trailer dropping before anyone even knew the movie existed. Since it was produced by J.J. Abrams and the title includes the word "Cloverfield," the immediate assumption was that it's a sequel to the 2008 monster movie Cloverfield...
And this I where I will do you all a favor and not say any more about that. I will say, if you liked Cloverfield, you should see 10 Cloverfield Lane. And if you never saw Cloverfield, you don't really need to in order to enjoy this.
The majority of the movie's fun comes from its surprises; from never really knowing where the characters stand, or where it's going to end up. So all I'll give you is the bare bones plot: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Michele, a young woman who finds herself in an underground bunker after a car accident. John Goodman is Howard, a man who explains he saved her life and brought here there. John Gallagher, Jr. is Emmet, a young man with a broken arm who is also living in the bunker. Howard tells both of them they can't leave because of what's happened to the world above ground — basically that there is no more world above ground. Is Howard crazy? Or right?
Goodman is genius casting. He's a huge and menacing presence, but, because he's John Goodman, he can also come off as lovable, caring, and a little pathetic. Winstead, who I last remember seeing in the remake of The Thing, is great; how come she's not in more movies? Gallagher, who got his start on Broadway, is the movie's welcome comic relief. (And see if you can locate Bradley Cooper's cameo.)
Regardless of the film's quality — and indeed, I did like it — I think what I appreciated even more was seeing a movie that was able to build up a lot of anticipation without the year's long — or more! — hype that so many other movies seem to get. There was no time to get tired of hearing about 10 Cloverfield Lane before I saw it, and that's, ironically, one of the most memorable things about it.
For a long time, Terence Malick was one one of my favorite directors. But each film after The New World left me less and less impressed, until his last one, To the Wonder, almost had me walking out of the screening. My theory is that his form of dreamy storytelling doesn't translate as well to modern-day tales; his period pieces work so much better. Alas, his latest, starring Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter, is once again set in modern times, and centers on one man and his many women (who include Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, and Isabel Lucas).
The Brothers Grimsby - Everywhere
Spy comedy starring Sacha Baron Coen and Mark Strong as orphaned brothers separated by adoption. One grows up to be a dimwitted footballer, and the other a deadly MI6 agent. When their reunion goes horribly wrong they must team up to prevent a terrorist attack. There are jokes not a lot of people outside of the U.K. will find that funny, along with standard "suck out the poison — FROM MY PENIS!" levels of humor.
So, pretty much your typical Sacha Baron Coen film.
The Young Messiah - Everywhere
Preteen Jesus! Based on the book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, by one-time San Franciscan Anne Rice, it follows Jesus's return to Nazareth at the age of seven. It was not screened for critics. Just sayin'.
The Perfect Match - Everywhere
Terence J., Cassie, Paula Patton, and Donald Faison star in this romantic comedy about a playboy who accepts the challenge to date the same woman for a month, insisting there's no way he'll end up falling in love.
Obviously, this guy has never seen a romantic comedy before.
This annual festival focused on Asian and Asian American art, cinema, music, and food kicked off last night and runs though March 20th. There's a ton of good stuff to check out, including a family-friendly Pixar panel focused on the Oscar-nominated short Sanjay's Super Team. View the full schedule here.