The Rise of Skywalker and the Limits of J.J. Abrams

For as long as I’ve known him as a moviegoer, J.J. Abrams has done the impossible. He made me a fan of franchises like Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. That may sound hyperbolic considering De Palma’s Mission: Impossible is as iconic as its centerpiece CIA heist sequence, and that Star Trek is as immediately recognizable in geek iconography as the mere parting of your fingers. But I was never a fan of either until Abrams put his stamp on both properties.

J.J. Abrams became THE go-to guy to resuscitate any dormant film franchise, and he’s since gone on to shape the modern blockbuster as we know it like a valiant successor to Spielberg. As a result, Hollywood has entrusted him with the reins of not one but two of its most sacred franchises in Star Trek and Star Wars. Needless to say, it’s been very easy to hop on the J.J. Abrams train. Continue reading

‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ Review: Nobody Puts Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a Bunker

Mary-Elizabeth-Winstead-John-Goodman-10-Cloverfield-LaneWhen Cloverfield came out in 2008, no one knew what to make of it. It was a monster movie that ignored all the rules. The film was shot found-footage style; it cast a bunch of unknowns to lend truth to the premise; and the origins of the monster remained a mystery to the very end. So it’s surprising that 10 Cloverfield Lane shares some DNA with its “predecessor” considering it’s the anti-Cloverfield in so many ways, which is probably why people are still scratching their heads over it. Director Dan Trachtenberg ditches the shaky cam and the canvas of a city under siege and confines us to a bunker where a different kind of monster lurks altogether. As the tagline suggests, “Monsters come in many forms.” The movie itself is about many things, but ultimately 10 Cloverfield Lane tells a harrowing story about abuse – a fable that, in the light of so many domestic violence and college rape accounts, hits strikingly close to home.  Continue reading