Here is what I picked for this month, including short reviews.
10 Cloverfield Lane
dir. Dan Trachtenberg, feat. John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
“A young woman wakes up after a terrible accident to find that she’s locked in a cellar with a doomsday prepper, who insists that he saved her life and that the world outside is uninhabitable following an apocalyptic catastrophe. Uncertain what to believe, the woman soon determines that she must escape at any cost.”
10 Cloverfield Lane has been described as the “blood relative” of Cloverfield. Although J.J. Abrams is heavily involved with both films, you do not need to watch Cloverfield, in order to “understand” 10 Cloverfield Lane. Beginning very fast paced and action packed, the movie does not let up for its entire run time. You find yourself posed at the end of your seat for the full hour and 45 minutes, questioning motives and trying to guess about what happens next.
There are so many creative and unique nuances about 10 Cloverfield Lane that it’s difficult to pick just a few to focus on. Trachtenberg was creative with the little space he had to work with. After a car accident, Michelle wakes up in a bunker trapped and held hostage by a doomsday prepper who is convinced the world is being overturned by aliens. While the movie crosses many genres, Trachtenberg’s pacing, cinematography, and Goodman’s and Winstead’s acting helps to avoid overwhelming viewers with the crossing of genres. Because over one third of the movie takes place in a three room bunker, it’s difficult for the viewers to gauge the time passing or how the characters may actually be feeling (probably claustrophobic). Trachtenberg combats this by simply including slowly fading nail polish, scars and wounds getting smaller, and even the score adds to the sense of time passing. Although Winstead has very few lines, she still perfectly captivated the terror and determination felt by Michelle. If you enjoy soft(er) sci-fi films, mystery films, or even thrillers, give 10 Cloverfield Lane a try, you most certainly will not get bored.
The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater, performed by Will Patton
“Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.”
The Dream Thieves is the second installment on The Raven Cycle Series. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but if you’re interested in the series, begin with The Raven Boys! Lately, I’ve been hesitant to pick up any YA books, I can enjoy the stereotypical love triangle and angst teen behavior for only so long. But I was craving something charming yet paranormal, Harry Potter-esque yet not overwhelming. I’ve had many people recommend Steifvater’s The Raven Cycle to me before, and I decided to finally give it a try. And I don’t regret it one bit. Although The Raven Cycle is labeled as YA, I would confidently say it’s more of a unique YA and doesn’t overwhelm the reader with the typical romance, kissing, and angsty coming of age stories.
The Raven Cycle follows a group of soon-to-graduate prep school boys and Blue, a clairvoyant’s daughter, and their quest to find the grave of the Welsh King, Glendower. Lead by Gansey, the group is certainly dynamic in that each character brings something to the story. I would say one of Stiefvater’s main strengths is building characters. When I got further into The Dream Thieves, I had realized that I was fully invested into characters (some more than others) and I could picture them as real people. Building entirely different worlds in a book is an extremely difficult thing to do, and often authors tend to give their readers an information overload. Stiefvater is extremely subtle in providing the information needed, and her foreshadowing is so subtle to the point where I had no idea of any of the twists that lay ahead. Although some events within the story are definitely fantastical, her writing is so moving and powerful that you can find yourself lost in the world of Henrietta, Virginia. I’m currently on the last installment, The Raven King, (Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third installment) and I’m beginning to wish I had taken my time reading, it’s a certainly a series worth savoring.
Summaries and images taken from catalog.ccls.org.