Monster Trucks (2016)

Director: Chris Wedge

Cast: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Holt McCallany

Screenplay: Derek Connolly

104 mins. Rated PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor.

 

Ah, Monster Trucks, monster bomb…

Monster Trucks is the story of Tripp Coley (Lucas Till, X-Men: First Class, TV’s MacGyver), a high school senior in North Dakota who is building a pickup truck hoping to one day use it to leave town. When he discovers a mysterious creature who can power his truck, he calls it Creech, and works together with Creech and his attractive classmate Meredith (Jane Levy, Evil Dead, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore) to keep Creech safe from the evil Terravex Oil and its slew of bad dudes.

I honestly didn’t hate the idea behind Monster Trucks. I didn’t really hate the trailers or any of the production stuff at all. To me, it didn’t seem any stranger than robots that turn into cars and people on strange planets seducing blue aliens. That being said, I knew this thing was going to fail. If there was ever a sure thing failure, this was it. I can’t really speak to how I knew, but after seeing the film, I can say this: it was really boring.

Everyone in the film was a cliché or flat character. There was no one interesting. The evil corporation was just that, but we don’t see enough from them to warrant their villainy. There just isn’t anything really dynamic about the film.

I talk a lot with colleagues about how family films and animated films should attempt more to cater to adults because that’s how you are successful. Most of the time, Monster Trucks fails spectacularly. Everything just comes across so silly. It just didn’t work.

So while I won’t condemn Monster Trucks for its premise or marketing, I cannot defend the boredom I felt throughout the entire runtime. I just needed it to be over. ASAP.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

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[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 15 – Cloverfield (2008)

Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Annable

Screenplay: Drew Goddard

85 mins. Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.

 

Damn, this movie drove me crazy with its marketing. Seriously, I was one of those people.

Cloverfield is presented as found-footage from an incident that took place in New York City in 2008 in which a large creature terrorized the city. We are mostly filmed by Hud (T.J. Miller, How to Train Your Dragon, Deadpool) who is at a going-away party for his best friend Rob (Michael Stahl-David, In Your Eyes, LBJ). While there, Hud and the rest of the party witness the beginning of the attack and flee the party into the streets of New York. Hud joins up with Marlena (Lizzy Caplan, The Interview, Allied), Rob, his brother Jason (Mike Vohel, The Help, The Case for Christ), and Jason’s girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas, Evil Dead, TV’s Gotham) in an effort to seek shelter and hopefully find Beth (Odette Annable, The Unborn, TV’s Pure Genius), who left the party earlier after a fight with Rob.

People don’t give enough credit to director Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes, Let Me In). Over the last decade, he has crafted several films that should be classics of their respective genre, but have largely gone unnoticed or underappreciated. Cloverfield often finds itself lost in the mostly unimpressive found-footage subgenre, but its characters are developed, its visuals are striking, and its pace is excellent. At a tight 85 minutes, Cloverfield doesn’t let up.

Drew Goddard (The Martian, TV’s Daredevil) put out a real nice screenplay with mostly-sharp dialogue, although there are times where his dialogue gets a little too expositional, and T.J. Miller is forced to give that exposition, which isn’t a strong point in his performance.

Overall, Cloverfield is an experience like no other. This is a film that deserves to be seen and have more recognition, and maybe it will with the success of the Cloververse that I still don’t really understand. If you don’t get motion sickness, you just might enjoy the ride.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, click here.

For my review of Matt Reeves’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, click here.

For my review of Matt Reeves’s War for the Planet of the Apes, click here.

 

 

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