Review: Super 8

Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney in Super 8.

To Spielberg, With Love

Rating: **

Super 8 stands as a hazy nostalgia to that 80s classic, Spielberg made. The film was ET and it detailed on the relationship between a boy and a lost alien. In this film, Abrams brings his stereotyped alien in the midst of a group of teenagers making an indie zombie film. And then, a train crash forms an exciting narrative hook. But, when that fails to materialize any effort in the story, Abrams brings the US Air Force and their plans to evacuate the town.

Abrams tries to bring the effect he brought upon in his earlier production, Cloverfield. But, there was something wrong with that film too. The monster appeared everywhere the group went. It was as if the monster had a GPS access of just the group. Super 8’s flaw lies in the scene where the 14-year old protagonist, Joe Lamb encounters the poorly animated alien. These kids are quite young when compared to the words they cuss.

Elle Fanning (Babel, Somewhere) appears as the saving grace for what could have been a movie with very little acting. There’s also Kyle Chandler from the TV show Friday Night Lights, who is given a few scenes to dramatize with his beady eyes. Noah Emmerich’s villainous appearance is quite nostalgic to those tough guy villains from the 80s.

With Spielberg as one of the producers, I was expecting Super 8 to be a reverie to the 80s films rather than one to his own work. Abrams has added several references to ET and Close Encounters of The Third Kind. Why oh why was the spaceship design that crappy?]

Is it just me or did anyone else notice that Joe’s locket was the missing link to the spaceship?

Super 8 impresses with its thrilling set pieces. However, that tingling sense of nostalgia will remind you of better films you’ve seen. And yes, the kids in the 80s films didn’t cuss that much.


Review: Somewhere

Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning play Guitar Hero in Somewhere.

I prefer a sleeping pill

Rating: *

Sofia Coppola tested my patience aplenty in her previous feature, Marie Antoinette. She goes ten levels higher in Somewhere, which along with her previous movies are fictionalized versions of her personal life. Daddy Coppola probably would hate this film, but there are people who hate it more. Just check it out on IMDb.

The daughter, Cleo stares at her father, Johnny Marco, a fading Hollywood star, as he eats breakfast with another woman with whom he spent the night. There are very few scenes like these that really grab your attention for what kind of a poor father, Marco is. That final conversation between the two is an excellent example.

But, that isn’t what Somewhere is all about. The film becomes the memories of the father, played by Stephen Dorff rather than the daughter, played by Elle Fanning. Upon watching Lost in Translation, I thought Coppola has made an avant-garde classic. After Marie Antoinette, I felt she could make an art film in a Kubrickian fashion. But, Somewhere goes absolutely nowhere. The film excluding those long shots would be less than 60 minutes. How big was the screenplay?

A perfect place to screen Somewhere would be in a travel resort. Anyone who visits a resort needs rest and sleep. Somewhere offers sleep. Maybe screening a Tom Hanks film would bring rest.