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Michael Medved

The non-sequel to ‘Cloverfield’ puts John Goodman in running for an Oscar

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead, right, and John Goodman in a scene from "10 Cloverfield Lane." (AP)

Taken from March 11, 2016 Seattle’s Morning News.

From the opening credits to the end credits, everything is stylish in “10 Cloverfield Lane.” It is extremely handsomely shot. The set is cunningly set up. It’s a film of details. It is creepy, it is strange and takes several twists that are completely unpredictable.

It gets 3 stars, rather than 4, because the music is very heavy and intrusive and headache inducing. They can dial back the film score a little bit.

One thing to understand about “10 Cloverfield Lane,” is that it is not a sequel to “Cloverfield.” It’s peculiar that they are evoking the previous Cloverfield movie, which was very cleverly done. That film was genuinely scary. It was a Godzilla movie, basically. And it was one of those films where you don’t see the monster until the end.

This film has none of the same characters as the original.

Instead, we have John Goodman here is in his best role since “The Big Lebowski.” He’s terrific &#8212 a long shot Oscar contender. He’s that good. It’s a tremendous performance showing how good of an actor he can be. He plays a guy who may be sympathetic, he may be crazed and evil, or maybe some combination. You don’t know.

Something happens and the world has some kind of devastating calamity, which could be an invasion from Iran or North Korea, or nuclear accident, or an alien invasion from outer space. You don’t find out until the end of the film. There’s a big surprise there.

There are perhaps only three survivors in a bunker in Louisiana. John Goodman is a crazed survivalist, Navy veteran, who has set up this fairly elaborate survival system. There are two strangers down there with him, and it becomes about their survival.

There are a series of surprises that are truly shocking and very scary – gory, psychological, and all of the above scary. This makes the PG-13 rating ridiculous. They use language that usually gets you and R, and the violence and mutilation in the film is very deserving of an R.

The conspiracy theory folks who call my radio show on conspiracy day, this film takes that point of view a little more seriously. I can see that for people in the fallout shelter business, this is going to be good times for them.

Michael Medved on AM 770 KTTH

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