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when i saw the trailer for jason bourne during the superbowl i eee’d so hard dogs in a three state radius started barking. this is one of my favorite movie franchises, and while the 4th movie was not that bad honestly, matt damon IS jason bourne and having him back was the most exciting thing in the world. this iteration of the series is not the best of all of them, but i really did like it quite a lot.

below, in the spoilers, is thoughts.

this was a slower pace for a bourne movie. that wasn’t a bad thing, and it gave the action sequences more weight, but it was different. the mix for this film of the theme, Extreme Ways, was even slower, which was appropriate. there’s been a very mixed reaction to this movie as far as i can tell, and i wonder how much of it is this issue of unmet expectations. it’s hard to say that there’s exactly a Bad Guy in this movie, maybe apart from the Asset, just a bunch of people with conflicting motivations, which is cool and different.

bourne starts the movie saying he remembers everything and then immediately is presented with something he didn’t remember. pretty cocky, bourne. we know literally nothing about david webb, let alone his father, so the “revelation” that elder webb created treadstone was a lot less impactful than some of the other bourne revelations. he found out his son had been recruited and i guess that made him realize his program was awful and terrible because he got himself blown up for threatening to go public.

theres no way, by the way, that bourne remembers a face in a car behind his dad’s flaming van. memory is not a hard drive we can go look things up in. i’m willing to hop along for the ride and let that go because memory is infallible in a lot of movies, and it’s integral to this franchise, just a pet peeve. your memory is terrible and always reconstructed when you recall something.

tommy lee jones is excellent as director dewey and so is whoever played his protege, i think she was Lee? jason bourne is, ironically, more about their relationship and how bourne’s next big villain comes into power at the CIA than it is about bourne learning about his father and then going after those responsible. i think that works, because all the old relationships are worn out in the franchise, and you can’t keep making the same movie over and over. other people will again have let down expectations. so it goes and i don’t think your opinion is bad or wrong. so let’s follow her arc because her motivations confused some:

  • notices when jason bourne resurfaces and gets herself on the operation, presumably because it’s a really important one for the agency, for her own career path, you know. it’s against dewey’s wishes despite his fake support, but asked directly to a Real Important Suit so he has no choice.
  • leads a mission to try to bring bourne down but dewey just kind of takes over when shit gets real. this undermines her ambitions.
  • helps bourne escape a team that wanted to kill him and convinces the Real Important Suit, again in front of and against the wishes of dewey, to let her try to bring him in willingly.
  • when she tries this dewey literally has her people killed. this not only undermines her, it directly threatens her.
  • i’m not sure if she already plans to have dewey actually killed at that point or not, but she helps bourne get to vegas. she sees at this point that he’s at least malleable, and she sees more future with him than with dewey at the very least.
  • after the asset opens fire at the conference it should have become extremely clear to lee what was happening, and she was absolutely not going to stand by and let her pal the founder and CEO of Google get killed for having a conscience, even if he looked down on her decisions now. if she didn’t already want dewey dead she did now because she knew what that relationship was.
  • dewey’s last act is to try to literally steal lee’s plan to have bourne come in willingly. i don’t know how much if any of that conversation lee ex machina would have been able to hear, but it’s poetic justice that he was instantly offed for that.
  • she lobbies, and then quietly presses, the Real Important Suit who has always liked her ideas in this movie to let her take dewey’s vacated spot. she tries to bring bourne in again, which would really give him no choice to be honest, and he outclasses her. a new storyline is ready to go. the CIA director’s entire purpose for being promoted is to bring in bourne. bourne knows it, and knows they’ll turn around and decide to kill him if he refuses outright. she is set up to be the new nemesis in a future movie. YAY MORE BOURNE

the movie is called jason bourne, and has a tantalizing plot going on about whether he could have any identity outside being a badass spy assassin, but ultimately leaves those questions unanswered. even his final “let me think about it” was part of the whole outclassing Lee thing. he is trying to just find answers and “find a different way” as he tells dewey, but as dewey points out, that’s not working for him. he’s got another person at gunpoint. there was a time when he could exist independently, before marie was killed in Supremacy. this time he had to resort to the fighting ring. where he allows himself to take pretty heavy beatings sometimes just so he can stay sharp at still winning those fights. that’s training, that isn’t living. but Lee? that’s a character arc. she changes.

so who is jason bourne is left unanswered, but we learn all about the next big threat to him, who he may only define himself in opposition to. if he keeps turning her down she’ll eventually have to have him killed right?

other stuff.

yeah deep dream or whatever that tech company is called is really clearly google. imagine google+ took off to compete with facebook and that IS google. all the way down to getting its start from funding provided by US intelligence and the DoD and providing the government with information through IRONFIST erm i mean PRISM, and even the part where it outright refuses military funding, like when it pulled ATLAS and SCHAFT from the DARPA competition. The founders of Google were even Stanford grads for chrissakes, just like this guy whose name wasn’t Alex Killorn but that’s what i always heard. anyway, there’s extremely heavy-handed theme work done in these side plots about freedom vs. privacy, but i was too busy enjoying the google parallels to get too annoyed about that. and it was positively subtle next to batman v superman’s themes shouted as dialogue anyway so hey! positive steps.

the final sequences with bourne vs. asset were great i thought. the timing may not be ideal to have a scene with a swat van plowing through a crowded road with Nice having been not that long ago, but at least this was just cars. their fight was the only really visceral moment of the movie which gave it that much more impact, but it wasn’t boring in the run-up to it so it was worth it for me.

the asset himself seems a little thin of a character. he’s just some scary bogeyman. but that’s fine because he functions as a tool of dewey’s. he serves no purpose other than to do what dewey wants. when bourne finally dispatches him it’s more like tying up a loose end than anything else. it’s not the big OMG FINALLY villain engagement you see in movies like mission impossible, and while it’s maybe the final fight’s climax the movie’s climax is long past, it happened in the hotel room. i like that about this movie. others may not and their opinion is also not bad or wrong.

finally, a sour note: movie uses the Friendly Out Of Nowhere That Shoots The Guy You Thought Was Going To Shoot The Hero cliche. come on, man, you are a much better franchise than that. what the hell, this isn’t CSI: Langley. oh and while i’m on the sour note subject, in the opening scene, why is the line “use SQL to infiltrate the database” subtitled? it’s a meaningless, contextless line. “use SQL to infiltrate” is like “break in with a crowbar” being subtitled as someone visibly breaks into a warehouse. thanks tips.

jason bourne is flawed, its focus is not what you may expect, but i really liked it as a slower-paced but still exciting action movie. Ultimatum is still the best bourne movie so far, but this one was also very good.

usually these little writeups go on quite a bit. this one will not do that. spoilerinos:

SO, watched the new ghostbusters movie today and it was pretty decent! loads of fun, loads of laughs, a few jokes that fell flat. dumb as hell but come on. it’s a movie about people fighting ghosts.

based on the trailers i was little bit concerned about leslie jones’s character. we have a team of four women here, who are, initially,

  • respected physics professor
  • crank, but still, particle physics expert
  • wicked good engineer
  • subway worker who “knows the streets”

and you’ll never guess which was cast black. excuse me, my eyes rolled so hard they fell out of my head. i need to go find them. jones was awesome in the movie, as i’ll get to in a sec, but this particular casting is frustrating.

all right so i went into the theater with pretty good expectations and the first act of this movie did its damnedest to disappoint. all those jokes that fell flat that i mentioned happen in the first 20 minutes or so. before erin and abby become friends again over sharing this omg ghosts discovery, which felt pretty real even though they never then addressed this “abandoning” thing as friends (i bet they do in the deleted scenes), their barbs back and forth are just…stupid. if that was the point the movie was playing with fire being as unfunny as it was for as long as it was, but mainly i think it just went UNSUBTLE LEAD BALLOON OF A JOKE thirty or forty times in a row to get started.

patty saves the movie. the scene where she shows up in their um “office” is a turning point where suddenly the writing gets a whole hell of a lot better. it’s like someone else wrote the screenplay for the parts of the movie before that scene. i don’t understand it. it was SO ROUGH and then all of a sudden SO MUCH BETTER. the overwhelming majority of the movie was fun and good and enjoyable, so my recommendation here is, read this:

“erin and abby were friends once and wrote a book about ghosts but then erin went into science and she’s up for tenure, when abby publishes the thing, so her science career is threatened. abby’s got an insane engineer pal whose name i never did remember, and they go find a ghost and get to be friends again. video of that costs erin her tenure so they try to start this ghosty work and patty shows up in their office having seen one.”

and then go show up to the movie about 20 minutes late. much better experience that way. everything before that sucks, everything after it is pretty great. i’m not even sure how much of that is coincidence. patty is a delight, really complements the other three well, it’s just a shame the writing couldn’t carry her absence in the beginning.

i felt like the Kevin character went farther than it needed to to make its point, but the more i tried to explain that here the more i realized that it was because i understood what it was doing from the get go. he’s a hella dumb disgrace that they keep around because boners because that’s the point, of course. he’s really really annoying because *cough* that’s also the point which is what i was missing. the writers want you to understand how they feel watching Eyecandy Blonde in every other movie. so i’ll leave my critique of him as “probably written too ham-fistedly but ultimately decent satire.” i really enjoyed that Dumb Blonde Eyecandy became a male Damsel in Distress that our heroes had to save though. that was a nice touch. and chris hemsworth absolutely throws himself at this character with gusto. props to him because otherwise it could have fallen really flat.

if you’re a man who is offended by kevin, by the way, THAT’S THE FUCKING POINT. THAT’S THE POINT ON THE VERY MOST SURFACE LEVEL. GOOD GOD. learn to be critical with your head and not your feels.

it’s a dumb movie. the engineer (who i found slightly irritating btw) just fabricates stuff with wild abandon instantly and it all works immediately and is exactly correct for what they need. there’s ghosts and shit and impossibly dumb people and a magic portal and incomprehensible technobabble. there’s no real stakes, as reversing the portal seems to reverse all the damage the army of ghosts does. but, apart from the first act, none of that actually matters. i still had a blast watching this movie and think you should go see it.

the ana patch went live today  and i have thoughts about it.

ana is awesome. she is a friend to all tanks and all tanks should be thrilled to see ana on their side. i played 11 ana games over at least  an hour of gameplay tonight and went 8-3. if my team had other ana(s) i did not pick her. i played her as solo healer, i played her on attack/defense/koth, almost every map in every situation. here are my conclusions on her, and the other hero changes, and the patch:

  1. this patch reset every single custom keybind and hero setting i had. holy shit. mercy beam toggle? off. pharah conc blast to RMB? nope, E. dva’s defense matrix is now an “alternate fire” rather than an “ability” so it was actually broken since i had bound it to RMB already. to fix that you have to reset her to default entirely, by the way, thus sayeth the google. that was annoying as hell.
  2. my goodness the new overtime is lovely. it ends so fast! the longer spawn time actually awards you for getting 99% of the way there! no more bullshit payload holds! no more bullshit KOTH points lasting an hour! the attacking team’s winrate is going to plummet this patch. no question.
  3. i love hero limits and people who whine about them = babies.
  4. ana: attacking points she is outstanding, defending payload she seems great, pushing payload she is very good (but i still think i’d rather have mercy+lucio most of the time), and on certain king of the hill maps she’s great, but others less so. the key is being able to stay clear back of the action with good sight lines to your team. nepal:sanctum was a great map for her. liajang tower? all awful.
  5. defending any point, you can’t see your team with a clear sight line from out of the battle. i’m not picking ana on point defense anymore i dont think. she may have utility on hanamura, maybe, but not anubis for sure, and probably not volskaya. once you lose the initial choke it’s too hard to get set back up into a good position on the hero and point B is too close to the spawn to get good distance.
  6. buddy i play with frequently asked me whether i shoot my friends or my enemies more on ana. 95% of the time i’m shooting friends. you are a healer. you do quite decent healing with extremely forgiving aim. your damage is awful, requires widowmaker precision, and cannot do a headshot. heal.
  7. get good at that grenade because it is key to keeping your tanks alive and enemies dead. it’s really tough for me to throw accurately right now because i misjudge the arc and the aoe both. practice time!
  8. the pal i was playing with tonight, probably play more with him more than anyone else, asked whether i was sleeping people much. not really, i don’t really use the sleep dart too often. exceptions include pharah ults or enemy ana ults, but mainly i use it as a last resort defensively because you have no escape and don’t want to be that close to your friends. it’s really hard to land so it’s a shit defense mechanism but you have no others.
  9. my settings on ana – main attack LMB, zoom LSHIFT (set to toggle), grenade E, dart RMB. if you are toggle-zoomed, you can still RMB and it will dart with good precision where you were aiming. it just zooms you out as it does it. nice way to pick off justice rainers. the dart has a weird little windup that feels like mei right clicks to me, so RMB just felt right, even more right than holding RMB to zoom.
  10. zenyatta feels good, the orb change is great, if you are someone who could carry games on zenyatta already you’re a 50hp better player now, congrats, pair him up with a lucio and take that point!
  11. i experimented tonight with putting orb of discord on RMB. i dont like it. it breaks up my LMB flow more than E breaks up my movement. not sure how you people live that way, but whatever, do you.
  12. the new mccree is really good. his medium-range damage is actually scary, which is needed now that his close range damage isn’t a pure “delete hero” button. this should be your go to pharah counter, NOT 76. i expect the pro scene to go that way for sure. not that 76 isn’t still good, he is, it’s just easier to output damage with mccree accurately than it is with 76.
  13. i still cant get any kills with mccree ulti. feels bad man.
  14. we only played quick play tonight, so i don’t feel great talking about how it is to play with/against new dva because every game had multiple. but man, if you have 2 dva with ulti up, you just captured a point, that’s it, that’s all, gg. the 3 second wind up makes it much easier to get it to explode in the air, so reinhardt and mei are less effective against it and people don’t really defend points with winston. zarya’s a good counter to her still. we played this game on anubis, and we held point A ok for a minute, lost it, fed both enemy dvas their ult. so they snowball to B, like you do, one of them led the charge with an ult, cleared the point, and when we got back, the second ult secured the cap. that’s  some cancerous bullshit right there. that’s 5 torbjorns on console level of bullshit. i think dva is good, i dont know if she’s great, she definitely is no longer dumpster though.

If you play Overwatch and missed the announcement, we have a new patch in the Public Test Region. The biggest news here is that you can’t stack heroes in Competitive anymore THANK YOU BASED JEFF. just kidding the big news is NEW HERO OMGOMGOMG.

A lot of new Lucios who are confused as fuck think you have to shoot your team to heal them. With Ana Amari, that’s actually true. She has a hitscan sniper like Widowmaker’s, except it does not charge and its unscoped fire is still bolt-action. It’s neat. You shoot a teammate to give them a burst of healing. You shoot an enemy to give them a burst of damage, not immediate HP removal like a bullet, but it like ticks down some. I want to say it’s +/-75 HP but that’s an eyeballed guess. It also can’t land a headshot.

“but i can’t aim!”

Then play Lucio or Mercy. Ana is not the healer for you.

It’s very much bog standard for right-click to be bound to Zoom on scoped weapons, or aim-down-sights, or whatever. I found myself binding Ana’s to SHIFT. Yes, I agree it’s weird, but it’s because I really want her first ability to be on RMB. That is a dart that Sleeps an enemy target on hit, immediately knocking them down like Reinhardt’s ult. They stay there for about 3 seconds, or taking damage wakes them up too. There’s a little bit of a delay for firing the sleep dart, kind of like Mei’s right-click.

My first game on Ana I slept a Pharah out of the sky twice while she was booping around. Lol’d.

Her second skill is a bionic grenade, and this is where her true offensive strength lies, not her lame deeps. It’s a truly miniscule AOE, but the bionic grenade heals any teammate it hits, gives them a buff that lasts a few seconds causing all healing they take to be increased, and prevents any enemy it hits from being able to heal. Take a second to process that debuff because it is massive.

Her ult is at its worst underwhelming to the extreme and at its best the most broken thing in Overwatch. You buff up a single ally to move faster, do extra damage, and take reduced damage, I think actually in a percentage. If I had to guess I would say it lasts about 10 seconds but I don’t have a time on that. It seems to charge a little too fast to me, but it’s so feast or famine I can deal with that.

So the following is a list of how I think Ana meshes with and against each hero. Let’s theorycraft!

Genji – Friend, Foe. You’ll notice that Ana has no movement skills. Hanzo can climb walls, Widow can grapple, Ana can only run. She is also GARBAGE in close combat, with her unscoped fire still being bolt action. So a flanking hero like Genji is instant death to Ana. But on your team, a Genji buffed by Ana’s ultimate is without a doubt the scariest thing I’ve seen in Overwatch.

McCree – Counter. IT’S HIIIIIGH NOON you say? Hm, bedtime. *sleep dart* *no ult for you* McCree can obviously flash-fan you down but he has to get there first, and it’s not going to be easy for him to run all the way around your whole team, so he isn’t really a Foe.

Reaper – Friend, Foe. This is a tough one to call. He can get on top of you and own you fast, but you can also disable his ability to heal himself with his kills if you see him first, which is important. Ultimately the more impactful outcome is you die. I’ve added Friend here too because an Ana-ulted Reaper just looked at the enemy tanks and they all fell over dead.

Pharah – Counter, Friend. Ana’s hitscan snipe counters Pharah in the same way Widow’s does, and Soldier and McCree’s hitscans do. It’s pitiful damage but anything helps. Also, you can heal her while she’s boppin around in the air far away, without putting yourself in danger like Mercy has to. Aside from ulting her and making justice hail instead of rain, that ranged heal is awesome if you can land it.

Soldier – Hard Counter, Friend. You can cancel 76’s biotic field with your debuff. GG mothafucka. Plink away while you can’t heal and YOU DIE FIRST. Also, tac visor + ana ult = everyone dies.

Tracer – Foe. It’s the same Flanker Problem as Genji without any of the benefit. It’s not worth the cooldown to blow your ult on a Tracer I don’t think.

Junkrat – Foe. You can’t really do much to a Junkrat before he kills you. You can’t even sleep him out of ult. You could waste an ult buffing his bombs, but you can’t buff his Tire. Anything with its own HP can’t be buffed by buffing the hero.

BastionCounter, Friend. This is a GOOD target to blow your ult on. Oh, suddenly this ulting bastion is even faster, does even more damage, and takes less damage? Oh, that’s why we’re all dead. Meanwhile if the other team is the one with the Bastion you counter him the same way Roadhog’s hook does: Sleep takes him out of sentry configuration. A bastion on either side is a welcome sight for Ana.

Hanzo – Foe. You could buff a Hanzo ult I guess but it’s over fast and risky to blow the cooldown on it. Meanwhile he’s just going to outsnipe you with his tree-trunk sized arrows that do almost twice the damage.

Widowmaker – Foe. If the enemy has a Widow you probably want to switch off Ana, the sniper battle is not going to end well for you unless you outplay the hell out of her. If your team has a Widow you probably also want to switch off Ana because your team need more presence than this.

Mei – Counter. Wouldn’t you like that Mei you got down to 5hp to come back out of her ice block at 5hp? Toss the debuff on her and your dreams don’t have to stay dreams. Otherwise there’s really no relationship between Mei and Ana unless Mei obsessively walls you out of healing your pals.

Torbjorn – Counter, Friend. Ulting an ulting Toblerone is not the worst choice since you’ll make him run faster and shoot harder, his armor helps your 200hp, and you counter an enemy turret easily with your infinite range hitscan weapon.

Reinhardt – Friend. An Ana-buffed Reinhardt is absolutely terrifying. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever vsed in Overwatch until an Ana buffed  a Genji and I shat my pants so loudly the neighbors called 911. Reinhardt with an Ana ult takes no damage, gets on top of you immediately, and hammers the SHIT out of you. Ult that guy. Also, every support loves a Rectangle!

Winston – Friend, Foe. If Winston jumps on you that’s it, you’re dead. You just are. GG. But, Ana is in a unique position to heal Winston while he dives onto a backline without putting herself in any danger to do so. It’s cool, it works together nicely, and he is actually kind of a force with your ult on him too. Ult him if you’re against like, shifty shit like Genji.

Zarya – Foe. Your heals aren’t special and your buff is a little wasted on Zarya, but her shield removes your debuff. Not a great hero to play Ana into. You can combo black hole with your debuff, though, that’s a good plan.

D.va – Friend. Yes, a D.va can dive on you and ruin your day, but not t0 the same degree a Winston can. But you can safely heal your own diving D.va, and if you’re fighting into several tanks, ulting her can be a scary force for the enemy to deal with.

Roadhog – Hard Counter. You wanted to hook me? But I’m way over here. You wanted to shoot me? That’s a shotgun. I’m way over here. Oh, you wanted to heal yourself? Haha. Hahahahaha.

Mercy – Hard Counter. It’s never terrible to combo with a Mercy, but she is the better solo healer, and if you have two solo healers your team is going to suffer for it. Of course you make Mercy’s target unhealable, so.

Lucio – Hard Counter, Friend. This is the best support to pair your Ana with. If your team has a Lucio you can focus more on using the biotic grenade to debuff. The enemy Lucio will not appreciate your debuff on his team in the slightest.

Zenyatta – Hard Counter. Ana and Zen are very similar. Single target based with no mobility. Naturally, the enemy Zen can’t heal people you debuff, even with his ulti. A Zen on your team might be confused why you didn’t go for the Lucio instead.

Symmetra – I guess your debuff will stop her shields regenerating but other than that I’m not sure what interaction you’re going to have with a Symmetra as Ana. She’s almost a Friend because her turrets are a nice anti-flanker mechanism, but, you probably don’t want a solo support Ana, so a Symmetra-Ana will still want Mercy or Lucio, which is pretty poor for damage as a team especially now you can’t double Zarya in competitive.

usually i don’t write about movies that i watch well after they’re out of theatres but this is one i need to regroup my own thoughts on.

i came into 10 cloverfield lane about as fresh as one can, having not seen the original cloverfield movie because honestly, fuck found footage films (except for the incredible Norwegian film Trollhunter). it was interesting, intelligent and definitely worth your time. it also had some aspects that could have been better.

below this line be spoilerinos.

i’m a big fan of the intimate, low-key, high-stakes, suspenseful thriller. Red Eye is one of my absolute favorite movies, and it isn’t just because i love rachael mcadams and cillian murphy and the film basically says “you guys carry this for us” although that is a lot of it. it also isn’t because murphy plays a character named jackson rippner. lol. so 10 cloverfield lane is right up my alley. it has an entire credited cast of 6: michelle, howard, emmitt, michelle’s husband, the lady outside, and the army lady’s voice.

like i said, i haven’t seen cloverfield, so i was not expecting the twist to be that howard is hiding his true nature but also the attack is real. i spent the entire beginning of michelle’s stay in the bunker rooting for her to just go outside and see like, traffic flowing down a highway or something, so when she finally gets the keys and gets to the door and is met by a lady burned up by chemicals i was surprised. of course something was deeply wrong with howard, and i was fully ready for him to be suffering some sort of psychotic disorder, but for the attack to then also be real added a second layer of horror to the whole situation. you’re locked in a hole with this unpredictable, controlling, volatile man, and even if you get out, you’re escaping into very probable death at the hands of an unknown enemy. if the twist is that nothing happened outside, that’s easily the most predictable thing in the world, so until mrs told me what happens in the first Cloverfield i respected this setup a lot. taking a movie that would be really unoriginal but still entertaining in its own right, and then setting it in this Cloverfield world, works very well for what the movie is trying to do.

john goodman kills it as howard. absolutely nails it. he was great. i would have liked to see the subplots about the missing girl and his replacing his daughter with michelle both fleshed out a little more. we can assume everything we need to about the missing girl, which is cool, the movie respects its viewers’ ability to think, AND the “that’s not megan” reveal was super unexpected, but… why her, and what was her eventual fate precisely? was that his plan with michelle too? and apart from treating her like a kid during catch phrase, dressing her in his daughter’s clothes and giving her his daughter’s magazines, the movie begged howard to slip and call her megan just once, but he wouldn’t do it. maybe it would have been cliche but i wanted it to happen and i wanted her to try to call him on it, just to see how he reacted.

let’s talk about michelle though. she gets into trouble without us really caring about her yet. all we know is she is leaving her husband, and the manner in which she does it made me think she’s afraid of him. later, in the “regrets” scene, she reveals that she “always” runs away from problems, so that’s ultimately a misdirection and not an intentional one. see the problem is, this movie is mostly directed so goddamn well, with all the tightness, mood, and foreshadowing a breaking bad fan has come to expect, that her actions here had me thinking for a while that howard was a worse manifestation of the home she was used to, a literal hell mirroring what she was afraid of if she tried to leave, but no, her and her husband really did just have a fight and she ran off from it.

we see her having a conversation on the phone that looks like she’s making an excuse for not being home later, but don’t hear the words. then ben calls him, and she answers, but just lets him talk, silently driving. then she’s wrecked and then she’s in the shelter. that’s it. i didn’t care about the character at all yet. she hadn’t spoken a word. i was too suspicious of howard to feel sorry for him for how she treats him, and he does such a terrible job of explaining himself that of course she’s mistrustful at best, but we know nothing about her, what to expect from her, or how she usually acts. contrast that with red eye. a film with a super tight 85 minute run time introduces rachael mcadams’s character much more effectively before dropping the trouble on her. we know what she does, we know how she interacts with both friends and stress, and we see her handling situations with a strange gentleman. her macgyvering a pen to stab rippner (hahaha) in the neck is shocking because it’s so visceral, but of course she would do that. her ability to twist the situation and delay is because of course a manager at a hotel can do that. in 10CL the first real acts we see michelle do, other than run away, are both feats of ingenuity. you can solve these problems easily, so why are you running from the other ones?

basically i had a tough time getting into this movie at the beginning. there was no way howard wasn’t lying about an attack (oops) so i didn’t side with him at all, and michelle was a complete unknown so i couldn’t side with her fully either. thank god for Emmitt, who, despite being an easily manipulated dinglefart, was able to let us see a human in michelle rather than just an I MUST ESCAPE motivation bot.

the backend of the movie, honestly everything after and including the air filtration system scene, was great. we know for a fact that the attack happened, and we also know for a fact that howard is not just paranoid but monstrous. the “now what” was compelling as hell and every single step along the way had been shown to the viewer before. michelle gets the gas mask plans out of a book we all saw on her first tour of the bunker. she can put together the gas mask and suit because she’s a designer. she’s good at taking disparate things and combining them into something useful, we saw that when she lit the vent on fire and waited with the crutch. when they get caught emmitt takes the blame, and michelle can only let him in horror, as in her childhood stories in the “regrets” scene. which, by the way, when you foreshadow as much as vince gilligan and you bring out a literal barrel of acid, i know what the hell that’s for, lol. someone is already dead when that barrel comes out. it was just a matter of whom, and it certainly wasn’t michelle or howard, not yet. the acid on howard’s face as obvious comeuppance, the fire it sets, and her escape through the ducting are all things we’ve seen before. i love that kind of thing, it’s part of why Hot Fuzz is my perfect movie. even her final decision, to actually go back to houston and do something instead of running to baton rouge (at what just cannot literally be a real fork in the road, that’s a damn metaphor) is a callback to what she wished she could do with the girl in the hardware store, it’s not just the end of her character arc.

so in the end i have a lot of respect for 10 cloverfield lane. i want there to be an 11 cloverfield lane that then follows michelle helping the houstonians fight back. there’s definitely a movie to be found there. a different movie completely from this one but still. i liked it pretty well. i still wouldn’t recommend it over Red Eye for an intimate, character driven thriller though, because 10CL’s characters could have been done a bit better. also go watch Trollhunter.