movie film review | chris tookey


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  Monsters Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
6.62 /10
Andrew - Scoot McNairy, Samantha - Whitney Able
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Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Gareth Edwards

Released: 2010
Origin: UK
Colour: C
Length: 93

MIXED Reviews

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The film is less of a movie than it is one of the best show reels I've ever seen.
(Widgett Walls,
What happens when an arty, ruminative and slow-paced film gets marketed as an action-packed Hollywood thriller? This is what happens: Viewers get angry. Audiences spread negative word of mouth.And that, I fear, is the likely response to Monsters, an arty, ruminative and slow-paced film that's being marketed as a big ol' alien-invasion flick. Nowhere have I seen it described as a shaky-cam character piece following two American travelers in Latin America - Andrew, a young photojournalist (Scoot McNairy), and Sam, the boss' daughter (Whitney Able) he's forced to babysit - as they try to beat it north before a looming military crackdown. But that's what it is. For almost an hour and a half, this semi-interesting pair ride and float, drink and sleep, walk and talk about families and other monsters... The unearthly yowls in the distance aren't nearly as terrifying as the bickering that goes on between those two, but it serves a purpose. It reminds us that the story we're watching is as old as humankind itself - outfitted, this time, with sci-fi interlopers and a social conscience. Just don't expect an invasion flick.
(Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle)
I've been searching for a way to best describe Gareth Edwards's low budget sci-fi feature Monsters. Made on a half-million dollar budget, it's impressive to see what can be done compared to the big budget films that seem to use their budgets to excess. But the limits are evident early, such as the opening night vision scene that feels as if it was pulled directly out of the early moments of Cloverfield as attacking aliens are hidden amongst the blackness. These aliens have started inhabiting the Earth and a peaceful relationship is yet to be attained. Of course, considering Edwards's aliens look like giant, electrically-charged, translucent octopi and don't seem to have a useful method of communication it's no surprise satisfactory terms for cohabitation have yet to be reached... Edwards is highly impressive serving as not only writer and director, but as his own cinematographer, production designer and visual effects team. Along with his sound designers, Edwards creates a spectacular amount of atmosphere. Give this guy a little more money and a script with a bit more meat on it and you may end up with something truly impressive, which makes seeing this movie a chance to get in on an up-and-coming director at the ground floor.
(Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon)
It’s certainly an ambitious notion to meld The War of the Worlds with a message about US immigration policy, especially on a next-to-nothing budget, and you have to admire writer-director Gareth Edwards for attempting it. Ultimately Monsters is too obvious by half, but you have to give it credit for trying... The essential question raised by Edwards’ picture, of course, is who the true monsters are — the outer-space creatures that wreak such havoc, but (as the ending makes clear) have the same needs and lusts that we do; or the humans who, with some exceptions, take advantage of one another whenever the situation allows and draw barriers among themselves. That’s the sort of humanistic issue the best science fiction often addresses. But as Monsters shows, merely raising such matters isn’t enough; they have to be treated in subtle and imaginative fashion, and Edward’s film doesn’t meet that standard. Still, the fact that it has something on its mind makes Monsters, for all its flaws, more interesting than a brainless, bombastic big-budget bore like Cloverfield, At least it has some smarts, and uses its modest budget to a purpose. And if it doesn’t achieve everything it sets out to do, it earns points for the effort.
(Frank Swietek, One Guy’s Opinion)

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