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

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The only thing remotely scary about Monsters is that Magnolia is releasing this boring scare-, suspense- and gore-free horror movie (which reportedly cost less than $100,000) on Halloween weekend.
It's set in the near future, when the proliferation of alien life forms from a crashed NASA probe have resulted in much of Mexico being quarantined. A US photojournalist (Scoot McNairy) is assigned to escort his publisher's daughter (Whitney Able) through an infected zone filled with Third World stereotypes on the way back to Texas. Both of them are so obnoxious that you're quickly rooting for the monsters to get them. Unfortunately, they're never in any real danger. We see only the most fleeting glimpes of the octopus-like creatures until the last scene, where they perform a mating dance that resembles a special-effects demonstration reel. In case anyone misses that this very poor relation of District 9 - lamely acted and slackly directed by special-effects specialist Gareth Edwards - is an allegory about immigration, a character looking at the border fence tells us that "it's different looking at America from the outside."
(Lou Lumenick, New York Post)
I suspect writer/director/producer/effects designer/cinematographer/production designer Gareth Edwards is aware he has bitten off more than he could possibly chew.
(Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press)
Warning: Contains very few monsters.
(Matt Pais,
A somewhat confused spawn of Cloverfield and District 9, with less of an effects budget and less of a coherent self-concept than either of its parents.
(Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies)
The film also has the misfortune of coming in the wake of Cloverfield and District 9, which were much bigger and more accomplished renderings of similar ideas.
(Jim Schembri, The Age, Australia)
Monsters' protagonists are almost completely unlikeable, which leaves the film - along with Cloverfield - squarely in the first-person/low-budget curio basket rather than the annals of great sci-fi with District 9.
(Clem Bastow, The Vine)
Actually, the film's pretenses to significance are actually less offensive than Edwards' storytelling mechanics, which are broke-ass all the way: for one thing, why would stubbly American photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) risk life and limb to get an "exclusive" photograph of the alien behemoths ravaging a quarantined portion of Mexico (there's the social commentary) when there's already plenty of extant footage of their escapades? Even dumber is the idea that Andrew's boss would ask him to shepherd his hot, stranded daughter (Whitney Able) through the infected zone and back to the US. It's a journey that involves plenty of hazards, none more dire than the prospect of romantic scenes between two actors with zero chemistry. Even so, they're more vivid than the titular beasts, Close Encounters of the Third Kind rip-offs that evince Edwards' lack of creativity as surely as his much-publicized (and praised) shoestring budget. Need I mention that, in the end, the revelation is that the real monsters are… us? What are the odds?
(Adam Nayman, Eye Weekly)

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