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My Letterboxd reviews for February 2018

Chris O'Dowd in The Cloverfield Paradox

February’s a short month as it is, but nine films over four weeks is a low batting average. One of those was a repeat viewing, two others I reviewed over at Thumped, and I’m writing up one more over the weekend, or perhaps early next week. The rest you can find below.

The Cloverfield Paradox:

There’s a sound idea for a film within The Cloverfield Paradox, and a promising cast to execute it. But something in the production went very, very awry.

Much of that is evident in a generic story hampered by a poorly structured script, with the kind of misjudged tension-cutting humour that plagues middle-of-the-road horrors and thrillers nowadays, and that’s even before the obvious shoe-horning of Cloverfield ‘franchise’ elements (to the extent that it retcons the original movie, with rhyme but no reason).

Often a charming cast can carry the burden, but in this case it feels like they were thrown together minutes before cameras rolled, rather than being cooped up in a space station for two years. No one here comes out of this looking particularly awful, but it’s one to leave off the CVs.

So yeah, it’s not good. However, it’s no more a ripoff or pastiche of other, better sci-fi thrillers than the likes of Alien: Covenant or Life, and neither of those faced the level of vitriol spewing its way.

Zoolander 2:

Matt Lauer’s appearance I can set aside, but there’s no forgiving the Terry Richardson cameo, nor the fact that this sequel to one of the better post-SNL comedies of the last 20 years is simply not funny. Like, at all. It’s like someone took the original Zoolander and fucked up all the satire and timing. It’s really bad.

Fred Armisen: Standup for Drummers:

Fred Armisen is a humourist, not a standup, so this special is rather hit or miss, no pun intended. Still, there are a few genuine giggles amid the smug self-satisfaction.

All The President’s Men:

Cinema outing for this one, a one-off showing at the Light House, with an audience that picked up more on the comedy beats.


‘Disaster movie’ is supposed to mean a movie that depicts disasters, not that the movie itself is a disaster.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon:

Perfectly fine documentary on the legendary humour magazine, with talking heads, archive footage and all the usual beats. Doesn’t do anything unique with the form but that’s OK, it’s an easy watch. Well, except for the eyebrow-raising sexism and race-baiting that passed for ‘alternative comedy’ in America in the 1970s and ’80s.