Movie Reviews for Parents: 10 Cloverfield Lane and coming attractions

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language.

Released in Theaters: March 11, 2016 (2D, IMAX)

Best for Ages: 14+

Genre: Thriller, Sequel, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 103 minutes

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg

Studio: Paramount

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr.

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: This sequel to 2008's Cloverfield stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a young woman who wakes up after a car accident and finds herself inside an underground bunker. The older man who "rescued" her claims the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

MOVIE REVIEW: I must confess that I haven't yet watched 2008's Cloverfield. It's always been on my "to-watch" list, and the DVD has been floating around here for years. After watching the sequel, though, it's going to the top of my list. I loved this movie, and saw it in IMAX, which made it extra intense. Now I've gotta go back and watch the origin story, although I've heard it has a much different vibe than this movie.

10 Cloverfield Lane stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, a woman who has a fight with her boyfriend and decides to leave town. On the highway, however, she's involved in a car accident. When she wakes up, she's not in a hospital. She's in an underground bunker, and things aren't looking good. Her injured leg is in a makeshift splint, and she's chained to a wall in her small, cement-block room.

A foreboding man named Howard (John Goodman) brings her a tray of food and tells her there's been an attack. The air outside is toxic. There's been a chemical attack, and everyone is probably dead, including her boyfriend and family. But no worries, she's safe with him in his bunker.

There's also another guy there - Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), a contractor who helped build the bunker. But the whole situation is weird (as you might imagine), and Howard isn't exactly a warm, friendly guy. So Michelle starts devising an escape plan. But what exactly is outside the door? Could it be even more dangerous than what's inside the bunker?

As mentioned, I love everything about this movie. It's got a bit of a Hitchcockian vibe, because we don't know precisely what's outside the bunker. The story depends more on ideas and creepy feelings and loud noises rather than special effects. Strong performances by three fine actors help to sell the creep-factor.

The movie is flat-out nervy.

And the fact that this movie, directed by Dan Trachtenberg and produced by J.J. Abrams (who also produced the first Cloverfield), was made pretty much in secret is a major coup. Most people didn't know anything about it until the trailer played in front of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi in January. Every movie blogger raced home after that movie to spill the beans.

I can't say too much about the ending without being spoilery, but let's just say it's the perfect wrap-up that sets things up for another movie (but of course).

PARENT OVERVIEW: 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thriller that includes bits of sci-fi violence, as well as explosions, deaths, guns, shooting, knives, bottle-smashing, some blood and bloody wounds. Assorted other startling images include dead, rotting pigs; a panicky woman with a rashy face; a car crash, etc. Language includes one "f--k" and one "s--t." A female character is shown in her underwear. Characters drink homemade vodka in one scene, mostly for medicinal purposes.

PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):

Violence/Gore: The movie opens with a loud, scary car crash. Violence also includes explosions, guns and shooting, and sci-fi thrills. A woman is injured in a car crash, wakes up chained to a wall, and attempts to attack her captor with a home-made weapon. A bottle smashed against a head causes a bleeding cut that requires stitching by hand. Other gore includes rotting, dead pigs; bodies dissolving in acid; a woman with a diseased, gory face; and dried blood. Tension involves characters arguing and yelling, as well as an overall sense of foreboding throughout the film.

Sex/Nudity: A female character is shown in her underwear.

Profanity: One use of "f--k" and "s--t." Also "bitch," "turd," and "shut up."

Drugs/Alcohol: Characters drink a homemade clear liquor in one scene ("technically it's vodka," says a character), but it's used more for medicinal purposes.


One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.


New movies this week feature Jennifer Garner in Miracles from Heaven, Joel Edgerton in Midnight Special, Shailene Woodley in Allegiant and lots more. Let's take a closer look at the new movies in theaters this week.


Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images | In Theaters 3/16 | Ok for Kids 9+ | Sony | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

Based on a true story, Miracles from Heaven focuses on a young girl, Annabel Beam, who miraculously overcomes an incurable, life-threatening digestive disorder. After she's dramatically rescued from a near-death experience, a stunning series of miracles unfold that leave her family, her medical doctors, and her community baffled. The film is based on the book by Christy Beam, the mother of young Annabel. Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah, and Martin Henderson star.


Rated PG-13 for some violence and action | In Theaters 3/18 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

From Mud and Take Shelter writer and director Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special follows a father (Michael Shannon) who goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Ultimately. his father risks everything to protect Alton and help fulfill a destiny that could change the world forever. Also stars Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, and Sam Shepard.


Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity | In Theaters 3/18 (2D/IMAX) | Ok for Kids 13+ | Summit/Lionsgate | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

After the earth-shattering revelations of 2015's Insurgent, Tris (Shailene Woodley) must escape with Four (Theo James) and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known in order to find a peaceful solution for their embroiled city. But their journey outside uncovers shocking new truths. As a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago, Tris and Four must decide who they can trust. In order to survive, Tris is forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. Based on the young adult novel by Veronica Roth, this movie also stars Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, and Jai Courtney.


Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout and some drug use | In Theaters 3/18 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Sony Pictures Classics | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

A decade ago, Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) was America’s sweetheart and an Olympic champion. Her inspired performance on a ruptured Achilles clinched an unlikely bronze medal for the U.S. team and brought glory to her hometown of Amherst, Ohio. But in the years since that epic third-place victory, Hope hasn’t done a whole lot with her life. Still living in her dad Stan's (Gary Cole) basement, still sporting her daily uniform of a Team USA gym suit with teeny-bopper bangs, ponytail and scrunchie, she spends her days at the mall, milking her minor celebrity for free food and favors. But her routine is upended when she's forced to coach Amherst’s newest gymnastics prodigy Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson) in order to receive a sizeable financial inheritance. Also stars Sebastian Stan and Thomas Middleditch.


One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane.