• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Monsters

TITLE: Monsters

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Science Fiction

It is common in the independent film world to have to use limited equipment to create their celluloid vision. Filming on digital video, editing on home computers, and special effects using Adobe software is not unusual for the majority of the independent horror and science fiction films littering the queues at Netflix and Blockbuster. However there are many examples of quality end products made with equipment and software available through local, non-specialized channels, and the British independent science fiction film Monsters is a shining example of how a good story, a decent story, and careful filming and editing can supersede the limitations of technology.

NASA discovers life within our solar system and sends a probe out to collect some samples. The probe returns to Earth but breaks up in the atmosphere and crashes in Mexico. Extra-terrestrial contamination occurs and giant sized octopus looking monsters appear in the country, which forces the world’s governments to turn the northern part of Mexico into a quarantined “Infected Zone” Andrew Kaulder (played by Scott McNairy) is a photographer hired by a major scandal magazine to chronicle the worst of the Mexican crisis such as pictures of the monsters and the dead bodies left behind after encounters. Kaulder is requested by his boss to pick up his daughter Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able), who happens to be in Mexico and unable to leave the country. Kaulder is not too thrilled about being an escort to a trust fund kid, but Kaulder finds Wynden to be beautiful and charming. As leaving the country becomes more and more difficult due to the mating season of the creatures, Kaulder and Wynden are forced to find less traditional ways to travel north to the safety of the United States through the “Infected Zone”.

Monsters is unique in science fiction in the fact that blazing special effects and big budget explosions are minimal, and the focus is the storyline between the developing relationships between the two characters. McNairy and Able are both pretty good as actors of characters slowly becoming enamored with each other, but since they were an actual dating couple at the time the chemistry came naturally. The practical end of film making is especially good in Monsters: the filing is a little dark at times but overall solid, the sound and lighting overall is beyond most independent creations, and the special effects when used are effective. The best aspect of Monsters is the human element, especially the portrayal of the Mexicans where they continue to live their lives even though they have to share their land with house-sized monsters and continual military bombardment. Life goes on in this production, and it is an interesting yet factual way of looking at life in general in a war zone. The banter at times between the couple is also intriguing, especially when she questions Kaulder’s integrity for shooting pictures of dead bodies when the main buyer is her own father.

Hollywood has noticed director Gareth Edwards as he has been hired to helm the 2014 Godzilla remake, but before that he should be completing a sequel to Monsters. Monsters is a perfect example on how an independent production using only equipment and technology available at the local Best Buy can create a quality end product that can compete with the big boys in Hollywood. Monsters is such a creation, and combined with the good acting and decent storyline it makes a science fiction film that should make the independent world proud.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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