2011 sci-fi action movie
Plot: Some kids making their own movie, of course using the titular 8 mm film, and wind up filming a mysterious train wreck that seemed to be caused by their former biology teacher and his pick-up truck. They also find some odd white cubes. Odd things begin occurring in their town, and the military gets involved. The kids try to solve the mystery and finish their film.
Holy shit! This movie's got Tab. You might have thought that I was just paranoid before when I claimed that something was going on with all these movies I've seen this year with Tab product placement, but how about now? A movie from 2011 that has Tab, a defunct soft drink? Come on. Something's going on here.
There's also a reference to Rubik's Cubes in this, and I wondered if that was an anachronism. I was around the age as the children in this movie when this was supposed to take place, and I didn't know about Rubik's Cubes until the early 1980s. I did some research because I am not a lazy movie blogger, and the Rubik's Cube, at least with that name, wasn't available worldwide until 1980. Abrams better not be making these kinds of mistakes in Star Wars VII. We're all expecting Phantom Menace type perfection with that movie.
This movie is really an homage to producer Spielberg's 80's work. It's part E.T. and part Close Encounters and part Goonies. I really liked the details that made this a late-70's period piece, something that made it all very familiar to me. I also liked the mystery aspect in this. Fleeing dogs, engines, other clues. You don't know what's going on, or you know exactly what the main characters know, and you're intrigued. The kids are all pretty good, talking over the top of each other like they're in a Robert Altman movie or something, and their rapport feels very natural. I really liked the fireworks-obsessed kid played by Ryan Lee. I'm not sure what to think about the forced attempt to add heart to this story with the main character's dead mother and his girlfriend. Luckily, it didn't get in the way of the cool story or the fantastic set pieces. Now, I'm not saying the special effects in this thing were flawless or anything, but the scene with the train and another at a gas station are sights to behold. The stuff at the end, which I believe utilizes motion-capture technology, looked good as well although I'm not sure I liked the design of the creature--interesting, but a little busy. This is a fun little movie.
Best scene: And old guy at the gas station (Mr. Blakely played by Jack Axelrod who might be best known as the "Electrolarynx Guy" on the My Name Is Earl t.v. show) who hypothesizes that a "bear attack" was the cause of some destruction.