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10 Cloverfield Lane

A paranoid conspiracist (John Goodman) keeps a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) captive in his underground doomsday bunker to protect her from what he claims is some kind of nuclear fallout above. Goodman’s reliably excellent performance works in concert with a smart script to keep you guessing about the truth of the matter, and Winstead’s charisma is rooted in a persistent resourcefulness that stops just short of MacGyver. I was frequently distracted by the big orchestral score, whose expansiveness is at odds with the claustrophobic confines of the bunker, but 10 Cloverfield Lane is otherwise a tight little thriller, a good balance of dark and fun. Its connection to 2008’s Cloverfield (which I had to abandon due to shaky-cam-induced nausea) is vague, but perhaps things will come into focus in the next installment, due in 2018.