Starring: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney

Summary: During the summer of 1979 Joe Lamb (Courtney) and his friends are spending their time making a zombie movie on Super 8 film. While filming one night, the kids witness a horrific train derailment. Soon after the accident, unusual events begin to unfold and the military comes to town. Joe’s dad (Chandler) is the local deputy who’s left with the task of keeping the town calm while the military takes over. Amidst all the chaos, Joe and his friends discover the truth about what’s going on and set out to help save the town.

Writer-director J.J. Abrams has said that this movie is a tribute to his childhood, during which he also made amateur horror films largely inspired by the works of Steven Spielberg. That is probably why the movie has hints of films like Close Encounters, Stand By Me, The Goonies, and of course E.T. I left the theater with a sense of nostalgia for the movies I enjoyed in my youth. What I enjoyed most about the movie is that it focuses on the characters instead of the sci-fi creature action. So many films today rely on the action and special effects and don’t focus enough on the character development. This is essentially a movie about a young boy who’s going through a lot, and you’re right there with him the whole way. It’s easy to care about Joe and his friends because we’ve all had memorable summer adventures with our friends. That’s what growing up is all about.

Trivia: J.J. Abrams named the film's setting, Lillian, Ohio, after his grandmother.

Rated: PG-13 – For intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.

Grade: B