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Archive for November 14th, 2010

Skyline

Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scotty Thompson) travel to LA for the birthday of Jarrod’s best friend Terry (Donald Faison) who lives in a luxurious penthouse apartment. Early the following morning Beams of light appear in the sky, thus begins the alien invasion that the trio must try to survive along with a few friends and neighbours.

We have reached a tipping point in movie making, and I don’t like where its going. As a fan of B movies I love the way that that low budget filmmakers use their imagination to create something special on a tiny budget. The way Skyline differs from other low budget movies and the thing that worries me is the use of special effects. With over 800 visual effects shots (more than most big budget movies) and a quality of digital effects that wasn’t available to any director at any budget a few years ago. This comes from the use of the latest version of the Red camera and the fact the directors Greg Strause and Colin Strause (known collectively, and somewhat pretentiously as “the Brothers Strause“) who have spent the last decade and a half working on the visual effects of some of the biggest movies around. I have no problem with the effects Per se, the problem is that they have made the filmmakers lazy, there is nothing original about Skyline, it is like watching every alien invasion movie you have seen before, and to be honest there are times when I would rarther have been watching an Edward D. Wood Jr movie. Aspects of the production are true to the low budget ideals with the main filming location being the apartment building where Greg Strause lives in Marina Del Rey. The budget for this was around half a million dollars, the post production (mainly the visuel effects) cost anywhere from $10 to 20million depending on who you believe. The cast is relatively unknown with Eric Balfour and David Zayas the most recognisable from their TV work. This isn’t a problem, but the lack of acting ability on display is a real problem. At least it is better than the directors previous movie AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem, it could hardly be worse!

To its credit the movie does end on a suitable cliff-hanger as the movie takes a final act change of direction, I understand there is a sequel on the way in two years time, hopefully it will be more original. The best thing about the movie wasn’t actually the anything to do with the movie, it was the trailer for Monster shown before the movie. Due for UK release next month I hope Monster will be the movie to restore my faith low budget movies.

Two Stars out of Five

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