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Overall Rating
1.95

Awesome: 4.76%
Worth A Look: 7.14%
Just Average: 2.38%
Pretty Crappy50%
Sucks: 35.71%

4 reviews, 18 user ratings


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Skyline
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by Jay Seaver

"Takes a seeming eternity to get to what good stuff there is."
2 stars

A guy I follow tweeted about "Skyline" this weekend, saying to tune into his podcast to hear a review/takedown of the movie, and although I don't want to imply that it's a good movie, that rubbed me the wrong way. Calling your own work a "takedown" seems like braggadocio, and applying it to "Skyline"... Well, that's bullying. You take down those with inflated reputations, not the independent filmmakers whose weaknesses sadly don't make up for their strengths.

The movie starts out promising, with ships appearing in the sky above Los Angeles and dropping some sort of glowing payload on the city. Then, unfortunately, it flashes back thirteen hours or so, to artist Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) arriving from the other coast to visit their successful friend Terry (Donald Faison). They go to a party a Terry's place, find things awkward with his wife Candice (Brittany Daniel), "assistant" Denise (Crystal Reed), and friend Ray (Neil Hopkins). Eventually it breaks up, they hit the sack, and then the aliens invade, vacuuming people up into their ships en masse.

The writing for this movie, by Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell, is pretty much terrible. It's generic, filled with people having incredibly stupid arguments, and not only that, rehashing the same ones within minutes of each other. But in the interest of fairness to all the independent filmmakers who can write but don't have the Brothers Strause's technical skills, how are they when the movie plays to their strengths - the parts that the audience is coming to see?

Sadly, the answer is not very good. For a movie made very cheaply, the effects are plentiful and executed well. Some of the designs are derivative and/or nonsensical - take the gravity-defying robotic squid ships, for instance; they spat in the eye of physics in The Matrix and more or less do the same here. The trouble is, Colin and Greg Strause spend entirely too much time keeping this stuff awkwardly off-screen; it's almost painful to watch the middle act of this movie, where we catch occasional glimpses of what's going on outside the condo but far more time is spent with the blinds shut, characters occasionally peeking out around them or looking through a telescope, describing what they see. That's replacing something that they do well (large scale visual effects mayhem) with something they do poorly (get interesting performances out of actors).

There isn't one interesting character to be found here; instead, the cast is populated by templates that still need to be filled in. The cast of television workhorses is decent enough, but nobody along the production line gives them more than they absolutely need. The writers give them a basic outline and bland words to say, the cast doesn't add much to what little is on the page, and the directors seem to worry about them hitting marks during the effects sequences and not expending a whole lot of time on the rest. They're believable enough, but they're uninteresting; there's no compelling reason to follow them rather than the guys in the next apartment, or the ones down the street.

The really maddening thing, though, is that as the film comes to a close and the Strauses are free to go wild with what they do well, there's potential - spaceships and giant monsters and robots are flying around, the aliens are ripping the tops off skulls to use the brains they've collected for their own nefarious purposes, and the big fight at the end manages to be a combination of crazy sci-fi horror and something emotionally satisfying. It also sets up sequel/trilogy potential that could be a lot of fun.

Of course, by the time they get to that, the hackiness that has come before has made the idea of seeing "Skyline 2" pretty grim. Perhaps the lesson, then, is not to hold anything back; nobody will want to see the part where things really get interesting if the set-up is so disappointing.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=21236&reviewer=371
originally posted: 11/18/10 09:20:53
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User Comments

5/15/11 stephen nettles CRAP 1 stars
2/19/11 RePTaR One giant demo reel for the directors and their production team. 2 stars
2/05/11 Snowy Agree with Bob - great B-movie, would watch again aha 4 stars
1/07/11 Zack Loved it 4 stars
1/07/11 Nitram Hell, just saw it and I liked it. Cheesy. Wish the actors had more fun... 4 stars
12/23/10 Mike from ABQ I want my $1.00 back!!! 1 stars
12/13/10 max mad Visually arresting, non-pretentious sci-fi cheese. Douchey hipster types need to chill out. 5 stars
12/05/10 M Was the script 3 pages long??? 2 stars
12/02/10 Gary Watch someone else play a video game. 1 stars
11/27/10 Steven One million/month more on the writing, and this could have been halfway decent. 1 stars
11/27/10 Ronald Holst It was ok I have seen better and worse ! 3 stars
11/23/10 Rob steffenino Not so much 2 stars
11/20/10 Man out 6 Bucks Stolen CGI from Independance Day,Matrix,Cloverfield,Avatar. Pirating gone mainstream. 1 stars
11/17/10 James WASTE OF TIME!!!! SHIT! 1 stars
11/16/10 Jack I want my money back. 1 stars
11/15/10 Bob Dog This is a B-movie done right - I thoroughly enjoyed it! 5 stars
11/15/10 Drew I would have to agree with kaz 1 stars
11/12/10 kaz worse than B Grade 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Nov-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Mar-2011

UK
  N/A

Australia
  12-Nov-2010
  DVD: 15-Mar-2011




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