Text 28 Apr Skyline….Review?

Well I have a confession to make, guys. I couldn’t finish this review. I watched the movie once theatrically, another time when it went to Netflix (which inspired me to review it), then a third viewing to take extensive notes on it. 

I just can’t re-live it a fourth time to convert my notes to a proper blow-by-blow review. I can’t. The pain is indescribable. So I’m just going to post the notes as they are and leave it at that. 

I warn you: This isn’t that funny. It’s not that interesting. But it IS a slow, steady decline into frustration and madness. If you get off on that kind of thing….well, enjoy. 

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One cheap credits sequence complete with boring music and stock sound effects later…

Who the fuck are The Brothers Strause? “A Brothers Strause Film”? Are they really trying to make that a thing?

Blue lights crash to earth in the city— a lot of fucking blue lights. Shine through window shades and make the room shake slightly. 

Woman goes and throws up in toilet. Guy rolls around in bed, oblivious. 

Room shakes harder. Guy: “It’s okay.” No. Clearly it fucking isn’t. 

Guy looks at light and hears a weird female/child cry. Runs to other room, where there are a couple other people. Who the fuck are they? guy at light and skin turns necrotic. Veins start popping out. Bad contact lenses are used. Woman: “Jared! Jared!” He continues to stare at light. 

Title hits. SKYLINE. Really cheap-looking, complete with cheesy ripple fade.

Cut to airplane 15 hours earlier. Jared and his girl start talking about which pictures to “pick”. Woman looks at sketchbook in Jared’s lap and comments on the colorful wordart inside. “J-Rock? T-Money?” “Honey, we…we were ahead of our time. We’re bad.” “You haven’t changed a bit.” ????????????????????

Talk about meeting Jared’s friend. Asshole immediately drives up in an asshole convertible. Obnoxious rap music plays. It’s apparently his birthday, and he talks to two seperate women who he seems to be banging— and they know about each other! 

Back to plane. Woman has a headache when getting out. Jared gets a nearby woman’s bag for her. His girlfriend seems impressed by this. 

They’re surprised to have a fancy pickup driver in a uniform. Really stupid music plays as they have a helicopter shot montage, which ends with the two arriving at a tall building. They go up the elevator and get to the friend’s place. He and Jared have awkward dialogue, than an over the top bro hug. A woman’s mixing margaritas in a shot like the red blender drink from Evil Dead. Except it’s yellow-green. Way to fuck that up, movie. Unless it’s meant to signify aliens, because it’s green. Then it’s just stupid, if kind of creative.   

Friend hits on Jared’s girl in a sort of playful way. They head to the pool, the nameless friend bringing both of his ladies along. Jared says “we did it. I never thought we’d make it.” I don’t know what the nameless black friend accomplished, why they’re happy about it, or what struggles they’ve gone through to get there. So why do I care again?

Sound mixing sucks. I can barely hear dialogue. Guess they didn’t have the budget to loop anything, so all the sound is live-recorded. Huh. Not well live-recorded, either.

Nameless forgot his blonde gf’s drink. She’s outraged. Asks the other girl, Denise, to get her a drink. Denise obliges with a smile on her face. It would be better to have some subtle animosity between the two women, but I guess that would be interesting. 

Nameless friend talks about taking friends on a boat tomorrow. Then 3 or 4 helicopters fly kinda low overhead. Nameless commments: “Homeland Security. They must be on high alert because they know tonight’s party night!” 

Um…

1: How the fuck does he know what the helicopters are for? Is this guy plugged into homeland security intel somehow?

2. Again, it’d be much more interesting if the helicopters were on the periphery and barely glanced at.

3. Couldn’t we establish something without being so fucking heavy-handed about it?

4. (later) Why ARE the helicopters flying around? Do they know about the alien invasion? How? What are they doing to prepare? How do helicopters help against the aliens?

Cut to swanky party. Lousy cinematography ensues. Unsteady camera, countless lens flares, poorly framed shots. Shockingly, the sound balance is good. For the most part, I can tell what’s being said. 

A guy in a suit at the party comes over and congratulates Jared on “joining the crew”, asking if he’s found a place to live in the city yet. Jared’s girl walks away, upset. Jared seems unconcerned. 

Jared asks his buddy what the hell that was. Nameless says that “Clearly the cat’s out of the bag.” He wants Jared to move to LA. Jared is skeptical, and says he’s “barely surviving back home. What would I do here?” Nameless says “We need you. I need you” I hope they don’t start making out. Dialogue still fades in and out of coherence. 

Apparently, this is about Nameless having a special effects company and wanting Jared to come on board. And they finally, FINALLY tell me his name. Terry. 

Things are moving REALLY SLOW. I don’t know who these people are. I don’t know what they’re involved with. So why should I care?

Jared goes upstairs and sees his girlfriend upset. They have some really cliche, soap-opera dialogue about her being pregnant. I could not care less, because I already know aliens are going to descend and fuck up their lives. Lots of pointless bitching. They’re watching some stupid tv show or something where two people are on a couch together. The people at the party are flipping out, so it must be really crazy. Just looks like two people on a couch to me. 

Angel from Dexter comes to the door and tells them that they’ve recieved noise complaints about the party. Blonde bitch slams the door in his face, and he stoically takes it and walks off. 

Party’s done. Some guy is sleeping over. He comes onto the brunette chick, but she brushes him off and he drunkenly stumbles away. 

Title card: Day One

More of the pointless overhead shots where you see indistinct balls of light. People get out of their cars and walk towards the light. Back to the scene that started the movie. 

Wait, wait. 

The point of having a flashback from something hapenning, then coming back to it, is so you have something exciting happening, then get context for it. What happened wasn’t all that exciting, and we got almost no context. We got completely unrelated plotlines. The pregnancy, the effects company, Terry’s dual girlfriends, etc. The problem: I still don’t know anything of substance! And the stuff they DID tell us in the flashback wasn’t endearing, interesting, or fun, so they must’ve established all of it so they could refer back to it later, right? 

…right?

More really shitty sound effects, and cheap lights shining through the windows. Drunk guy stands up and starts getting possessed by the lights. Opens the door to the balcony, then disappears in a flash of light. The fuck just happened?

Jared walks towards the light too, and the others try to hold him back. The light suddenly releases him, and he collapses to the floor. The others call his name while some shitty, distorted POV shots play. 

Blonde bitch walks up and cluelessly asks “What’s wrong with him?” Although I don’t know either. I’d like to know. I wish they’d fucking explain it to me. Some really bad, out-of-focus shots of lights flying back up out of the city. Jared starts to recover somewhat.

Terry, like a dumbass, asks for the brunette chick to open the blinds. She refuses, so he looks through the blinds to see a city covered in fog. He can’t see shit, but somehow knows “there something down there.” He says there’s people on the roof, and that they should check it out. Um…why? 

Jared agrees to go check things out with Terry. Terry loads a nice-looking pistol in preparation. The blonde bitch looks at him and, quite ridiculously, asks “A gun? Really?” Bitch, aliens just descended and disentegrated a man in the very room you’re standing in. Yes, he fucking grabbed a gun! Be thankful he doesn’t to shove it up your ass!

Terry assures them “We’ll be right back.” In this type of movie, those words always spell victory.

The fucktarded duo walk around the apartment complex, hearing weird, muffled sounds outside the building. They run into this old man who’s holding a tiny dog. He asks why they have a gun, and they tell him to fuck off and get back in his apartment. Real considerate, guys. 

The girls discover that there’s no news on tv. They’re just broadcasting static, test patterns, and, hilariously, empty news desks. It seems there’s been nothing new on the interwebs either since the time the aliens landed. 

The two friends go to the roof to check things out. Jared, like a dumbass, lets the door slam shut and lock them outside. They start bitching at each other about who’s to blame. The camerawork is really shitty and really distracting. 

The women can’t get in touch with their families, or anyone else. Seems they’re isolated, and pretty much stranded. 

The guys see other people on the roof looking at shit, like them. Then there is an UNFORGIVABLE green screen effect where you see the fog dispel INSTANTLY, and a bunch more floating lights descending back to the city. It’s a HORRENDOUSLy bad effect. Now why did the glowing lights leave the city if they were just going to come right the fuck back? And why are you dwelling on this shot? The effect SUCKS. 

Jared uses a camera scope to get a close look at what’s shooting the lights. They’re big spaceships of completely unoriginal design. Some really repetetive, lackluster music accompanies the aliens shooting some sort of shockwave that kills the people on the roof of the building near them. They run back to the door to try and get in, and what looks like a Sentinel from The Matrix covered in blue LED lights takes its sweet time chasing them down. Like complete dumbasses, they shoot at the door handle to try and unlock it. Yes, nothing withdraws the deadbolt from a door’s locking mechanism better than SHOOTING IT WITH HOT LEAD. They heave at the door like idiots for a few more seconds as the Sentinel’s LED’s get brighter behind them. Suddenly, when all seems lost, the girlfriend opens the door and lets them in. Weak. And how did she know they were up there? They didn’t say they were going to the roof. And how did she know where the roof access was? She doesn’t live in this building, and she’s only been there one day. She looks at the light for several seconds, and gets semi-possessed. 

They try to comfort her, but she says she feels like she’s on fire. She snaps out of it in less than 30 seconds. Way to hold that tension, Skyline. Nice work.

She says “You looked too.” Her and Jared share a significant look. I don’t know what the fuck that was suppposed to mean. 

Apparently, the alien spaceships are abducting people. A lot of fucking people. The girlfriend says “Who wouldn’t want to look at something so beautiful? It’s kind of brilliant, actually.” You’re kind of an imbecile, actually. 

Jared hides in another room and reveals a sore necrotic region on his abdomen. His gf walks in, and he refuses to let her see it. HUH?

It seems that Terry decided to go check on the old guy. Why? Because…I don’t really know. But he knocks on the door, then, finding it locked, breaks it open. With his shoulder. And practically no effort. And no sound of breaking door. Nice.

Then he pulls out his gun, whispering all the while for Walt (the elderly dude). I still don’t know why he’s here. He sees the old guy’s keys, and fucking TAKES THEM. Walt appears suddenly. Terry says they’ll take his car and get out of dodge, but Walt says he refuses to go anywhere. Some tentacles start to snake in the nearby windows, looking for people they may have missed. Not at all like that scene from War of the Worlds, where the alien tentacle eye goes into the basement and looks for the family. The tentacles break some bottles, the dog gets spooked and runs off, and Walt goes to fetch him. Runs straight out from behind cover and gets himself pwnt by the aliens. If the human race is this stupid, we deserve to be abducted and subjugated. 

Terry suddenly stands up from cover himself, shoots the alien Sentinel a few times, then runs out of the room. The Sentinel seems unharmed, but doesn’t follow him. Why? I don’t know. 

He runs back in and tells them what happened. They start contemplating escape. Jared notes that he didn’t see any aliens over the water. This is odd, since that fact was never shown or talked about in the roof scene when they were looking at all the aliens, but whatever. They all start bickering like children, then the blinds open “on a timer.” You can’t just go shut them manually? And an alien sentinel IMMEDIATELY fucking goes straight to their exact apartment and starts shining lights in the window. Have I mentioned how cheap and shitty the effects look? Well they do. The alien doesn’t see them and flies off. Terry closes the blinds immediately, finally acting sensible. For some reason, the blonde chick is really upset with Terry. 

Jared’s girlfriend insists that they wait it out in the apartment, since the aliens haven’t discovered them so far. I like that plan! They’ve probably got tons of leftovers from the big party they had last night, so food and drink shouldn’t be much of an issue. Maybe if they wait it out, they’ll be able to get more intel on these aliens that they can use on a future plan. Hell, the aliens may leave when they think they’ve swept the city clean! 

But for reasons that will forever baffle me, the other guys are adamant about getting into cars and making a break for the boat. Now, all we know is that there were no aliens over the water when Jared looked. That doesn’t mean the spaceships can’t fly over water. They’re capable of intergalactic travel. I think they can handle the sea breeze. Another thing. Last time they were exposed AT ALL, an alien was IMMEDIATELY on them. So why do they think they have time to get from the apartment to the boat, even if it only takes a couple of minutes to get there? They’re really determined, spewing trailer quotes like “We have to try.” “We’ve gotta take our shot.” They’re going to get pwned before they get 50 feet outside the building. 

More really bad camerawork. The level of cinematogrphy is comparable to fucking TNA iMPACT! The blonde bitch runs off, upset at Terry for his “slut.” On the way out of the parking structure, they run across a couple packing a minivan. They ask whether they need help, but the man bitterly refuses.

The SECOND Terry’s car clears the doorway, a gigantic mech steps on it, then picks it up and slams it into the ground. Well he’s dead. That’s sad. 

BUT APPARENTLY NOT, as Terry’s door springs open and he tumbles to the ground, COMPLETELY UNHARMED. Well what the fuck was I thinking? 

Instead of realising the incredible miracle that has just taken place and running back into the building, he lays on the ground and proceeds to empty his pistol clip into the 50+ foot alien goliath looming over him. Run away you stupid fucking fuckwhistle! Run back inside! What the fuck are you trying to prove?

He kind of rolls and sommersaults his way back to the door, but the alien shoots out some grabby tentacles and drags Terry away. Dammit! There’s no possible way we could have avoided that!

The composite shots still look like garbage, as does the cinematography. The gate to the inner garage finally opens and OH SHIT, a SENTINEL! They crash their vehicle running from it, but it sees the guy who refused their help earlier and snatches him up. Then they all bail out of the car and get to a locked door, pounding on it uselessly. The monster is on them…and then a car fucking smites it from behind. When the creature is dead, Angel climbs out of the wreckage in a suit and tie, like a boss, coughing and examining his handiwork. Because that’s HOW HE ROLLS. 

The wife of the guy who was snatched flips out as her husband oozes out from the sentinel, sputtering and slimy but still alive. The woman is screaming hysterically. Suddenly another tentacle comes to life and grabs the guys’ head, fucking him up somehow. It’s unclear.

The sentinel revives, but they all pile through the door before it has a chance to get them. Somehow, absorbing that guy managed to bring the machine back to full strength. They run outside and the big colossus is chasing them. It shoots out tons of tentacles, and grabs the wife of the guy who got eaten. Well she was screen time well spent. Several colossi close in on them. Angel unlocks the door before they get caught by the aliens, and suggests that “all the way to the top is the safest place I can think of.” Wait, what? like…the roof? Where they almost died? Or they apartments, where they almost got discovered and died? He means the apartment, and they all rest and gather their composure. Angel surveys the city with Terry’s convenient telescope. Oh, and speaking of Terry…Jared isn’t taking the loss very well. Angel asks him to help barricade the door. Jared’s still acting like a pussy though, so Angel pushes him up against the door and tells him to grow a pair. Because that’s HOW HE ROLLS.

Angel then makes sure no one’s hurt, and they try to plan their next move. Angel proposes keeping close watch and staying put— you know, the fucking smart plan from earlier!? This time they agree, since their last grand scheme didn’t pan out so well.

Jared’s girlfriend says “Someone’s got to come, right? This can’t go on forever…right?” Great acting from Angel here. Because that’s HOW HE…well actually,it’s because he’s just talented. Blonde chick lights up a cigarette, which prompts Jared’s gf not to just go sit on the other side of the room, away from the smoke, but to get up and try to leave the room, loudly complaining that she can’t be in the same room as a cigarette. When Angel suggests they try to stay together, she breaks down and admits that she’s pregnant. The blonde chick looks all bleary-eyed and puts out her smoke. Because, you know, subtlety. 

Angel suggests they take watch in pairs. “If they try that light stuff, we’ll have each other’s backs.” Oh thank Jesus, someone’s actually thinking fucking logically! Blonde chick looks really traumatized. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with her. She seemed fine about 3 minutes ago. Another woman is pregnant. Why does that leave you emotionally broken? 

More bad CG shots of the city. 

Angel muses about being alone, and that the horror might not be over. Jared starts saying some weird stuff, like that “they just don’t seem real.” Angel gives him a verbal shake back to reality. “Well they ARE real. You’d better wake up.” Thank God for this man. He’s making sense, plus bringing more emotion and credibility than anyone else. They hear gunshots in the distance. The sound effect sucks. They see some guys shooting automatic weapons at the sentinels, complete with REALLY cartoony effects. “Someone’s fighting back!” Gangbangers, from what I can tell.

"What are they doing?" They’re making cupcakes, you fucking twat. The fuck do you think they’re doing!? 

Jared turns on the TV, which somehow gives them a clear helicopter shot of exactly what they want to see. Angel insists they turn it off, as it’s too bright and will attract attention. The gf listens to good sense, and shuts it off. Jared seems all pissy about not getting his way, while Angel’s sad that the people fighting back couldn’t hold out, and fell against the aliens. 

**At this point, I realized I had almost 40 minutes left to go and almost fucking killed myself**

Title card: Day 2.

Jared apparently didn’t sleep at all. He keeps staring at his hand. I’m not sure why. They chat for a while about what the light may have done to their bodies. Angel watches subtly. Jared says that the light made him feel powerful when it took over, and somehow, he still has some of that feeling. 

Fast motion shot of them chilling out in the apartment. Jared goes to use the toilet/shower, but there’s no running water. The necrotic region on his chest is getting worse. He stares at himself in the mirror for a while. I’m bored. 

Angel tells Jared to sit. He keeps pacing anyway. Angel sits and asks him what’s eating him. Jared is seemingly upset that they’re sitting here when there’s “a boat right across the street.” But they don’t know which boat it is, since Terry’s gone. Jared recommends that this time they use stealth to escape the building, but his girlfriend is shocked that he’d “even bring that up after what happened.” Jared seems confused, asking if his girlfriend is saying that it’s his fault Terry got smashed. She says “I was practically begging…but you wouldn’t listen.” Yes, Jared. It’s your fault. You came up with a shitty plan that got your friend killed. The audience has already figured this out by now, movie. We’re not stupid. Why are you telling this story like we’re small children who need to have every little thing spelled out to us? 

Angel asks what the plan is if they actually do get to the boat. Where would they go? How would they survive? As always, he’s BY FAR the most intelligent person in the group. Jared says anywhere is better than here. Angel says he doesn’t know that. “We’re here. We’re alive.” Really over-directed scene, complete with more shitty repetitive music. Suddenly, jets start flying across the sky to attack the aliens. Actually kind of a cool sequence, although they pull the shit where turning on the TV gives them an ideal helicopter shot again. Spaceship sends out Sentinels to fight, and there’s a really high-octane dogfight. By far the most interested I’ve been in this movie so far. Only one jet makes it through the Sentinels, and manages to launch a missile just before it blows up. The aliens are hit, and there’s a massive explosion. Somehow this doesn’t damage the building they’re in AT ALL, failing to even break the windows with its shockwave. The spaceship descends from the explosion and crashes, seemingly destroyed. The main characters all start hugging and celebrating. Dunno why, since there are lots of spaceships out there. Really cheesy triumphant music plays. Apparently, Angel figures that now that they know “what to do” in order to bring down one of the spaceships, the government will start sending more help and bringing the fight to the invaders. 

Sentinels start pouring out of the wrecked ship. “They’re not dead. They’re just really, really pissed off.” Wow. Well maybe we shouldn’t have celebrated so hastily, then. 

Obvious, if somewhat impressive, CGI. Spaceship seems to be re-forming/healing. They start putting sheets under the windows, and Jared acts like he’s about to bring the war to the aliens himself. “Between those things and the radiation, we are dead up here!” Wait, so that was supposed to be a nuclear bomb? Why aren’t they already fucked up, then? They didn’t exactly have good cover against radiation. A helicopter lands nearby, and soldiers file out. Jared starts spouting his stupid shit again. “We have to try”, etc. Angel tells him that he’s in no position to decide anything. Who knows what side Jared’s really on? I mean look at his chest!

As always, I agree with him. Jared is out of his gourd. He smacks Jared with his pimp hand. Jared’s face morphs back into looking like it did when he was possessed. Angel hits Jared again, but the idiot manages to catch Angel’s next punch and slam the guy up against a wall. Starts lifting him up by the throat. HORRIBLE cliche moment. Jared: “I’m not leaving here without my family.” Well your wife doesn’t want to go, so why are you fucking around with Angel instead of reasoning with her?

Jared’s girlfriend backs away from him, and his face morphs back to normal. They have a really awkward, drawn out moment. The spaceship is being shiny and casting lens flares in the background. Annoying. The two of them leave. Angel and the blonde chick put the bedsheets back over the windows. 

Jared grabs a fireaxe. He’ll need it for his stealth strategy. This time, he goes to the roof and sensibly props the door open with a brick. They run to the soldiers and start yelling that they need help. The soldiers immediately yell at them not to move and aim their guns at the couple. 

Cut back to the blonde chick looking at the spaceship through the telescope. Suddenly she looks up, her face morphed like she’s possessed. I have no clue why. Angel’s in the bathroom. Blonde chick rips down the bedsheet to reveal a Sentinel right in front of her. Oh. Um…and it noticed them how? She walks onto the balcony. Angel runs out to stop her, but it’s too late and the alien snatches her. Then it blows up, shot by a soldier’s bazooka. Well I guess even the movie didn’t give a shit about that annoying bitch. 

Another helicopter flies over. Jered and his girlfriend signal to it. Just as it’s about to rescue them, a goliath latches on tentacles and crashes da choppa. The soldier bazookas the goliath, but it doesn’t matter. Their transport is gone. More tactical dogfighting, although this time it’s just in the background. Shame. That was the part I actually liked. They try to run back in the building, but a Sentinel is waiting at the top of the stairs. It manages to get a tentacle out the door before they can slam it shut, and it latches around Jared’s gf. He chops it off with his axe. But apparently the tentacle can be an entity all on his own. This plot point is never brought up again. They see some scaffolding and decide to try climbing down to escape the building. 

Cut back to the apartment. Angel goes to the stove and turns the gas on. Kisses the cross around his neck. Guess he’s nobly sacrificing himself for no real benefit, because we’ve run out of ideas for his character. Puts a cigarette in his mouth. 

Back to the roof. Another sentinel descends behind Jared, And he engages it in Mortal Kombat. Alas, it fucks up his leg and he screams for his gf to run. Yawn. Angel, with more gravitas than this movie deserves, slowly picks up a lighter, and raises it to his lips. The camera focuses on this painting of a samurai on the wall behind him. I don’t know. A Goliath climbs up the building and Angel tries to click the lighter, but it doesn’t go. The goliath fucks up the apartment, and Angel ducks behind the counter. 

Back on the roof, the Sentinel is taking Jared’s brain. His face morphs. The light intensifies. Suddenly the Sentinel shudders and dies. Jared’s gf is revealed with the alien’s glowing blue brain+spine stuck on the axe she just hit it with. Kinda cool, although it raises some anatomical questions about these aliens. 

In the kitchen, Angel still seems fucked. Drops the lighter. Alien grabs him, and Angel grabs a knife to stab the alien’s tentacle off of him. A soldier starts shooting the Goliath, which gets distracted and lets go of Angel to chuck soldier boy off the roof. Wilhelm scream! Angel gets back to the lighter, and this time it works. He says something in Spanish, then “you son of a bitch.” Blows up the Goliath and himself. Apparently this has no effect on the structure of the building, or the people hanging out on the roof. Speaking of which…

The Sentinel suddenly springs back to life (how?) and tries to take Jared’s girlfriend. He gets up, puts on his possessed face, and starts beating the alien to death with a cinderblock, then his fists. They cut the sound effects and blare the music. Really silly. Jared gives his war cry as the alien dies at his hands. His girlfriend gets up and brings him back to normal. These effects must have been a bitch with the camera shaking so much. Goliath suddenly gets back to the top of the building, all burnt up. The music sounds like that BUM-BUM, BUM, BUM-BUM cue from Terminator 2. Jared and his squeeze run away, and the Goliath gets shot by a jet and distracted before it can kill them. Actually a pretty cool sequence, even if I don’t give a shit about this characters. We get one of those REALLY cliche, ripped-off spots where the camera does a slo-mo of a jet crashing right in front of them, then barely bouncing over their heads and missing them completely. It hits the Goliath in the face though, which is awesome. Really fakey-looking CGI fire rains down around the dumbass couple, but they seem alright. Jared’s gf tries to help him to his feet. Seems they finally remembered about his leg injury from earlier. He begs his girl to run away and safe herself. “I’m not going anywhere without you.” The aliens have clearly won. They close in and capture them. Actually a pretty good effect. They make out in midair as the ship pulls them in, which made me laugh. 

Cut to a shot of the Statue of Liberty and all the horrible destruction of NYC behind her. Title Card: Day 3. 

They go through a montage of the world’s major cities having been mangled by the aliens. Actually pretty great effects work. I wish this had been like a Roland Emmerich movie, and just focused on the carnage instead of laser-locking us into the shitty storyline we got saddled with. 

Cut to the inside of the alien ship. Bodies are piled on the floor. The aliens are picking people up and taking their brains. The gf sees them take Jared’s, then toss his body away like garbage. It starts to take hers, then for some reason checks and sees that she’s pregnant. She gets spared. Jared’s brain is carried off, glowing red for some reason. The brains are being loaded into what look like alien mech suits, and each one runs off like it’s on a mission whenever a new brain is loaded in. Jared’s brain gets put in one of the mechs, and it immediately starts struggling and clutching at its head. 

Cut back to the gf. Apparently they’re going to take the baby, or kill it…even though it need 8 and a half more months until they can use it for anything. Whatever. The machines descend on her, and the alien mech suit with Jared’s brain hears her screaming. It goes and beats up the machinery that was about to…rape her? She’s terrified of it, but it feels the heartbeat in her womb and runs its fingers down her face. She manages to puzzle out that it’s Jared. Then the camera tracks out, and Jared looks at the rest of the spaceship. I’d be furious with confusion if I gave a shit. 

Cut to credits. Apparently showing off the new action figure tie-ins for this movie. That or they’re model miniatures, in which case it makes even less sense. Why would you show those to the audience? This soon after the movie? The fuck?

DP: Michael Watson. I can’t even find him on IMDB. Fuck that guy. 

The Brothers Strause: Fuck you guys too…whoever the fuck you are. 

Holy shit, they actually had a composer for this movie! Matthew Margeson. Every other credit he has is for “Additional Arrangements.” Obviously one of those cheap arrangers that usually have orchestrations for bigger composers farmed out to them. Lame. 

This credits song is the most repetitive, annoying, techno-metal song you could ever find. 

Holy shit. There was a second unit on this movie?

Oh. Jared’s gf was named Elaine. I don’t know if that was mentioned a single time in the actual movie. I assume it was, but I never heard it. 

When you have more special effects credits than actors, you need to rethink your setup. It sucked in Green Lantern, and it sucks here. 

I’m in pain. 

Text 21 Jul The King’s Speech Review: Addendum

A friend of mine, as well as many loyal readers out there, recently berated me for being too hard on The King’s Speech. In all honesty, I agree. I got very technical and ragged on virtually every part of the movie…but without making it clear what my real complaints were. So before that article does any more damage to my credibility, let me try and sum up my final thoughts on the film.

Make no mistake— The King’s Speech is good. But here’s the thing. Should the movie that won Best Picture just be…good? Now the main problem with the film is that it’s rather poorly directed (confusing me even more, since it won Best Director). Hooper’s style is immature and overdone, constantly distracting from the top-notch acting on screen. Colin Firth did a wonderful job, but if Hooper thinks that displaying an actor’s talent by showing a static close-up of his face for 30 seconds is compelling cinema, he’s gravely mistaken. In terms of cinematography, set design, costumes, music, and tone, The King’s Speech falls far short of expectations.

This isn’t a complex movie to review. Superb acting, lackluster directing, and a serviceable script that could’ve been great with a bit more polish. The story is a relatively basic feel-good, “triumph against the odds” formula crossed with a British royalty biopic. It works, it’s touching, but will anyone talk about it in 10 or 15 years? Did it set new standards or push the storytelling envelope in an interesting way? Does it stand up to competition like The Social Network, Black Swan, or True Grit? 

Not really. That, people, is why I scoffed at The King’s Speech: not because it’s bad, but because it robbed better movies of the accolades they deserved. I apologize if anyone took my criticism of the movie as a personal insult. That wasn’t my intention. I just needed to vent my frustrations about the undeserved praise heaped upon a barely above-average movie. 

Hopefully that clears up my thoughts a little bit. Until next time, folks.

Text 3 Jul What I’d rather watch

Recently, talking with my co-host on Men About Film, I talked about all the good action movies I could watch, rather than subjecting myself to misery in Transformers 3 just to get my action fix. True, there’s about 5 minutes total of awesomeness in Dark of the Moon. But other movies deliver those thrills in less time, with greater technical/structural finesse, and without the torture that is Ehren Kruger’s writing. Here’s a BRIEF list of action flicks you could enjoy before you consider set foot in a theater to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Any Die Hard movie

Any Rambo movie

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

The Matrix Trilogy

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Highlander (Only the original)

Inception

Snatch

Iron Man

The Dark Knight

Star Wars (The Original Trilogy)

Lord of the Rings

Saving Private Ryan

Aliens

Predator(s)

Indiana Jones

Kill Bill

Terminator and T2

X2 and X-Men: First Class

The Bourne Trilogy

Any James Bond movie

Jurassic Park

Lethal Weapon

Hot Fuzz

Planet Terror

Mad Max

Karate Kid

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Big Trouble In Little China

RED

Total Recall

Desperado

The Warriors

Top Gun

The Transporter

Crank and Crank: High Voltage

Three Kings

Bruce Lee’s entire filmography

Jackie Chan’s entire filmography

Jet Li’s entire filmography (except maybe The One)

Every John Woo film has EVER MADE

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Point Break

Black Dynamite

Starship Troopers

The Running Man

Shoot ‘Em Up

The Last Starfighter

Demolition Man

The Quick and the Dead

JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

Darkman

Escape from New York

13 Assassins

Jurassic Park

Iron Monkey

Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus

Spiderman 2

The Road Warrior

Miller’s Crossing

Flash Gordon

Sherlock Holmes

The Hunt for Red October

Heat

Watch some of those, then let me know if you want to go back and watch a slightly less painful Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.

Video 28 Jun

My first movie review: X-Men: First Class, Super 8, and Green Lantern.

Text 27 Jun Audition Review

Guys…this was another one of those movies. The ones that hypnotise me, staring at the screen whispering “Oh God…Jesus Christ….” and repeatedly making the sign of the cross. Another movie that raped both my mind and my sense of decency. I don’t have all that much experience with Takashi Miike, but I can tell you this: he is one sick bastard. 

Audition is a Japanese film about a single father, Aoyama, struggling to raise his teenage son after the death of his wife, Ryoko. When his son suggests that his father start dating again and get remarried, he talks to his friend Yoshikawa, a film producer, to get some help. They decide to hold a mock audition for an imaginary movie, listing Aoyama’s ideal female traits as requirements for the role. They figure that one of the women who comes in for an audition will be a perfect match for him. 

While a number of beautiful, talented young women come to interview for the part, Aoyama is entranced by a sensitive former ballerina named Asami. Yoshikawa warns him that something doesn’t seem right about her, but Aoyama’s mind is made up. They go out on a lovely date and everything seems peachy… until we cut to Asami’s apartment, which is completley unfurnished except for a telephone and a large white bag that occasionally moves around. Creepy. Oblivious, Aoyama is ready to marry her after a few more dates. His friend Yoshikawa insists that something is amiss, since he can’t contact anyone on Asami’s resume and nobody seems to know her. Despite his friend’s warnings and dreams of Ryoko telling him that Asami is dangerous, he continues with his romantic gestures. After all, what could be dangerous about her? She’s so sweet, demure, and respectable— no one could possibly be more harmless. 

Aoyama tells his son that he’s going to propose to Asami, and invites her on a romantic getaway for the weekend. The first night, Asami reveals that she was tortured as a child. Now this would have raised a red flag for me, but keep in mind that Aoyama is in love, AKA an imbecile. She demands that Aoyama to love her and only her forever. He agrees, and they sleep together. Later, he’s woken up by a phone call from the front desk asking if he’s going to leave the hotel along with his partner. Confused, Aoyama suddenly realizes that Asami is gone. 

Then Aoyama starts to realize some other disconcerting things. He has no idea where Asami lives. He’s never gone to the bar where she claims to work. She hasn’t told him where she’s from or how to contact her when she doesn’t answer her phone (which she doesn’t). He does, however, know the address of the ballet studio where she claims to have studied, so he goes to visit. The place is boarded up, but Aoyama breaks in to find an old man in a wheelchair passively playing the piano. Turns out he’s the one who tortured Asami. He got his commupance though; his feet are missing, apparently amputated. Aoyama leaves in a rush after the old man makes some VERY cryptic comments about Asami. 

Aoyama’s starting to get a little nervous now. He goes to the bar where Asami told him she worked, but finds that the place has been closed for more than a year. The man living there says that the woman who ran the place was found completely dismembered. Strangely enough, the police found three fingers, and ear, and a tongue that didn’t belong to that woman’s body. Revolted, Aoyama leaves for home. 

Unfortunately, Asami decided to stop by his house while he was out. Enraged by a picture of Ryoko on the table, she drugs Aoyama’s bottle of booze and hides to wait for him. He comes home, has a drink, and immediately blacks out. 

This is where the movie really starts fucking with me. We cut to a weird dream sequence. Aoyama is suddenly at the ballet teacher’s place again, and sees Asami decapitate him with a wire that can “cut through meat and bone easily.” 

Then Aoyama appears in Asami’s apartment and sees something crawl out of the big white bag in the corner: a human being. He’s missing his tongue, an ear, and three fingers. Asami walks out of the bathroom with a dog bowl she’s just filled with vomit and places it front of the man, who hungrily starts slurping it down. 

Now that’s where I nearly had to shut the movie off. You don’t just show a man slurping down vomit. It’s making me retch just typing this. But folks,  rest assured that it only gets worse from here. 

We return to Aoyama’s house, where Asami tells him that she’s injected him with a drug that will keep his body near-paralyzed but his ability to feel pain completely intact. Oh, goodie. It really starts to feel like Saw as she takes out a box of long needles and comments that she’s very knowledgeable about pain and human anatomy. She proceeds to cram about 25 needles into his torso, smiling and playful all the while. Aoyama is helpless as she then lodges two needles into EACH OF HIS EYES. We’re not even done yet, people. She wiggles each of the needles a little and smiles at his agonized groans. 

This is when I started to get fucking scared. I have no idea what this crazy bitch is capable of, and I don’t WANT to know. Not like I have a choice. Asami comments that Aoyama “can’t run away without feet” and pulls out the wire saw from earlier. She proceeds to slowly and carefully wrap it around his foot and slowly cut it off, giggling all the while. The scene is infamous for being difficult to watch, and with good reason. It’s fucking BRUTAL. Just as she gets ready to sever the other foot, Aoyama’s son comes home.

Next comes another kick-in-the-nuts sequence. We suddenly cut back to Aoyama and Asami in bed together post-coitus. She tells him that she’s decided to accept his marriage proposal. Aoyama expresses her confusion, since he never actually had a chance to propose yet. 

Then, like a dog on a choke chain, we get yanked back to Aoyama bleeding on the floor. His son walks in and sees his father. Asami suddenly startles him by leaping from a dark corner and trying to incapacitate him. He manages to get away and run up the stairs. With a well-placed kick and the help of gravity, Asami takes a bad fall and breaks her neck. The next part blew my mind. I had to pause the movie and rage for almost a full minute. Aoyama’s son gets up, goes to his father, and asks “Are you okay?”

…SERIOUSLY? The man is on the floor, needles sticking out of his torso and EYEBALLS, his severed foot twitching not 3 feet away, and you ask him if he’s fucking OKAY!? What the hell is wrong with you, kid? Aoyama has to actually TELL HIM to call the cops! 

Then the movie ended, and I didn’t really know how to feel. On one hand, it felt a little cheap and manipulative. The violence, the misleading dream sequences, and no overriding message to the madness. However, as a horror-thriller, it accomplished its goal. I was thrilled. I was horrified— VERY horrified. And as I turned it over in my head, a sort of point started to emerge: when you manipulate people and ignore the advice of friends and loved ones to pursue personal gratification, bad things can happen. Like BLOOD, HORROR, AND INSANITY!!!

I need a drink. Until next time, guys. 

Text 6 Jun Movie Review: The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech did NOT deserve the Oscar for Best Picture. Considering the hype, I was stunned at how such a dull, pretentious movie got so much recognition. This one was a real disappointment, guys. 

First of all, it does something I HATE in movies: it never gives us a likable protagonist. Lionel Logue, the speech pathologist, is a far more interesting character than Albert. As a failed actor who’s pretty much realized that he’ll never achieve his dream, he moves to speech pathology as a way to use his talents, help whoever he can, and support his family. He has strong morals and challenges people to be their best, despite his own shortcomings. I’d much rather follow him than Prince Albert, whose endearing traits are never really brought to the forefront. It shows a real lack of focus in the screenplay that we never know the protagonist well enough to identify with him as a person. 

The dullness of this story structure fascinates me. While a number of things actually HAPPEN in the narrative, it never feels like anything is going on. The first scene of the movie establishes that Prince Albert has a speech impediment and, as a public figure, needs to overcome it for the good of his country. His wife finds him a speech pathologist to help with the problem. At the end, Albert takes his place as King and makes a successful public address to his people with the help of said pathologist. That`s it. Oh, there’s lots of pointless conversations and piddling around in between. Believe me, we get no shortage of pointless conversations. But the plot is THAT simplistic. They try to spice things up by telling us about Prince Edward having a romantic affair with a commoner, but it feels like they only threw that in to explain why Albert was ascending to the throne. After all, there’s no way we can care about Edward—we barely know a thing about him! King George V’s death is handled much the same way. Albert and Lionel talk about it, which does help flesh out their characters. However, character development and story development are not the same thing. The narrative has no drive to it. No urgency. Things just sort of…happen. Then the movie ends. 

But as much as I bashed the plot, the last fifteen minutes had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The importance of a strong public leader became monumentally more important amidst the threat of Nazi Germany, and Albert’s purpose made much more sense given that context. It’s almost as if the movie started too early, and ended just before all the interesting stuff happened. I might actually care about the story if I know what’s at stake; Instead, the entire thing feels more like a prologue than an actual film. All setup for minimum payoff. 

The direction doesn’t help things one bit. Tom Hooper’s uninspired visual style leaves a lot to be desired, and the soundtrack is nothing but a thrown-together compilation of classical music. It lacks identity, completely failing to establish a mood or put us in the action. That stiffness really makes the film feel empty and lifeless.

What a shame. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush deserved a better movie than this. With a tighter script and a more experienced director, they could have had one. As it is, The King’s Speech works— but just barely. This overwrought, middle-of-the-road picture doesn’t deserve half the recognition it got. 

Text 18 May Naked Lunch

This is, without a doubt, the most brain-fucking movie I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s saying something, my friends. It features Peter Weller (star of Robocop), which is surreal enough, but the entire thing is based on a book by…well, a man of questionable sanity. It follows a bug exterminator who discovers that his wife is stealing his bug powder and using it to get high. By injecting it into her bosom. That’s weird on its own, but she then convinces her husband to try it himself. He subsequently gets picked up by the cops and encounters a gigantic cockroach who refers to him as a secret agent and starts giving him orders.

Yes. The giant cockroach starts TALKING to him. 

Uh…anyway. It tells him to kill his wife “real tasty” and send a report about it to their “superiors.” Why? Who is he working for? I have no idea. He clearly realizes that he’s tripping balls, so he crushes the bug with his shoe and flees the police department. He returns home and finds one of his friends reading exotic poetry while another friend has sex with his wife. With NO REACTION whatsoever, he walks to the other room and starts injecting himself with more bug powder. He comes back once they’re done HUMPING HIS WIFE, and suggests a William Tell routine— shooting an empty glass off his wife’s head. Now this is a bad idea on a number of different levels and, needless to say, he shoots her right in the face. It’s at this point that I wonder if our main character is altogether sane. I know, “OBVIOUSLY!”, right?

I honestly don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie by revealing the mind-fuckery that takes place. Needless to say, Naked Lunch will keep you guessing— both at what will happen next and at whether or not you’ve lost your Goddamn mind. If you like confusing movies, you’ll enjoy it. If you like David Cronenberg’s films in general, you’ll probably like it. Me? I’m still on the fence.

I’m going to drink heavily now. I may never stop.

Text 12 May Hello Tumblr!

While I’ve shared my opinions on the internet for a number of years, most recently on Twitter, I’ve never actually compiled my thoughts into a formal blog before. Well, now I have. It was inevitable, really. I just finished my freshman year of college, I’m full of opinions, and insomnia provides me with many quiet hours that I could put to good use. My most recent obsession is film, and I anticipate most of these posts will address that topic; however, to quote Stephen Colbert “Opinions are like ass fucks, in that I have more than most people.” I’ll talk about almost anything—at length—so please feel free to ask me about whatever’s on your mind. I hope you find these posts interesting, but if not….sucks to be you. Enjoy!


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