Who’s In It: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel, David Zayas, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins, Robin Gammell
The Basics: Eric Balfour is Jarrod, a slacker artist-type visiting his bestie Terry (Donald Faison) with his pregnant girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) in tow. He awakens at 4 a.m. after a crazy night of partying to find that mysterious alien invaders are shining blue lights in windows and snatching up most of the population of Los Angeles. Holed up in Terry’s penthouse, the survivors watch as the outside world turns into a battle zone and wonder if they should stay put or make a break for it. Turns out there’s no right answer because whether you run or hide, the superaliens will eventually come for you. Those human brains aren’t going to harvest themselves.
What’s The Deal: This effects-heavy indie film, made for a reported $10 million by directing duo/visual effects artists Greg and Colin Strause, manages to create scope and fantastical destruction with only a small cast, a single location (a mostly empty luxury condo complex in Marina del Rey with stunning panorama views of the city), and an impressively detailed armada of computer generated alien ships and creatures. The Brothers Strause can go ahead and pat themselves on the back for that technical achievement, but then they must answer for the rest of Skyline, an absolute mess of a movie filled with repetitive time-wasting character choices and relationship squabbles that reaches a completely ridiculous and unexpected (but not in a good way) conclusion. In a way it turns into the Strauses’ first directorial effort, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, but I’ll leave the details of exactly how it does for you to discover on your own.
The Politics Of Skyline: For a movie sold on the image of awesome-looking aliens destroying Los Angeles, Skyline has a lot to say about masculinity in the modern world. (It also amusingly casts Donald Faison’s Terry as a successful commercial visual effects filmmaker who bosses around his assistant and cheats on his girlfriend.) The message is this: Instead of listening to the weepy cowards who want to sit around and do nothing, man up and take charge and go rip out your enemies’ guts -- with your bare hands, if need be! -- in defense of your women and (unborn) children. Also, as highlighted in a party scene in which jerky revelers spy on their neighbors’ love lives, homosexuality is super gross.
The Other Movies The Brothers Strause Clearly Own On DVD That Skyline Cribs From: Bad Boys II (in particular, the scene in which bad guys “throw” cars at Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and one flips in the air over Lawrence’s head, missing it by mere inches), Face/Off (the running of one’s fingers down a loved one’s face as gentle caress), Alien.
See It If You Like/Don't Mind the Sound Of: Los Angeles being laid to waste; shallow people being eaten and/or barfed back up by aliens; Donald Faison shirtless; Eric Balfour’s abs; actors staring out windows; illogical things happening for convenience’s sake; a great-looking stealth fighter flight sequence seen from afar; aliens with blue glowy heads and tentacles that are at once mechanical and fleshy; the black-veiny, milky-eyed CG effect used when a person gets entranced by the evil alien beam; a flashback that occurs 10 minutes in that replays exactly what you’ve just seen.