• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Skyline

TITLE: Skyline

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Science Fiction

Colin and Greg Strausse are some of the best known visual effects masters in Hollywood that are not in direct connection to George Lucas. These two brothers created some amazing visual effects in films such as 2012, 300, and Avatar, and it should have been expected that the twosome would venture into directing due to their success. Their first directorial film was the 2007 release Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem; the film was not critically acclaimed but was a financial success. Despite this, the Strausse brothers had to produce their sophomore release Skyline on their own and finance the film out of their own pockets. The production of the film only cost about $500,000, but when special effects were added the finished product cost between $10-20 million with the Strausse brothers doing their own visual effects off the clock. Although visually stunning at times, Skyline lacks in a creative and quality storyline and ends up being just another alien invasion film with lots of pretty effects.

Jarrod (played by Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) fly out to Los Angeles to celebrate the birthday of Jarrod’s best friend and client Terry (Donald Faison). After a night of intense partying, the group awakens to discover that during sleeping off their drunken stupor the planet was invaded by an alien force. Many humans were enveloped by a blue light and sucked up to their spaceship, and the group does not understand what has happened. They venture outside to investigate only to find a mostly empty city and tentacled aliens all over, and the group quickly ventures inside to bunker down. The group knows that their hideout, which is twenty stories off the ground, makes them sitting sucks especially since the military has arrived to destroy the aliens at all costs. As the fight between man and alien develops around their condo, the group debates their future and whether to stay put and hope for the best or to venture out and escape the alien apocalypse.

As one would expect, Skyline has some incredible special effects and the visuals in this film are truly beautiful. The best special effects would be the fantastic creature creation by Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis (Aliens, Starship Troopers, Tremors) who show that they are still the masters of creating twisted nightmares from outer space better than any CGI effects company could ever deliver. However, all science fiction films now have wonderful effects and need to rely on more than eye candy and this is where Skyline falls flat. The story rips off aspects from Cloverfield and Independence Day yet does not bring out the best elements of either film. The final results of the storyline seem to be all too familiar and expected for an alien invasion flick. Skyline plays the storyline all too seriously at times and unfortunately the actors are not motivated enough with the story to deliver the intensity and despair that should have been brought to the screen. The final results ended up being a bit wooden in terms of the development of the characters and little empathy for their predicament arises as a result even though Elaine is pregnant. In addition, it seems that the last reel of the film is missing as Skyline ends suddenly and leaves too many loose ends untied which confused this viewer.

Sony Pictures later sued the Strausse brothers, accusing them and their production company Hydraulx Filmz of stealing special effects for Skyline from the production of Battle: Los Angeles in which the Strausse brothers were contracted for the visual effects; the case was eventually dropped by Sony, but it remains to be seen whether he company will continue to use the Strausse brothers for future endeavors. Skyline was a financial success but universally panned by critics, and the twosome are back creating a sequel that they will shop for a 2012 release. Whether the fans will welcome a sequel is yet to be seen, as Skyline was a beautiful film in terms of special effects but lacking in storyline and character development.  Personally, I am not holding my breath.

* *

–Mark

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