Friday, July 29, 2011

Gross Encounters

I missed this movie last November when it came out. I was all set to see it then heard it sucked, calculated the odds of whether I would agree with the reviews and skipped it. Rotten Tomatoes rates is at 16% positive among critics but what do those elitists know? After all, the audience rated it at 19% so I'm sure I'll have too much fun as I do another Liveblog for the science fiction masterpiece Skyline.

-- We're off to a rousing, imaginative start as the movie opens with title card sequences that basically look like someone sneezed on the camera. I see this was directed by Colin and Greg Strause, the guys who gave us Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem. If you've never seen it, it is the worst movie ever in the history of anything. I'm talking "should be encased in cement and dropped to the bottom of the Merianas Trench where it can never hurt anyone again" level of bad. Showgirls and Transformers wish they are as bad as AVP:R. I'm sure the Strause family has learned from the mistakes made in that debacle and are now ready to entertain us with some science fiction that is as thrilling as it is thought provoking. Where were we? Oh, yeah, everything looks like someone sneezed on the camera. We then see the city of Los Angeles, also known as the Big Apple or...something. Actually, it's known as the go-to first stop in any decent alien invasion and the aliens in this movie are no exception as lights drop from the sky. This wakes up two characters named Jarrod and Elaine played by two actors who are sort of/kind of vaguely recognizable television actors named Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson. I know their names because IMDB exists as they are in shows I don't watch. The producers have obviously bought into the myth that movie stars no longer matter and you can see by the movie's stellar $21 million domestic gross how well that idea worked out. Jarrod looks out at the lights and turns all white eyed and veiny but, suddenly, he and Elaine are on a plane and it says "15 hours earlier". I'm not sure what will happen in the next 15 hours that will top "alien invasion" but I trust the Family Strause completely to keep me entertained. They are in L.A. to visit Jarrod's old pal Terry played by another television guy. At least I know this is Donald Faison (Turk from Scrubs). Terry has made it in the music business and I guess he and Jarrod used to be in a band or something but I can't believe any of this will matter once the aliens land so let's move on.

"Who are we? I can't quite place us," they're thinking.

0:30:00 -- Terry wants Jarrod to quit his crap job, whatever the hell it is, and work for him in Los Angeles. From the way he describes his life, Jarrod and Elaine aren't living too far above the poverty line and it turns out they have a baby on the way so, naturally, they're resistant to the idea of moving from whatever shithole, rock-eater infested town they live in to L.A. where they would lead exciting lives on an exorbitant salary. None of this matters, though, because we have reached the 15 hour mark and once again lights are falling from the sky turning people who look at them into white eyed and vein covered zombies who walk into them and disappear. Jarrod and Terry decide to leave the womenfolk behind and go to the roof to investigate. Jarrod brings a camera and Terry brings a gun so decide who you want at your side during the Apocalypse. Jarrod fails to keep the door to the roof open and it locks behind them but, luckily, he brought the camera which is of no use whatsoever in this situation. The gun, however, comes in handy when more lights fall from the sky and we see that they're dropping from alien spaceships. Terry manages to shoot the lock off the door which is great because pregnant Elaine was right on the other side of it but she's fine. Well, except for when she looks into the light and goes all zombie on them.

This and the other picture show Eric Balfour's single, all purpose expression. He has it down though.

0:50:00 -- There's no television or radio and news websites haven't been updated for hours so I must reluctantly applaud the efficiency and competence of the alien invaders. They want people for something or other as they are slurping boatloads of them into their ships but I'm sure they just want to bring us all back to a planet called Happy Funtime Place. Terry has the genius idea that they will be safe on his boat and Jarrod agrees. The women think that's stupid but they have lady parts and icky menstrual cycles so Jarrod and Terry wisely ignore them. Candice (Brittany Daniel), Terry's bitch girlfriend (she gets away with that by looking like this), insists on riding in a separate car because she just found out Terry has been nailing her pretty assistant so Terry and the assistant drive out together and, in an event no one could have foreseen, immediately get attacked by some giant alien robot thing. Terry gets out of the car and back to Jarrod but he gets snatched by an alien tentacle. If only Jarrod had thought to bring his camera, he may have saved Terry but he didn't so Terry got sucked into what looks like a big alien vagina. In fact, all the alien vehicles have a "giant vagina" theme going so I'm guessing the Strause brothers didn't date much during high school. They are saved by Oliver, the building manager (David Zayas, and again, I must thank IMDB for giving me his name though I could have probably just said he plays the detective sergeant in Dexter). They go back to Terry's penthouse none the worse for where save for the fact that two of their friends are now dead.

This should work. Be sure to throw the gun itself when you run out of ammo.

1:12:00 -- For the last 20 minutes, our four survivors have spent the bulk of their time sitting around Terry's luxury apartment and looking bored over the fact that the world was ending. If the goal of the filmmakers was to get me to feel was the characters are feeling, congratulations, you did it. There was a scene where the military nuked one of the ships but it turns out that the aliens were only MOSTLY dead. Meanwhile, Jarrod has this spider web looking pattern growing all over his chest and even manifests super strength when Oliver tries to foil yet another of his genius plans to leave the relative safety of the apartment building and try to gain the attention of some Army snipers stationed on the roof next door. Meanwhile, Candice starts doing the white eyed zombie thing and steps out onto the balcony to be slurped by a pissed off looking alien vagina. Jarrod and Elaine did manage to get the Army guys to call for a rescue chopper but SURPRISE the aliens are knocking it out of the sky. At this point, I'm wondering what sort of lame ass weakness the invaders will turn out to have. Like, maybe they're allergic to zinc so we start throwing bottles of zinc supplements at them. Or maybe Jarrod will be running along, trip over their world wide master control center and hit the OFF switch. The good news is the movie only has 20 minutes left to go so I won't have to wait long.

Blowed it up real good.

1:33:00 -- OK, I was wrong. No zinc allergies. Earth was conquered and everyone died. It turned out the reason they wanted us was to rip the brains out of our heads, inject them with some sort of glowy shit and eat them. Now, Jarrod never struck me as any sort of an Einstein what with just having the one expression which could be described as "always looking like he has to fart" but he was apparently such a brainiac that he took over the alien who ate his brain. He then rescued Elaine and defended her from the alien hordes and, we assume, sent them packing and made the world safe for white, wealthy Christian Americans once again. IMDB tells me there will be a Skyline 2 next year. yay. Will the Krausi learn from their mistakes? Sadly, I fear the place you will find out will be another Liveblog.

Jarrod is finding out that, at some point, every man is brought down by vaginas.

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