Monday, September 5, 2011

Hooray for Holly(Ed)Wood

If you think that Ed Wood's era of low budget filmmaking and laughable rubber monsters died by the mid-60s, think again.

One stoned-out Sunday, I decided to watch the indie sci-fi film SKY LINE on Netflix because mainly it had sexy hipster Eric Balfour battling aliens.

The film cost up to $10 mil to make (mainly due to the CGI digital effects) which returned that investment sixfold with a world-wide take of $67 million.

Eric Balfour told interviewers how he became involved with the independently financed film directed by special-effects supervisors turned directors."I was invited to come down to the Hydraulx office. And the guys… We did a small reading and we went over a couple of scenes. Then they showed me the trailer that they had cut for the movie with their friends. They basically said, "So you want in?" After seeing the trailer I was like, "This looks amazing. I'm totally in."

Most of the action was shot in the high-rise condo where director/producer Greg Strause lives for $500,000. The visual effects in Post jacked the budget up to $10 million. The Brothers Strause say that they have a sequel in mind. They will do it with their own money if they have to and try to find a distributor after that. Somewhere Ed Wood is smiling.

In the true Ed Wood tradition, SKY LINE offer actors in a one-set, claustrophic setting (ie: a Hi-RISE in LA's Marina) due to budget limitations - as well as featuring crow-barred "emotional" moments for the cast to chew on - which is laugh inducing because they are on the verge of extinction but cannot get past their petty hangups. One actor has a rather noticeable and distracting speech impediment. While playing macho - he has to utter lines with way too many R's for him to handle. Oh, and the aliens are  brain-gulping flappy vagina monsters.

Best of all, Eric Balfour has a beat down scene with an alien monster on the rooftop that brings a flashback to Ed Wood's BRIDE of the MONSTER ("Just roll around with the octopus.").The CGI effects are decent - but unfortunately CGI (or in Ed Wood's case : stock footage) cannot do everything a director needs to tell a story, and a group of actors must always fill in the gaps. As we all know, this is where the real low-budget comedy comes in. Some things never change.

Don't Look Up (at the screen!)


Ivan said...

My fave moment in Skyline was when the annoying pregnant girl starts whining because someone is smoking a cigarette. This is, of course, after she's seen giant monsters and spaceships (spewing what sort of radiation I can't imagine) tearing the shit out of L.A.

Donna Lethal said...

Ooh! How exciting! I have to see this one. I love new bad movies.