Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Movie review: Fire in the sky

My third review on alien abduction flicks - can't get enough of them. This is actually one of my favorite movies on the topic due to several reasons which I'll carefully explain - let's begin, shall we?
Fire in the Sky  is a 1993 movie about six friends cutting wood in the forests of Arizona. As you might have guessed, the movie doesn't stop there - the loggers witness unusual red lights in the sky and investigate the issue. It turns out they have just made first contact with extra-terrestrials, which results in one of the men being beamed into the hostile spaceship.
As his friends return to the town, they face several problems explaining what exactly happened - mostly because the police believes the whole alien abduction story is less plausible than the suspicion that they just murdered their co-worker...who wouldn't?
It's quite unusual for a movie about alien abductions to focus this much not on who's been abducted but who witnessed it and has to deal with their lack of credibility. In this case, it works quite well: The group gets into some serious trouble, and just as every hope seems to be lost, their abducted friend suddenly returns to earth with some nasty stories to tell.
Would this face lie to you if it said "I come in peace"?

Fire in the sky actually mixes two stories, one for each side on the incident. At first, you get to see the loggers struggle with everyone calling them murderers, while the second half of the movie tells the story of what happened in the alien spaceship. There's a huge contrast between those two stories: While the part about murder suspicions is more of a drama, the spaceship part shows drastical images of gruesome experiments conducted on human beings - some of which are quite graphic.
The nicest thing about all this is that the movie stays believable the whole time - you can relate to all the characters and there's not much of a happy time to be had on the spaceship; all of the protagonists act and react reasonable and realistic.
In conclusion, I'm fairly satisfied with this film. It delivers many creepy moments and the depiction of the alien spacecraft will simply send a chill down your spine - what more could you want?
Me hiding under my blanket after watching this film

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie review: The fourth kind

When you shake hands with an alien, it's called an "enounter of the third kind.
When you're in an alien spaceship with technical devices in your rectum that are not from this planet, it's called a fourth kind encounter. This 2009 movie concentrates on abductions in a small town in Alaska - over the past 40 years, there have been several mysterious disappearances.
The Fourth Kind evolves around psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler, who faces these issues as more and more people turn up to tell her stories about involuntary contact with extra-terrestrials. As if that wasn't enough, there's also rumors about a government cover up - what more could you want?
Pictured above: An alien Dr. Abigail Tyler

The basic plot does have potential, what ruins it is how the story is told in terms of style and acting.
The film tries to constantly remind you that everything shown in it is completely real while, in fact, none of it is. It even starts with Milla Jovovich in a close-up shot telling you the whole movie is not just based on real events, it even contains real footage...didn't we see the exact same thing in the movie trailer already?
This means the producers cut in scenes that have been filmed with handycams - they show people screaming, people crying...but in the end you realize even those "real" scenes are as fake as they can get; so why use them in the first place? There's no need for sudden splitscreens of recreated footage on one side and real more recreated footage on the other.
So apart from the real versus fake issues, the film offers some scary scenes, most of which you have seen in the trailer already. While this movie doesn't shove CGI aliens into your face (and I think that's a good thing), some other scenes that could have used special effects are outright messed up with cheap tricks. Whenever something exciting is supposed to be happening on-screen, a "VHS-like" blur is shown.
What you get are two movies combined into one, neither of which is able to actually shock or surprise you.
In conclusion, the fact that they emphasize so much on making it look real gives this film a clumsy fake look. What I did like was that the aliens are represented by owls that people witness around the town - it's a clever analogy because of their dark, oval-shaped eyes and creepy stare. The owls are also pretty much the only thing you'll remember of this movie when, after 98 minutes of people screaming it's not an owl! you finally get to see the credits.
Sure looks like an owl to me

Movie review: Alien abduction Incident in Lake County

The McPherson tape is a 1998 made-for-TV movie
and supposedly the recreation of a real tape showing a real alien abduction.Some TV channels even cut the credits out to make it look more convincing (because, you know, it's kind of suspicious when you see "Alien 1" and "Alien 2" in the credits).
While I don't believe in alien abductions, I can't get enough of movies about them - the depiction of an advanced alien race taking you for a research project is just too much scary fun (except if you like anal probes). I do enjoy movies like the "Alien" franchise, but in the end what really gets to me are the sneaky gray heads that hide in your room at night.
Picture related: A gray head

First things first; if you didn't like "The Blairwitch project", you won't like this movie either. It's done in the exact same style, made to give the impression of being a real home made movie.
The film begins with a seemingly normal Thanksgiving party at the house of family McPherson. The whole footage is seen through the youngest son's handycam, who films regular family business like his big brother's implied racism and his mother's alcoholism. A few minutes into the movie, you know the basics about all characters and the action begins: A thunderstorm hits the area and all electronics are down while there's weird lights in the woods. Three of the brothers go explore what's happening and witness a group of extra-terrestrials minding their own business of slaughtering cows at night. Soon enough, the McPherson's find themselves under siege in their home.
The movie's title is a dead giveaway of what will happen at the end, but that didn't bother me much - for one and a half hours, you see aliens fiddle with the house's electronics (it is shown that they can remote-control any electronic device), shoot laser beams and flying red orbs and basically show off how superior their technology is - half an hour into the movie, you know they're just playing with their prey like a cat plays with mice.
This is basically what you get to see of the aliens

The best thing in this movie is not what you see, but what you don't see - it leaves a lot of space for your own imagination since a lot of the images are dark and blurry or the camera doesn't directly face what's happening. This is called implying things and it works a lot better for me than cheesy CGI effects (and I do realize the movie was made that way rather because the production value was probably about 20$). The so-called McPherson tape works with nice sound effects, flashing lights and those rare moments where you think you might have even seen an alien. Personally, I prefer it that way.
In conclusion, "Alien abduction incident in Lake County" offers good actors and some horrific moments - it uses simple, genuine moments to draw you into the scene. If you can sit down and give it an honest chance, this movie is for you. Also, don't forget to watch it at night with your lights turned off.
Have you seen this movie or can you suggest another good alien flick? Feel free to leave a comment on it.

Greetings and welcome to my blog

This page will be used for reviewing things, mostly movies. I have always admired the work of Internet critics and figured it was about time to start writing my own reviews on both good and bad things; hence the "review" in my blog's title - however, since I tend to rant at times, it feels more honest to put that into the title, too. Welcome to "Review and rant". Let's begin, shall we?