I have a friend who has trained his dog to bark like the world is on fire at the utterance of a certain word. The dog is the sweetest animal you’re ever likely to meet, but the noise scares the cheap cider drinking hoodies away from his door.
I have recently developed a similar word association. Only my attack response is ignited by three words. For your own safety I’ll restrain myself before I reveal them okay, the straps have been applied The Brothers Strause. Be thankful you can’t see this small, unshaven (but still ravishingly handsome) man attempting to ‘Hulk out’.
They say you only get one shot at greatness. ‘They’ have clearly never come across this pair. Not content with directing the cinematic equivalent of the Ebola virus, Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, they’ve done it again with Skyline.
I’m becoming aware that it may seem that most weeks I approach film review from a negative standpoint -excellence coming as a surprise rather than expectation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I adore going to the cinema. My life from a very early age evolved from a framework of what was being projected onto the screens just a few miles from my house. Wearing an ill-fitting fedora, quoting Star Wars at every available opportunity and applying TCP to the parts of my body that had suffered Karate Kid style crane kicks gone horribly awry are just some of the things that have for better or worse shaped what appears before you.
This is why I get so upset when a week presents me with slim pickings.
Although I was never expecting perfection, my suspicions were peaked with Skyline when a colleague in London revealed that the film company hadn’t released an early print for the press to view up there. When the company who made the film haven’t the confidence to show it to critics, you can be pretty sure they’re hiding a stinker.
The day seemed to know what lay before me and proceeded to chuck it down with a biblical gusto. My coping mechanism was to go with it, treat it as comedy, laugh through it, accept it for what it was and enjoy the rest of my day. Except which followed brought a new definition to hooey (which I believe is a weird hip way of saying ‘nonsense’).
And that would’ve been fine except it did it without a trace of irony. At least with a knowing wink from somewhere in the film I might’ve felt the bombastically monikered ‘Brothers Strause’ (although I suppose Strause Brothers does sound like a 1950s department store) were at least aware they were peddling this level of film. I really do believe they thought they were making the next 2001.
But the main reason these sorts of efforts really steam my clams is that they appear to get made in a heartbeat, almost without a second thought by the film companies. While other films that are infinitely more complex, entertaining and with scripts that don’t appear to have been written in orange crayon, have to jump through rings of fire to get made, if they make it that far.
But what am I saying? It’s stuff like this that reaffirms my love of the silver screen. So sullied was I by the three words production (don’t make me say them again), I dashed home and countered it with a splurge of quality films. Rear Window, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Rosemary’s Baby dispelled the morning’s demons with their collective awesomeness.
I know why I do my job; because despite all the nonsense I undoubtedly have yet to wade through, one day not far from here I’m going to experience the anti-Skyline. I don’t know what it’s called or if it even exists yet. All I know is that I can’t wait.