Review: Dark Skies (2013)


“People think of aliens as these beings invading our planet in some great cataclysm, destroying monuments, stealing our natural resources. But it’s not like that at all.”
– Edwin Pollard

The Barrett family is living under many false pretenses. Daniel (Josh Hamilton) is the father of two young boys, Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and Sammy (Kadan Rockett) as well as husband of his loving wife, Lacy (Keri Russell). Having been out of work for three months, the family has been cutting back on a lot. He has a trail of unsuccessful interviews in his wake, and Lacy stresses immensely in an attempt to keep everything together and working for her family. The marriage is suffering, and directly this means that the brothers are having problems, too. Jesse, the oldest, reads horror stories about the Sandman to his brother Sammy over the walkie-talkies that they have, and it scares Sammy a little.

dark skies 2013
“This wasn’t a cooking mess. This was like a mathematician’s idea of a geometry joke.” – Daniel Barrett

Soon strange and inexplicable things start to happen around the family. Sammy explains it as the doing of the Sandman, and progresses to having nightmares. Daniel and Lacy try very hard to find reasonable explanations for the kitchen stacking funny, photographs going missing and Sammy’s odd behaviour, though none is forthcoming. The strange things become more frequent and persistent, and each time they are slightly more menacing than the previous time, and everyone begins to bear the brunt of the weight. Soon trances begins to thunder through the family, and it scares them. Lacy finally sees something in her sons room, and goes into panic. Daniel becomes superbly paranoid of her claim that someone was in their son’s room and installs video cameras.

Lacy lapses time, and it results in her being suspended from work until such time as she is ready to return. Both parents are now jobless, and Jesse is having a hard time dealing with whatever is going on. Family friends start to whisper about them, and this does nothing to appease him. Lacy does some research into the bizarre going-ons and figures that it may possibly be that their family is being visited by an alien race. Daniel naturally shoots down the theory, thinking his wife has finally lost her marbles, but is forced to reconsider when he witnesses humanoid figures beside the beds of his family. Finding a professional on the matter, they seek out Edwin Pollard’s (J.K. Simmons) advice as to how to deal with what is happening. Something is targeting their family; something is coming for a member of their family. They need to prepare. They need to fight.

dark skies alien
Just a hint of a glimpse

Will the Barrett family be prepared for what is considered to be the inevitable? Is there truly an unidentifiable force out there that is tracking them and grooming them for an abduction? Has the stress finally gotten to the family and driven them all mad? If they are really marked, how are they going to defend themselves, and how are they going to protect themselves against a force they have rudimentary knowledge at best of?

Dark Skies tallies a 6/10 for me. I know that is higher than most people rated it, but I found the movie to be alright. While nothing ground-breaking, they kept within the parameters that I can respect when it comes to alien movies. I never want to know too much, because then it takes the mystery and the freakiness away, in my opinion. Not knowing is what makes them threatening, and never really getting a clear look, both things which this film managed quite well. The performances from the cast were alright, and the effects were also stock standard, so not too bad. While there are flaws with the film, that is to be expected for any of them. I feel that this concept was executed alright. Again, not the best thing ever, but you can really do much worse in terms of a horror/thriller at any given moment (goodness knows the genre is overridden with junk). I really liked watching the father, Daniel, creak, break and snap. His spiral into a bit of craziness and a lot of stress and the refusal to believe was incredibly well done, so good for Josh Hamilton. There were a few creepy moments in the movie, nothing to make it terrifying though, but enough to keep you interested. I feel that the end was just a little bit off, but not overly rushed, just not rounded off as well as one would hope, but that seems to be an issue with movies nowadays.

Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 2 Movie Poster 2004

“Now… let’s see who’s behind the mask.”
– Harry Osborn

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is done with high school and knee deep in a really horrid dead end job, though his double life and Spider-Man is going incredibly well. Crime rates are down, and he is slowly but surely climbing the rungs at the Daily Bugle (who is claiming Spider-Man is a criminal), though the jobs are sporadic and mostly insignificant. As if Peter’s life does not suck enough, he loses his useless pizza delivery job, and is having a really hard time at school as he is missing a lot of classes and his homework is always late. Dr Curt Connors (Dylan Baker) is progressively getting more and more tired of his once-star pupil.

Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), is intent of finding Spider-Man and making him pay for the loss of his father. He becomes obsessed with the notion of revenge. He has taken over Oscorp, and the business is very successful. Peter and Harry start drifting when Peter refuses to give Spider-Man’s whereabouts to Harry, who despises the fact that Peter is protecting what he feels to be a villain. The love of Peter’s life, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is becoming a successful star, and is dating and becomes engaged to Daily Bugle mogul J Jonah Jameson’s (J.K. Simmons) son John Jameson (Daniel Gillies). However, Mary Jane is still in love with Spider-Man, and houses her suspicions of Peter being that visage.

The ultra famous upside down kiss
The ultra famous upside down kiss

Finally Peter’s powers start to dwindle and disappear, leaving him in rather an uncomfortable predicament. He has no idea what the issue is, and a doctor that he sees for his restlessness tells him that he is at a crossroads and needs to choose what path he will take: the hero or normality, basically. Peter crumbles and confesses to his Aunt May Parker (Rosemary Harris) the circumstances surrounding Uncle Ben’s (Cliff Robertson) death, and the guilt he carries with him daily. The news hurts her, and she is already in dire straits as it is, both emotionally as well as financially. Two years of crime fighting in secret and losing his real life’s friends and family has finally come knocking to take its toll. Peter chooses a simple, plain and boring life, and things start looking up for him again.

Epic train fight
Epic train fight

Brilliant scientist Dr Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) attempts a fusion experiment that Harry is funding. Naturally the experiment would go horribly wrong, and his wife Roaslie (Donna Murphy) pays the ultimate price: her life. Bitter and angry, and the regulator between the fusion and his brain shattered, Doctor Octopus rises to tear the city apart. Peter’s giving up the crime-fighter’s life seems to have been a rash decision. He will have to re-evaluate his intentions, and choose his destiny once again, the same as he did years ago. Spider-Man has never been needed more, and Peter rises to the occasion in suited red and blue.

When revenge is not as simple as you would have hoped
When revenge is not as simple as you would have hoped

Will Peter be able to repair his shattered friendship with Harry as well as score the girl of his dreams? Will he ever really learn how to successfully balance his two lives with minor repercussions?

Spider-Man 2 earned 7/10. I really don’t know, but Kirsten Dunst’s performance seemed so wooden in this Spider-Man that I am truly shocked. It was cool how the tentacles carried Doc Ock around without him needing to walk places. Impressive. There were a few holes in the story again, but I really felt sorry for Peter at times. What got me, though (after long talks with Ricky), the scene when Harry heard his father, Norman, he heard the Green Goblin laughing. Now the thing is, Harry never knew his father was the Green Goblin (Peter ensured that), and the Goblin was a manifestation in Norman’s head. Norman is a manifestation is Harry’s head, so how is the Green Goblin laugh there? Maybe my brain is just being overly logical again… forgive me. Alfred Molina did a very good job as Doc Ock, so it was pretty cool to watch that. Worth watching but I would say the best time for it would be during the course of a Spider-Man run.