Movie Review: Skyline
"This can't go on forever," one of a handful of survivors of an alien invasion reasons about a half hour into "Skyline." And so it doesn't. Only about 92 minutes, as it turns out.

I would say this latest venture from "The Brothers Strause" is mercifully short. But mercy doesn't figure in the ambitions of the siblings who shared credit (blame?) for "Alien vs. Predator- Requiem."

This year's answer to "Independence Day" is a special effects experiment in search of a movie, much like the far-lower budget (and somewhat more effective) "Monsters," no playing in a few theaters.

A bunch of attractive 20somethings party all night and wake up to an unearthly light. Vaporish fireballs fall all over Los Angeles. And then people are sucked skyward into beast-ships where, we can assume, they're dinner guests -- the main course. The wrinkle here is, you look into the light, you're drawn to it.

Eric Balfour of TV's "24" and "Haven" is Jared, prepared to stick-like-glue to his newly-pregnant girlfriend Elaine, of TV's "Trauma." They were visiting Terry, played by Donald Faison of TV's "Scrubs."

You see a pattern here? Faison might have had the Will Smith role, that of the hip black guy who growls "Aw HELL no." But no. he only shoots his pistol at the beasties and yells "You want some'a that?" Or words to that effect.

The survivors of those first abductions bicker or whether to hunker down or make a break for it. Time passes through time-lapse photography as they hide out. They watch a lot of what transpires through a spotting scope through the windows of Terry's penthouse.

That's indicative of why "Skyline" is an epic fail of a monster movie. There's no urgency, no close-contact immediacy to it. The group starts as a sextet, shrinks to a quartet, adds a couple of people, loses a couple more. And we don't care for an instant about any of them, don't identify with them and don't try to reason their way out of this hopeless mess with them. That neck-up style of acting so suited to TV doesn't work in a movie where you're dealing with the unfathomable.

The characters, like the viewer, are simply bystanders -- observers of a special effects battle between Stealth fighter bombers and Predator drones and alien squid ships and their offspring.

Thus, "Skyline" plays like an effects guru's resume reel, not a movie.

See for Yourself "Skyline"

Cast: Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Scottie Thompson, Crystal Reed

Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause

Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some language, and brief sexual content.