Alliance Films' March '11 Releases
Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer (March 21/11)
A terminally low-rent and bottom-of-the-barrel endeavor, Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer follows a young boy (Hunter Allen's Arthur) as he finds himself caught up in a larger-than-life scenario involving trolls, dragons, and magic potions - which inevitably causes no end of consternation for his mother (Lea Thompson's Laura). Filmmaker Andrew Lauer, right from the outset, demonstrates a distressing reluctance to offer up any elements designed to capture and sustain the interest of older viewers, with the movie's pervasively juvenile sensibilities - there's even a Suite Life of Zack & Cody reference! - ensuring that it remains unwatchable and flat-out interminable from start to finish. The presence of several familiar faces in the adult cast unfortunately doesn't help matters, as Lauer has apparently directed his actors to shout, yell, and mug their way through the proceedings. (It's a shame, really, given that Lauer has assembled a quirky roster of performers that features appearances by several of his former Caroline in the City colleagues.) And although the film does contain exactly one decent scene - Arthur swallows a potion that forces him to tell the truth, with his thoughts represented by comic-book-style thought bubbles - Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer primarily comes off as an exhaustingly tedious waste of time that, to add insult to injury, boasts some of the worst computer-generated special effects ever committed to celluloid.
Skyline follows several friends - including Eric Balfour's Jarrod, Brittany Daniel's Candice, and Donald Faison's Terry - as they're forced to band together after aliens attack the planet, with the film primarily detailing the survivors' efforts at making their way to safety while also avoiding the advances of the encroaching extra-terrestrials. Directors Colin and Greg Strause effectively capture the viewer's interest right from the get-go by opening the proceedings with a striking flash-forward into the aliens' initial arrival, yet the film subsequently segues into a fairly conventional and decidedly less-than-engrossing drama centered around superficial, hopelessly bland characters (with their tedious squabbles and arguments ultimately impacting even the more action-oriented stretches of the movie). Skyline admittedly improves once the aliens start their impressively vicious attack, although there is, for the most part, simply no shaking the feeling that the really interesting stuff is happening elsewhere - as screenwriters Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell primarily limit the action to Terry's posh apartment building (which, in turn, ensures that the film possesses a decidedly low-key and low-rent feel). It's the inclusion of a few admittedly enthralling sequences - ie several characters make an ill-fated attempt at escaping from the complex - that proves instrumental in cementing Skyline's mild success, although the blatantly open-ended finale is destined to leave the majority of viewers more frustrated than anything else (with the movie's lackluster box office performance ensuring that a sequel is far from a sure thing).