From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alien Trespass - B

Rated PG for sci-fi action and brief historical smoking, 90 minutes

Cheesy, tongue-in-cheek "Alien Trespass" pays tribute to 1950's sci-fi films

If you enjoy 1950's science fiction films "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "It Came from Outer Space" and the original "War of the Worlds," then you'll get a kick out of the new wacky sci-fi themed comedy "Alien Trespass," which pays direct homage to those earlier films and is presented in the style of those films. All of it's very cheesy and tongue-in-cheek, but director R.W. Goodwin, who's had experience with some episodes of "The X-Files," has fun with it all and does well considering the film's low-budget.

It's 1957 and in California, and the film "Alien Trespass" has been unearthed - pun intended - and this is the official showing of that film. One night in a small town in California's Mojave Desert, noted astronomer Ted Lewis ("Will & Grace's" Eric McCormack) is preparing for a special wedding anniversary dinner with his wife Lana (Jody Thompson). In another part of town, artist and local diner waitress Tammy (Jenni Baird) is working on a painting.

Teenagers Dick (Andrew Dunbar) and Penny (Sarah Smythe) are at the "point" getting in some smooch time. Local police officers Vernon (Robert Patrick) and Chief Dawson are trying to keep things running quietly and smooth in the quaint town. Then out of the sky a strange, fiery flash comes hurdling across the desert that Ted, Tammy and the others notice and before long, some weird things begin happening around town. They attribute it to an odd creature that's been unleashed from the crash that could spell danger for the entire planet. A friendly space alien from the crash named Urp has taken Ted's body in hopes of capturing the deadly creature and saving Earth in the process.

Don't take "Alien Trespass" too seriously and you can have as much fun with it as those '50s sci-films it pays homage to. It's wacky fun done in the same style as those cheesy sci-fi films such as "The Day the Earth Stood Still." However, director Goodwin has created a rich, handsome and very colorful film with production elements that'd far exceed anything done in the '50s. "Trespass" was filmed in Canada, standing in for the Mojave desert, and the music by Louis Febre exudes 1950's creepy sci-fi. In addition, Goodwin has also assembled a decent cast including McCormack gamely playing Ted/Urp, "Terminator's" Patrick, "Wonder Years" Lauria, not to mention Austrialian Jenni Baird, whom sci-fi-geeks will note also played in the cable series "The 4400."

The most fun with "Alien Trespass" is that it never quite takes itself too seriously. The creature, named GOTA, is a rubber one-eyed squid looking creature that can appear and disappear. The showdown in a theatre is remiscent of "The Blob" (and clips of that are seen here too). The look, the feel of the 1950's is very present as well, and not just in acting style but in clothes and cars too.

On the downside, even as fun as "Trespass" can be, it grows weary, redundant, and overly predictable, and a little of this goes a long way. Give Goodwin credit, he knows the genre well and does all of this on a tight budget, and while sci-fi enthusiasts will get a kick out of it, it may not play well on a wide basis. It's cheesy, wacky fun and suitable for all, though not all may really get it.