Not to be confused with the 2010 alien invasion flick Skyline, Sky Line is a documentary about the quest to build a space elevator to open the final frontier in a way that's simply impossible with using rockets to lift materials from the ground to orbit.
Popularized by Arthur C. Clarke's 1979 novel The Fountains of Paradise, the space elevator would be a ribbon of carbon nanotubes, most likely, stretching from Earth tens of thousands of kilometers into the sky where a station would be built facilitating all sorts of wonderful things. Freed from the costs and risks of using rockets, projects like placing massive solar energy farms in the sky - above the clouds, collecting sunlight 24/7 and beaming it down to the ground - could be achieved.
But inventing, developing and building the means of constructing such a fantastic thing are major stumbling blocks and Sky Line introduces us to several men who are tackling the challenges with variable levels of success.
While it's a good primer for the subject, it feels padded and vague at a relatively short 74 minutes. Trimmed back to under an hour, it'd be a good Nova episode, but with too much emphasis on generally inconsequential drama - one guy went bankrupt in a day and voices concern that the landlord of the building his company operated in would call the sheriff, but it's never explained why - it feels formless at times.
Score: 5/10. Watch it on Netflix if you're a science nerd; otherwise skip it.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Friday, July 15, 2016
While talking to my girlfriend, she exclaimed, "You have to watch Knock Knock!" I was surprised by the enthusiastic recommendation and said that all I knew was that a couple of hot chicks knock on Keanu Reeves door and hijinks ensue. "Yes! Don't read anything about it. Go in cold." So I did and if you're interested in, you should too because the trailer gives away pretty much the whole movie.
The plot is that simple: Keanu is an architect with a beautiful artist wife and two lovely kids. The family is going to the beach for a few days, but he's staying behind working on a project. That night, during a cats-and-dogs downpour, there is a knock at his door and when he answers it, he's greeted by this sight:
Yeah. What do you think happens next? Yes, hijinks definitely ensue.
Despite the missus' enthusiasm, there's not really much surprising or shocking about Knock Knock. Director/co-writer Eli Roth - remaking a 1977 flick called Death Game (which starred Knock Knock producer Colleen Camp and executive producer Sondra Locke as the girls at the door) - keeps cranking up the tension and putting the screws to Keanu, but other than specific details, there's not much that will blow your mind.
Special mention must be given to Keanu's performance. He has always been a stiff, monotone blank with an emotional range from A to B, but here he actually seems alive and kicking; it may startle some viewers. The girls are hot, but to say more would spoil what happens. (Seriously, the trailer gives everything away.)
After watching it, I asked the missus why she was so enthusiastic about it and she explained with something that I can't relate here without spoiling the "surprises." Don't take my reluctance to discuss the plot as a sign that something magical is lurking within. There isn't. In fact, the fact that there is so little to Knock Knock beyond the premise that I've spent half of this review saying "spoilers prevent me..." is the ultimate bottom line: If you come across it as it's starting on cable while channel surfing, give it a look for some trashy, tawdry minor-league entertainment.
Score: 5/10. Catch it on cable.
Beware! The trailer gives away pretty much the whole movie.