Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 17 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
The year is 1952, five years after Roswell, and a paranoid Marine runs through a freezing Nevada desert, wearing only a strange metal apparatus around his neck. A mysterious Air Force officer arrives to pick him up. Calm and nonchalant, Capt. Jake Mason (Henry Clarke) transports his passenger, USMC Capt. Maxwell Carter, (Robert Watts)to a secret underground government facility, (S4, or Sector 4) where he falls through a time/space portal, is probed and impregnated with a carnivorous Trugollion fetus, and returned to the facility for an “official” explanation.
Dubious Colonel Thadeus Drake (Will Edwards) and Angie, (Antoinette Correia) a female co-hort in a lab coat as her only credential, give shifty explanations for the strange events and set up the two captains as roommates, sharing an apartment more than twenty floors below ground level. Mason is Maxwell’s caretaker during his delicate gestation period. It’s apparent that Dr Drake and Angie know more than they’re saying, a fact not lost on the suspicious Captain Mason.
The captains room together throughout Carter’s emotional pregnancy, complete with crying jags, massive insecurities, food cravings (ice cream, raw steak, a sparrow) and bursts of domestic baking. Meanwhile, Mason tries to seek answers for his growing concerns about Drake and Angie’s “project”.
Periodic shots of the aliens reveal them to resemble gas mask wearing, interconnected burlap bags whose main vocabulary is built upon the word “blah” repeated in rapid succession (subtitles provided). They are obsessed with rocket-shaped anal probes of varying sizes, and enjoy a good joke as long as it’s at a human’s expense. Trugollion culture is one where the female of the species impregnates the male, who then gives birth. Children eat their parents during delivery if they can and females eat males as a matter of record. No one has ears, so human ones are looked upon as a sort of erotic genitalia.
As Carter blooms into a massive Marine mama, Mason consults Angie in a bar, with the resulting outcome being a roll in the proverbial hay. I guess there was no such thing as safe sex in 1952 because wouldn’t you know it, Mason wakes up naked in the desert as well, knocked up like a careless hooker. Angie is really Grand Admiral Angularxgrafnx of the Trugollion Imperial Navy, and sex with her conjures up visions of a Sex Viking (Erick Adam) and a psychotic clown for Mason.
Unlike Carter’s controlled pregnancy, Capt. Mason experiences an organic Trugollion fertilization that can produce between 50-100 offspring. Vaporization is a distinct possibility, never mind the thought of being the first literal bite of food his impending young’uns get to chomp on. Think Mason’s a bit pissed?
Carter’s excruciating delivery is heard more than seen, and culminates in a bloody explosion. Mason confronts Drake, Angie confronts her alien supervisor, Drake meets a Trugollion and wakes up naked in the desert. You could say that he gets it in the end. All live happily ever after, or do they?
Actor/producer Will Edwards is a believable straight man, adding intentional injections of comedy through his serious delivery amid increasingly absurd circumstances.
Robert Watts takes on a challenging role as the pregnant, emotionally fragile Carter. The fearless Watts throws himself into being a carnivorous, expectant Marine with telepathic powers and domestic expertise, tackling water retention, hormonal imbalances and feeling fat and unloved like any hysterical housewife.
Antoinette Correia has a campy way of line delivery that makes her perfect for the role of a native Trugollion uncomfortable in her own skin. She makes her character’s confident cluelessness work in a plot where logic is secondary to the progression of events.
Henry Clarke possesses a screen presence and military composure that offsets Watts’ hysteria like an opposite bookend. He has a palpable star quality and a natural delivery that makes him one of the most watchable and enjoyable characters in the film. An Air Force veteran, Clarke completed a six-month tour of duty in Iraq. Trugollions are no match for this guy.
Filmed entirely in Nevada, anachronisms gladly incorporated into the production. Small WWII posters and Harry Truman photographs are the only indication that the year is 1952. You’ll encounter a 2006 jeep, a 1998 refrigerator, Naugahyde, and light switches of the type that would not be invented for several decades. Built-in drinking games on the DVD guarantee a smashing good time, especially if you play the one called “captain.” Others include “Angie’s Thighs”, “Truman”, “Desert”, “Roofus” and “Hysterics”. You’ll need more than a six-pack.
Writer/Director/Producer Chris Gabriel’s film has an impressive production value and the pristine black and white print conveys an effective timelessness. Even audio quality, long the bane of indie productions, is free of the usual amateurish echoes for the most part. Shot in 15 shooting days over three weeks, the screenplay was written in less than a month and makes a few cameos itself. You can actually see the script in three shots. One shot of Mason running down a hallway, dropping and retrieving his sunglasses from the floor and turning a corner is repeated three times – good for both the budget and a laugh. A pounding original soundtrack keeps an atmosphere of dread alive throughout the lunacy.
Gabriel’s witty ideas almost always translate into the absurd effect he’s after, but the wit is in words which can get a bit too heavy on exposition and lean on action. Gabriel would do well to heed the words of Las Vegas icon Elvis Presley, who sang, “ A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action” or the Cure’s Robert Smith (for the younger crowd), who pleaded in the song “Just Like Heaven,” – “show me, show me, show me!”
I’m betting that more than the usual suspects, earthbound or otherwise, would be willing to watch.