4.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
If you're looking for a balls-to-the-wall creature feature that blows millions of dollars on flashy effects, you can always buy a ticket to “Skyline.” But if you want to see a genre picture stealthily served up as an arthouse drama, or an indie that makes extraordinary use of its shoestring budget, you need look no further than “Monsters,” the feature debut of British CGI artist Gareth Edwards. A true multi-talent, Edwards wrote, directed and shot the film, which through his dexterous handling looks pristine and expensive. Not expensive, mind you, in a “Skyline” sort of way, but in a manner that reflects a force more powerful than big-studio backing: the creativity of a filmmaker eager and able to reach terrific ends with meager means. The irony alone is just delicious: a former CGI artist makes a monster movie that leaves CGI as an afterthought, and is instead defined by handsome photography and the art of not showing. Just when you thought “Cloverfield” was the “Blair Witch” of sci-fi, “Monsters” proves it was just another blockbuster.