Brightburn


Viewed – 19 June 2019. Cinema

I love it when I go in blind to a movie and come away surprised and impressed. This novel take on the superhero origin tale has a young couple, desperate to have a child get their wish granted when one night something falls from the sky. Soon they discover a baby boy and decide to bring it up as their own. However as he grows older ‘Brandon’ begins to develop violent tendencies and before long it becomes clear this little fella ain’t going to become superman.

A cast of familiar faces headed by Elizabeth Banks and a strong central performance from Jackson A Dunn as Brandon, makes this sci-fi horror immediately intriguing and under the watchful eye of producer James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) this is smart, refreshing and rather freaky. Atmosphere is piled on in a Twilight Zone meets Friday the 13th kind of way and liberal doses of effective gore (glass splinter to the eye?) and a great build up to some pretty messed up moments … I was quite taken back by this out of nowhere gem.

it plays loosely with some horror movie cliches (investigate the weird noise) and the ending left me contemplating sequels – asking where can they take such a concept? Yet that’s a good thing regardless whether we get any of that. If you’ve grown tired of all those comic book adaptions and fancy something a little different, check this out.

Verdict: 4 /5

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The Lego Movie


Viewed – 11 February 2017  online rental

I thought I’d finally get around to this popular and highly regarded animated movie following the current hype for the newly released Lego Batman Movie.  Now I must say despite being a big fan of animation, the style and concept of animated Lego characters didn’t exactly appeal and I think I only played with Lego bricks fleetingly as a child.  However having played bits of various Lego videogames and hearing a lot of good things about this movie – I thought I’d give it a chance.

Emmet and Batman

A nobody construction worker named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) dreams of fitting in, having friends and enjoying life, but quickly realises most of his fellow workers ignore him because there’s nothing ‘special’ about his personality.  One day following an incident at the construction site, Emmet stumbles upon a mysterious girl who catches his eye, then discovers a grand scheme involving a sacred relic and a megalomaniac President that might be his chance to become a ‘somebody’.  This is fun, energetic and entertaining from the off and a clear satire of our growing superficial, social-media obsessed society and it’s focus on annoying EDM music as well as an obvious stab at our current political climate (with an eerie prediction of Trump).  It’s not quite as sharp or as funny as I was expecting and is surprisingly light on pop-culture jokes or references other than appearances from various comic book and movie characters.  Therefore, there’s not a great deal here for adults, unlike other animations.  That being said it zips along at an almost exhaustive pace and throws plenty of action and spectacle meaning I was far from bored.  A twist towards the end also turned the movie into a more heart-warming experience than up to that point I’d been lead to believe.

With memorable voice work from Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell amongst others … this was still fun, but for me no animated classic.

Verdict:  3 /5

Man On A Ledge


Viewed – 16 June 2012  Pay-per-view

Sam Worthington is steadily becoming the go-to actor for big budget event pictures with a quality list of titles behind him including Avatar, Terminator Salvation and to a lesser extent Clash Of The Titans.  So I was happy to see him in something a (little) more down to earth, even if for the duration he’s stuck on a ledge looking down over Manhattan.  You see, he plays a wrongly convicted escaped felon hell-bent on proving his innocence, and a female negotiator with a few of her own problems is on hand to help … if she chooses to believe his story.

This is a fairly decent concept, borrowing it seems from similar one location scenarios like Phone Booth.  Yet here as revealed in the trailer something else is afoot and the ledge thing is more a decoy to take attention off a diamond heist happening in the building across the street.  Co-starring the gorgeous Elizabeth Banks (30 Rock) as well as Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), this is thrilling and enjoyable.  It lacks a bit of credibility in its diamond heist plot device and supporting actors including a grimacing Ed Harris are fairly clichéd.  Also the back story leading up to why Worthington goes to such lengths to prove his innocence and just how he got set up are poorly explored, and towards the end it does get very far-fetched.

The performances are solid however and the film looks stylish and does crack along at a good enough pace to mean I never checked my watch.  For such a concept though, this should have been a lot smarter than it actually turned out to be.

Verdict:  3 /5