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

Guardians of the Galaxy


Viewed – 20 December 2014  online rental

Craig, take a breath, try not to be too gushy over this one.  Ok, calm restored!  This Marvel comic book adaptation has a human kid called Peter Quill who following the death of his cancer-stricken mother, is seemingly abducted by aliens – jump forward 26 years and he’s become a bounty hunter calling himself star lord who tracks down valuable items for the highest price.  On one such mission he steals a sacred orb and soon a powerful warlord is on his heels as the orb carries with it great power.  Yet star lord gets himself thrown in a high security prison after a ruckus on a neighbouring planet breaks out and before long he’s housed up with a rag tag group of outlaws – a green female assassin, a muscle-bound prisoner seeking revenge, a genetically engineered racoon (!) and a big tree / plant creature.  Not your typical heroes.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy

After the usual plethora of sequels and comic book super hero movies that hit during the summer, this one flew for the most part under my radar, even though I always liked the look of it.  Now despite the fine job Marvel have done with the likes of Iron Man, Captain America etc. this is going in a different direction.  It has strong echoes of classic eighties genre piece Battle Beyond The Stars (remember that?) and for me felt a breath of fresh air in a summer that for a few years now has felt stale and stuck in a rut.  With a very sharp script, some great characters (and great actors to play them) and a stand out Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, this just seemed to keep me grinning throughout.  Add to this some great fights (the showdown between Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Karen Gillan’s Nebula), flashy, exciting battles and several punch-the-air feel good moments (“you said it yourself bitch, we’re the guardians of the galaxy”) – this just surprised, impressed and won me over again and again.  Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star Lord is brilliant, has a Hans Solo lovable swagger and some of the movie’s best lines and jokes (dance off man!), but the character of Groot (sort of voiced by Vin Diesel) is also a show-stealer.

I simply can’t praise this one enough – it played with clichés like weapons, had a truly brilliant soundtrack that had no place being in this sort of movie (really, the end credits are ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson Five? – Genius!).  So hat’s off to Marvel and director James Gunn – this is one to be beaten.

Verdict:  5 /5

Super


Viewed – 25 August 2011  Blu-ray

I knew this wouldn’t take long.  The blue-print set in stone by Kick-Ass now spawns a copy-cat movie with an ordinary guy trying to be a super hero.  Yet this movie seems more set in the real world than even that brilliantly realised movie.  Frank (Rainne Wilson) has lost his recovering-drug-addict wife (Liv Tyler) to a local scum-bag gangster (Kevin Bacon), and following a vision, he turns himself into masked vigilante The Crimson Bolt, and sets about fighting crime.  At first he gets his ass kicked, but soon he’s weilding a wrench and splitting heads (literally), eventually making the local news.  This attracts the attention of comic-book store employee Libby (Ellen Page) who turns to Frank to become his side kick … Bolty.

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