Brightburn (dir. David Yarovesky, 2019) – A ship crash-lands on Earth, bringing with it a child who proves to be something far more sinister.
Brandishing the violence that Superman is capable of, the reimagined mythos however squanders the more interesting questions of the ‘why’ and ‘how’.
Kal-El, an all-powerful hero who can as easily save humanity as he can, destroy. Thank Krypton for Jor-El, who shares his faith in humanity with his son, just as his foster parents Jonathan and Martha Kent showed him every reason to use his powers for good.
His family pushed him upon the path of good, believing that Man deserves salvation and hope. But what if he had chosen different?
Away from Kent Farm in Brightburn is the very antithesis of the Superman we know. Finding out who he truly is, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) sees himself as superior to mankind, and ravages the planet that he believes to be weak.
Continue reading Review: Brightburn (2019)
Pet Sematary (dir. Mary Lambert, 1989 / Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, 2019) – In rural Maine, Dr. Louis Creed and his family discover the secrets of an old pet cemetery in the woods near their new home.
While Mary Lambert’s adaptation of King’s grotesque terror has long left an indelible mark, the new Pet Sematary cuts commendably deeper into the subject of grief.
Acceptance never comes easy for the bereaved. When the grieving are loath to let go, they become haunted by their guilt and regrets. Proclaiming that dead is sometimes better, Mary Lambert’s film adaptation of Pet Sematary brings these inner demons across the barrier in literal terms.
In rural Maine, Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) learns of a burial ground beyond the pet cemetery. He goes against warning of its dark magic and buries his family cat Church after its passing, only to witness its return. Tragedy soon strikes and takes three-year-old Gage Creed (Miko Hughes). But this time, Louis knows that he no longer has to deal with grief.
Continue reading Review: Pet Sematary (1989 / 2019)
Us (dir. Jordan Peele, 2019) – A family’s beach vacation turns into a living nightmare as they come to face their violent doppelgängers.
Following Get Out, Jordan Peele presents another fiercely intelligent and thoughtful sophomore work, though its ambitious narrative fails to bear the weight of scrutiny.
Review (Warning: Spoilers)
Once upon a time, there lived a happy family, each with suffering shadows whom they knew nothing about. Then came the day when their doppelgängers broke their silence and rose above ground, demanding to take their places.
As a home invasion thriller, Jordan Peele’s sophomore horror effort Us succeeds as an original masterwork of sustained tension. The horrifying premise puts an original spin on the home invasion trope, revealing The Strangers to be more than familiar faces.
A brilliant cast make the uncanny duplicates grotesque through subtle actions and crooked smiles. Michael Abels’ score with its chilling vocalisations work well to go along. But amongst its many technical accomplishments, what genuinely stirs interest is the meaning that Us urges its audience to infer.
Continue reading Review: Us (2019)
Durante la tormenta / Mirage (dir. Oriol Paulo, 2019) – Two storms connect a woman’s murder and a child’s vanishing, 25 years apart.
Director Oriol Paulo has produced yet another compelling genre film that delivers in suspense and heart, despite predictable turns.
25 years ago, during a 72-hour storm, young Nico (Julio Bohigas-Couto) was killed in a car accident after witnessing a murder. Present day sees another storm occur, during which Vera (Adriana Ugarte) find a way to reach Nico before his death. She prevents his death with a warning, only to be swept up in the butterfly effect of the altered events.
Something a small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, so claims the Chaos Theory that rings true for Vera. Her perfect life falls apart when she learns that her child Gloria was never born, and that she is no longer who she believed herself to be.
Continue reading Review: Mirage / Durante la tormenta (2019)
The Photographer of Mauthausen / El fotógrafo de Mauthausen (dir. Mar Targarona, 2019) – Francesc Boix, a Spaniard inmate in the Austrian concentration camp, tries to save the photographic evidence of the horrors committed within.
Boix’s subtle rebellion against the Nazi death camps proves one of the most important events in history, and The Photographer of Mauthausen is necessary telling of these less known heroics.
The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was one of Nazi Germany’s most brutal concentration camps, meant mostly for the Reich’s political prisoners. Over 8,000 Spaniards were interned at the camp, of which more than half lost their lives to the Nazis’ atrocious abuse and murders. These war crimes might have gone unpunished, if not for the courage of Francesc Boix (played by Mario Casas).
The warden’s right-hand man and reluctant photographer gained privileges that few had. But even at Boix’s young age, none of that was important to him. Instead, he plotted a rebellion and risked his life, all to hide the evidence that the Nazis wished to destroy. The Photographer of Mauthausen is a long-due homage to the bravery of Boix and the other Spaniard heroes, who succeeded in saving over 3,000 photographs from destruction.
Continue reading Review: The Photographer of Mauthausen (2019)
The Dirt (dir. Jeff Tremaine, 2019) – Mötley Crüe dishes the dirt on how they came to be one of the most notorious rock ‘n roll groups in history.
Unapologetically wild, The Dirt delivers a disappointingly shallow play-by-play of Mötley Crüe’s chaotic frivolity.
The Dirt is in every way an affront to modern society, where strong women reign and amoral heroes are often frowned upon. It is thus unsurprising for vitriol to befall the Crüe stories of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, back in an era long gone. Much of the criticism is sadly rightful, this coming from a Crüehead who has been eager for the film.
Faithfulness is far from its fatal flaw, as one may expect. Accuracy is of little importance in a biopic, and even if it is, the insane stories are mostly true. Any readers of The Heroin Diaries and the titular biography would know that The Dirt is as accurate as the band’s drug-addled memories allow.
Continue reading Review: The Dirt (2019)