Brightburn (2019)

Director: David Yarovesky

Writer: Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn (Screenplay)

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A Dunn, Abraham Clinkscales, Christian Finlayson, Jennifer Holland

 

Plot: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?


Tagline – Evil Has Found Its Superhero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkness Superhero Style

 

Story: Brightburn starts when a farming couple Tori (Banks) and Kyle (Denman) have been struggling to have children, one night something from out of space crash lands on their land, inside they find a small child and adopt him as their own, Brandon (Dunn). Everything seems normal for the most part, he is a genius which does make him social awkward though.

On Brandon’s 12th birthday, he starts to hear voices calling him to his spaceship which has been hidden, he learns that he does have super strength and other abilities. It isn’t long before Brandon starts using these abilities for his own sinister intentions, which makes him a threat to everybody, even his own parents, with Tori trying her hardest to remain loyal to him, can she stop him from the evil inside?

 

Thoughts on Brightburn

 

Characters – Tori is adopted mother of Brandon, she sees him as a blessing and will defending him through any troubles he finds himself in. she does enjoy painting which does seem to be her way to unwind and through the 12th year of Brandon, she is left wondering if he is like her or it is something else controlling him. Kyle is the husband a farmer, he does have to give his son ‘the talk’ which is one of the funniest scenes of the film, he has taught Brandon responsibility and does become the overreacting parent through the situations, a nice spin on the normal. Brandon is the young boy/alien that has bee raised like a normal child, he is social awkward, a loner at school, even his 12th birthday party is in a diner with his family, no friends. Once he starts hearing noises he gets drawn to his craft, which will be the beginning of his newly discovered powers. The powers his has will make him a danger not just to his town, but to the world because they are limitless. We do have other characters including the Aunt and her husband, the fellow students that see Brandon as an outsider and the sheriff trying to figure out the crimes that have been happening around the town.

PerformancesElizabeth Banks does bring us a great performance, we see the undying love of a mother against the shadows of what her child’s true nature is, constantly conflicted through the film. David Denman brings us the father figure, he plays this opposite to the normal because usually we don’t see the weakness or fear in a father and David brings this requirement to the role. Jackson A Dunn is the true star of the show here, he makes young Brandon feel both terrifying and welcoming, as in needing help or a friend, he has moments of being creepy, while moments of pure calmness.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that adopt a young boy who feel from space, it seems like everything is going well, until he reaches 12 and his true powers start to come out, leaving the parents in the difficult position of loving their son or turning over a monster that could destroy the world. This story does take the superhero genre in a new direction, we can clearly see how the origin or Brandon place the same as Superman, coming from space adopted and learning about powers, while this time we take a dramatic turn towards the darker side of powers. We do go through the learning process like new superheroes would go through, this is important. The only downside with the story, comes from the ideas that Brandon could be in the pivotal position on which side of good or evil he falls on, only we don’t get to see any hint that he could ever be good. Away from this minor negative, we do see a horror story unfold that becomes bigger and more devastating as the powers become clearer.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from the power that Brandon is having, we see what he does to people, with each injury becomes more graphic and shocking as the rampage goes on. The sci-fi elements of the film focus on the idea that Brandon has come from space, we simply don’t know what he could be capable off.

SettingsTh film is set in a small town of Brightburn, it is a close community which is left in shock after the first incident, Brandon however is raised on a small farm which shows that his isolation isn’t just school, but home too.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the effects, we have some brilliant injury effects, that are front and centre and will make you want to look away, a few of the flying moments are not the best, but they are not what the scenes are focused on at the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Uncle Noah’s car trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see him have a chance to be good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark superhero movie, unlike anything we have seen before, it feels original, while playing opposite to what we know and isn’t afraid to spill a little blood.

 

Overall: The Dark Universe has Started.

Rating

 

Love & Mercy (2014)

Director: Bill Pohlad

Writer: Oren Moverman, Michael A Lerner (Screenplay) Brian Wilson (Based on the life of)

Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald, Brett Davern

 

Plot: In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.


Tagline – The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at a Great Musician

 

Story: Love & Mercy starts by taking us to two different stages of Brian Wilson’s life, first the 60’s (played by Dano) as he starts to isolate himself from the band as he works on the latest album for the band, one that gives them a different sound to what the Beach Boys were known for.

The second time is in the 80s where Brian has been struggling with his own health issues dealing with his psychosis, which makes him socially awkward at times, trying to start dating car saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Banks) with the watchful eye from therapist Dr Eugene Landy (Giamatti). We follow both the struggling times Brian goes through and how he deals with them.

 

Thoughts on Love & Mercy

 

Characters – Brian Wilson was one of the greatest musical minds of all time, following two different stages of his life in this film. The 60s version of Brian shows how the success has been making the band one of the biggest in the world, how he wanted to stop touring to work on the next album with a different tone to the music. In this time, we see how the drugs start to take over his life and his obsession with trying to find a new sound risks the success of the band and we see the early moments of his psychosis coming through. In the 80s version we meet a broken man, one that has been through the worst part of his life, but needing guidance and medication to get through the day. He is trying to have a relationship with his disease controlling what he goes through, we see the darkness take over at times. Melinda is a car saleswoman that meets the older Brian and the two strike it off as we see how she tries to get involved in the relationship while dealing with the Eugene figure. Dr Eugene Landy is controlling Brian’s life in the 80s, he has helped him turn his life around after the problems he faced in the 70s, his methods seem extreme and what he puts Brian through are exposed by the end of the film.

PerformancesThe performances here are brilliant throughout, Paul Dano as the younger Brian shows just how wonderful a performer he is, by using certain scenes for his singing skills. John Cusack is great in the older version of Brian showing us that given the right material he can shine. Elizabeth Banks is great in the supporting role looking just as confused and concerned to everything going on in Brian’s life. Paul Giamatti is great too and we know he can always hit the marks in this type of role.

StoryThe story here follows two moments of Brian Wilson’s life, the first is the one where he is trying to change the music and starts to get the first signs on his psychosis, the other is how easily he could become exploited by having someone try and control his life. The first part is a story we could believe happening to a wonderful musician, the second is a story that is hard to believe that someone would do that to someone. This story is set so the stories run side by side showing us how he can be fully functional at times, but how he can become distant and isolated at others. I know this is more about the personal battle Brian goes through, but I would have liked a little bit more on the history of the musical side of his career.

Biopic/MusicThe two moments, well years that we follow in Brian’s life include the 60s and 80s, they are part of the most interesting as it shows the biggest change Brian goes through and the biggest battle he must come up against. We do have moments of the singing, if you don’t know the Beach Boys songs you might struggle to understand what the biggest songs are.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just which era we are going through, they show the lifestyles the characters would be going through without needing to throw in any main stream events.


Scene of the Movie –
Creating God Only Knows.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked to see how Brian ended up under the care of Eugene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at the musician Brian Wilson, follow two parts works too, instead of the full life moments. If you like the Beach Boys this is a must watch.

 

Overall: Beach Boys fans watch.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Banks Weekend – Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Katie Morgan, Jason Mewes, Traci Lords, Justin Long, Brandon Routh

 

Plot: Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.


Tagline – What would you do to get out of debt? 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Raunchy Comedy Fun

 

Story: Zack and Miri Make a Porno starts as we meet two friends Miri (Banks) and Zack (Rogen) from high school struggling to make ends meet in their apartment. When twos debts continue to rise they turn to one idea, to make a porno.

Zack, Miri and their friend Delaney (Robinson) set out for audiences and move forward with this idea hiring Lester (Mewes), Stacey (Morgan), Barry (Mabe) and Bubbles (Lords) and set off to make their own Star Wars porn parody, until things take a turn and they must come up with a new plan, but it works out better for them.

 

Thoughts on Zack and Miri Makes a Porno

 

Characters – Zack is a coffee barista that lives with Miri, he isn’t the most ambitious just wants to have a good simple life, he suggests making a porn movie to raise the money for bills, but this plays into his deeper feelings for Miri. Miri lives with Zack, she did want more from her life, but for now she is happy enough, she doesn’t believe she could have feelings for Zack which soon start changing when the two will need to have sex.  Delaney is the co-worker of Zack’s married since high school who jumps at the chance to produce the porn movie. The rest of the characters we meet are the stars of the porn movie they are making, but we don’t learn too much from them.

PerformancesSeth Rogen had this role written for him, you can see that in his performance where he might be typical funny Rogen which is what we wanted from this movie. Elizabeth Banks is good here, she is always good at comedy, but this is her raunchy side we hadn’t seen before and she delivers. The supporting cast get their laughs when needed which shows how comic timing works at certain times.

StoryThe story follows two close friends that need to find a way to make ends meet which turns into a porno, like you do. It plays into the idea that men and women would struggle to remain friends after sex when it was one of the only options to make ends meet after growing debt. The story doesn’t hit the heights it could but for the most part if you are going into a Seth Rogen comedy you know it isn’t going to be the deepest off films.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does hit for the target audience it is on a raunchy level, which does take away from the romantic side of the film which doesn’t work to level it should for where the film aims to go.

SettingsThe settings show us how you could go around making your own home-made porn movie with a small group of friends. It shows you can make it in the right locations without having to pay extra.


Scene of the Movie –
Zack and Miri sex scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It goes too heavily into the raunchy side at times.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a raunchy comedy this will keep you happy, but if you don’t want to see a sex heavy comedy you will not enjoy and most likely being skipping this one.

 

Overall: Rogen Fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Banks Weekend – Invincible (2006)

Director: Ericson Core

Writer: Brad Gann (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Conway, Michael Rispoli

 

Plot: Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sports Movie

 

Story: Invincible starts as substitute teach Vince Papale (Wahlberg) is struggling to make ends meet in Philadelphia in 1976, the American football team is considered the worst in the league. When Vince losses his teaching job he only has the bar work to fall back on, but when coach Dick Vermeil (Kinnear) has an open day Vince takes a chance even at the edge of 30.

Vince gets called into the final pool of potential new signings but he struggles to make a name for himself and starts to even question if it is worth it, but coach Vermeil doesn’t want to give up on him yet and this soon becomes a success story for the Eagles.

 

Thoughts on Invincible

 

Characters/PerformanceVince Papale is the struggling man in Philadelphia, he struggles to make ends meet and enjoys a drink with his friends watching the football team, he gets a chance to play for his team becoming a media sensation. Coach Dick Vermeil has been struggling to keep his team together after another terrible season, he takes a chance on Vince one that goes against his whole coaching staffs. Janet is a new bartender that works with Vince that does become a love interest after certain things in their lives work out.

Performance wise, Mark Wahlberg is solid in the leading role, he doesn’t turn to his trademarks we know he is can turn to. Greg Kinnear is good in his role while Elizabeth Banks proves to be a good love interest through the film.

StoryThe story here does down as one of the great success stories in sport, it shows us that if you were to dream you could get a chance even at a later age but it is all about the effort you put into achieving your dreams. This is a slow moving story and unless you care about American Football you might not enjoy this on the levels you would if it was a sport you understand.

Biography/SportsSeeing how the people involved in this season shows us just how sport can inspire people, create legends and most importantly bring hope to the people struggling through life, the football scenes are shot nicely but as I don’t watch I am not sure how accurate they are.

SettingsThe film looks like it is set in the 70’s and the settings help us feel like we are part of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow sports drama that doesn’t click if you don’t follow American Football.

 

Overall: Simple sports drama.

Rating

 

 

Power Rangers (2017)

Director: Dean Israelite

Writer: John Gatins (Screenplay) Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney, Haim Saban, Shuki Levy (Story/Creators)

Starring: Darce Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston

 

Plot: A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Filled Actioner

 

Story: Power Rangers starts as we meet our unlikely High School group of misfits, we have disgraced football star Jason (Montgomery), forgotten cheerleader Kimberly (Scott) social awkward genius Billy (Cyler), rebel without a cause Zack (Lin) and mysterious Trini (G), all five are serving weekend classes and detention, but one night will change everything when Billy help Jason unlock his ankle brace locator, the five discover something strange in a gold mine. The next day the five learn they have got new powers, increased strength.

As the five learn more about their powers they find Zordon (Cranston) teaches them that they are the new Power Rangers, chosen to protect Earth from enemies with Rita Repulsa (Banks) being the threat who wants to take all life from Earth. The Power Rangers must learn to work as a team to defeat her and learn their true destiny.

 

Thoughts on Power Rangers

 

Characters/PerformanceJason is the disgraced football star who could easily have walked into any college football team but his rebellious side leaves him in trouble but now he must take the leadership role of the Rangers. Kimberly is the former cheerleader who was pushed out of the team after being involved in a scandal, now she wants a new image and this will give her a chance. Billy is the smartest member of the team but he is also social awkward and makes the discover of the coins which give them power. Zack is a rebel who enjoys taking risks but at home he has his own responsibilities. Trini is the outcast, she keeps to herself because of her family moving a lot. Rita is the villain looking to end life on Earth by taking the life force from the planet, she is very creepy throughout and fits what we know in the Power Rangers universe. Zordon is the mentor of the rangers, once a former leader looking to continue to protect Earth.

Performance wise, all five of the ranger’s performers are good throughout the film show we have 5 young actors with plenty of potential. Elizabeth Banks looks like she enjoyed the villainous role through the film with Cranston always being a good choice for a mentor like role.

StoryThe story is the origin of the Power Rangers which needed fresh life away from the cheesy 90s show a lot of us grew up watching. We have characters that need to learn responsibility and this gives them that chance, we do have the generic training montage, singular villain that wants to end the world but this is everything we want from this film, we don’t need Shakespeare from a movie like this, just a fun story.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big but not done with the comic production value we are used too, with the adventure being used as our characters go into a world they could never imagine and the sci-fi side of the story coming from the idea of monsters needing defeating from space.

SettingsThe small-town setting plays into the environment the original had as we only have the first villain for them to face here.

Special EffectsWe have a lot of special effects to make this work and they click for what we need the film to work.

Final ThoughtsThis is fun movie, you can truly sit back and enjoy this one without needing to think too much.

 

Overall: Sit back relax

Rating