Brightburn – Review

Let me get this out of the way before we start: I think Superman is a wet fart. He’s all powerful, like a god so should never actually struggle. He’s an annoying Goody Two-Shoes. I see him as a snowflake’s wet dream. But stripping away the poor execution, the dude has a cool origin story. There’s solid potential.

Why all this talk of Superman for a horror movie review? I hear you ask. It’s because the creators of Brightburn must also feel the same way about Supes. Sure, the premise is good, let’s just give it some beef. This leads to a cooler version of the Kents. Elizabeth Banks (fitter than any version of Martha Kent) plays the surrogate mother to the crash-landed alien. Brandon Breyer is our new Clark Kent, played by a Jackson A. Dunn you wouldn’t trust watering your plants.

He’s a creepy little shit, and his step-dad twigs on which leads to trouble in the family home. Not as much trouble as what’s heading the way of anyone who Bad Breyer takes a dislike to. His landing pod keeps attempting to make contact with him, sending spooky alien messages while he’s sleeping. Unlike the Krytonians, the planet Brandon’s from wants world domination.

Full props to the movie makers for producing this on such a tight budget. There is a fair amount of CGI but it never looks poor. The horror won’t have you jumping or squirming, it’s a little by-the-numbers but it’s a good alternative take on a superhero trope.

Director David Yarovesky is up next for DC, presumably making them reluctant to start lawsuits for a blatent ripoff of their leading property.

It’s worth checking out, if only because it serves as proof kids become a pain in the arse once they hit puberty.

7/10

Big Brother 2018 Review

It’s with sadness Big Brother will finally leave UK screens. At least, that looks to be the case but it feels too big to be left on the TV scrapheap for long. For eighteen years it has been the original and best reality TV show. The last season started with a nod to the past but perhaps also went some way to explaining why it lacks a definite future.

Over the years, it’s been no secret this writer wanted to get into the famous house at Elstree Studios but this series finally turned me off the idea. It’s often the case the most entertaining housemates leave too early. In this year’s show, if we reversed the timeline of evictions, it would have made compelling viewing to the end.

Instead, the final season limped like a lame dog during the last fortnight. Characters (because that’s what housemates become) either showed their true colours (Zoe) or grated beyond belief (the rest of the finalists).

Could I have coped in a house that was unclean, where shoes rested on pillows, the floor looked like a vacuum cleaner had been emptied on it, and the only activity was people smoking?

Nope. I’d have gone full aggro-bellend to pass the time.

Which could explain why Lewis F was so quick to start a pointless argument. He overstepped the mark with Kay, she clearly asked to stop the chat, but Lewis F needs to peck at people’s heads as much as Tomasz needs to lounge around like a camp Jabba the Hutt.

Lewis F showed his softer side, helping Cameron come out on national television. The cynic will wonder if that was a plot by the eventual winner. His disingenuous reactions to being scared in tasks prove he has a taste for the theatrics.

The last Channel 5 Big Brother did feel retro. Isaac, Kenaley and Akeem all felt like legitimate additions to Big Brother folk law, along with Lewis F, Kay and the underappreciated Lewis G.

Cian felt like a bit of a cheap imposter and Sian proves that good looks can get a person far in the absence of a personality.

It was sad to see Emma Willis and Rylan bid farewell to a show they obviously care about. Willis has been a worthy successor to Davina’s mantel (we’ll forget the Brian Downing attempt to host the show) and hopefully retains her spot should the show be revived.

I can’t say I’ve watched every season like a superfan. Some years I haven’t even been in the country during the summer. But a quick look at former winners shows enough names still jump out as recognisable even now.

Big Brother has been more than just a reality TV show, it has been a way to chronicle popular culture over the last two decades.

Venom – Review

It’s quite fitting that the first movie I review here is about a guy coping with multiple personalities while running around in a mask. One that suspiciously looks like Spider-Man headwear. Okay, before we dive into the Venom review, we need to address the Spidey Elephant in the room. Venom without Spider-Man is like The Joker without Batman. Well, they’re gonna do that soon enough so we can try our best to move past it.

Let’s face it kids, if a person like me who has spent large chunks of his adult life wearing modified Spider-Man masks can get over the altered origin story, you should try too. But I’ll not lie, the film was always going to struggle with such constraints. The problem is Sony losing its balls. Their best Spider-Man was the amazing Andrew Garfield. Had they carried on with those movies, this Venom could have been the proper version.

Instead, we relocate to San Francisco but retain Eddie Brock as a New Yorker. He had to move to get away from some trouble. You know, the trouble of your origin story joining the MCU without you. Thankfully the strong chemistry between the leads, Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, means we soon forget about webslingers.

What we have is an alien symbiote that needs a host. Evil baddie Carlton Drake is trying to assimilate humans and the aliens, Venom – as he becomes known to us – escapes and chooses Eddie. What follows is decent action and a fun ride. Picture The Mask but with adult violence, superheroes and a good love interest.

It deserves a sequel and hopefully some Sony exec will grow a pair and bring the best Spidey back for a showdown.

7/10

Justice League – Review

“You can’t save the world alone.” Great tagline. You might not be able to save the world alone, but you can destroy the universe (in this case, the DC Extended) by not having a singular vision.

DC’s problem with this shared movie experiment has been having the confidence to stick to its guns. Batman v Superman wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Fine, that’s what makes the world go ‘round – differences.

Marvel has its successful onscreen identify, DC used to have one too.

Justice League begins with the promise that Zack Snyder has mastered the darker but deeper roots of his characters. The Batman scenes work especially well and when the team are finally assembled there’s a Watchmen feel, which is no bad thing.

But there’s no getting away from the cut-and-shut feel of having two directors helm the movie. It’d be unfair to assume Joss Whedon tried to shoehorn his Avengers style on a near-finished product. The meddling obviously came from the studio.

We’re left with an opening that retains the best parts of Dawn of Justice, with the new members adding the correct amount of light. Ezra Miller’s Flash being the standout find. His humour is always on point, his quirkiness the balance the squad needs. Wonder Woman has been the world’s favourite new hero this year – Flash is the best.

It all starts well, from recruiting a reluctant Cyborg (Ray Fisher has his work cut out bringing this character to life), to the grisly and instantly at ease Aquaman. His backstory is teased in preparation for the solo movie and Jason Momoa looks more than capable of carrying that flick.

Gal Gadot is excellent again and acts as the light to Batman’s darkness (a role usually reserved for Superman). She’s the heart in what becomes a big soulless action mess.

The plot is Wonder Woman in style. We’re dealing with hidden boxes of godlike power that are being targeted by intergalactic CGI-baddie Steppenwolf. It’s pretty weak and lacking depth for a DC movie, and the CGI is terrible, but it’s okay. It’s all okay, until…

Superman returns. This is when a great movie with seeds planted in Batman v Superman (remember that Bruce Wayne/Flash “dream” sequence where he saw the world run by an evil Superman?) absolutely bottles it.

A hint of the Superman befitting with the plot is quickly discarded, the rewrites harder to hide than the poor CGI.

Cinematographer Fabian Wagner has admitted he even filmed shots with Henry Cavill in the famous black Supes outfit. It should have been a different return to the blue suit than a quick tantrum and a creepy scene with Lois Lane in a field.

If Superman was unlikable compared to Ben Affleck’s Batman in the previous meeting, he’s a complete turnoff now. The movie sinks the second he appears.

After a good build, fans are left with a sham of a movie. Neither taking the best of the previous instalments or becoming a copy of its rival.

This should have been a part one of two and was silently cut down to one movie. At this rate, Warner Bros. will call time on the whole botched affair and return to making successful and critically acclaimed stand-alone movies.

That’s if there’s any justice in the world.

5/10