On Break (Just Checking In): Week 1

I know you guys must desperately miss me, so I figured I’d write up a few quick mini-reviews for your reading pleasure.  Feel free to tweet me your thoughts @BoredAnnoyed! - Jackson

Brightburn

“Brightburn” stars Elizabeth Banks and David Denman as the Breyers, who are a young married couple struggling to have their first child when a miracle happens: A spaceship crash lands on their farm with a baby boy.  They successfully raise the child as their own until he suddenly starts to behave strangely.  It’s basically “Superman… if he were a vicious murderer.”

Being the Superman fan that I am, I was admittedly excited when I first saw a trailer for this film.  Unfortunately, what could have been an interesting take on the mythos ends up being a fun slasher flick instead.  That’s not to say the movie is bad, as it’s not, but I was hoping we would be getting a movie about how a tweak here or there in how Clark Kent was raised could have led to disaster.  Instead we get a young kid who has a switch flipped by his alien vessel and ends up dispatching other characters in very fun/brutal ways.

The performances are great (watch out for Jackson Dunn, who is awesome as young Brandon), the kills are fantastic, and the imagery is impressive considering the $7 million budget. Just don’t expect to use your brain much.

Grade: B

Aladdin

Will Smith steps into Robin Williams’ shoes in the new live action adaptation of the Disney renaissance classic: “Aladdin”.

“Aladdin” looked like it would be a disaster, so it’s my pleasure to inform you that it’s not that bad.  It’s completely pointless, doesn’t have the visual pizzazz of the live action adaptations of “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Jungle Book”, and has a crappy villain in the young Jafar (no fault lies with the actor portraying him), but there is fun to be had here.

The chemistry between Naomi Scott (Jasmine) and Mena Massoud (Aladdin) is palpable, and Will Smith does a fine job as the Genie, but nothing they contribute can elevate this beyond mediocre, with its odd “Guy Ritchie issues” (slow motion song and dance numbers?), uninspired script, and cheap looking set design.

Grade: C

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Not for the faint of heart, and loosely based on a true story, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” follows a serial killer who moves in with his friend and friend’s sister, while stalking the streets murdering unsuspecting innocents in twisted ways.

This film was given the death sentence of an “NC-17” rating upon release, and it’s easy to see why:  It’s unrelentingly brutal and follows the most despicable protagonist I can remember seeing since I first watched “A Clockwork Orange”.  The difference here is that while “A Clockwork Orange” has a surreal tone, “Henry” feels like a documentary.  It’s hard to believe that Michael Rooker (“Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Mallrats”) went on to have such a great career after this.  It’s that disturbing.  Fortunately, it’s also brilliant.

“Henry” came out in the golden age of the slasher film.  Moviegoers in 1986 were used to gleefully cheering on their favorite killers (think Jason, Freddy, or Michael Myers).  In “Henry”, John McNaughton wanted to bring people down to earth by making serial murders look as gross as they truly are.  Michael Rooker plays a disgusting man, in a disgusting movie, and the result is quite powerful.  You like atmosphere?  “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” has it in spades.  Just be ready to take a shower as soon as the credits roll.

Grade: A