What if Superman did evil instead of good? That is the premise of “Brightburn”. A farming couple who cannot have children find a space ship that has crashed on their property. In it is a baby, who they adopt and raise as their own. He grows to be a brilliant, but odd child. When he turns 12 things change as he realizes he has powers. This really is a horror film. Newcomer Jackson A. Dunn is excellent as the boy. Be forewarned, there are blood and guts in this film. A good horror film with an interesting twist.
Since I saw “Girls’ Trip” last year I have been a fan of Tiffany Haddish. She is truly an original. So I was looking forward to seeing her with Kevin Hart in “Night School”. Unfortunately the film is pretty standard, with a few funny scenes. Most of those scenes are with Haddish, but her character wasn’t nearly outrageous enough. It’s about Hart’s character going back to night school and Haddish is the teacher who doesn’t put up with anything. There is a subplot about the principal and Hart having a rivalry since high school. This is one of those movies that you can wait for cable or a streaming service to watch. Disappointing.
Here is a fantasy, produced by Disney, about time travel and a father who goes missing after discovering the secret of how to do it. His children go in search for him with the help of the “Mrs.”, three women with special powers. The cast and special effects were quite good, but I felt like I was in one of the Tomorrowland exhibits at the Magic Kingdom. If you’re look for realism, stay away. A good film for kids. The special effects should be seen on the big screen to be appreciated.
The remake of “Death Wish” is everything you expect it to be and less. It’s the same movie but with some updates, literally. This time the hero(?) played by Bruce Willis is a surgeon and he does a passable job. There is plenty of killing and the questions about vigilante justice shines through. It’s your typical low level action film. I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse.
“The 15:17 to Paris” is the latest film directed by Clint Eastwood. It tells the story of three friends who end up touring Europe On a train to Paris they thwart a terrorist and become heroes. These characters were not played by actors but by the real heroes. This was not one of Eastwood’s best efforts. While it was admirable to cast the actual people involved, the dialogue and pace was rather clunky. It is definitely one of his lesser films.
Despite the title, this is not another installment of the Star Wars saga. It is the story of 1950’s high fashion dress maker Reynolds Woodcock in London, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. The film was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who is somewhat of a cinema auteur. His recent works include “There Will Be Blood” and “The Master”. The role of the dress designer is one of Day-Lewis’s most normal acting jobs. While playing an eccentric, he isn’t invisible within the character like he was in “Lincoln” or “Gangs of New York”. Don’t get me wrong, he is still very intense. Woodcock is eccentric and obsessed by his work. As with all Paul Thomas Anderson films, it is beautifully shot, technically proficient and has a wonderful score. Also like his other movies, it is way too long. He is one of those writer-directors who needs someone else to edit his films. When sitting through an Anderson film, I hear myself saying, “Enough already! We get the point.” Supporting Day-Lewis are Vicky Krieps as his love interest/muse and Lesley Manville as his sister/business partner. Both actresses hold their own with him, which is not an easy thing to do. Day-Lewis has said he plans to retire from film making after this one. It’s too bad he couldn’t wait to do that until he made another great one.
“Call Me By Your Name” is one of the best reviewed movies of 2017. It’s the story of a seventeen year old boy living in northern Italy with his parents who invite a graduate student to live with them for the summer. Romance ensues. Did I mention that the grad student is male? The whole thing is tastefully done, beautifully filmed, well acted, and very, very slow. In my opinion it would have worked with twenty minutes cut out of it. Timothee Chalamet plays the young boy and he is amazing. He shows the emotions of a boy that age realistically, both good and bad. Armie Hammer as the graduate student is the best he has been since “The Social Network” and Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays Chalamet’s father, doesn’t have much to do until the end, but then he has a scene that is beautifully written and incredibly acted. Chalamet, Hammer and Stuhlbarg are all being talked about for Oscar nominations. I wasn’t overly impressed.