BRIGHTBURN (2019)

What if Superman hadn’t been sent to Earth as a refugee but rather as a kind of sleeper agent to a race of cruel alien warmongers?

Alternatively: Superboy the movie but he’s creepy and psychotic and it’s vaguely a methaphor for puberty.

A further case for the notion that the origin story is the least interesting part of a hero/villain fable, particularly when the morality of the protagonist is implied to have been decided for him by his host planet’s programming and no amount of nurture from his adoptive family will sway him back to “good”.

Kinda predictable despite being mostly well executed with some disgustingly visceral horror stuff in there too. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t quite live up to the potential of the premise in any way that something like CHRONICLE hadn’t already managed.

READY OR NOT (2019)

Basically Hide & Seek: The Movie with a dark sense of humour and rapid ramp up into a grand and bloody crescendo.

Never once takes itself seriously, the cast is great, the plot’s a rolling good time right through and Samara Weaving makes for an iconic figure, splattered with blood in a torn wedding dress and bright yellow sneakers.

If horror comedies are your jam at all, this one comes highly recommended.

THOM’S TEENIES TV TOP 10

One of the things I struggled with most when compiling my top film picks for 2010-2019 was that the decade saw such a dramatic shift to a gilded era of television, much of which matched and even surpassed their cinematic bretheren.

There’s so much that is now possible in the episodic format that was unthinkable even a decade ago, and truly these last ten years represent a new high water mark.

As such, I’ve given my favourites their own list, in no particular order, here:

Continue reading “THOM’S TEENIES TV TOP 10”

CRAWL (2019)

Exactly what it says on the box: alligators in your basement in a hurricane and the water level keeps on rising.

Minimalist in concept, capable in its execution, all around a pretty tight little horror film with decent effects and good performances.

Alligators/crocodiles are legitimately terrifying creatures and this does well to dress them up as little as possible — that groundedness really helps sell the dread.

Worth a watch.

THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019)

One half a slow, darkly funny buddy-sailor drama about isolation, one half a hallucinogenic, intense psychological nightmare.

Brilliantly disturbing performances from both Dafoe and Pattinson draped in gorgeous cinematography, stark imagery of tempestuous dread and unnerving sound design.

That it’s filmed in a square aspect ratio only further serves to make it feel like the horrifying relic of some dark, forgotten avenue of filmmaking.

Not for everyone, but those who can appreciate it will find a lot to chew on here.

Recommended for a stormy night.

DOCTOR SLEEP (2019)

A pitch perfect follow up to THE SHINING that makes the world of people gifted with the Shine much larger and much more dangerous.

Compelling characters, fantastic visuals and stylish direction from King champion Mike Flanagan.

A little slow at the start to build the world and populate it, but once it gets going it’s a great take on a classic.

Absolutely worth your time.

IN THE TALL GRASS (2019)

Another one for the Golden Age of Stephen King adaptations.

Two siblings hear a voice calling for help from within the long grass by the side of a road, but stepping in they suddenly find they can’t get back out.

Really minimalist and strange, as to be expected from director Vincenzo Natali (CUBE). Some of the CG is wonky and I feel like they could have gone even more minimal and not lost anything of value.

Was kind of expecting a bit more of a twist to the end to really drive home some cruel irony inherent to the story, but even lacking that it was an entertaining, trippy 100min.

It’s on Netflix now.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON (2019)

Promises a complex mythos of a time-travelling serial killer early on and then just sort of shoves it over the line in the end — having someone explain the pretense to you in two mintues will probably stimulate the same amount of intruigue as the whole two hour runtime.

For a time travel movie it’s incredibly linear, and too shallow in its rules and consequences. Figured out the plot about 20min in and none of the other stuff was really fascinating in its own right.

It’s fine, but PREDESTINATION is still the gold standard for this sort of movie and you should watch that instead.