Out of all the directors whose work I never thought would be
remade, David Cronenberg is up the top of the list. How could you remake
anything he did? His work is so influential that it’s credited with the
popularization of the body horror genre with his early work like Videodrome, Scanners and The Fly. His
work is so strange and visceral that the idea that someone would even consider
remaking any of them feels like a recipe for disaster. Enter the Soska Sisters
who took the risk and remade one of Cronenberg’s earliest films, the
epidemic-driven horror film Rabid.
A space movie is always hard to get just right. The idea of someone floating around in the vastness of space? It’s a cool effect that’s hard to recreate on earth, and that’s before you worry about things like sound in the vacuum of space or just how potentially dangerous it is. The hardest part about big space movies is trying to find a good story using the location. When the location is the vast emptiness of space, that can really work well as a metaphor or just to create some danger. Gravity, as an example, is basically a film about someone lost at sea and could’ve told the exact same story on earth but they wanted to make it a space movie because it’s more visually interesting. That movie was also praised as the most realistic space movie of all time – and now a new contender has come to try and claim that crown. I don’t think it’s the most realistic ever, but it’s certainly got some of the best performances.
One of the great things about the horror genre is its ability to take something innocent and, with minimal alterations, turn it into an icon of terror. Santa Claus was never a scary creation but put an axe in his hand and you have the poster for Silent Night, Deadly Night. No one used to associate hockey masks with horror until one unlucky day when a boy named Jason put one on before heading out to Camp Crystal Lake. That’s the power of horror; innocent images can be given malevolent meaning just by a change in context. So, if this idea works for well-known images like Santa or the hockey mask, the question is if it can work for a bunch of iconic animal costumes from a 60s variety show. The answer is yes, but only as a novelty.
Sometimes a film title tells you everything that you need to know about a movie before you even walk into the cinema. A title like Scream, short and pithy as it is, tells you the exact reaction the filmmakers hope to get out of you. A title like Sharknado tells you that you’re in for something gloriously silly and over the top. So how do you think I reacted when I saw that there was a film with the title The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot? That’s right; I was elated because that is one of the most glorious titles that I have ever read in my life. It’s a title that drips with promise and potential, the suggestion of some glorious insanity that will be the kind of film that you watch drunk with friends. It sounded so fun and so camp… and then the film started and delivered a very different film that I’m still unsure about.
The concept of Time Travel in cinema is one of the most fun and irritating plot concepts we’ve ever come up with. Fun because it allows us to explore history and do variants of “Person from today is stuck in the past” stories that present a fish out of water narrative. Irritating because, every single time it happens, people try to logic the hell out of the time travel and explain why it wouldn’t work that way as though time travel was an actual thing and not a storytelling device meant to act as the most threadbare framework for an actual story. This was evidenced earlier this year with Endgame where people ignored the larger story about acknowledging the past of an entire universe of characters and showing the drastic change and growth of everyone involved and instead said “Actually it makes no sense that they all travelled like that, time travel doesn’t work that way” in a whiny high pitched voice, not unlike Urkel with his testicles in a vice. In case it isn’t obvious, I do not care if the Time Travel element doesn’t make sense because it never has to. It is a variation on the MAGIC SCIENCE that was used in Happy Death Day 2U and nothing more. Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s talk about one of the newest entries into the Time Travel genre and the first Netflix film since Someone Great that actually got a reaction out of me.
STOP READING THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ENDGAME. Right now, if you haven’t seen it… well, tell me what it’s like under that rock of yours, and second go and see that movie so that you’re as caught up as you can get because we’re going to talk about major spoilers from that movie since they make up a large amount of the foundation for this one. Again, I’m going to make the assumption that from this point on you are officially caught up on the major events of Avengers: Endgame and that I can spoil that movie like it was milk left under hot lights in summer. OK, let’s do this.
In 1997, the earth was saved by the legendary Men in Black. It was a film that blew audiences and critics away with its elaborate effects, clever script and terrific leads. It destroyed the box office that year, only being beaten at the box office by the juggernaut that was Titanic and to this day there probably hasn’t been an alien comedy that could compete with it, not even its own sequels which just did worse and worse at the box office. The last one, Men in Black 3, was released 7 years ago to just above average critical praise and didn’t even make its budget back domestically so you would think that might be the sign to retire the black suits and move on… I mean, you might think that but then you remember that Hollywood is a sadistic bastard that enjoys flaying horses years after they’ve stopped neighing and so now we have Men In Black: International or as it probably should be known “Men In Black: Look, we hired the people from Thor: Ragnarok so that means we’re just as funny as Thor Ragnarok, right?” but I’m guessing that probably wouldn’t have fit on the poster.
It would be a lie for me to say that I’ve kept up with the X-Men saga over the years. I saw the first three movies in the original series, I might’ve been one of the few to actually kind of enjoy X-Men: The Last Stand, and then I didn’t really come back until Deadpool, Logan and Deadpool 2. This new group of young X-Men never interested me so I never really went to go see them and felt no real need to have this franchise be a part of my cinematic diet… and then, ya know, stupid me decided he wanted to try and be a critic and therefore would need to see every film when it came out. I, of course, was extra stupid and decided to do this right around the time that the series apparently decided to stop being interesting… because I’m clearly a bad person who doesn’t deserve nice things. I certainly don’t think I was bad enough to deserve the kind of boredom that was being offered to me by Dark Phoenix but hey, apparently I’ve just been that much of a bad boy.
Since 1954 the world has had a repeated fascination with the Japanese movie monster Godzilla, a gigantic sea creature that was spawned by the nuclear radiation that would also regularly spit fire like it was nobody’s business. Godzilla is possibly one of the most iconic film characters of all time and for years he was a metaphor for nuclear war, natural disasters, basically anything that could best be embodied by a giant nuclear sea creature. Appearing in 35 films that span the gamut from iconically bad to some of the most fun you’ll have watching men in dinosaur suits slap each other, it’s a series that everyone has at least heard of and that Hollywood has tried to make on multiple occasions. The first time Hollywood got their slimy hands on Godzilla was in 1998 with Roland Emmerich decided he was going to make a Godzilla film even though, turns out, he didn’t even really make a Godzilla movie since he basically just made a movie with a weird dinosaur. It was a movie that was so bad that Toho, the company behind Godzilla, trademarked the new design as “Zilla” because there was nothing godly about that mess (except, perhaps, a godly amount of fish). Then in 2014, we got another Godzilla film and while that one was a step up from what came before, it also had maybe 10 minutes of Godzilla in it and spent a ton of time with the humans that no one cares about. So now, here we are, the third time that Hollywood would take on the king of the monsters and… god damn it, they finally got the damn point.
Released: 23rd May Seen:22nd May (Advance Screening)
Later this year we’re going to be getting an animated TV series focussed around the What If comic series. A very simple setup, the series would ask questions like “What if Iron Man had been a traitor?” or “What if Sgt. Fury had fought World War II in outer space?” It’s a fascinating idea that allows for some potentially funny and potentially silly results. It’s also an idea that would allow Superheroes to appear in something other than a big bombastic action film. It’s with this in mind that I walked into Brightburn with a general sense of excitement because the promotional trailers told me right away that this was going to be answering a “What If…?” question that I didn’t even know that I wanted the answer to… What if Damien from The Omen turned out to be Superman?