As the sun keeps shining, we kick off the week with a new twist on the superhero genre in Brightburn. Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) always dreamt of starting a family but struggle with fertility issues. But when a ship from space crashes in the woods near their home, all their dreams come true when they discover a baby inside and claim him as their son. Their idyllic life takes a turn once the boy hits puberty and starts to behave erratically, talking in a strange language and showing aggression towards others, especially when he doesn’t get his way. And when he starts to show signs of having great powers, the entire town may be in danger.
Brightburn is a new twist on the classic Superman story, imagining that the young boy with superpowers did not use his power for good. The film is really well written with great performances by Banks and Denman, but it is Jackson A. Dunn as young Brandon that really sells the whole thing here as well as some pretty fantastic effects. Dunn really brings an innocence to the role at first but plays up the underlying darkness as well. And once things go crazy, he is as scary and menacing as the worst horror movie villain. The effects are great here too, reminding me of great lower budget films like Chronicle that make the whole superpowers thing look really authentic and realistic. Brightburn is a dark, nasty take on superheroes and really worth checking out.
Next up is the new comedy The Hustle. Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) is a small time con artist, moving from town to town surviving on her wits to con people out of money to live on. Until she meets Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway), a high level con artist who lives among the elite conning her way into a lavish lifestyle. Josephine takes Penny under her wing and teaches her the art of the long con. Both women agree to compete to see who can con a rich young man out of $500 000 first only to find they may be in for the con of their lives.
The Hustle is a loose remake of the 1988 Frank Oz film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine. And while this film doesn’t really reach the brilliant comedic heights of that film, it does have plenty to offer, especially in Rebel Wilson’s delightfully funny performance. Hathaway seems to be overdoing it a little but Wilson more than makes up for it with a looney performance that strives to follow in Martin’s footsteps. Overall The Hustle is a fun timewaster, especially for fans of Wilson and Hathaway.
Lastly this week is a new romantic drama called The Sun is Also a Star. Natasha (Yara Shahidi) is a young woman in New York City that dreams of doing something with her life in America. But her family is twelve hours away from being deported and she is struggling to find a way to stay. When she meets a cute boy named Daniel (Charles Melton) there seems to be hope. Daniel claims over the course of one day they can fall in love and that you cannot stop destiny. But can one day change both of their lives?
The Sun is Also a Star is an underplayed and sweet love story that never gets its head in the clouds or overdoes it. Both Shahidi and Melton are excellent in their roles playing believably real people who, like most of us in real life, are questioning everything about their lives and futures. And the factors at play are timely and urgent with things like immigration and education at the forefront. But even amongst all these things The Sun is Also a Star remains sweet, romantic and hopeful, even when things may not go as you plan. And this is also a great movie for pre-teens and young teens, it never really gets into anything too adult but still presents itself maturely and realistically. A nice hidden gem.
Also of note this week is A Dog’s Journey with Dennis Quaid, the new horror film I Trapped the Devil, and a new special edition Blu-ray debut of the brilliant William Friedkin Al Pacino film Cruising.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 20, 2019
4D Man (1959)*
A Dog's Journey
Akio Jissôji: The Buddhist Collection (1970-1974)*
American Gods: Season 2
American Me (1992)*
Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season
Blue Bloods: The Ninth Season
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Six
Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
I Trapped the Devil
Isle of the Dead (1945)*
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
LEGO DC: Batman: Family Matters
Magnificent Obsession (1954)* - Criterion Collection
NCIS: New Orleans: The Fifth Season
Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Complete Collection
Ronja, The Robber's Daughter: The Complete Series
S.W.A.T.: Season 2
Shimmer and Shine: Legend of the Dragon Treasure
Streets of San Francisco: The Complete Series
The Biggest Little Farm
The Brink (2017)*
The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 3*
The Harder They Come (1972)*
The Sun is Also a Star
The Tomorrow Man
The Walking Dead: The Complete Ninth Season
The Wild Pear Tree
*Catalog Blu-ray debut