Movies

Now showing in Taos: “Brightburn”

Anti-Superman sci-fi horror movie depicts a world turned upside down

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 5/26/19

Ok, ok, "Brightburn" is the anti-Superman, the Bizarro World-ish version of the Man of Steel. There, I said it. But, “Brightburn” is more than that. In fact, it has bigger fish to fry.

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Movies

Now showing in Taos: “Brightburn”

Anti-Superman sci-fi horror movie depicts a world turned upside down

Posted

Ok, ok, "Brightburn" is the anti-Superman, the Bizarro World-ish version of the Man of Steel. There, I said it. But, “Brightburn” is more than that. In fact, it has bigger fish to fry.

What I suspect is that it’s a very clever and not too subtle commentary on what happened to our lives when a certain reality TV star ended up becoming President of These Here United States. Bizarro World, indeed.

When that happened, as this theory goes, many people were quite literally shocked to discover the universe was suddenly flipped upside down. Those who fought for freedom of speech were now the “enemy of the people,” scandal had become “just the way he is.” And, in this case, a beloved alien who fought for truth, justice and the American way, could be just the opposite.

The movie, though, doesn't go there specifically. Instead, it lets you see how these things creep into the world through the eyes of a young boy whose coming of age includes the realization that he's virtually invincible — and horribly twisted.

The movie opens on a rural couple who are praying for a child to make their lives complete. Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) are hardworking people who live on a farm near the town of Brightburn, Kansas. One night as they are fooling around, their prayers are answered when an object falls from the sky and lands near their home. Inside is a baby, whom they decide to take in and name Brandon.

By the time Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) turns 12, he is the child of their hopes. He is incredibly smart. He helps out around the farm. He does as he is told. But, there are things about him that are changing aside from his hormones, although that also plays into what happens.

Because Brandon is highly intelligent he also gets picked-on by bullies, but a classmate named Cailyn (Emmie Hunter) is sympathetic to what he’s going through and befriends him. This sparks an interest in the opposite sex and as we know from almost any horror/ sci-fi film from “Carrie” to “Let the Right One In,” this is a time when cosmic energies meld with all the usual confusing things happening to him. The added ingredient, though, is a compulsion he develops to find out what his parents are hiding from him in the barn.

The movie has been criticized for not going far enough to depict the dark tone of its premise, but, to me director David Yarovesky and producers James Gunn and Kenneth Huang have taken it just as far as it needs to be. To go darker would be to make Brandon more two-dimensional instead of a kid whose motivations are nicely outlined to reveal him to be a complicated mess of psychological urges and clearly alien needs. What happens eventually will show just how much the world has flipped.

Tempo grade: B+

“Brightburn” is rated R for horror violence/ bloody images, and language.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Aladdin

MPAA rating: PG for some action/ peril.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

This is director guy Ritchie’s live action take on the 1992 animated Disney movie about a Middle Eastern street urchin who falls for a beautiful princess with the help of a fast-talking genie.

If you remember the Disney film — and of course Robin Williams’ inimitable voice performance as the genie (played in the new film by Will Smith) — Ritchie hits all the same touchstones, but using live actors and action, sometimes enhanced with CGI.

Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), the Royal Vizier of the fictional city of Agrabah and his parrot Iago (voiced by Alan Tudyk) seek a lamp hidden within the Cave of Wonders. They are told that only one person is worthy to enter: "the diamond in the rough," whom Jafar later identifies as Aladdin (Mena Massoud), an Agrabah street urchin. Princess Jasmine of Agrabah (Naomi Scott), upset that the law requires her to marry a prince instead of one she loves, escapes the palace and meets Aladdin and his pet monkey, Abu.

The palace guards capture Aladdin on Jafar's orders. Jasmine confronts Jafar to demand Aladdin's release, but he lies and says that Aladdin has been executed.

Disguised as an old man, Jafar frees Aladdin and Abu and brings them to the cave, ordering them to retrieve the lamp. Inside, Aladdin finds a magic carpet and obtains the lamp. Defying Aladdin's instruction to touch nothing but the lamp, Abu grabs a jewel. Aladdin, Abu, and the carpet rush to escape the cave as it collapses. Aladdin gives the lamp to Jafar, who throws both Aladdin and Abu back into the cave, though not before Abu steals the lamp back. Trapped, Aladdin rubs the lamp and, well, the rest you probably know.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Apollo 11

MPAA rating: Not rated

Taos Community Auditorium

This documentary by Todd Douglas Miller looks at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The film relies almost entirely on archival materials — other film and video footage, plus contemporaneous news reports.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (May 26) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (May 27-29) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

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