REVIEW: Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE — PHOTO: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Directed by Andy Serkis — Screenplay by Kelly Marcel — Story by Kelly Marcel and Tom Hardy.

I thought Ruben Fleischer’s Venom (2018) was pretty bad. As a film, it felt like a product of a different time, it felt outdated, it was surprisingly dull, and all it had going for it was a go-for-broke Tom Hardy performance. To me, it felt like he was in a different film than the rest of the cast. It has become a film that I remember primarily for one absolutely hilarious scene, but it’s also a film that I don’t feel like rewatching. It should come as no surprise to you then that I didn’t feel like rushing out to theaters to see its sequel. In fact, because of the similar critical reception, I’ve never really felt the urge to watch it. That is, until today when I finally ripped off that symbiotic band-aid. Turns out it was almost exactly what I expected it to be. That’s not a good thing, but it’s also not the end of the world. I don’t think it’s good, but it is better than I expected it to be.

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REVIEW: Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Woody Harrelson (right) plays a drunken American captain of a yacht that’s about to be bought by a wealthy Russian capitalist (played by Zlatko Burić) in Ruben Östlund’s TRIANGLE OF SADNESS — PHOTO: NEON / SF Studios..

Directed by Ruben Östlund (The Square) — Screenplay by Ruben Östlund.

Alongside the Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier (Oslo 31. August) and the Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Druk), the Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund is one of the very best Scandinavian filmmakers working right now. Östlund has been working as a filmmaker for more than a decade, but I think it’s fair to say that it is with his 2014 effort, Force Majeure, that he had his true international breakthrough. Including his latest film, Östlund’s last three films have all received awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. With Triangle of Sadness, the Swede is now a two-time Palme d’Or winner (winning his first one for the utterly hilarious The Square from 2017). Having swapped the square out in favor of a triangle (the title refers to an area between your eyebrows and your nose bridge that can be ‘fixed’ with botox), Östlund has managed to keep his satirical writing equally sharp and at times outright hilarious. Triangle of Sadness is one of the best films of the year.

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REVIEW: Midway (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Midway — Directed by Roland Emmerich.

As the title indicates, Roland Emmerich’s latest film tells the story of the World War II ‘Battle of Midway,’ which, famously, was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary from John Ford. The film tells the story of many individuals, but primarily the stories of Edwin T. Layton (played by Patrick Wilson), who worked as an intelligence officer, and Dick Best (played by Ed Skrein), a dive bomber pilot, both of whom were integral to the success of the American forces. Continue reading “REVIEW: Midway (2019)”

REVIEW: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Columbia Pictures

The following is a review of Zombieland: Double Tap — Directed by Ruben Fleischer.

Belated comedy sequels scare me. They certainly don’t scare me as much as the flesh-eating living dead can, but whenever I hear about a sequel to a comedy that came out a decade ago, or longer, I get a chill down my spine. I watch these trailers with a concerned look on my face, and I’m always ready to cover my forehead with my palm if the trailer frustrates me. 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To was a terribly disappointing belated sequel to Peter Farrelly’s 1994 comedy classic, and Ben Stiller’s 2016 sequel to Zoolander might be one of the worst comedy sequels that I’ve ever seen. So when I pressed play on the first trailer for Zombieland: Double Tap, which has been released ten years after the original comedy hit came out, I was more worried than I was excited. To tell you the truth, I absolutely hated that trailer, which is exactly why I was so pleasantly surprised to see that Zombieland: Double Tap is one of the rare belated comedy sequels that actually works. Continue reading “REVIEW: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)”

REVIEW: The Highwaymen (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Highwaymen — Directed by John Lee Hancock.

Set in 1934, The Highwaymen, from director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side; Saving Mr. Banks), tells the story of two former Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer (played by Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (played by Woody Harrelson) who were hired by Texas governor ‘Ma’ Ferguson (played by Kathy Bates) to stop the notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow by any means necessary. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Highwaymen (2019)”

REVIEW: Venom (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – Sony Pictures Releasing

The following is a review of VENOM — Directed by Ruben Fleischer.

Last year, director Daniel Espinosa’s sci-fi film LIFE was released to mixed-to-positive reviews. I liked that film much more than I thought I would, and I was impressed with how such an under-the-radar sci-fi film somehow had a cast with A-list stars in it. Back when we were still only waiting for LIFE to be released, a fun fan theory surfaced online: what if LIFE was actually a prequel to the then-upcoming Sony Spider-Man spin-off film known as Venom? Continue reading “REVIEW: Venom (2018)”

REVIEW: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Theatrical Release Character Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of Solo: A Star Wars Story — Directed by Ron Howard.

Okay, let us get one thing out of the way early on. We all expected this film to fall apart. Most of us had this sinking feeling that told us we were getting a film that had fallen apart during production. Just like with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, behind the scenes news made us worry about the film, but it was even worse this time with Solo. Continue reading “REVIEW: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)”

Reaction to the Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards – Special Features #15

I made my predictions, I was ready to watch the nomination announcement, and I gave my live-reactions on Twitter. But I’ve got more to say, and I’ll do that here in this week’s Special Features. Let’s talk about the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards! Continue reading “Reaction to the Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards – Special Features #15”

REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – Fox Searchlight Pictures

The following is a review of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Written and Directed by Martin McDonagh

To say that you’ve seen Martin McDonagh’s entire filmography isn’t all that impressive. The Irish playwright’s filmography only includes his excellent Oscar-winning short film Six Shooter and now three feature films. But in these few films McDonagh has already established some trademark elements that are always in his films. Unstable and impulsive male characters that are often marked by their previous misdeeds, some kind of stable mentor or friend to the impulsive male, lots and lots of curse words, oh and he’s a big fan of joking about little people. Continue reading “REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)”

REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – 20th Century Fox

The following is a review of War for the Planet of the Apes – Directed by Matt Reeves.

As I sat down to watch War for the Planet of the Apes last week, I was reminded of how overlooked this franchise and, indeed, this trilogy has been this decade. I remember how I expected nothing from the first film in this reboot trilogy – Rise of the Planet of the Apes – but also how much I was blown away by it.

When Rupert Wyatt was replaced by Matt Reeves, who had previously directed Cloverfield and the American remake of Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In, I began to worry about the state of the Apes-franchise yet again.

Yet Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was good enough to be considered for end of the year-top ten lists. War for the Planet of the Apes is no different. In fact, I think Reeves has outdone himself and made what will ultimately be one of the best films of the year.
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