Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The first Venom movie was fine, in the sense that I don’t remember anything about it other than Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) crawling into a lobster tank. I think its sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, is much of the same. Only this time, it leans into its silliness the entire time. The original felt like an antihero movie where you liked the characters too much, but this one just completely makes Venom and Eddie the heroes. They’re the Odd Couple. They’re Gollum and Sméagol (which makes sense, since Andy Serkis directs this entry!!!). All of the fun in this breezy, 90-minute romp comes from the back-and-forth between the two. There’s almost nothing of substance to the movie, but if you’re into superhero movies, there are certainly worse ways to spend your time. This one is fun and will keep your eyes on the screen with chuckles coming throughout. Plus, Woody Harrelson basically reprises his role and motivation from Natural Born Killers. Whether you think that’s a good thing is up to you. My final verdict is that you’ll probably know whether you’ll enjoy this movie before you watch it.
Blue Bayou is about a Korean man who was adopted by an American family when he was still a young child. But now, decades later, he’s being deported because the paperwork was incorrectly filled out by his guardians at the time. It’s a movie that works fairly well on an emotional level and is anchored by four excellent performances (Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander (no surprise there), Linh Dan Pham, and Sydney Kowalske), but unfortunately, it’s become mired in controversy — it seems as though it’s the second film this year (after Stillwater) to use someone’s story without their consent. Absent that, Blue Bayou is ultimately a mixed bag, with highs that are very high and lows that keep it among the most mediocre films released this year.
After a relentlessly engaging first half, it can’t quite decide what it wants to focus on the rest of the way through. It gets lost in the shuffle on many of its topics, but what it does exceptionally is portray the relationship between a young girl and her stepfather, while delivering one of the most affecting endings of the year. But that effectiveness soon goes away once you read a little bit deeper into the story behind the production. This doesn’t make it unworthy of viewing, in my opinion, but it’s definitely worth thinking about before spending your money.