Venom

The Movie

Venom (2018)

The Director

Ruben Fleischer

The Cast

Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate

IMDB Synopsis

When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom” to save his life.

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My Thoughts

I say this quite a lot but I went into this with absolutely no expectation, except that Tom Hardy would be fit. I left pleasantly satisfied and that’s because he is perfectly cast as the slightly loser-ish Eddie Brock. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, basically.

Is it anywhere are groomed as Infinity War or Black Panther? Of course not – but there’s a place for it and I enjoyed myself immensely.

Mr Hardy is a dream, an actor that sometimes makes you ponder whether he’s that technically talented – but it hardly matters, he has something a lot of other leading men don’t have and that’s the special something. And obviously I would climb him like a tree.

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Hey babe

Riz Ahmed is also very good as evil Carlton Drake, a slick criminal mastermind who slowly but surely transforms into Venom’s ultra strong arch enemy, Riot. In the beginning, I had some reservations about Michelle Williams as Eddie Brock’s love interest Anne, who starts off pretty simpering. Luckily for everyone concerned, she claws it back and is actually great in the end, a heroine not afraid to get her hands dirty in a bid to make sure Eddie’s okay, even though he gets her sacked.

Support from Slate (whose character, Doctor Dora Skirth deserved better) and Reid Scott as Anne’s new boyfriend Dan is also good – but the supporting star has to be the lovely Mrs Chen (Peggy Lu).

The CGI can be a bit much to keep up with at times because there is so much going on and I don’t really know about all the symbiote science but ultimately I’m not mad at Venom at all.

My Rating

3.5/5.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Audrey and Morgan are best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

*Minor spoilers*

I loved this stupid film. I’m in love with Mila Kunis, sue me. Pair her with Kate McKinnon and as far as I’m concerned you’re onto a winner. It’s a very silly romp sure but a very good, girl power one.

When Audrey gets dumped over text by her elusive boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux), her BFF Morgan is on hand to help her through it. After attempting to burn his stuff, he gets in touch and tells her he’ll be home soon to explain everything. Unfortunately, before this happens she is accosted by the feds who reveal his true identity.

Audrey is shocked to learn that her boyfriend is actually a spy. Well, I’ve been out with much worse tbf. When Drew finally makes contact again, he gives her instruction to travel to Europe with a secret package which Morgan encourages her do because why not? Neither of them have ever been. And the rest is a blur of spy activity which the girls quickly discover they’re actually pretty good at.

But who are the good guys, who are the bad guys – and who the hell is Drew really? Via a backdrop of glamorous European locations and elaborate disguises, our girls get to the bottom of just what the fuck is going down – which they find is easier said than done.

Hot on their heels is nimble super assassin Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno) and the feds themselves, led by their boss Wendy (Gillian Anderson). There might be a new love interest in the mix too in the form of pretty Sebastian (Sam Heughan), one of the agents on Drew’s case.

Well it’s a romp alright and I laughed my arse off. McKinnon is always good but sometimes suffers for the material she’s given while Kunis has tremendous comic timing. Together I totally bought their chemistry as best friends – and I found it refreshing that there’s no side story in which the two of them fall out. Their friendship remains intact to the end.

I hope they turn this into a franchise because I haven’t had this much fun with female spies since well, Spy. But also Charlie’s Angels.

My Rating

4.5/5.

The Equalizer 2

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

*Minor spoilers*

McCall (Denzel Washington) is what my brother once called me: a groupie for the underdog. Not that he goes around sleeping with them you understand, it’s more that he has a very specific recipe for vengeance on behalf of those who have been wronged and might not be in a position to dish it out themselves. Among his assignments are a trip to Istanbul to recover a kidnapped child and a little light rape revenge.

Fans of the first Equalizer film (2014) probably remember it better than I do but this follows a similar pattern. Where back in ’14 McCall was just starting his new ‘quiet’ life, he is now quite settled in a nice block with good neighbours and a community that knows his face. He is well-loved and just ticking along doing his thing when things get real quick and this time, it’s fucking personal.

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“Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man…”

This sequel focuses also on Melissa Leo‘s Susan Plummer, long-time friend of McCall’s and all round boss bitch. When she uncovers too much about a certain crime and something nasty happens, it’s up to our boy Robert McCall to put two and two together and fight for his friend – will he? Of course he bloody will.

Meanwhile closer to home, will McCall also keep his pal and neighbour Miles (Ashton Sanders) on the straight and narrow? I’ll always be here for action, the more elaborate the better so I don’t mind when McCall puts down the bad guys without breaking a sweat, he’s a hero after all – but sometimes it does get a little bit laughable. Like, Denzel babe you’re in your sixties, have a little break.

However, the final action segment shot by the beach during a raging storm really conjures up an atmosphere and I think that’s the element that lifted this film from simply okay to very good.

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“I’m sorry you lost that fight with The Mountain buddy…”

This was, like Mission: Impossible – Fall Out, a well crafted caper and I enjoyed myself. Denzel is always top-notch, even in films I really don’t care for (Fences) so no shocker there – but his support in the form of Leo, Sanders and The Prince of Dorne himself, Pedro Pascal is pretty excellent too.

Roll on Part 3.

My Rating

3.5/5.

The Meg

The Meg (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

*Minor spoilers*

Flippin’ heck. I feel like I’ve waited a lifetime for this movie, the premise and execution of which could have been lifted directly from my own fantasies.

Jason Statham, in a wet suit at his frowny best? Hell yes. Ginormous prehistoric shark with an insatiable thirst for anything unlucky enough to get in its way? You got me. There’s nothing else I need really but I do get more bang that I could ever have wished for. Welcome to my review.

Jonas Taylor is something of a maverick, because of course he is. He is also haunted by past decisions that may have cost a lot of people their lives. Though he stands by what happened that fateful day he lead a semi-successful rescue mission to safety – the sub they were in was attacked by something HUUUUGE and mysterious – he still feels hella guilty about the ones he couldn’t save. So guilty he’s now a drunk chilling in Thailand. Nobody believes his ramblings about a giant sea creature because why would anyone? I would but that’s me. I want to believe. 

“I loved you in Furious 7…”

Meanwhile and fast forward five years, billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) is collaborating with Doctor Minway Zhang (Winston Chao) on a project on underwater facility Mana One. Along with his daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li) and a rag-tag bunch of fellow scientists and oceanographers, Zhang is exploring the contents of the Marianas Trench, financially backed by Morris.

You know, just poking around to see what’s what… like you do.

I’m not going to wow you with science here and I’m not going to say anymore apart from when shit goes down – and boy does it – Jonas is called to save the day. When his theory is proven right and he is exonerated as a delusional whack job – it is left up to him to keep the team safe and protect the world from Meg, a sassy and beautiful prehistoric Megalodon.

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Swish swish, motherfuckers

Is it any good though? Well, I am highly biased but I say HELL YES it is great. It’s exactly what I wanted, needed and expected – the dialogue is shaky and cheesy as hell – but it’s a fun ride. You can’t go into something like this expecting an Oscar worthy movie – that’s not what anyone is here for. It’s fun, it’s stressful, it’s awe-inspiring on the big screen and it’s funny where it needs to be.

As for the performances, I’ll stand by Statham ’til the end. The guy knows his limits and he plays very well to them. His comic timing is good and he look fitter with every passing year. He might not be Sir Laurence Olivier but he’ll always get me off my arse and down to the local multiplex because he gives it everything he’s got. As Jonas he gets to display his trademark furrowed brow a lot and I love him for it.

I was also impressed by Ruby Rose for a change, who still plays the same character she has in everything I’ve ever seen her in but she’s getting better as an actress. Plus, I feel there is an unspoken chemistry between her and Jonas’ ex-wife (and crew member) Lori (Jessica McNamee) – and I want more of that.

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Finally, I’m just fucking glad we’re seeing more Asian characters and actors on the big screen – it feels like 2018 has been the year for giving us more of this and it’s so important. Perhaps we can stop white washing things and start hiring appropriate actors to play characters as they were intended?

My Rating

4/5.

Mission: Impossible – Fall Out

Mission: Impossible – Fall Out (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.

*Minor spoilers*

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and pals (Ving RhamesSimon Pegg) accidentally bungle a mission, something to do with three stolen plutonium cores and believed-to-be-dead super villain Soloman Lane’s (Sean Harris) terrorist group “The Apostles”.

I mean, they only fuck up because they value friendship but the result is a pissed off CIA Director (Angela Bassett) and a new operative sent to shadow them and keep the team in check (a mustachioed Henry Cavill). As the gang, including their new mate Superman take action to make up for their mistakes and get hold of the damn plutonium, they’re forced to come face to face with Lane again. There are also tonnes of other spy scenarios and honestly, this is the film of the Summer, hands down.

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I’m not going to go into the intricacies of the narrative here, all I can say is that it’s tight AF with double crosses for dayzzz. We meet new characters, get to chill with familiar ones – all while Ethan wrestles broken helicopters, leaps off high-rise buildings and proves that Tom Cruise may be a fruit loop IRL but is still firmly in the top three action movies stars working today. And you can quote me on that, I actually love to watch him on the big screen and yes, I know he’s problematic.

Support is strong in the hands of Rhames and Pegg, while the women do not disappoint (obviously). Rebecca Ferguson returns as Ilsa Faust (she first appears in Rogue Nation) while Bassett is the Queen she always is. Vanessa Kirby is a lot of fun as The White Widow too. 

I loved this ride and I’m excited to see where it goes next. Not only is it one of the strongest in the series (Mission: Impossible III is my fave because of Philip Seymour Hoffman), it’s also one of the best films I’ve seen this year. 

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I’m ready for the all-female remake

Don’t sleep on this if you’re into action – try to catch it if you can.

My Rating

4.5/5.

 

Skyscraper

Skyscraper (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A father goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper.

*Spoilers*

This film does exactly what it says on the tin. Dwayne Johnson is Will Sawyer, a security expert (with a past) who is currently consulting in Hong Kong for ambitious Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) on the tallest skycraper in the world. It really is well tall.

His family are with him and staying in a luxury suite in the as yet not open Pearl tower. Sarah (super babe Neve Campbell) is a former military nurse and the couple have two adorable rugrats, Georgia and Henry (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell).

All is looking good until über-villain Kores Botha (Roland Møller) decides to fuck shit up and Will is forced to rescue his loved ones from the burning skyscraper, while also being accused of the terrorist act in the first place. What’s a guy to do though but roll up his sleeves and scale the building?

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It’s ridiculous of course but in the hands of The Rock it would be impossible not to enjoy the ride. Some of the lines are laugh out loud terrible and there is literally no realism to be had anywhere but that’s so overrated anyway.

The scale is awe-inspiring and the scenery looks great – so grab the popcorn and enjoy this bad boy for exactly what it is: pure, unadulterated, unabashed escapism.

My Rating

3/5.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.

*Spoilers*

This film has a crazy cool cast which doesn’t hurt it one bit.

While our leads, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are supported by the mighty Catherine Keener, some of the best performances come from the younger cast members, namely Isabela Moner and Elijah Rodriguez (both of whom I suspect we may see again in this very franchise).

I enjoyed this movie so much more than I thought I would and I think that’s because this time around it takes us under the skin of Del Toro’s Alejandro, who we first met in Sicario

Where Sicario focused on the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico, Day of Soldado examines the evolution of drugs trafficking into smuggling terrorists over the border. Which is distressing to watch anyway but in the current climate, it is brutal. One of the first scenes follows a handful of ISIS suicide bombers as they enter a supermarket and let’s just say the scene is devastating.

As a result of this particular bombing, the US government enlist the services of CIA Agent Matt Graver (Brolin), who is given permission to use any means necessary to combat the Mexican drug cartels (who are the ones doing the smuggling). AMN really means extreme measures and who better to call on for help than Black Op Alejandro Gillick (Del Toro) himself?

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Graver and the Department of Defense figure the best way to solve their problem is to start a war between the cartels, and Gillick is just perfect for the mission. First he murders a high-profile cartel lawyer in Mexico City, then the team kidnap the daughter of a rival kingpin (played by Isabela Moner) – and man does it all kick off from there.

Not everything goes according to plan though (go figure) and we follow both sides as the tale unravels. Gillick finds himself in a protective role as he and Isabela (the daughter) are accidentally separated from Graver and team.

As relations between the US and Mexico reach breaking point (following an explosive head to head between the team and Mexican police), the US government grow keen to distance themselves from the whole operation. Graver is forced to put Gillick in a tough position, and as choices are made and lines are drawn, the friendship is tested to the extreme.

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While all this pans out, we also follow Miguel Hernandez (Rodriguez) as he becomes more and more embroiled in his role as a Mexican-American “coyote” (people smuggler). What will become of Graver, Gillick and the rest of this crazy bunch?

Sicario: DotS may not be technically as brilliant as Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario (it’s not very far behind though) but I found myself enjoying it just as much. While we don’t witness the war through the eyes of Emily Blunt‘s idealistic FBI agent this time around, we do have Isabela, whose peepers are forced firmly open when she learns of the crimes of her father.

I’ve got a theory that we’re going to meet Isabela in the next installment and that her story will run parallel to Miguel’s. Good and bad, if you will – the light versus the darkness.

I can’t wait. 

My Rating

4/5.

I fancy Brolin and De Toro SO MUCH. Damn, boys.

Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Oh YEAH.

A female-ccentric heist movie with all the glamorous trimmings and then some, this movie is a blast from start to finish. And while I was always living for the cast and the fact boys were pissed off about yet another all female-remake, I’m happy that it’s also genuinely a good movie.

Obviously I can’t pick a favourite from the cast because that would be impossible but I can say that each of Debbie Ocean’s crew get enough screen time to make you love them and that is no mean feat. Where Ocean’s 11 and it’s sequels were slick and enjoyable, Ocean’s 8 dials it down a little bit and just focuses on the fabulousness.

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It is a lot of fun and is stunning to look at with a wardrobe across the board to die for. The chemistry too makes it even better, though some (male) film critics have criticised the lack of it. I do not see their point at all.

The plot is not too taxing and while some of it is a little far-fetched, I don’t think any of us are here for that anyway, so who cares? What we care about is fit women getting one up on ex-boyfriends, ride or die friendship and the fulfillment of destiny, even if that destiny is just to be a really, really good criminal.

I’m in love with all eight women and I’d watch this movie again and again, if only to study the way Cate Blanchett wears her fringe because it is sublime. I also really enjoyed seeing Anne Hathaway in a sassier role, she’s a very sexy lady.

Damn, it every single one of them is hotter than Hell.

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My Rating

4.5/5.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

*Spoilers*

I don’t mind admitting that I went into this with little expectation. I wasn’t crazy about the first Jurassic World and only signed up for Fallen Kingdom based on the trailer, in which a gigantic sea dwelling monster rises from the deep to chomp on some surfers. Call me shallow.

What I did get was a dinosaur heavy romp with a conscience, a fun ride that was worth my time even if some of the plot points are utterly ridonk. I got an evil Toby Jones too – and some remarkable side characters, including Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith) who kept the laughs coming. 

Bryce Dallas Howard is lovely as ever, though I half wished she’d been wearing high heels again to piss off the haters who critiqued her footwear in the last film. Chris Pratt is serviceable as Owen Grady but I don’t really love him (still haven’t forgiven Star-Lord for his brattish behaviour in Infinity War, sorry). Rafe Spall meanwhile, is dashing as Eli Mills, the mastermind behind all the madness. 

I have to mention that a definite highlight for me was Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine), the mercenary heading the dinosaur ‘rescue’ team. His stereotypical Trump-supporter solider was deliciously bad and when wronged by a female character he screams “What a nasty woman!” and I lol’d. Nailed it. 

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This movie got me right in the feels a couple of times with its message about whether these beautiful dinosaurs deserve the same rights as animals, or whether they should be left to become extinct once again. While nature takes care of some of the business, the conclusion leaves us in no doubt of where a sequel will take us – and if I’m right, it will be the best kind of sequel, with a fresh environment for our lizardy pals to run riot.

There’s also a massive clunker to address further down the line, the topic of genetic cloning so that should also be fun. I’m ready for them to bring it.

My Rating

4/5.

 

 

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Directed by: 
Starring: Alden EhrenreichWoody HarrelsonEmilia ClarkeDonald GloverPhoebe Waller-Bridge

IMDB Synopsis

During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.

Where: Odeon, Brighton
When: Friday 25th May
Who with: Glynn Bass
Snacks: Deluxe popcorn and drink combo

*Beware spoilers*

I’m starting to think I’m incapable of thinking badly of any of the Star Wars movies (not you original prequels). Every time I get a new SW film, be it spin off or part of the original story line, I can’t help be satisfied.

I really enjoyed Solo but must cop to going in with a little less excitement than normal. I mean, I was into it but not in the same way as I was with Rogue One. The main draw was Donald Glover as Lando but girl, it was all a trip and I loved every minute. Genuinely.

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Solo begins on the streets of Corellia where we meet orphaned Han (Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend Qi’ra (Clarke), two hood rats forced to work the streets for crime matriarch Lady Proxima. Both share the same dream which is to steal a ship and blow this grimy popsicle stand once and for all. Sadly, only one of them escapes and thus begins the further adventures of Han Solo as he does everything in his power to become the best ever pilot and get back to his girl.

Does he? Well, you’ve probably seen the trailer so it might not be a surprise to find out that they do indeed meet three years later, just as Han makes the acquaintance of Beckett (Harrelson) and his feisty droid L3-37 (voiced by the amazing Waller-Bridge). Solo has also just met his life partner Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and that’s the real love story here. 

Qi’ra has become something of a highly refined Lieutenant, working for Crimson Dawn crime boss Dryden Vos (delicious Paul Bettany) and when Beckett comes clean to Vos about a mission gone wrong, Han proposes another plan to make everything alright again. 

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Will it work? Will Qi’ra and Han (and Chewie) live happily ever after together? And who the hell is Enfys Nest and his/her Mad Max-esque crew of super scavengers?

Only one way to get in the picture!

All in all though I think this is a strong addition to the SW canon, I found it less scattered and messy than The Last Jedi (which I also loved) – and I don’t think you can fault Ehrenreich for his performance at any point, he brings his own charisma to the proceedings but also nails a young Harrison Ford perfectly.

Highlights are (but of course), Lando and L3 who bring a light-hearted sass to the table. L3 is a feminist icon if we’re honest and a welcome one,  joining the ranks with a whole bevy of SW female badasses. Where’s her fucking spin-off?

My Rating

4.5/5.