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 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.

 

Adrift

Adrift (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A true story of survival, as a young couple’s chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

Yikes – this is not an easy watch if you’re terrified of water like me. That it is based on the true story of Tami Ashcraft and her fiance, Richard Sharp makes me all the more determined to always stay on dry land. 

When Tami and Richard (Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin) meet they quickly bond over a love of the ocean. Richard has built his own boat from scratch, while Tami claims not to be a sailor but does pretty well regardless. 

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The pair plan to sail around the world together and get engaged quite quickly but things take a turn when Richard is offered a lot of cash to sail his friends’ boat back to America. He wangles two first class tickets back to their island paradise once the task is done and Tami agrees to sail with him because they’re young and in love – and why not, eh?

The trip starts well but when the pair get caught in the eye of a crazy storm, their idyllic adventure quickly turns into a fight to the death. With Richard badly injured, it falls to Tami to get them to Hawaii and safety – can she keep them fed and sheltered at the same time as keeping them on course?

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Adrift was a lot better than I’d expected. I found the experience incredibly stressful and it was lucky there were only a handful of people watching in our theater because I couldn’t stop fidgeting and shaking my fists/head at the screen. The film is played in flashback and starts with the aftermath of the accident so you’re always aware of how shit things get – but the getting to know you stuff between the couple is sweet.

Shailene Woodley is amazing as Tami and has a presence on-screen that is really something to behold. Sam Claflin is okay but there’s something about him that irritates me and I’m not sure it’s him or the way he plays Richard.

It doesn’t really matter though because this is Woodley’s film and she commands the attention, bringing this story to life almost single-handedly. It also makes you wonder how you’d do in the same situation.

My Rating

3.5/5.

 

 

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.

Rampage

Rampage (2018)

Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello

IMDB Synopsis

When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.

*Minor spoilers*

I’ve already said my piece about guilty pleasures and I have nothing to add to that, though this movie is the PERFECT example of what I mean by joyous cinematic experience.

I’m also a sucker for a gargantuan ape and have been ever since I was a kid and I saw the original King Kong (1933). It’s the first film I remember making me cry and has paved the way for a lot of my adult film tastes.

So with that in mind how on earth could I resist Rampage? Based on a video game I only have a vague memory of, it’s pleasantly bonkers and exactly what I wanted to watch on the big screen.

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Former US soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit cum primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) is best friends with George, an albino gorilla. Davis saved George as a baby from the poachers who killed his mother so you could say that their bond is as strong as it could possibly be.

When an experiment conducted in space by evil corporation Energyne goes horribly wrong, George and two other animals are exposed to a pathogen that causes them to grow at a rapid rate. Since this pathogen has something to do with genetic editing, it pairs certain traits of certain species together and this causes our animals not only to grow like nobody’s business, it also mutates them and makes them aggressive as hell.

All of this plays into bitchy CEO Claire Wyden’s Plan B. She lures George and his new friends (a wolf and a crocodile) to downtown Chicago in order to get a sample from their genetically juiced bodies (don’t focus too much on the plot, k?). With her drippy partner in crime, brother Brett (Lacy), Claire (Akerman) plans to get what she needs and blow this popsicle stand so she can continue her genetic editing research and gain back everything lost. But she’s not counting on the power of brotherly love is she? Oh no.

The Rock isn’t about to let George get hurt so he partners with disgraced former Energyne scientist Doctor Kate Caldwell (Harris) to get him back and in the process get his hands on the existing antidote and save the city. Will they succeed before it is crushed to the ground and George is killed too? Well, there’s one real easy way to find out…

Along the way they also form an alliance with Jeffery Dean Morgan’s agent Harvey Russell and honestly, I think Russell is one of the main highlights of the film. Morgan is having so much fun! There’s also a brief appearance from Joe Manganiello (one of my faves) as a mercenary wolf hunter which I enjoyed thoroughly.

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This film was fun with a capital F and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Dwayne Johnson is so likable that I don’t think I’ve ever disliked him on film – he has so much talent in his over developed body, I’m a massive fan. Likewise, Harris is great but you’d expect that from such a good actress.

The effects are exactly what you’d expect and the creature work is good, particularly where George is concerned. He looks and feels very real.

Unfortunately, both Akerman and Lacy are pretty whack as the evil siblings and that’s probably just about the only bad thing I can say about this adventure. Otherwise, it was a romp I was happy to be part of.

My Rating

4/5.