Dir: Ruben Fleischer
*ing: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Reid Scott
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a San Francisco TV journalist, finds himself at rock bottom when he takes on an Elon Musk type inventor industrialist, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), losing his lawyer girlfriend (Michelle Williams) in the process. Then he finds himself bonded to an alien symbiote which likes eating people’s brains.
Venom, the character, comes to us from the world of Spider-Man. Not that you’d know it from watching this movie. That’s all got to do with the convoluted world of movie rights. Sony has the rights to Spider-Man and other characters which have originated in his comics. But since Sony has now handed certain rights back to (or at least shares those rights with), Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man has become an MCU character. Which means, I assume, that he can’t be mentioned in films produced solely by Sony. Hence this current Spider-Man-free version of Venom.
To me, Venom works best as a deadly foil to the wall-crawler so Spidey’s absence doesn’t help, of course. But the movie’s problems are much bigger than that. It has a plot generic as they come and the movie can’t decide whether it wants to go full-throttle horror or not. A PG-13 rating pretty much assures that it can’t do much on that front) and the humour is lacking too (aside from a little back-and-forth between the symbiote and Brock). The CGI isn’t anything particularly special either. In fact, it looks like CGI from 10, 15 years ago. So all we are left with is a kind of strangely interesting quasi-Nic Cage, quasi Mark Ruffalo performance from Tom Hardy. But that’s not enough to save the movie. Michelle Williams, in a really bad haircut/hairpiece, borders on the terrible (and she’s actually quite a good actress otherwise) and Riz Ahmed is your standard bad guy with nothing particularly memorable about him.
You can safely give this one a miss.
Cut to chase: A comic-book movie as bland as they come.
Dir: Karey Kirkpatrick. Co-director: Jason Reisig.
*ing: (voices of) Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, LeBron James, Danny DeVito, Gina Rodriguez, Yara Shahidi, Ely Henry, Jimmy Tatro
The animated Smallfoot has a reasonably interesting premise as it neatly inverts the Bigfoot legend. Yetis, who live in the upper regions of the Himalayas, believe humans (or “smallfoots”) don’t exist. They also believe that yetis were pooped from the butt of a great yak in the sky, the mountain on which they live rests on the backs of many woolly mammoths and ringing a giant gong wakes up a glowing snail that travels across the sky bringing daylight. Going against these beliefs can have you exiled from the village. So when a young yeti, Migo (Channing Tatum) announces he’s seen a smallfoot he finds himself banished eventually landing at the bottom of the mountain and coming face-to-face with a human, TV host, Percy (James Corden).
Problem is the movie doesn’t do enough with this setup. The messaging is fairly straightforward – don’t be afraid to question, don’t judge others by their appearances, etc. etc. – but the delivery isn’t engaging enough despite the impressive voice casting. The jokes don’t really land and the characters aren’t that unique and Percy is downright irritating. The songs also fade quickly from memory. The animation is pretty decent, though.
Cut to chase: Smallfoot doesn’t do anything with its vaguely interesting premise.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection