And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I was having one of those days… the kind that sorta deserves to be capped off with a screening of a film called Venom: Let There Be Carnage. So off I went– to a masked, limited-capacity screening of a sequel to a movie that I found pleasantly surprising in 2018. Does Venom 2 live up to its predecessor? No. Is it worth venturing into a theater to see? Probably not. Is it worth seeing if you simply must catch every movie featuring a Marvel comic book character as soon as it hits the big screen? Sure. You know who you are.

Review: Venom

I don’t think the trailer does this film any favors. It makes Venom look way worse than it is, at least for anyone (like me) who doesn’t have a clue about this Marvel Comics character that is part human, part superhero, part alien blob. Don’t get me wrong. The film is a hot mess if you try to add up the sum of its parts. But a few of the parts are surprisingly entertaining. Okay, one part is surprisingly entertaining: Tom Hardy as disgraced investigative reporter Eddie Brock and his parasitic alter-ego Venom. When the two chat internally amongst themselves, the film is downright funny. Is it supposed to be? No clue.

Quickie Reviews: Girls Trip; Dunkirk; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

This film is trippin’! It may not garner any Oscar nominations, but it’s definitely the most fun option of the week for anyone in the mood for a comedic escape. Girls Trip delivers what Rough Night failed to just a few weeks ago… and that’s a raunchy yet relatable female ensemble comedy in the spirit of the highly-successful Bridesmaids.

Mad Max: Fury Road

What a ride! From the beginning to the end, there is hardly a static scene in this film. It begins as Max (Tom Hardy) is contemplating the vast scorched earth that the world has become in its not so distant dystopian future. But before you can say “Where’s Mel?” the crazy car caravan arrives filled with even crazier warriors. They snatch him up and take him back to their stronghold called the Citadel to become a “blood bag” that keeps their troops at fighting strength. But when the evil leader Immortan Joe’s wives are stolen and his war boys take chase, one of them who just happens to be receiving his refresher blood directly from Max, decides to join the fight and takes his supply along for the ride, cleverly attaching him to the front of his vehicle. It probably isn’t the safest place to be in a road war. Especially when the person you’re up against is the super bad-ass fem-warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron.)

The Dark Knight Rises

There are movies. And then there are MOVIES. The Dark Knight Rises (a.k.a. the latest, and some say the last, Batman) is most definitely the latter. It has an epic running time of two hours and 44 minutes and is probably best viewed as intended, on one of those giant IMAX screens. That’s where I saw it – on the six-story high IMAX at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. I guess Batman counts as a natural, historical figure these days. Anyway, what you’re probably wondering most is, did I like it? And the answer is…

This Means War

This Means War could ignite a battle among critics – and debates among friends- because it’s not a great movie by any stretch, but it doesn’t suck either. It’s fine February fluff that’s part ‘buddy movie’ and part ‘chick flick’… part action-adventure-spy-drama  and part romantic comedy. If the combination doesn’t appeal, then skip it. But if you’re looking for a good date movie or compromise among friends, then consider putting this one on the table.

Chris Pine (Star Trek, Unstoppable) and Tom Hardy (Inception,Warrior) play CIA agents whose brotherly bond is tested when they fall for the same girl, played by chick-flick veteran Reese Witherspoon (Water for Elephants, Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama). She, in turn, falls for both of them – unaware that they know each other and are using the tools of their trade to surveil and sabotage her romantic encounters.

Warrior

Warrior is NOT this year’s The Fighter, though it tries really, really hard to be. Instead, it’s a decent but cliché-ridden movie that borrows from every sports drama known to man (and woman, too). Take two cups of Rocky, throw in a dash of Raging Bull, mix in a tablespoon of Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurricane, and of course, The Fighter, and you’ve got something close to Warrior. But then again, what do you expect from a movie that centers around Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), a brutally fascinating sport that combines the skills of boxing, wrestling, karate, kick boxing, jiu jitsu and more? Never heard of MMA? Better get with the program, ‘cause this once cult phenomenon (a.k.a. “cage fighting”) isn’t just for closet UFC fans anymore. It’s pounding its way into the mainstream, with millions of devotees worldwide.