Venom

«Venom» surely isn’t a good movie but I still kinda liked it. It’s not so bad that it’s good but it’s a clumsy, somewhat lovable construction of uninspired storytelling, average visual effects (but pretty production design) and questionable characters saved by only one thing: Tom Hardy in the title roles as Eddie Brock and his alter ego Venom, bromancing the hell out of almost every scene they’re in.

If the rumours are true, a rushed production schedule and a late decision to not make «Venom» rated R might explain this uneven mess of a movie. The end result makes it look as if the creatives decided that if they’re not allowed to do a proper bloody version, let’s make it silly,… like a Buddy Cop movie with a hint of Screwball-Rom-Com sprinkled on top and some superfluous CGI action added for the studio and the uninitiated crowd.

And somehow, that worked for me. Like the «Tom Hardy Show» that was «Bronson» sans a good movie which would only distract and might take the focus off his performance.

I doubt that Sony really knew where they were going with this. But good for them they didn’t try (and fail again) to copy Marvel Studios’ approach and took a different way* – a strange, meandering route without any direction, purpose or destination, but still…

This silly mixed bag helps Tom Hardy’s performance to stand out even more (and somehow makes it even more enjoyable) and presents «Venom» as a strange but funny, rather forgettable, but entertaining stumble of a movie.


*) «Venom’s» mildly amusing second after credit scene – some minutes taken directly from their upcoming animated feature «Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse» – seems to confirm how truly lost they are with their remaining rights to use «Spider-Man», not knowing what the hell to do with them**.

**) At this point,  I’ve given up trying to understand which studio has the right to which characters under which circumstances, but I doubt that cramming all the iterations of all the Spider-Men into one movie is the sensible way to go.


Feline: A True Story

I’ve recently found myself ruminating and wondering why there hasn’t been a decent movie with some good ol’ cat content?

Cats – Undoubtably the best thing on the internet and the pinnacle of entertainment itself. So why not make them into a feature film worthy of a bunch of Oscars?

Well, your wait is over! I present you the next sensation in theatres next year: An anthology all about cats featuring some of the biggest talent in Hollywood: «FELINE: A True Story»

Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2

After having joined the jolly bandwagon of critics stating that TV-entertainment is the new cinema thanks to longer runtime giving writers much more opportunities to develop their characters, arcs and storylines, I lately keep being disappointed by Netflix’s (and similar) productions.
I find most of the current series either lazy, unfinished, blown-up or, even worse, boring and not worthy of my time.

Over at Amazon Prime Video the situation doesn’t seem to be much better: The series I tried to commit to («Hand of God» and «Startup») where just too earnest, unfunny and bland to keep them in my queue. (I’m even going back to finally finish «Mad Men» just because it’s the lighter, funnier, much better way to spend my hours commuting to work).

Looking back now, I even wonder whether the more recent Golden Age of TV Drama has come and gone much faster than I thought (and hoped) it would. The quality just seems to have gotten lost somewhere between Kevin Spacey’s infamous exit and Joel Kinnaman’s gratouitus abs.

Having said that I must admit that the second season of «Iron Fist» is much more entertaining than the godawful first season. The characters are much more likeable and it’s not as easy as it used to be to fall asleep during an episode (though I managed).

Shame though they threw Davos (Sacha Dhawan) under the bus by turning the best thing of season one into an arrogant, delusional prick without the tragedy or depth he deserved.
And many of the most interesting ideas in this season seem to be either an afterthought without much impact or pure build-up for season 3 .

Sad.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

So let’s tick off that box in this year’s comic book movies list – or better: ANT🐜 off this part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ANThology🐜.

I didn’t ANTicipate🐜 much and «Ant-Man and the Wasp» wouldn’t disappoint. It made me laugh (not as much as the first one though) and left me fully satisfied. All in all it’s pure and solid Marvel Studios ANTertainment🐜 as good as it can be for one of their «smaller» side-projects while still hinting at some bigger role for Scott Lang to play in the grand MCU scheme of things.

I won’t even address the elephANT🐜 in the room that «Ant-Man and the Wasp» is…, it’s…  I got nothing there, just wANTed🐜 to put one more «ANT🐜» in there. It’s too hot to be clever today, I cAN’T🐜 even bother to give too much ANTtention🐜 to spelling in this climANTe🐜.

All I have is: Go see it, watch the two mid- and after credit scenes and let’s leave it at that ANTiclimactic🐜 review, ok?

Fine. Thank you. ANT🐜 have a nice day…


🐜) Warning: This review may contain some bad insect-related puns.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

DAMMIT! I’M SUCH A FOOL! I just realized: I WAS THE ONLY ONE AT THE SCREENING  AND DIDN’T MAKE ANY «SOLO» JOKE at the concession stand! That might have been a better starter to a conversation in which I learnt that an almost empty theatre didn’t really matter nowadays (in some aspect) because movies are delivered digitally now and don’t wear with every projection.

Which wouldn’t make much of a difference because «Solo» isn’t any good to begin with.

Even beforehand, I had pretty much made up my mind about Alden Ehrenreich’s Han-thankful job and his more than Han-likely success in taking over Harrison Ford’s iconic role. Ehrenreich surely didn’t help but after seeing «Solo», he cannot be made solely responsible for this disappointment of a movie. I doubt even Mr. Ford (or Harrison, as I like to call him, though he’d rather I wouldn’t) himself could have made this Han-inspired, Han-funny wannabe Star Wars «adventure» work.

It’s too generic even for a franchise as formulaic as the Star Wars universe. I haven’t seen such an empty, self-serving and Han-motivated mess of jumbled together bits and pieces of canon and fan service in a long, long time. (Not unlike this very review you’re reading right now).

There were some nice ideas in there that I might have liked but they were presented in such a Han-connected way I couldn’t have bothered less.

#notMyStarWars

And now a personal message to my co-worker Cello: Don’t go see that movie! I can’t tell you why because of spoilers. Just don’t!

Deadpool 2

«Deadpool 2» does a wonderful job at being a highly forgettable but loveable delivery device for over-the-top action, gratuitous violence and countless throwaway (meta-) jokes that kept me laughing from beginning to end. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Mr. Robot

Just dropping in with an important message to all the fans of awesome TV-entertainment: If you haven’t already, watch M. Robot! I’m just about to finish the third season on Amazon Prime and I’m still flabbergasted on how breathtakingly good it is.

As always, I won’t go into any details but don’t be fooled by the fact that every season of Sam Esmail‘s show is basically a retelling of one or several modern movie classics…

While taking common storylines, tropes and themes and turning them upside down (or not) seems to be the basic idea, it’s just a jumping-off point to dive into some really stunning storytelling, cinematography, top-notch performances and use of music and sound, reinventing the show with almost every other episode.

And while you’re here, check out the new trailer for «Bohemian Rhapsody», Rami Malek‘s take on Freddie Mercury. I’m not sure yet if I like the idea of this «Queen» biopic, but if Malek really gets his teeth in it, he actually might be able to pull it off.

Basic

Was zum Teufel war denn das? Ich gebe zu, im mag (gute) Filme mit militärischem Hintergrund. Allzu leicht lasse ich mich meist von diesem Gefasel über Kameradschaft und Pflichterfüllung einlullen. Nur schade hat dieser Film aber auch gar nichts mit dieser Thematik zu tun. Es sollte ein Film mit überraschenden Wendungen und einem «The Sixth Sense»-Ende werden.

Das ist er auch geworden, nur dass dabei die gesamte Logik und Nachvollziehbarkeit der Geschichte flöten geht. Der Handlungsverlauf, bei dem in verschiedenen Versionen immer wieder die gleiche Geschichte erzählt wird, ändert seine Richtung so oft, dass man als Zuschauer gar nicht mehr mitkommt. Ich finde, den Hauch einer Ahnung zu haben, wo man in der Geschichte gerade steht, ist doch irgendwie ganz nützlich. Das alles ginge ja noch und wäre als grundsätzliche Idee nicht zu verachten. Nur leider macht das ganze Verwirrspiel am Ende gar keinen Sinn innerhalb der Story; Zwar wurde das Ziel erreicht, indem der Zuschauer an der Nase herum geführt worden ist. Doch betrachtet man diese Scharade aus der Perspektive von z.B. Connie Nielsens Charakter, war das einfach nur viel Lärm um nichts.

Nichts gegen die Spannung im Film. Die Story ist spannend erzählt und abwechslungsreich gefilmt, Travolta und Jackson spielen gewohnt lustvoll und scheinen echt Spass an ihrem Job zu haben, was in ihrem Schauspiel auch angenehm rüberkommt. Leider ist man meist so verwirrt, dass man sich gar nicht mehr um die eigentlichen Sprünge zwischen falscher Fährte und Wahrheit kümmert und versucht, die Handlung irgendwie in ihren Grundzügen zu verstehen.

Nachdem ich fast alle Hoffnung verloren hatte, wechselte der Film am Ende übrigens noch einmal in eine ganz andere Richtung. Am Schluss kam mir der Film vor wie eine von Tarantino inszenierte Version von «Mission impossible». Das ganze fand ich irgendwie amüsant: Als hätten die Filmemacher von «Basic» erkannt, was sie da für einen Schrott produziert hatten und sich entschlossen, noch mal 5 Minuten Nonsense anzuhängen. Diese 5 Minuten blieben mir in positiver Erinnerung, weil dort irgendwie die Selbstironie, die im Rest des Films fehlte, nachgeholt wurde. Dieses Ende im Aktionspack mit Travolta’s genussvoll-süffigem Spiel ist vielleicht grade mal das halbe Kinoticket wert. Aber man sollte den Film trotzdem im Kino sehen, denn auf DVD und im TV würde man so was nicht bis zum (schönen) Ende durchstehen.

Eine Theorie zum Abschluss:

Ich vermute, im nächsten Halbjahr werden noch einige solcher abstrusen Filme im Kino erscheinen, die an sich keinen Sinn machen. Es könnte sich dabei um ein Multi-Feature-Projekt handeln. Mehrere solcher Filme bilden zusammen ein Netzwerk von verwirrenden Geschichten, die nur Sinn machen, wenn man sie in Zusammenhang mit den anderen Werken betrachtet. Schliesslich ist es beim zweiten Teil von «Matrix» auch nicht viel anders. Wenn wir gerade davon sprechen, vielleicht IST «Basic» ein Teil von »The Matrix» und…so, jetzt ist es wohl an der Zeit, meine Pillen zu nehmen.

Archives | First published: September 24, 2003

LANDO – A Star Wars Story

With Childish Gambino‘s (Donald Glover’s) «This Is America» conquering the internets while #boycottstarwars is becoming a thing, I imagine Kathleen Kennedy wished they were going a different route with their next Star Wars release.