Just a Bit About Venom Letting There Be Carnage

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Venom: Let There Be Carnage (CREDIT: Sony Pictures Entertainment/Screenshot)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Peggy Lu

Director: Andy Serkis

Running Time: 97 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: October 1, 2021 (Theaters)

How much carnage did Venom: Let There Be Carnage let there be? Henceforth, “carnage” will refer to “stuff that I liked” (except when I need it to mean something different). Let me count the ways:

-That scene when Venom gives a heartfelt speech at a rave. That’s what it’s all about!
-The turmoil on Tom Hardy’s face as Eddie Brock tries to be happy for his ex’s engagement. That’s a lot of carnage in one man’s psyche!
-Dan (Reid Scott) gets to be heroic. That’s considerate chaos!
-Naomie Harris got the memo. A LOT of carnage in those eyes and that hair.
-Mrs. Chen gets in on the fun. Good call having her be in on Eddie/Venom’s secret.
-Michelle Williams really looks like she’s in a good place.
-Now onto the more literal aspects of carnage. When the subtitular symbiote makes his way into Woody H., it really starts pushing the limits of PG-13. A bunch of people caught in the mayhem get crushed or ripped apart. An entire truck is suddenly thrown off a bridge! What happened to the people in that truck? There’s no time to find out! All we know is the detective telling us that people keep saying they’re seeing monsters.

In conclusion: not as revelatory as the first one, but more heartwarming.

Grade: A Mostly Good Match

Movie Review: ‘Late Night’ Brings Some Diverse Casting, But Not Diverse Storytelling Ideas, to the Workplace Comedy Genre

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CREDIT: Emily Aragones/Amazon Studios

Starring: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow Denis O’Hare, Reid Scott, Hugh Dancy, Max Casella, Amy Ryan, Paul Walter Hauser, John Early, Ike Barinholtz

Director: Nisha Ganatra

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Rating: R for Comedy Writers Talking as They Do

Release Date: June 7, 2019 (Limited)/Expands Nationwide June 14, 2019

Late Night stars Mindy Kaling (who also penned the script) as Molly Patel, the new hire at a talk show’s previously all-male, all-white writers’ room. But the real kicker isn’t so much the push for a diversity hire as much as it is Molly’s professional background, or lack thereof. She previously worked as an efficiency expert at a chemical plant and made it into her new gig through the most contrived of circumstances. I could complain about how unlikely Molly’s journey is, but I actually don’t care about the unlikelihood. The most improbable version of this story possible is perfectly fine so long as it is also some combination of funny, unique, and insightful. Alas, it is not really any of those things.

CREDIT: Emily Aragones/Amazon Studios

The setup isn’t the problem. In addition to the Molly angle, there’s also the matter of this show being hosted by a woman, the legendary (i.e., relic) Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson). Late Night tries to say something meaningful about how even a woman can reinforce the good ol’ boy status quo. But Katherine’s mistreatment of her staff transcends gender and race. And ultimately the social commentary amounts to little more than a red herring. This is mainly the story of the odd couple friendship that develops between Katherine and Molly, which is nice enough, but it struggles to be resonant within a rather scattered, shallow approach.

Late Night is Recommended If You Like: Watching old middle-of-the-road late night talk show clips

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Monologue Jokes

This Is a Movie Review: Venom

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CREDIT: Sony Pictures

How do you make a gelatinous black alien goo-villain like Venom the hero of your movie? As the makers of Venom have decided, you have it (him?) fall in love with Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). Although, it’s not so much love as it is deep platonic friendship. But maybe developing a deep platonic friendship is a kind of falling in love? Whatever you call it, it works.

Overall, this movie is filled with delights because of its unerringly playful approach. That applies to the action scenes, with Venom’s fluid presence shooting out in unpredictable directions. It of course applies to the back-and-forth repartee between Eddie and Venom inside his head. (Wisely, a few other key characters are aware of what is going on during these conversations, but that doesn’t make them look any less insane.) And it absolutely applies to Eddie/Venom’s constant attempts to figure out how to feed their ravenous hunger. And then there’s that tongue. Oh yeah, that tongue. We could’ve used more of the tongue, honestly. But Venom, and Venom, is more than just that tongue, and it’s better for it.

I give Venom 400 Tater Tots out of 500 Host Bodies.