REVIEW: Fall movie season kicks off with two polar opposites

By Erin Brady |

The fall movie season is beginning to heat up, and this time of year is certainly interesting, with both major studio blockbusters and Oscar contenders gracing the screens. The two movies I am featuring today are at both ends of the fall movie spectrum.

“Venom,” directed by Zombieland filmmaker Ruben Fleischer, is an interesting movie to say the least. The film feels out of place in the realm of superhero movies of the 2010s, making it seem more suitable among crowds who would flock to see Tim Story’s Fantastic Four and Sam Raimi’s Spider Man. You might have heard a similar thing coming from major critics, using it as a negative viewpoint in mostly negative reviews.

However, make no assumption; the movie is actually much better than reviews featured on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes would suggest. Peaky Blinders’ Tom Hardy, whose character Eddie Brock becomes the host for the titular alien symbiote from Marvel Comics, brings in a madcap performance that is equal parts great and concerning. The best comparison I can make is that he resembles Nicholas Cage in his demeanor and dialogue delivery. The rest of the performances, including “Manchester By The Sea’s” Michelle Williams as Eddie’s ex Anne Weying and “Rogue One’s” Riz Ahmed as an evil businessman named Carlton Drake, are solid as well but nowhere near as captivating or engaging as Hardy’s. That being said, one surprise performance in the first (yes, first, so stick around for more) post-credits scene might even rival that of Hardy’s by just a hair.

Unfortunately, many other aspects of the film range from mediocre to horrible. Perhaps its most disappointing aspect is the editing. As one might recall, Venom was originally conceived as an R-rated film before being edited to be PG-13. There are many instances throughout the film in which it is clear the scene was supposed to be far more violent than it actually appears to be. One scene in particular stands out, where multiple people are simultaneously killed with little to no injuries. The CGI is also a bit shoddy in some aspects, particularly when Venom talks to Eddie as a disembodied head.

Overall, the movie is nothing particularly special or groundbreaking, but I do recommend it for some great performances. I’d have to give this a 5/10.

“A Star is Born” is another interesting movie, but for far different reasons. The film is incredibly captivating and compelling on almost all levels. In fact, it is so entrancing, I forgot to take notes during the entire second half of the film. Its greatest achievement, however, lies in the fact that this is the directorial debut of “Guardians of the Galaxy” actor Bradley Cooper. Cooper also stars in the film, playing an alcoholic and drug addicted country rock star named Jackson Maine whose 15 minutes of fame are starting to run out.

This is not the only debut proudly featured, as pop star Lady Gaga is featured in her first major film role as a rising pop star named Ally. Along with Venom, the performances within the film (both acting and musically) are great. One performance can’t help but stand out, and that one is Gaga’s. If you only know of her acting abilities from her stint on “American Horror Story,” you’re missing out.

The second-best thing about the film are its musical numbers. Although not technically a musical, all the songs performed in the film are original and co-written by both Cooper and

Gaga. The two of them both perform so passionately, it feels as if they’ve been singing these songs for their entire lives. In fact, the chemistry between Jackson and Ally throughout the film feels the exact same way. Throughout the trials and tribulations the two go through together, they act like normal human beings, which is refreshing in the wake of melodramatic romances gaining momentum in cinema.

Overall, I highly believe many films being released for Oscar contention have steep competition on their hands. I’ll be giving this film an 8.5/10.

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