Review / Venom ★★☆☆☆

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The central theme in Venom surrounds the split personality of our protagonist Eddie Brock, this also reflects the movie in general, as it just can’t decide what kind of film it wants to be. Venom goes back and forth between a dark thriller to comedy to buddy cop, delivering a conflicted final cut, leaving everyone confused.

Making his return following the disastrous Spiderman 3, Venom is back after 11 long years. After getting in contact with an alien symbiotic organism, whilst investigating a shady organisation, down on his luck Eddie Brock (Hardy) suddenly discovers that he isn’t the only person inside his mind! With his new-found powers, can he tame the malicious Venom, as he aims to take back control of his life?

Without a doubt, Hardy and his scenes with Venom are by far the strongest parts of the film. The film takes a while to ramp up the action, but once the symbiote starts to take over, the intensity takes off! The constant conflict between the two sets up some great scenes, as he struggles to remain in charge. The action set pieces with Venom are a blast, showing the true threat of the symbiotic terror. The powers that Venom possesses are awesome, and it’s great fun to see him go all out, wiping the floor with countless goons.

Though that’s where the film really has to offer is regards to promise. Venom for some reason decides to go full out comedy, ala Nutty Professor. Some scenes where he is struggling to restrain the beast are comically bad, and Brock’s breakdown in a restaurant is incredibly awkward, almost Nicolas Cage levels of insane! Venom constantly demeans Brock for no real reason, yes, it may deliver some cheap laughs, but it goes totally against Venom’s actions when he reveals his true intentions. There is a strange buddy cop vibe, which seems so out of place in a film such as this.

Generic Evil Corporation #2158, The Life Foundation, led by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), is the big bad here. Ahmed does an OK job as the villain, but he really has nothing much to work with, apart from being a young prodigy who is a CEO in his 30s. We don’t really go into what his motivations are, why did he become so crazed? His behavior is pretty much psychotic, but we see nothing to show why he has become this unhinged person, which greatly hurts the character.  Brock’s love interest here, Anne (Michelle Williams) is devoid of anything interesting, and is for some reason, forced into the final scenes of the movie far too much.

The film is also oddly mild, considering the vicious monster Venom is. Whereas Deadpool & Logan have shown that if it’s done well, an R rating is not a bad thing, if anything, it can enhance a movie. The lack of any blood at all is confusing. There are scenes where people’s heads are bitten off, or get impaled, but the clean nature of the scenes makes Venom look sterile. Venom never really feels as dangerous as he should be.

Venom should do well enough at the Box Office to earn itself a sequel, hopefully the studio will take the feedback from this, and produce a far more polished final product. Though it may seem a far reach, the presence of Spiderman, regardless of how small it is, would be great for Venom to play off against down the road.

 

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The Vault : Inception (2010)

Following on from the immense success of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan, who had already scored hits such as Memento & The Prestige, was creating huge buzz and excitement with whatever his next project would be. What we got was a superbly stylish, deeply layered (pun intended!) movie. Inception may have been very ambitious with its design, but it has provided fans with several unforgettable scenes and a simply iconic score.

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Dom Cobb (Di Caprio) is what they call in his business, an ‘Extractor’, along with his partner Arthur (Gordon-Levitt), they enter the dreams/unconscious of people to extract information, mainly for corporate espionage. After a botched mission, Cobb is offered a chance at redemption, and an opportunity to go back home, only if he carries out something known as ‘Inception’, the concept on planting an idea in someone’s mind. As skilled as Cobb & Arthur may be as Extractors, the idea of Inception could be even beyond their talents. But with the chance to see his children back home, he puts together a team, and heads out on his mission.

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Off the bat, the movie is a visual treat; the dream concept allows the movie to create amazing set pieces, such as the mesmerizing folding streets of Paris, to the dazzling exploding café scene. There’s also the stunning corridor confrontation, in which Arthur is forced to fend off foes while the halls start rotating. What’s more incredible is that the entire scene was filmed within a structure, with no CGI! Everything is filmed perfectly, to make it look absolutely on point. With the cast all suited and booted, and the dream world setting, it is one classy film.

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The cast is incredibly strong, you have Di Caprio as the star man, but the supporting cast are also a joy. Tom Hardy excels as Eames, his constant bickering with Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and generally all round charm shines through. Ellen Page is the talented Ariadne, who has the most vital role in the operation. Her young character is pretty much how the audience feel at various points, pretty confused at times! You also have the likes of Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard all contributing to a stellar cast.

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(Clockwise from TOP left) LEONARDO DiCAPRIO as Cobb, JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT as Arthur, CILLIAN MURPHY as Robert Fischer, TOM BERENGER as Browning, ELLEN PAGE as Ariadne, TOM HARDY as Eames, and KEN WATANABE as Saito in Warner Bros. PicturesÕ and Legendary PicturesÕ sci-fi action film ÒINCEPTION,Ó a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The plot is one that will take multiple viewings to really get any sense of what’s happening! To put it simply, there are layers, so many layers! In order to get an idea deep into someone’s unconscious, will not only require going into the dream of their target, but also several dreams within that. It can be a convoluted mess, and at times, you will probably not really grasp the finer details. But that’s what repeat viewings are for! The storyline may leave you puzzled at times, but the sheer spectacle and scale of the movie more than make up for it! It is an audacious project, and it has to be applauded for it. After multiple viewings, things will get clearer, and you’ll enjoy the movie even more!

Let’s not forget to mention the score, which is put together by legendary composer Hams Zimmer. Tracks such as the triumphant ‘Time’, and the pressing ‘Dream is Collapsing’ are synonymous with the film. The recurring lyrics from Non, je ne regrette rien will be stuck in your head after watching this, and then there’s the now iconic BOOONG! This now appears in pretty much most trailers nowadays! Combining such a quality score with the slick production, produces one impressive looking, and sounding 2.5 hours!

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Though as great as it all looks and sounds, Inception will not be for everyone. The film is very dialogue heavy, with various key plot details hidden within various speeches. It is also a very slow burner, with the operation not commencing well past the first hour. The finale is also quite perplexing, especially if you weren’t paying attention in the finer details. But don’t let that take away from what is a thrilling, cerebral, and  enjoyable film.

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