“It’s better than I expected” seems to be a common refrain the past few weeks. The background for this movie is a tad complicated, but to put it succinctly, Sony owns the movie rights to Spider-Man and all related characters, but only let Marvel (MCU) borrow Peter Parker/Spider-Man for story purposes while keeping all the box office money from SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and its sequel coming next year, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. Therefore, VENOM is completely unrelated to Spider-Man, since putting Tom Holland or any mention of Spider-Man would theoretically include him in the MCU. Thankfully it mostly stays away from references to the MCU, and keeps to its own corner, but at the same time hurts itself because it’s tough to truly attach to anything in it.

Besides Tom Hardy, who ably portrays both Eddie Brock and Venom with charming vigor, VENOM doesn’t offer much else. It’s a mediocre throwback to the 90s era of superhero movies, but with an extremely fun performance from its lead. The other actors don’t get much to do except play with its campy tone. I liked this movie a lot until the second MRI scene, and was able to take it in as it was and what it tried to be. VENOM is not a game changer by any means, but judging by its box office, it looks like we’re going to get another mediocre superhero movie in a few years.


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)


In the fourth iteration of this story, this time directed by star Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga/Stefani Germanotta rises from singing at clubs to SNL and arenas with the help of Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine. Both turn in star-making performances, but are rather dragged down by the lackluster story and plot turns that drive it. Technically speaking, the movie is wonderfully directed, with every scene having purpose and depth; it’s also beautifully shot, with cinematographer Matthew Libatique (yay Filipinos!) doing great work. The chemistry between the two leads almost lights the audience on fire.

My problems with the movie come from the choice to have Ally’s persona be too similar to Gaga’s; she’s only really good in the role because that’s her, and it didn’t seem like too much stretching, although it’s great and smart casting. I also really enjoyed Jackson because of Cooper’s performance, but his character isn’t very redeemable. Why should I care about him? Because he gave Ally a chance? I wasn’t rooting for him to get better, since the positive things he gave her was the career opportunity and the advice to follow her heart and dig deep when writing lyrics, yet she’s so willing to sell out and go in the opposite direction from that, and there’s no consequence. In the end, it made me turn against her. Ally’s manager also felt like a joke, just an inorganic plot device to get them to the next story beat. Yes, every movie does that, but it felt extremely forced here.

I wanted to love A STAR IS BORN more than I did, especially with the trailer promising a heart-wrenching story, as it made me teary-eyed every time it came on in the theater. I appreciate the performances, the production value and the care put into this movie, I just didn’t connect with it as much as I wanted to. It might be because of all the memes I’ve seen of moments from the trailer, but maybe on a second watch I can emotionally get to where I want to be.


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)


Addiction is a difficult problem to face and address. BEAUTIFUL BOY hits so hard to the point that it becomes difficult to watch and so emotionally exhausting that I just didn’t care for its characters by the end because I had nothing left to give. It might be a directorial choice that my exhaustion mirrors that of Carell’s, but it didn’t culminate in the emotional experience I looked forward to having. Timothee Chalamet is just as good albeit very showy, but is hampered by his career choices; I just want to give him a hug and suggest to him to have some fun with his roles. But hey, he’s good at what he does so more power to him.

The movie wrings emotions out of you consistently and is so effective, though, that I can’t say I didn’t like it. It doesn’t hit or culminate in a emotional climax, so I had a harder time getting onboard with BEAUTIFUL BOY. It might be a while before I see this (if ever) again.


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)