I no longer write reviews for movies I don’t like. Lately, I’ve been attempting to express myself artistically in a way I never have before. In doing so, I’ve empathized with filmmakers and creators attempting something artistic, whether or not it’s effective for me or other members of the audience. I don’t review movies to portray an objective experience that everyone will have, so if I don’t like something, that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. I love movies that others dislike and I dislike movies that others love. It’s really what I like so much about the art of film — the idea that a movie could hit one particular person in a unique way and give them an important experience that no one else will have.
I look at my role on this blog to be one of recommending movies I enjoyed so that others might get the chance to enjoy them as well. There are plenty of more experienced and knowledgeable critics who can review everything they see, good and bad, and give you their value judgement. But from here on out, apart from when I see something I personally feel should be talked about, I’ll only be writing full reviews for movies that had a positive impact on me. For movies that weren’t for me, I write shorter blurbs like the two below just to get out some overarching thoughts out there, but I won’t do a full-blown takedown. Because that’s how we’re gonna win — not by ranting against what we hate. But by praising what we love.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The first Venom movie was fine, in the sense that I don’t remember anything about it other than Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) crawling into a lobster tank. I think its sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, is much of the same. Only this time, it leans into its silliness the entire time. The original felt like an antihero movie where you liked the characters too much, but this one just completely makes Venom and Eddie the heroes. They’re the Odd Couple. They’re Gollum and Sméagol (which makes sense, since Andy Serkis directs this entry!!!). All of the fun in this breezy, 90-minute romp comes from the back-and-forth between the two. There’s almost nothing of substance to the movie, but if you’re into superhero movies, there are certainly worse ways to spend your time. This one is fun and will keep your eyes on the screen with chuckles coming throughout. Plus, Woody Harrelson basically reprises his role and motivation from Natural Born Killers. Whether you think that’s a good thing is up to you. My final verdict is that you’ll probably know whether you’ll enjoy this movie before you watch it.
Blue Bayou is about a Korean man who was adopted by an American family when he was still a young child. But now, decades later, he’s being deported because the paperwork was incorrectly filled out by his guardians at the time. It’s a movie that works fairly well on an emotional level and is anchored by four excellent performances (Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander (no surprise there), Linh Dan Pham, and Sydney Kowalske), but unfortunately, it’s become mired in controversy — it seems as though it’s the second film this year (after Stillwater) to use someone’s story without their consent. Absent that, Blue Bayou is ultimately a mixed bag, with highs that are very high and lows that keep it among the most mediocre films released this year.
After a relentlessly engaging first half, it can’t quite decide what it wants to focus on the rest of the way through. It gets lost in the shuffle on many of its topics, but what it does exceptionally is portray the relationship between a young girl and her stepfather, while delivering one of the most affecting endings of the year. But that effectiveness soon goes away once you read a little bit deeper into the story behind the production. This doesn’t make it unworthy of viewing, in my opinion, but it’s definitely worth thinking about before spending your money.