Venom: Let There Be Carnage ***
Sci-fi action. With Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Williams. Director: Andy Serkis.
In this sequel to Venom (2018), reporter Eddie Brock (Hardy) tries to adjust to life as host to the unruly alien symbiote Venom, who attempts to be a good friend to Eddie but has an insatiable appetite for brains.
However, the bickering duo must put their differences aside when a serial killer (Harrelson) escapes execution by bonding with the anarchic symbiote Carnage and sets off to free his equally crazy childhood sweetheart (Naomie Harris) from an asylum.
The scattershot but enjoyable first film offered something different from other superhero tales: a goofy horror comedy unburdened by its characters’ existential angst.
If you enjoyed that film, you should like this sequel, which offers more of the same, but is even more over-the-top thanks to the addition of two bonkers baddies who sow destruction wherever they go.
The best part of the first movie was Hardy’s amusing double act as the morose Eddie and the unruly Venom, whom the actor voices. The good news is there’s more fun with the mismatched pair this time around as the exasperated Eddie tries to cope living with the slavering symbiote.
Between all the squabbling, the duo manage to do some investigative journalism and crack a case, which makes the first third of the film engaging.
Unfortunately, Hardy is quickly overshadowed by Harrelson and Harris as tiresomely demented Bonnie and Clyde-style criminals.
Williams has some fun as Eddie’s ex, who remains unflappable in the face of Venom’s antics, but the talented actress is even more underused than in the first film.
The plot is more streamlined but almost too straightforward as nothing can stand in Carnage’s way. Instead of a slow build-up, he’s nearly invincible from the get-go, starting his reign of terror with a literal tornado of devastation that makes you wonder where the story can go from there.
The finale gives the heroes a few clever methods to rein the monster in, but descends into a mass of CGI tentacles pinballing from one corner of the screen to the other. Fans of the comics on which this is based or Hardy should find it worthwhile, but it’s best enjoyed with your brain on autopilot.
2021. 93 MIN. 16LV. AT THE CINEMA.
Four Good Days ****
True-life drama. This moving film follows a mom, Deb (Glenn Close), who must support her drug-addicted daughter, Molly (Mila Kunis), through the final and most difficult phase of rehab.
Kunis is almost unrecognisable when Molly first shows up at Deb’s house emaciated, unkempt and with nowhere else to go. Because of her addiction she’s put her family and especially her mom through hell for more than 10 years, and now Deb must decide whether she’ll help her daughter again or show her the door.
Molly has lost everything, but will she do what’s necessary to break free from her demons or will she push away all her loved ones’ sacrifices and help in favour of drugs?
Four Good Days is based on a true story and gives viewers a realistic glimpse into the awful reality that the parents and loved ones of addicts must endure. The brilliant Close and Kunis give outstanding, convincing performances that should make you shed a tear or two.
But the film also keeps you on the edge of your seat as you hope Molly will come out whole on the other side. Just be warned: this is an upsetting film that’s not for sensitive viewers.
– ABBY-GENE BISSOLATI
2020. 100 MIN. 16SL. AVAILABLE ON DSTV BOXOFFICE.
Tiny Creatures season 1 ****
Adventure. If you’re expecting a run-of-the-mill nature documentary, you’re in for a surprise. Instead, viewers will be transported into a heightened world where small critters have huge adventures. Each 30-minute episode is structured like a fable or fairytale and will have you cheering on a little guy and rooting for it to get a happy ending.
The amazing cinematography puts viewers in the “shoes” of animals such as a kangaroo rat trying to get back to his burrow while predators close in, a hamster lost in New York and a flying squirrel exploring a suburban home.
Incredibly, documentary cameraman Jonathan Jones (Planet Earth II) shot the whole series in his backyard and home. Just keep in mind that it’s all scripted and staged and not meant to be a realistic nature film.
Narrated by actor Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and aimed at kids, this is a fun watch for the whole family. Make sure to bring your sense of adventure!
– DEWALD POTGIETER
2020. 8 EPISODES. 10-12PG.
A: All ages D: Drugs H: Horror L: Language N: Nudity P: Prejudice PG: Parental guidance S: Sex V: Violence