Of the many Marvel properties that have been translated into movies, Venom has by far been the worst adaptation. His cool look jumps off of the page, but on screen - when added with his ridiculous voice - Venom has thus far been a mess. He's neither funny nor scary, and he's one of the least compelling comic book characters going.
Suffice it to say, "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" is a catastrophe from head-to-toe...it's a tonal nightmare featuring characters with very little depth and given very little to do. The first "Venom" film was a success (the comic book character, created by Todd McFarlane and David Michelinie, is among the most popular of all the Marvel characters since first appearing in 1988), which means that this sequel was inevitable, but "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" is near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to "superhero" movies, let alone Marvel films.
To quote Silvio Dante quoting Michael Corleone: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back IN!!"
That's what it feels like to submerge back into the world of "The Sopranos," the ground-breaking HBO drama that is considered one of the best TV shows of all-time and certainly one of the most influential of its era. For me, it was the last "must see" TV show, something that would later be categorized as "appointment TV." I would watch nervously and breathlessly each week, hoping that my favorite characters would survive the hour. They often would, but many times wouldn't.
With "The Sopranos" prequel film, "The Many Saints of Newark," you are pulled back in to this modern world of gangsters, their families and their issues that exist both externally and internally. You'll be reminded that David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos" and who co-wrote "The Many Saints of Newark," is an absolute force of nature...a writer unparalleled and like the show he created, in a league of his own. He makes "Many Saints" not only fit into the world that he created over 20 years ago, but adds to it.
"Many Saints," I'd argue, is going to become required-viewing for those wanting to experience the full tragic saga of Tony Soprano. It lives up to the hype, and for any fan of "The Sopranos," it will meet and surpass your already astronomical expectations.
It's not just a worthy Sopranos story, it's one of my favorite films of the year.
Full disclosure: I have not seen the Tony-winning stage version of "Dear Evan Hansen." But judging by the movie version, I now have no desire to.
A 27-year-old Ben Platt - playing a high school senior and reprising his original role from the play - is the least of the film's problems. There isn't a note of truth in this misguided adaptation, so without ever having seen the play, I can plainly tell you that this film does not do the original material any justice.
"Blue Bayou" walks the line and occasionally stumbles into at best, melodrama and at worst, manipulation, but it has a pure heart. It features characters we don't often see on screen, and includes some tremendous performances. As it drives towards its unpredictable conclusion, there is a scene that will either bring you to tears, or will make your eyes roll so far into the back of your skull that you may just pass out.
For me, "Blue Bayou" worked tremendously (put me in the "brought tears to your eyes" category) and it would be an absolute crime if its writer/director and star, Justin Chon, isn't recognized this awards season. This is a story that needs to be seen, about how the American Dream can - for many - be realized as an absolute nightmare.
The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, or "TIFF" has now ended. So what films stood out from the pack, and which films/performances stand the best chances come Oscar season this year?
If you missed it, you can read Part 1 of our TIFF coverage here and Part 2 here.
Read on for the "Final Report" (Part 3), including Tom Santilli's Top Five films and stand-out performances from TIFF 2021.
(The "Tom at TIFF" series, with WXYZ film critic and Movie Show Plus's own Tom Santilli, follows Tom's digital coverage and his ongoing reports on TIFF throughout the Festival, which ran from September 9th to September 18th.)
The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, or "TIFF" is now over half-way through. Critics covering the Festival digitally (like myself) have been robbed the opportunity to view some of the most buzz-worthy films that were available only to in-person crowds in Toronto - films like "Dune," "Belfast," "Spencer" and "Last Night in Soho" - all of which have sky-rocketed to the top of award-season radars following their TIFF debuts.
But as the week has marched along, there have been several other noteworthy films that have premiered on the digital platform, with documentaries still leading the way as the most impactful films of this year's TIFF.
If you missed it, you can read Part 1 of our TIFF coverage here.
Read on for Part 2!
(The "Tom at TIFF" series, with WXYZ film critic and Movie Show Plus's own Tom Santilli, follows Tom's digital coverage and his ongoing reports on TIFF throughout the Festival, which runs from September 9th to September 18th.)
Tom at TIFF Part 1: A pair of powerful documentaries stand out after the Festival's opening weekend
The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, or "TIFF" if you want to sound cool, is well under-way. While several of the Festival's biggest films - like "Dune," "Dear Evan Hansen," "Spencer" and "Last Night in Soho" - have already made their TIFF premieres, only those physically in attendance in Toronto were able to see them. For many other critics across the world who chose to attend TIFF virtually, these films were not made available, thus leaving these big holes in our ongoing coverage.
But not to fret. There were several other great (and some not-so-great) films that premiered over TIFF's first weekend on the digital platform, led by two riveting documentaries that are not to be missed.
Read on for "Part 1" of the "Tom at TIFF" series, with WXYZ film critic and Movie Show Plus's own Tom Santilli, where Tom will give his reports on TIFF throughout the Festival, which runs from September 9th to September 18th.
The Toronto International Film Festival - or TIFF - is set to begin today, September 9th, 2021, running through September 18th, 2021. It's one of the biggest film festivals of each and every year and one of the most important: It's early September date usually is what kicks off what is known as "awards season" for the film/movie industry.
Film Critic Tom Santilli (me!) will be bringing you the highlights from TIFF all week long with this "Tom at TIFF" series. If you don't know much about TIFF or are interested in what's going on at this year's festival, you've come to the right place!
One of the most delightful, impressive, heart-warming and optimistic productions you will ever witness comes to Apple TV+ this weekend. "Come From Away" is a Tony-winning musical that was filmed and made into a movie (just like "Hamilton" was for Disney+ in 2020), and it comes just in time for the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.
Yes, the "feel good" movie of the year centers around one of the worst, horrific tragedies in American history, and if there was ever something that this divided nation should be able to agree on, it's that "Come From Away" is an absolute treasure and should be seen by every American...despite it taking place in Newfoundland, Canada.
An assassin with a heart of gold (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has less than 24 hours to live, so she uses her finite time on the planet to take down as many of her enemies as she can.
That's the elevator pitch for "Kate," and despite some stylish action, this is an all-too-familiar thrill ride devoid of any real thrills...a film that will remind you of other films but that doesn't quite rise above any of them.
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