Is Venom as bad as Critics Say?



Venom (2018) (Sony Pictures)
Black Panther Spider-Man.. I mean.. Venom, released October 5th, 2018 to a slaughter of critic scores in the cine-plex. At the time of this writing, Venom sits at a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes which makes it officially a certified load of crap, but does that translate across all boards? Could viewers disagree with critics? Rhetorical; the fact of the matter is that fans and the average viewer alike agree that Venom is a smash hit and here are my reasons for the divide:

A Story Lost to Madness (And Funniness?)
Venom is absurd (the character and the film) but that’s not a bad thing! Quite frankly, the film starts at a bad pace and really doesn’t pick up until the 2nd act with the introduction of Venom himself. The majority of major blockbuster films are now suffering from an interesting concept of “Marvel-it-up,” which translates to “make all movies funny.” What happens when you try to make more things funny? Critics get tired of the same-old, but the average movie goer who takes a trip to the movies once a month doesn’t experience the same fatigue of “Marvel-itis” (yes I made my own word, sue-itis me).

What Makes this Redeemable?
Tom Hardy, despite some of his questionable roles (I’m looking at you Bane in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises), is quite the extraordinary actor and certainly gets to flex his acting chops in Venom as both his roles as Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote, which he provides voice over work for. The bread and butter of this film is churned through the character interactions between Brock and Venom

Where did Sony Stumble?
Sony (the movie studio) has a bad habit of showing too much in their movie
trailers and some could make an interesting case for this film’s trailers ruining all of the best action sequences in the film itself. The surprise is that, although it is an interested marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be a pejorative to movie goers. It isn’t and shouldn’t be the “end-all, be-all” for a film to have a questionable trailer production team, but yet here we sit talking about it’s importance (so… hint-hint Sony…).

Isn’t Venom a Bad Guy?
The Anti-Hero isn’t that much of a new frontier. It was done recently by DC and the like (à la Suicide Squad, Spawn, DeadPool, Wolverine, Ghost-Rider…), but where does Venom sit on the hero-scale spectrum? Without getting too much into spoiler territory, Venom becomes a person (symbiote) whom the audience can get behind. In their own individual spin-off movies, of course they’ll be the hero to their story!

Should you See it or Not? Who Do I Believe?
No one! Believe no one! I typically love to get my media reviews from famous YouTubers such as “Beyond the Trailer,” and “Angry Joe,” (all of whom I highly recommend, both for entertainment and astute critical analysis values, which are credited to different demographics) but I’ve even disagreed with their views on different products of media. The best way to form your own opinion is to form it yourself (and listen to me of course).

What are your thoughts on the Venom (2018) movie? Did it surpass your expectations?

Comment and write below, and for all of your Anti-Hero news, keep it locked to KSSU.com

March Mania | KSSU Picks


Recently, CHVRCHES released a cover of The 1975’s “Somebody Else” BBC Radio 1’s “Live Lounge”! We totally love this cover and it evokes the same kind of emotion that The 1975 have when performing the song. Head on over to BBC 1’s website and skip to about 2:10:25 to hear the track!

Altered Carbon is an ambitious sci-fi, Bladerunner themed movie. It explores the future without the possibility of death and income inequalities in a dramatized way. Many found this series an underwhelming introduction to Netflix’s sci-fi category. Although we see a lot of potential! It starts off very ambiguous and hooks you until you’re obsessed and eventually have to keep watching to find out what happens next. If you have Netflix, you’re in luck!

Beach House’s has been teasing their new album with two new singles! We love their sound and how they always stay super authentic. They’ve been true to their sound and themes since the beginning. We can always count on Beach House to have the dream pop anthems of the year and be consistent with their releases! The track list for their upcoming album 7 has been released along with a full U.S. tour. Make sure to grab your tickets for the 2nd Bay Area show before they sell out! Listen to their new singles “Lemon Glow” and “Dive”, out everywhere now.

Another Round Podcast with Heben & Tracy covers everything in the media, as well gender, race pop culture from the perspective of Black women! They’re hilarious and incredibly vulnerable and sensitive! They talk about the normalization of mental health awareness in Black families and give people a voice that normally wouldn’t have one. Listen on iTunes podcast app or on Buzzfeed now.

Icarus is a documentary about the doping of athletes and the history behind it. Filmmaker and cyclist Bryan Fogel sets out to endure a huge scandal in the cycling world. He goes to great lengths to uncover a story of personal experiments, unexplained deaths and Olympic gold medals. Watch on Netflix now!

Movie Review: Stephen King’s IT, 2017


UntitledWARNING: SPOILERS!

Over the weekend, I visited my boyfriend at his family’s house. While I was there, I suggested we go see IT.

I usually hate watching scary movies, but this was one that I decided, “Why not! What’s the worst that could happen?”

Everything. ‘Everything’ was the worst that could happen.

Although, I found myself enjoying the film immensely, I still have a hard time sleeping.

For those who don’t know, IT was originally created by Stephen King as a book. In 1990, IT got a movie adaptation that was created by Tommy Lee Wallace and starred Tim Curry as the original Pennywise The Dancing Clown.

In this new, remastered version of the movie, Bill Skarsgård brings Pennywise back to life in a chilling, horrifying, thrilling way. I thought Bill did a fantastic job at portraying the evil clown, especially with his smile and off-set eyes. Which, I found out, he could do ‘on cue’. Meaning that he could intentionally drift his eyes 2 different directions. This was one of the creepiest factors that caught me off-guard, but I found to be the most useful for his roll.

The movie takes place during a summer in the 80s, as 7 kids set out to defeat a living nightmare. Losers’ Club leader, Bill Denbrough, played by Jaeden Lienberher, has a strong belief that his younger brother Georgie, played by Jackson Robert Scott, isn’t dead. He is dead-set on the thought that his brother came out of another end of the sewers, after falling in to reclaim a paper boat Bill made for him to play with in the rain.

Throughout the movie, Pennywise takes advantage of Bill’s fear; finding Georgie truly dead. This was the main plot of the movie.

In my opinion, I thought this movie was very well-made. Just within the first few minutes of the movie, I was already in tears (Poor Georgie!).

There was always that feeling that Georgie wasn’t really dead, and was simply taken as hostage by Pennywise. I wanted to believe that the boy was alive the whole movie, but I don’t think anyone would’ve survived getting their arm bitten off and losing that much blood. Still, I have a huge soft spot for children, and I honestly wanted to believe Bill that Georgie was alive and well.

Bill was always full of hope, and would do anything to make sure his friends were safe and okay with his decisions. He was brave when entering the house on Neibolt street, and Richie even comments on his monologue, “He didn’t stutter once.” Which was a noticeable trait of Bill throughout the movie, and he would try reciting poetry to help him get over his stuttering habit.

Though, my favorite part of the movie had to be the ending scene where the kids go and save Beverly in the sewers. This was my favorite scene because it shows how Pennywise knows the fears of each kid, and uses it against them while they make their way through the sewer pipes. I enjoyed seeing the CGI effects when Stanley’s face was being engulfed by his fear, which was a women in a painting with an off-puting face. She is creepy in her own way, and reminded me of the Mother from Mama.

But I also liked this scene because we finally see where Pennywise hides and takes his victims. It’s oddly appealing to the eye, as you get a glimpse of all the children Pennywise has taken and killed over the years- which is hundreds. The pile of lost toys and clothes from his victims pile up in the center of the sewers, creating a mountain of sorts. Floating around it are all the children the clown has taken and feasted upon.

If that doesn’t creep you out enough, you must not like children.

Another scene I enjoyed was when Eddie fell from the ceiling and broke his arm, only to wake up to find Pennywise “untangling” himself from inside a fridge. This was a scene from when the kids went into the Neibolt house the first time.

The whole process of him getting himself out of a knot was disgusting, and made me cringe from my head to my toes. The discombobulation of body parts irks me to no end, but this was a scene that sent chills down my spine in a good way.

Altogether, I give this movie an 8.9 out of 10. I’m docking points because I would’ve liked to see more “scary” aspects than creepy. Not to say there were hardly any- there were- but I think the movie could’ve had more jump scares than just a creepy clown staring at children from afar holding balloons. I also thought- when a jump scare did occur- it was too obvious, and people knew when it was coming.

I highly recommend seeing this movie sometime before Halloween, so you know what to expect from your crazy neighbor who enjoys scaring the living hell out of children.

 

The Oscar for Best Picture Goes to…


indexThe Oscar’s have nominated the movie Hidden Figures for Best Picture this year and a lot of people are ecstatic. The 2017 Annual Academy Awards will hit our televisions on February 26th at 5:30pm in Hollywood at the Dolby Theatre. Hidden Figures is based on a true story that reveals the history behind America’s first successful entry into outer space and shows how three African American women were erased from our textbooks. The film is monumental and inspirational due to its thought provoking story and an extraordinary cast who will awaken your deepest emotions.

Tahari P. Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a mathematical genius who developed the calculations to launch NASA in space, Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughn the “human” computer” of NASA, and finally singer and now renowned actress Janelle Monáe who became the first African American aerospace engineer after challenging the courts for her entry into a segregated school for training.

The film was set in the 1960s in a racially divided environment filled with tension and hostility. Ironically 57 years later when the film released, it seems America is still in a similar scenario. Antagonistic power dynamics showed the racist attitudes of this time; the hilarious and talented Jim Parsons stepped outside of his realm to play the rigid character of Paul Stafford, one of NASA’s engineers who had racial bias and a grudge against Katherine Johnson for having extraordinary mathematical talents. The gifted Henson will bring tears to your eyes as she struggles daily to use the restroom because the “colored” bathroom was placed several blocks away. The actor’s performances will have you speechless and sobbing into your popcorn.

Although there is no debate on the film’s deservingness for its nomination, there is some friendly competition among the other nominees for Best Picture that include “Fences,” “Lions,” and “Moonlight,” all of which are phenomenal films.

Director Theodore Melfi and producer Pharrell Williams also deserve some praise for helping retell such an incredible story that brings people together, but also for its huge success. Hidden Figures brought in more than $200 million domestically, more than tripling the cost of its production. The movie received an overall rating of A+ and has remained relevant in daily conversation.

Due to the current state of American society and politics, this film reminds us how far we have come in achieving equality. With the power of love, gratitude, and acceptance, we can transcend the impossible to create a world filled with peace, love, and understanding.

Afflicted- Scary Movie Review


afflictedRecently, I have been reminded of one of my old favorite movies, “Interview with the Vampire” with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. This movie came out in 1994 and I saw it a few years later as a young kid. In comparison, a recent vampire film that I watched was title, “Afflicted” which came out in 2013 and starred no famous actors. However, a brief synopsis of this film is based upon two people named Cliff and Derek who are interested in backpacking through 17 counties all over the world. The roll of Cliff was to document every city and traveling experience they encountered while Derek’s main motive was to get out and see the world, because he had an inoperable brain aneurysm. During this backpack adventure, Derek sleeps with a stranger who ends up biting and bludgeoning him. As a result, he has some adverse side effects, such as seizures, and throwing up with the inability to be exposed to the sun. In addition, they slowly discover Derek has super human abilities, which include: running at a fast rate, climbing tall buildings, jumping long distance, and his body is able to repair any damages he experiences. In this process, he continually has to seek human blood to stay alive and learns that he has become the victim of a vampire attack. Once he realizes the conditions he has to live with, he has to choose to utilize his vampire strengths for good or evil. I will not tell you which direction he chooses to go, but instead I will let you watch the film.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the scare factor of this movie a 4. Despite the fact that this film did not have a lot of scenes that would make you jump out of your seat, the genre was still considered horror. This film was appealing to me, because I have been personally interested in backpacking through Europe after I graduate. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the way this movie was shot. The film was shot in first person, handycam style, but it was less disorienting than the original Blair Witch Project. In regards to recommending this film to others, I thought it was appealing, but I would not recommend it to those who are looking to be shocked or frightened.

Overall, if I were reviewing this movie I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. It was not a bad movie, but it was not the best horror film I have watched. Personally, I am more interested in movies directed by Rob Zombie, such as House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and his remake of Halloween. Rob Zombie makes twisted movies that I find to be much scarier than Afflicted. Rob Zombie recently came out with a movie titled 31 that is in theatres now. I recently viewed the trailer for 31 and I think that it looks like a much scarier film that I would like to watch and potentially recommend for more serious horror buffs.

Lights Out movie review


lightsoutA good scary movie is hard to come by. Let me tell you about a movie that not only was a scary $9.95 to see, but turned out to be a pretty good horror and slightly comical movie. Worth. Every. Penny.

It’s called “Lights Out.”

The movie came out in theaters on July 22, 2016. It centers around a broken family who is haunted by Diana, this evil woman like creature.

But only when the lights are out.

The movie is directed by James Wan, who is responsible for childhood nightmares across America for directing “The Conjuring”, “Saw” and “Annabelle.”

The distant “I left the house as soon as I could” daughter, Rebecca is the movie’s protagonist. She swoops in to save her little brother from being traumatized by their unstable mom and Diana, only to be haunted herself.

It turns out Diana was the mom’s childhood friend and now she’s back to visit. And the mom’s cool with it just as long as Diana plays nice with everyone. Like that happens. The story line is very simple but I think that’s what makes this movie a good one. Although there is a twist at the end that you can see coming a mile away.

One would think this movie would have a relatively easy solution- just keep all the lights on.

They tried that. And some mystic force shut off all the lights.

I will say that these characters get really creative in their sources of light. And one character in this film really surprised me. Yay for character development. Cue “light” applause. But you will find yourself yelling at various characters who make stupid decisions throughout the film. What else is new?

Either I’ve seen way too many scary movies that I’ve become immune to horror or I’m just losing it.

I really hope I’m not the only one who found this movie funny.

I won’t describe the specific details of the hilarity- I don’t want to spoil it for you! But get ready to from your heart racing with fear to laughing all in a matter of 10 seconds.

Did I go home and turn on all the lights right when I walked through the door? No. That’s wasteful. But did I think about it for a spilt second? Yes. And you will too.

So moral of the story is don’t shut off the lights.

Or else.

Just kidding.

But, really.

 

Deadpool Movie Spoilers


Deadpool

I was lucky enough to catch the press release of Deadpool. Being a long time Deadpool fan I’ve been waiting for this movie for a very very long time, and didn’t expect it to live up to my expectation, but it did. Oh how it did.

If you’re unfamiliar with Deadpool, he’s a mercenary that’s basically walking around with the healing factor of Wolverine. He had cancer when his healing factor kicked in so the cancer is supposedly being healed by the healing factor and bubbles to the surface. Leaving his skin in a less desirable form. This is why he’s always walking around in his superhero get up.

The movie is sporting Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with the mouth, and we even have guest appearances from Colossus and teenage warhead. Deadpool is constantly breaking the fourth wall, such as mentioning how their budget was too small to have more xmen in the movie. Sadly Domino and Cable don’t join us in this film either. We do get Blind Al and a short cameo of Bob, from hydra.

A lot of details from the comics are in the film, such as Wade Wilsons love of Bea Arthur, you can see him sporting some Bea Arthur Gear earlier in the movie. They also make constant references to the wolverine movie, as well as the Green Lantern movie.

There were a few facts that were a little off though, TJ Miller(Silicon Valley) although doing a great job playing Weasel Deadpools sidekick and confidant. Actually plays the bartender in this movie, instead of playing Deadpools Gadget making lackey. Also the dynamics of Deadpool’s and Blind Al’s friendship seems to be a bit more sane in the movie. I can’t help but feel this was intentionally done in order to make the character a little more likable on the screen. Watching Deadpool switch Blind Al’s medication on screen might have given people the wrong idea about our superhero. Although he is more or less a bad guy, he’s also more or less a good guy and that’s what the fans expect of him. Also I miss the yellow boxes, I get that it may have been difficult to insert into the movie, but I miss them. Even with some small alterations to the characters it didn’t distract to the overall feel of the movie. There’s a lot of fourth wall breaking, and dark humor that makes deadpool so gosh darn lovable as a superhero. Also his taste in pizza is impeccable I may just be getting a Pineapple and Black Olive pizza tonight.

I believe this movie will be the romantic feel good movie of the year. Just a heads up if it’s your pick for a romantic Valentines day, it is a bit violent. Think a comedic rendition of Resident Evil violent. Or the movie Judge Dredd kind of violent, this probably isn’t something you want to be taking your kids to on a family outing.

My name is Chris Diel, and I’m a dj with KSSU when i’m not patiently waiting for Deadpool, i’m watching it.

He never died 2015 Review (Spoilers)


HeneverDied

Much like Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins has been sitting on the sidelines in the cinematic universe far too long! Henry isn’t just a punk singing Icon known for his role in Black Flag he is also a writer, a radio host, a spoken word artist, and is in a myriad of movies both exceptional films as well as those that fall on the low budget B-side of things. Although with the enormous amount of movies Henry Rollins has been in over the years he generally finds himself in a supporting role. The lowly promotional speaker(feast) or a disc Jockey(Suck) are merely a few roles that this exceptional performer has been cast over the years.

He never died written and directed by Jason Krawczyk premiered at South by Southwest in 2015 and centers around a character known has Jack, played by Henry Rollins. We start the movie watching Jack lay in bed in a dimly lit room, staring at the ceiling, he seems to be lost in thought or merely waiting for something. The soundtrack starts off full of dark and almost violent sounds, possibly to represent the memories of a dark past. Jack goes through the movie with a monotone voice and close to no expression at all, he exhibits the attitude of a man who just doesn’t seem to care anymore, and it isn’t until about the half way point that we start seeing him change.

If you’re worried about spoilers you may want to consider this your stop.

A good half an hour into the movie we start seeing Jack for being more then a lonely man who seems to have given up on any joy in this world. It was hard to place, somewhere between a werewolf or a vampire, but this movie took a decided turn into the supernatural. It isn’t until the very end that Jack makes it clear that he is something akin to a vampire, but so much more. See what isn’t immediately obvious from the beginning of the movie is that this is a movie based on a biblical character. Jack is a pseudonym, merely 1 of many names that the character Cain has been known by over the years. According to Jack he is something akin to a vampire but he prefers not to use the word, it’s also not clear that they are following the traditional strengths/weaknesses that many movies use for their vampires. The movie switches gears from a slow paced film to a fast paced horror action flick. It’s towards the end when Jack has transformed in the viewers eyes from Man to beast that his human side starts to come out again and we start seeing real emotions.

Personally I really enjoyed it, but I can see it not being for everyone. It was good to see Henry Rollins in a leading role, and they are looking into making He never died into a TV show so there is the possibility that he could continue as the character Jack in the same way that Bruce Campbell is playing Ash in the new show Ash vs. the Evil Dead.

My name is Chris Diel and I’m a dj at KSSU

Krampus 2015 Spoilers


KrampusKrampus is a 2015 movie about the true spirit of Christmas. We begin the movie following a small boy as he is constantly told that Santa Clause isn’t real, he carries around a half written letter to the man, but it’s after his relatives visit and tease him mercilessly that he eventually discards it. Without realizing this singular event acted as a call to another power, an ancient being who ascends from the underworld to seek his vengeance on anyone who would turn their back on the true spirit of Christmas. A being known none other as Krampus.

So traditionally Krampus is Santa Clause’s evil counterpart during the Christmas celebrations. His appearance varies, but he generally has goat horns, hooves and a forked tongue. Krampus has chains covered in bells and has a sack that he abducts bad children with to later transport to hell. While Santa is handing out gifts to the good children, Krampus is responsible for the Cole bad children receive. Krampus appears in a lot of modern media most notably American Dad, and an episode of Grimm.

In the movie they draw some pretty strong parallel’s between the physical appearance of Santa Clause and Krampus. In fact they don’t really reinforce the idea that Santa Clause actually exists in their world, we only see Krampus who in their depiction looks like Santa Clause with hooves, goat horns, and chains covered in bells and hooks. He is accompanied by an army of evil elves making vicious Hellraiser inspired creatures/gifts to go in and cause havoc. There are even some evil gingerbread men cookies that were kind of hilarious.

At times I really want to call this movie a horror film, but there is a small comic element that pops up at times(mainly the gingerbread men) which sort of kills the tension of what should be a scary movie. Towards the end of the movie we come to an ending that I would have to consider possibly the best horror film ending you could hope for in something like this. Then for some reason the film kept going, and we end up with a “It was all a dream” ending with a hint that maybe it wasn’t just a dream.

To be honest I couldn’t tell you whether I would actually recommend this movie, and If I did I’m not sure who I should recommend it to. It definitely has elements of a horror movie, but it just doesn’t end up feeling like a horror movie when everything is said and done. The ending was more akin to the Jumanji ending, except where Jumanji is generally a family friendly movie all the way through and can get away with that kind of thing Krampus is a horror movie right up until the end. Then horror film fans are robbed of a suiting ending, I really just don’t know what to make of it.

I’m hearing a lot of mixed reviews from other people as well. Where i’m on the fence a lot of people either love it or hate it so I’d suggest for the curious to just give it a shot and see for yourselves.

 

I am DJ Good Deal a DJ at KSSU

Tapeheads 1988


TapeheadsI’ve been binge watching Netflix lately and I came across a flick with John Cusack and Tim Robbins(Shawshank Redemption) released in 1988 it’s a bit earlier in their career. In the movie they are a couple of security guards who have grown fed up with their jobs and end up cutting loose on a birthday. After trashing the place and making a small music video of the process they’re canned.

Josh Tager played by Tim Robbins takes this seriously as any one would on a day they just lost their jobs, but the less level headed dreamer Ivan Alexeev played by John Cusack finds this to be an opportunity to run off and do what they really want to. So the duo travel through the land of Los Angeles to start their career of fame and fortune. Of course things never go as planned as they the duo attempts to make it big making music videos, but in turn end up stuck doing commercials for free fried chicken(seems like a good deal though.)

The story overall feels a bit whimsical in a lot of ways, as they’re traveling around they come across the daughter of a very rich man who lets them stay in her warehouse for free. It’s there that they develop their new enterprise. Throughout the film the people don’t seem overly serious either, this is a movie where even professional hit men cut loose and end up making their own music video.

Every once in awhile it’s nice to go back and watch something from the beginning of one of your favorite actors careers, and I found this movie to be a comical and enjoyable flick. Not something you want to take too seriously, but something you could throw on in the background while you’re focusing on something else.

My name is Chris Diel, and I watch movies. I also DJ at KSSU