This Month in Film #2

By Riley Roche, Jared Miller, and Alec Plante


Venom: A Fun Disappointment

By Riley Roche

I loved Venom. It was clustered, too fast-paced, and the villain was terrible, but I loved this movie. 2018’s Venom, directed by Ruben Fleischer, was released on October fifth after a plague of poor reviews from critics. A few days before Venom was released, its RT (Rotten Tomatoes) score was revealed as 29%. Since then, it has increased to 31%. RT rating is determined by averaging the reviews of multiple critics on the website. For those unaware, this score is horrible. For comparison, 2016’s Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, which many consider one of the worst superhero movies, received a 27% on RT. After witnessing the score, any hope I had for this movie went by the wayside. As the credits closed on this ‘doomed from the start’ film, I sat in the theatre wanting, well, more! Just to be clear, from a purely objective standpoint, Venom is an awful movie. Its writing is the usual horrendous dialogue from Sony, the two main characters have no chemistry, the pacing is both too fast and slow at the same time, the final fight scene was a computer-generated mess, and another number of things that can’t even be counted on one hand. Despite all of the filmmaking garbage in the movie, I loved it. It was just enjoyable to see Tom Hardy go crazy and really show off his acting skills. Additionally, everytime Venom was onscreen (besides the final fight) I always had a stupid, comic book nerd grin on my face.

There is one thing I enjoyed about the writing in Venom: Some of the dialogue is seriously funny, unintentionally. My favorite example of this occurs when Eddie first goes full symbiote and we see Venom’s form for the first time. As the symbiote is covering Eddie, we see the symbiote fix his broken leg. When the symbiote clears off Eddie, he says, ”My leg was broken and now it’s not.” This is the prime example of how hilariously lack-luster the writing is for this movie. When it comes to performances, Tom Hardy absolutely outshines his fellow cast members. Whether he is fighting with the symbiote or reacting to its effects, he always makes what you're seeing convincing. Hardy knows how to balance the implied gore of the movie and the somewhat humorous tone of Venom. If you’re still on the fence about seeing this movie, then just do it. It’s not good, it’s not well put together, and it doesn’t have a good plot, but this movie is just so much fun to watch.



A Star Is Born: Not Fun, But Great

By Jared Miller

Quick disclaimer: A Star Is Born is rated R for strong language and violence. If this matters to you, then don’t see this movie. If the R rating does not matter to you, then keep reading.


One of the most hyped-up movies of the year has been A Star Is Born. The movie follows an established rock star, also an alcoholic and a drug addict, who falls in love with an aspiring musician and helps lead her to fame. A Star Is Born is a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name, with a modern twist on the story and the characters. This movie is excellent. It has a fantastic story, fantastic actors, and a fantastic script. The movie is directed by Bradley Cooper; A Star Is Born marks his directorial debut and he does a wonderful job. Also, the script is excellent. It is written by Eric Roth, who has written outstanding movies in the past, including the iconic Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Starring in A Star Is Born are Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper portrays Jack, who is a drunk drug-addict, exceedingly well. He is the perfect man for the role. He has a shockingly wonderful voice, and is a wonderful actor. Lady Gaga, who plays Ally, is exceptional as well. This marks Lady Gaga’s first blockbuster movie, though she previously won a Golden Globe for playing Elizabeth Johnson in American Horror Story: Hotel. She has a terrific voice, and is surprisingly a wonderful actress.

A Star Is Born is a phenomenal movie, but not a fun one. It tackles the issues of alcoholism, drug use, and suicide, and handles them very well. Writers and producers place just enough emphasis on the topics to get you to notice and think about them, but not too much that the whole movie is about them. The one flaw that this movie has is that it is two hours and 14 minutes, and it gets a tad boring at times. If you are not too bothered by this problem, you should definitely see this film. It is a must-watch for a lot of people, as long as you do not go into the theater craving a quick, light-hearted flick.



Halloween (2018): The Horror Movie of 2018

By Alec Plante

Quick disclaimer: Halloween is rated R for strong language and violence. If this matters to you, then don’t see this movie. If the R rating does not matter to you, then keep reading.


Halloween is one of the most iconic movies in the horror films franchise and has been for the last 40 years. Throughout the years, there have been many interpretations and remakes of the classic movie, but 2018’s version of Halloween 2018 went back to the roots of the franchise. Producers brought back the surviving cast members of the original 1978 film, including Will Patton (Officer Hawkins), Nick Castle (Michael Myers), and Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode). Jamie Lee Curtis plays the main character in the original film. In that version, she took part in one of the most famous horror scenes ever, fighting against Michael Myers at the end of the film. Many versions of Halloween previously were perceived as not being anywhere as good as the original, but the most recent version has pleased even the toughest critics. The acting in the film is amazing. One can truly sense the fear and terror in the characters’ eyes. The storyline is exceptional. Like all of the actors themselves, the characters have aged and so has the town. Michael Myers shows his raw talent in this movie and it is scary (in a good way).

Although the movie has received mixed reviews, I think people aren’t giving it enough credit. Many people are comparing it to the original, but I don’t think that is fair. This is the best Halloween we have seen since the original. Halloween 2018 has received a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and a 76% approval rating from fans. These are both respectable, though they are nothing compared to the original, which, in 1978, miraculously , came in with a strong 95% from critics and a impressive 89% from fans. The 2018 version deserves rating closer to the original, but people believe that in some movies, the higher the kill count, the worse the movie. In the 2018 version, producers show Michael off much more and talk more about his intentions and motivations. This movie revives the franchise. Jamie Lee Curtis unfortunately has said that this movie is the last one she is going to do, and I wish she would do more. Her acting in this film is the best I have seen in a horror film in a while and I think that the final battle scene would be a good way to end the franchise, even though we are left on slight cliffhanger. In conclusion, I assert that even if you aren’t a horror fan, this is still a must see. One last fair warning, though: this may not be for people with weak stomachs. I still recommend it for anyone daring enough to see it. Enjoy the film.



Creed II: What to Expect

By Jared Miller

The Rocky movies are indisputably the best sports film franchise ever. The franchise has had seven installments since the first movie, Rocky, in 1976. The movies star Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, a boxer who rose to fame from nothing, being an underdog the majority of his career. In the 2015 installment, Creed, there is a new underdog, Adonis Creed, Apollo Creed’s son, who is trained by Rocky. Apollo Creed is Rocky’s opponent-turned-friend, until he dies in the ring in Rocky IV. The newest installment of the franchise is Creed II. Creed II is coming into theaters on November 21. The synopsis reads: “Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.” Ivan Drago is Rocky’s former opponent, who killed Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. The new movie will see the return of almost all of the past movies cast members, including Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, Tessa Thompson as Bianca, and Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago. The movie will also include some new cast members including Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago, and Russell Hornsby as Buddy Marcelle. Whatever this movie entails, it will be a success, and it will most likely be extremely entertaining.



New Spider-Man: Far From Home Set Photos Leaked, Two New Suits, and More

By Riley Roche

Over the month of October, a steady stream of photos from Spider-Man: Far From Home, set to release in 2019, leaked.

The first leaked photo showed Jake Gyllenhaal as the infamous Spider-Man villain Mysterio who is presumed to be the main antagonist of the upcoming film. After this, fans received a photo of a seemingly stealth-suited Spider-Man. This suit seems to be made of a mix of armor and fabric and was presumably given to Spidey by S.H.I.E.L.D as the logo of the organization is visible on the upper-right part of the suit’s chest. The final and largest leak was of Spider-Man’s new black and red suit. This suit features a similar design to the suit in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, where the blue sections on each side of the chest and legs have been made black. The spider symbol also features white highlights. Personally, I am looking forward to this movie and it’s probably my second most anticipated movie of the year, behind Avengers 4. The suits have increased my hype for this movie even more! I am a big fan of the new red and black suit as it reminds me of the suit belonging to The Superior Spider-Man in Marvel Comics. I am also excited for Gyllenhaal’s performance as Mysterio and his suit seemed interesting enough. As next entry in the MCU after the much anticipated release of Avengers 4, Spider-Man: Far From Home will be the first movie set in a post Snap universe. Far From Home will act as a bridge between the previous ten years of the MCU and the years to come. Spider-Man: Far From Home is set to release on July 5th, 2019.



Movie Newsflash

By Jared Miller


These are the pieces of movie news that we think are noteworthy but are not big enough to earn their own articles. We will include everything, so make sure you watch for this every month. Here’s what is noteworthy from this month:


Aladdin Trailer

During a recent Eagles vs. Giants Thursday Night Football game, there was a sneak-peek trailer for Aladdin (2019). It will be a live-action remake of the 1992 classic Disney film of the same name. All of your favorite characters will return, including Aladdin, the Genie, and princess Jasmine. The trailer included shots of the desert where the movie takes place and the cave where Aladdin finds the genie. Aladdin (2019) is directed by Guy Ritchie, who is known for directing Sherlock Holmes (2009) and the slammed King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. He can create great movies as long as he is given a great script. The remake will star Will Smith as the Genie, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Mena Massoud, a relatively new actor, as Aladdin. With this cast and director, I am sure it will be a great film.


James Gunn News

The beloved MCU director James Gunn, after being fired from Marvel Studios earlier this year for inappropriate tweets, has found a new job in the comic book movie world. Known for writing and directing both Guardians of the Galaxy films, Gunn has been hired by Marvel’s rival, DC. James Gunn has been hired to write, and presumably direct the DCEU’s new Suicide Squad movie. It is not known if the movie will be a direct sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad or if it will be a remake, but no matter what, it will be great. If it will be a sequel, the same cast will be reprising their roles, and we will most likely see some new additions to the team such as Black Adam or Black Manta. If it is a remake, it will likely have a mostly new cast, except for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, as she is already an established character in the DCEU. No matter what this movie looks like, it will most likely be exceptional with James Gunn at the helm.


Spielberg’s West Side Story

Steven Spielberg, one of the best directors of all time, is making his first musical in 44 years of directing films. He will be directing a remake of the classic musical West Side Story. The only casting so far is Ansel Elgort, portraying the main character, Tony. Ansel Elgort is known for his part in Baby Driver, The Fault In Our Stars, and the Divergent series. We have not seen him sing in a movie yet, but I am sure he has a great voice. The writer of the West Side Story remake is Tony Kushner. He is known for writing Lincoln, which was an excellent movie. We do not know how he will be writing a musical, but considering how he performed in Lincoln, I’m sure the remake will be exceptional.



Rewatch Recommendations


Rewatch Recommendations are recommendations from the writers of This Month in Film for some movies that released over a year ago that you should watch or rewatch when you have free time. Each month, some of our writers will pick one movie to recommend and give a reason behind why they chose that film. This months list: Baby Driver and Halloween (1978)!


Halloween 1978

Alec Plante

My Rewatch Recommendation is the original Halloween film. Even though it may be past the Spooky month of October, this is a great film to watch before or after seeing the Halloween 2018 film. This movie pioneered the horror industry with its knives, mask, and spooky vibes. If you have never seen the movie before, then this is a great time to check it out and knock out the two films. This movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode) and Nick Castle (Michael Myers). Michael Myers, a psychotic murder, escapes from his medical institution and goes to his home town on Halloween night to kill and get revenge on the people that locked him up.

This movie did extremely well in theaters and in my opinion is the best horror film ever, though the new version is a strong competitor. This movie takes the best parts of horror and throws it all in. There is paranoia in every scene, and it is not overly gory like the new one. This film manages to creep you out in a way that you did not expect. You find yourself wondering why people don’t arrest him sooner, but it is Halloween night and everyone is dressed up walking among a murderer that they assume is just in costume. I highly recommend watching this movie before you see the new movie and you will not be disappointed, enjoy the show.


Baby Driver

Jared Miller

My Rewatch Recommendation for the November issue is Baby Driver. Baby Driver is a cinematic masterpiece. It has action, a stellar soundtrack, and an all-star cast. Baby Driver is about Baby (Ansel Elgort), the incredibly-talented getaway driver for criminal mastermind, “Doc” (Kevin Spacey). Baby finds himself in the middle of things he doesn’t want to be a part of, and he has to get out of the mess he has made. Almost every character in this movie is well developed, and plays an integral role in the plot. If I were to produce this movie, I would not cut one scene, as they are all important to the story, and are very well done. Baby Driver was written and directed by Edgar Wright, the man known for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and Shaun of the Dead. Both of these movies are excellent, all thanks to Edgar Wright. He uses cinematic cues uniquely well, an example of this in Baby Driver is when a song is playing, there is graffiti written in the background written as the lyrics of the song.

Along with the incredible director, there is an excellent cast. The stars of the film are Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey. Ansel Elgort nails his role on its head. He is silent for the majority of the movie, but still has an enormous impact on the film. Kevin Spacey played “Doc,” the criminal mastermind behind the whole scheme. He is serious and clever, everything a criminal mastermind has to be. The supporting cast is excellent as well. With great actors such as Lily James, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, and Jamie Foxx, everything about this movie is amazing. If you have not watched Baby Driver already, you need to stop reading this article right now and go see it.

© 1845-2018, Focus, the official newspaper of Friends' Central Upper School

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