Well that is another year of great movies for the books! We will be back January 1 but for our final week of 2018 we begin with Venom. Tom Hardy plays investigative reporter Eddie Brock, who prides himself on exposing wrongs on his San Francisco TV show. But when Eddie tries to take down Life Foundation CEO Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) by sneaking into the company labs, he is attacked by an alien symbiote that speaks to him internally and takes over Eddie’s body. Now Eddie must learn to work with the alien inhabiting him to take down the Life Foundation once and for all.
Venom is definitely a departure for Marvel movies. It exists on the outskirts of the current MCU but remains open enough to later join them. Hardy is great but almost seems to not be given enough to work with here, but the main reason to check out Venom is the great action, fantastic effects and dark humor. And while it may have benefitted from a slightly harder rating, it is still a lighter, very fun anti-superhero outing.
Next up is a new thriller, A Simple Favor. Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a widowed single mother running a popular craft and cooking blog who meets an unlikely new friend at her child’s school, Emily (Blake Lively), a seemingly rebellious high fashion PR director. Just as the two women become good friends, Emily disappears without a trace leaving Stephanie to try and find out what happened to Emily with the help of Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding).
A Simple Favor is a classic twisty plot thriller with a very dark sense of humor and great performances by Kendrick, Lively and Golding. The story kept me guessing until the end and features some wicked humor along the way. Kind of a funnier, lighter take on Gone Girl. An interesting and entertaining new thriller.
Lastly this week is the new family fantasy film The House with a Clock in its Walls. Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a young boy sent to live with his Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) after losing his parents. But he soon discovers his uncle is actually a warlock and that magic is very real. His uncle tells him an evil warlock years before hid a clock in the walls of the house that is ticking down to doomsday, so now together and with the help of their neighbor Florence (Cate Blanchett) they must find the clock and stop it if they are to save the world from destruction.
Very much along the lines of the Harry Potter or Goosebumps movies, The House with a Clock in its Walls is a fun, fast paced, special effect laden ride that is sure to keep kids of most ages entertained while at the same time not boring the adults watching along. Black is excellent as always, he truly seems to be best when given this lighter fare much like in Jumanji, School of Rock and Goosebumps. A great choice for family movie night over the holidays.
Also of note this week is the fantastic new Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, the new action movie The Predator with Sterling K. Brown, Olivia Munn and Thomas Jane, and the new Melissa McCarthy comedy, The Happytime Murders.
Until next year movie lovers! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday December 18, 2018
A Simple Favor
Book of Evil
Dick Cavett Show: And That's the Way It Is
Dick Cavett Show: Inside the Minds Of...
Dracula: Prince of Darkness*
Gamechangers: Dreams of Blizzcon
Hobbyhorse Revolution: Special Edition
Horror of Dracula*
House of War
Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: The Complete Series
Mantovani - The King of Strings: Special Edition
Méliès: Fairy Tales in Color (1899-1909)*
Murder by Death*
On the Seventh Day
Our Cartoon President: Season One
Panic* - Criterion Collection
Sawdust and Tinsel* - Criterion Collection
Schindler's List - 25th Anniversary 4K
Tailspin Tommy in The Great Air Mystery*
The Happytime Murders
The House with a Clock in its Walls
The Jerk - 40th Anniversary*
The Miracle Worker*
The Secret of Dorian Gray (1970)*
The Shield: The Complete Series*
The Sinner: Season Two
Topper Takes a Trip*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut