Playing with Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Andy Fickman
There are SO many movies that I needed to catch up on. I could have seen Midway, Harriet, Black and Blue, but nope! Given the opportunity to catch up on SOMETHING that might have had some sort of message or Oscar aspirations, I went with the John Cena family film. You may not agree with the choices I make, but I stand by them. ANYWAY! Mr. Cena hasn’t had quite the meteoric rise to stardom as his wrestling counterpart Dwayneson The Rockson Johnson, but his comparably sparse filmography is compensated with a lot of quality films. The Marine was a fantastic little B action film, he got a lot of praise for his appearances in Trainwreck and Sisters, and Blockers is an uproarious funny comedy with a lot of heart where he manages to hold his own against seasoned veterans such as Ike Barinholtz and Leslie Mann! Okay, he had a brief role in Daddy’s Home 2, but no one’s IMDb page is spotless. The point is that John Cena seems to be following the same trajectory as Daniel Radcliffe or even his wrestling contemporary Dave Bautista; people who have already made all their money and so they can be choosy and experimental with the roles they decide to take. The question then becomes, is there something in this Nickelodeon comedy about firemen watching a bunch of bratty children that rightfully drew Cena to the role, or is this a huge misstep for a guy who’s been savvy enough to avoid them for the most part? Let’s find out!!
Jake Carson (John Cena) is the head of a unit of Smokejumpers in the California wilderness; saving lives, looking cool, and never wavering from their sense of duty! Cena in particular has a bright future ahead of him as the current Commander of the state’s Smokejumpers (Denis Haysbert) is looking to retire soon and Cena is on his short list, so all he has to do is make sure his firehouse located deep in the forest is ship shape and ready to impress! With his faithful crew of Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane) working hard to keep things in order, there’s no WAY he’ll blow this opportunity… right? Well as it turns out they get a call about a burning cabin in the woods where they find three children, Brynn, Will, and Zoey (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, and Finley Rose Slater), unharmed and yet without their parents nearby. Since Jake and his crew were the first on the scene, it is incumbent upon them to keep these kids safe at the firehouse until their parents turn up which turns out to be no small task for the rigid and humorless Jake who soon learns just how easily he can lose control of the situation! Can these four smoke jumping superhero dudes survive a weekend with three bratty kids? Are they REALLY this obnoxious for seemingly no reason, or is one of them actually scheming behind their backs and looking for the right opportunity to strike? Seriously, if you were caught in a fire and needed rescuing, wouldn’t you want these guys to do it? John Cena, Obama’s anger translator, Luigi from the Mario Bros movie, and the guy who played Michael Myers?
Venom and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
FINALLY!! I have been waiting so long for this movie to come out, especially with the last few weeks being miserable times doing these reviews. None of this wish washy crap where I am not savvy enough to understand the BRILLIANCE of movies like Mandy, Assassination Nation, and A Star is Born! None of the dull tedium of films like Night School or the disappointingly wasteful Hell Fest! I’m done with those! Give me something I can wrap my head around! Something I can easily size up and bash with a baseball bat for some cheap laughs and maybe some a bit of insight! Whether this is good or bad (STRONGLY leaning towards the latter if the trailers are any indication), I can’t imagine I’ll have to spend three hours hemming and hawing about the best way to describe why I’m the ONE critic out there who “doesn’t get it” because this is the kind of movie that I’m sure we’ll ALL have no problem understanding! It’s a sad testament to the times we’re living in that a Sony Spider-Man movie (except maybe not?) is what I consider a grounding influence in my life, but I’m not the one who voted for any of these jerks, nor did I have anything to do with the September release schedule! Anyway, does Venom actually turn out to be a fun adventure with one of Spider-Man’s most infamous foes, or did Sony WAY overestimate their ability to make another super hero movie after Disney held their hand on the last one? Let’s find out!!
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is your typical movie journalist! He’s on the streets looking for the REAL news and has an axe to grind against THE MAN! So much so that he finds dirt on some smug billionaire jerk named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who you’d THINK everyone would realize is bad just from the name, but Eddie’s got the story and springs these questions on him during an interview! A few problems though. First, this is the kind of billionaire who can get people fired from newspapers even if they DON’T run with the story, and second… well he got the dirt by hacking the computer of his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) who I THINK was a lawyer at the firm that Mr. Drake was employing, so she gets the boot too. Well THAT certainly backfired for poor privacy invading Eddie! Now no one will hire him because… I guess there’s NO outlet in existence that wants to hire someone who’s seemingly as competent as Eddie is (ESPECIALLY since he’s desperate and ready to work for cheap) and he’s just kind of sitting around depressed in his apartment; hoping his girlfriend will come back to him (she won’t) and hoping that his neighbor will turn down the loud music (he won’t). Oh, and I think there’s something to do with aliens? Yeah, apparently Mr. Drake had a spaceship that crashed but also had some alien lifeforms on it; namely The Symbiotes. These giant piles of goo turn out to be rather dangerous as we learn when Mr. Drake starts siccing them on human subjects. One of the scientists (Jenny Slate) doesn’t recall this being in her job description so she reaches out to Eddie who reluctantly goes to the facility with her after hours, and sure enough one of the Symbiotes escapes and attaches itself to Eddie. Eventually it reveals itself to be known simply as Venom and the two of them need to work together; otherwise the EVIL MR. DRAKE will find them and… I guess do even MORE evil experiments on them! Can Eddie and Venom uncover whatever it is that Drake has planned for humanity and the Symbiotes? What exactly is Venom’s endgame here, and does it require Eddie to stay alive for that much longer? What chances does Eddie have for reuniting with Anne now that there’s a third slimy wheel in the mix? WHAT THE HELL IS TALKING ABOUT WHEN HE SAYS TURD IN THE WIND!?