Weekend Movies: “Venom” sucks, and why so much love for “A Star Is Born?”

star1I’ve been puzzled about all this buzz and gushing over “A Star is Born.” I had high, not unreasonably so, hopes for it. And I went with it for a bit.

But the abrupt, unmotivated actions of the principals, jerky nature of the transitions (What DID she start that bar fight over?), Gaga’s inability to tamp down the polished stage presence that somebody who hasn’t “made it” by 30, for reasons aside from her looks, to dial down the charisma and Cooper’s deflated take on alcoholic burned out superstar strangely drawn to the drag club chanteuse started wearing on me.

Thus my review is an outlier. As I say in it and in responses to some of the almost-civil comments on it (the nasty ones don’t see the light of day), there’s nothing wrong with remaking (fourth version) a film last remade 42 years ago. There’s nothing evil about remaking a BAD movie (ASIBorn is dated, needs to be gender-flipped to work, something more than what we’re shown). Didn’t hate it, just acknowledging that what I watched was middling, at best. The nature of the hate mail I’ve gotten for it suggests that Gaga’s fans won’t stand for that.

And then I found another review which aptly sums up the film’s swooning notices. Kevin Fallon (Related to…?) at The Daily Beast says “the movie’s not that good” and that “neither is she.”

But he folded like an intern given a website byline (every “review” you read on NPR, in other words). Just give her fans the endorsement they demand.

His headline? “The Joy of Lady Gaga Being So Damned Good in ‘A Star is Born.'” If you’re going to wimp out and turn yourself into a liar, might as well troll for a little “Monsters” traffic while you’re doing it. “Cultural moment?” The box office will determine that, but we’re not reviewing its financial prospects, are we?

Her fans have been massaging the process to ensure their idol gets her just desserts. 

His wasn’t the only review with a “just take it” air. As I’ve said in my review and countering those illiterates who mischaracterize it in their enraged comments (most are too ugly to publish), I think Gaga’s inclusion politics are righteous, and that inspires fierce loyalty in those fans who feel included.

It doesn’t make a good film actress any more than that “participation” Golden Globe she won for “American Horror Story.”

And as Kevin Fallon’s Daily Beast doesn’t allow reader comments, he would have been more or less insulated from ugly remarks on his review, his personal appearance, his what have you. Why pussy out, there, Kevin?

“Venom,” the other wide release of the weekend, isn’t as darkly funny as “Deadpool,” isn’t as exciting as any other comic book adaptation. Fanboy cravings for “the cool parts” may be serviced, barely, and Tom Hardy’s always interesting to watch.

With bad notices across the board, I’m thinking Ruben Fleischer had best move on to “Zombieland 2,” because the touch he displayed there has been missing from every film he’s been entrusted to direct ever since. Are they making him “just direct what’s on the (script) page,” or is he “fixing” his projects on set, and botching them in the process?


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