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Opening in Orlando: Venom, Mandy, and more 


Mandy Remember when Andy Samberg's Nic Cage said an essential element of any of his movies was that "everything in the film is on fire"? Well, the first act of Cage's new flick features his character's wife being set on fire. And that's upping the ante in a way even Weekend Update couldn't dream of. From there, Mandy is a protracted revenge fantasy the utterly bizarre excess of which has been drawing stunned critical plaudits since the picture premiered last January at Sundance. Kudos have been heaped upon its hallucinogenic cinematography, its well-chosen soundtrack and its overall go-for-broke ethos. The Guardian even praised the picture's "sublime use of fonts." Fonts? Now there's OCD reviewing we can really get behind. Especially if the fonts are on fire. (NR; tentatively scheduled to open Friday at Enzian Theater, Maitland)

Venom I'm not the first person to wonder if this movie is going to be to the Tom Holland Spider-Man what Halle Berry's Catwoman was to Michael Keaton. (Or hell, even Lewis Wilson.) Sony swears there's nothing to worry about, since the film supposedly takes place "in the same universe" as last year's well-liked Homecoming. Which is a bit like me saying I breathe the same air as Gisele Bündchen: technically true, but what difference does it make in terms of my good time? So yeah, there's reason to worry about the utility of a Venom flick that doesn't feature Spider-Man, that doesn't portray him as a derivation of Spider-Man, and that in the absence of Spider-Man recasts this psychopathic antagonist as an "antihero" who somehow manages to crack all the right skulls. Not to mention supporting performer Jenny Slate's apparent inability to properly pronounce the word "symbiote." Details, details. Look, I'll be honest: I was never a Venom fan to begin with. I have as much appreciation of the character as I have of any Todd McFarlane creation, which is roughly zero. But it's the people who do appreciate him that I'm concerned for here. Are they about to suffer the second crappy cinematic interpretation of the character in 11 years? Signs point to yes. I think the only smidge of semi-enthusiasm I can muster up is that I never gave a damn about Bane either, and Tom Hardy made me sorta enjoy him. Kinda. So as Hardy (presumably) does his level best to keep this ill-conceived project above water, he should know that he has my symbiote. I mean, sympathies. (PG-13)

Also playing:

Cruise Big Fan director Robert D. Siegel helmed this story of the unlikely love between an Italian guy and a Jewish girl in 1987. Also unlikely in 1987: people paying good money to see a movie about Venom. (NR; playing at AMC Dine-In Disney Springs 24)

Trico Tri: Happy Halloween A Hispanic family discovers that their new home in Miami is haunted. On the plus side, the ghosts aren't particularly excited about Ron DeSantis. (PG-13; playing at AMC Dine-In Disney Springs 24)

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