From director Ridley Scott comes a triumphant and cinematic event that is a brawl of medieval sensation. Scott has a talent for realism in films from the medieval era, and The Last Duel is one of his best. The film links to many actual historical events and Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver are, as always, magnificent. The tension between these three actors drives the film.
In The Last Duel, Matt Damon is Sir Jean de Carrouges, who has many disputes with one of his squires, Jacques Le Gris, played by Adam Driver. Sir Jean also has an egotistical friend and colleague named Pierre, played by Ben Affleck. Jacques Le Gris assaults Jean’s wife Marguerite, played by Jodie Comer, which causes Jean to challenge Jacques to a duel. But death may not be the answer to this duel.
The Last Duel’s use of choreography, character development, and historical focus make it one of the best films of 2021. It is truly a visual sensation, and no one builds the dramatic elements better than Scott.
Medieval films have been making a comeback, and The Last Duel is just so good. I found myself enjoying this one even more than Kingdom of Heaven(2005). That one was brilliant as well, but The Last Duel takes the medieval film to a whole different level. It is a rollercoaster ride of tension, power, and challenging situations that is out of this world. I give The Last Duel four stars. It is a film that is not to be missed.
I’m a sucker for films that dare to go over the limits of violence and grotesque situations. Titane is one of those films.
Director Julia Ducournau is known for bizarre films that have darkness or unexplained disturbing moments. Her previous film Raw (2016) went above and beyond with violence and even cannibalism. But in addition to the shock value, Ducournau’s films are realistic masterful presentations.
Titane is set in France and the main character is Alexia, played by Agatha Rousselle. Alexia was in a car accident at a young age, she has a titanium plate in her head, and she is short-fused, aggressive, violent, and a serial murderer. After committing a crime Alexia goes on the run, and to hide her identity she cuts off her hair and changes her appearance to make herself look like a man. She is mistaken as the son of a man named Vincent, played by Vincent Lindon. The son, Adrien, has been missing for a decade.
Vincent is a drug abuser with some strange obsessions, and the interplay between these two bizarre characters is brutal. Indeed, the shock value of Titane is so strong and the film so brilliant that it won the 2021 Palme d’Or, the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Titane is certainly an intense film, and I loved it. It may be one of the top films of 2021 for me, and I was totally sold on it. I’m sure many others will be as well. I give Titane four stars.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a sequel superhero film made for laughs. The first Venom, from 2018, was also a comedy, but unlike the first version this Carnage sequel is out of focus and, frankly, somewhat forgettable.
In Venom: Let there Be Carnage, Eddie Brock is back, played by Tom Hardy. Brock still has his symbiotes powers, which were given to him for evil, but he instead uses the powers to protect others. The voices of the symbiote still go through his head, and the voices are dark, but they can also be hysterical. Brock tries to get back into his reporter career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, played by Woody Harrelson. He also tries to get back together with Anne Weying, played by Michelle Williams. When Kasady escapes from prison, Brock must convince the symbiote within him to help him regain his powers to save the city from more damage.
Despite its lack of focus, Venom: Let there Be Carnage is fun at times, especially given the performances of Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, and Michelle Williams. But I found myself wishing for more from Harrelson, with that sinister smile he always has in the strange roles he usually plays. I also felt that the humor in the film was often overdone, and that the film relied too much on CGI. The extensive GCI works for some superhero movies, but this one, not so much.
I did enjoy bits and pieces of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and it is fun if you just want a film to not take seriously. Marvel comic fans will also find a few hidden gems in the film. But overall, I give Venom: Let there Be Carnage just two stars.