Cotton Budd’s Review Round-Up : Venom goes UHD, Harry gets Wild, Last Dueling

A summary of films we’ve checked out this week!


Venom : Let There Be Carnage

On 4K.

A rather lacklustre entry in the Spider-Man universe of films, Sony’s Venom sequel finds Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) using his sticky, stretchy alter-ego to stop newly escaped serial killer Cletus Kassidy (Woody Harrelson).

The buddy-comedy gimmick of the original, which worked reasonably well first time around, is overplayed here, with the routine of Hardy and his gooey sidekick feeling a little old hat. Woody Harrelson’s presence of villain aka Carnage adds to the watchability factor but when all is said and done, Venom 2 proves to be one of the more forgettable, by-the-numbers superhero films in recent years. Good thing they’re bringing in Spider-Man for the next one. The new 4K disc offering is a must-buy for the film’s (few?) fans, with a dazzling audio and video transfer, and a smorgasbord of extras – including deleted scenes, featurettes and bloopers.


Wild About Harry

On Digital.

A beautiful, thoughtful film with a touching, memorable turn from TV staple Tate Donovan (Damages, The OC), Gwen Wynne’s same-sex relationship drama was first released in 2009 under the title. Repackaged, retitled and re-issued (at a more ‘friendlier’ time- though we’ve still got a long way to go!), the film resonates even more so now, really drumming home its sweet but important message of accepting any sort of honest relationship imbroglio, so long as those involved are happy. Could’ve done without the accents though, detracts more than adds. The starry array of supporting players include Broadway star Adam Pascal, Josh Peck, Anne Ramsay and Danielle Savre.


The Last Duel


One of the year’s biggest under-performers is also one of 2021’s best films. Funny how that works.

Ridley ‘Fuck you very much’ Scott’s grand 13th century Rashomon-with-swords fixes on a little-known true story about the feud between Jean de Carouges, a respected knight known for his heroism on the field, and Jacques Le Gris, a devoted and shrewd squire who is admired for his articulateness and ability. Le Gris is accused of raping Carrouge’s wife and the audience discovers by films end, through the eyes of each participant, who is telling the truth.  What a captivating, magnificently performed, and amazingly crafted movie this is. Don’t miss it.

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