Freeze Frame: “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (PG-13), “The Guilty” (R)

It’s certainly no surprise when a Marvel movie is a box office hit. But the 2018 action flick “Venom,” featuring a villain from the Spider-Man universe, was universally panned. It still drew big crowds anxious to see the deadly alien parasite’s origin story. But “Venom” was an uneasy and absurd mix of gory CGI action and goofy comic bickering between Tom Hardy’s journalist character Eddie Brock and the wisecracking. Brain-eating symbiote that invaded his body. The sequel “Venom: Let There be Carnage” commits many of the same sins as the original movie…and will likely still click with Marvel fans. Go figure. This time out, Eddie attempts to resuscitate his damaged journalistic career by interviewing a notorious serial killer, played by Woody Harrelson. But things get complicated when the killer is invaded by another symbiote and, voilà, Carnage. The A-list cast also includes Michelle Williams and Naomi Harris, but in spite of their efforts, it all seems like retread material.

The 2018 thriller “The Guilty” was a riveting Danish film about a police officer confined to an emergency dispatch room as a disciplinary action. He desperately tries to help a caller who turns out to be a panicked kidnap victim. The Americanized remake stars Jake Gyllenhaal in what is essentially a one-man show. All of the action in “The Guilty” takes place in two rooms at the emergency dispatch center as the officer works to resolve the tense situation while wrestling with his own demons. Gyllenhaal is excellent as the conflicted officer and Antoine Fuqua’s direction is taut. “The Guilty” shows that talent and intelligence are more important than a extensive production values.

Good news for movie buffs, the Liberty-based B&B Theater chain has reopened the Mainstreet Theater downtown in the Power & Light District. More information is available at

All of your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at,, and

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