The Marvel Cinematic Universe's norm is to leave no doubt about who's good and who's bad. Think of Thanos, the Vulture or Dr. Doom. There's plenty of conflict in director Ruben Fleischer's Venom, but there's a lot more gray area when it comes to the characters.
Central figure Venom is hard to peg because once the space-traveling Symbiote arrives on Earth, he ends up in the body of no-nonsense journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), giving him superpowers and a terrifying alter ego. What the two do together often crosses the line between good and evil.
Then there's Dr. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), a billionaire whose ambitions to seek sanctuary in space when Earth is no longer inhabitable, who's behind events that set much of the story in motion. Should Drake be considered good or bad?
Such questions promise to make for a different kind of superhero (villain?) movie. (112 minutes, PG-13)
A Star Is Born
Bradley Cooper headlines with Lady Gaga and makes his directorial debut with this remake of the venerable love story about rising and falling showbiz careers. With Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott. Also co-written and directed by Bradley Cooper. (135 minutes, R)
FESTIVAL: Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Now in its 29th year, the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is one of the largest and longest-running LGBT film festivals in the country. Starting Friday and running through Oct. 13, it brings 31 features and 31 shorts to multiple venues, including Tampa Theatre and Freefall Theatre in St. Petersburg. Here are some highlights for opening weekend.
• The opening night film, Wild Nights With Emily, above left, stars Molly Shannon as a re-imagined (and lesbian) Emily Dickinson (7:15 p.m. Friday, Tampa Theatre). It's followed by a Frisky Friday Dance Party at the Hilton Downtown Tampa.
• At the End of the Day (11:45 a.m. Saturday, Tampa Theatre), above right, is about a conservative professor at a Christian college who finds himself in a gay support group to stop the launch of an LGBT homeless youth shelter in their small town. Director Kevin O'Brien, cast and crew are scheduled to attend.
• Making Montgomery Clift (11:30 am Sunday) examines narratives that painted the actor as "tragically self-destructive" and "tormented," and Studio 54 (8:15 p.m., both at Tampa Theatre) explores what made the New York City spot the most famous nightclub in the world in the 1970s.
See tiglff.com for a full schedule. $15, $50 four; a few are free. (813) 274-8982.
mA Simple Favor: A blogger (Anna Kendrick) attempts to discover the secret behind her friend's (Blake Lively, above) sudden disappearance.
The Wife: Glenn Close just might finally win an Oscar in this turn as the wife of a novelist (Jonathan Pryce) who wins the Nobel Prize.
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Crazy Rich Asians: An American woman (Constance Wu) goes to Singapore and discovers her boyfriend (Henry Golding) is ultra-wealthy, and that not everybody is happy about their relationship.
All dates subject to change.
Oct. 12: First Man; Bad Times at the El Royale; Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween; The Hate U Give
Oct. 19: Halloween; Serenity
Oct. 26: Johnny English Strikes Again; Hunter Killer
Nov. 2: Bohemian Rhapsody; Suspiria
Nov. 9: The Girl in the Spider's Web; The Grinch
Nov. 16: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; Widows; Instant Family