In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'A Star Is Born,' 'Venom' and More

8:00 AM 10/5/2018

by Linda Xu

Bradley Cooper's rags-to-riches musical drama and Tom Hardy's comic book movie will hit theaters Friday.

Lady Gaga - Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born A Way Out Trailer Still - H 2018

Friday marks the release of Bradley Cooper’s directing debut, A Star Is Born, as well as Sony's Venom, starring Tom Hardy as the titular alien alter-ego. The Hate U Give, an adaptation of Angie Thomas’ novel of the same name, will also come to theaters, as will Loving Pablo, a biopic following the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Read on to see how The Hollywood Reporter’s critics sized up the new releases.

  • 'A Star Is Born'

    In the third remake of the original 1937 A Star Is Born, director Bradley Cooper plays an established musician who lifts struggling singer and waitress Ally (Lady Gaga) into superstardom. Initially, Clint Eastwood was slated to direct, with Beyonce leaing the cast, though THR’s David Rooney said in his review that Cooper "turns out to be a good fit, with an efficient, straightforward handle on directing duties and an actor's well-honed instinct for intimate character shading and interaction." And while the movie won’t replace previous iterations, "Cooper's fresh take finds plenty of mileage left in the well-trod showbiz saga," Rooney wrote.

  • 'Venom'

    Sony's comic book movie stars Tom Hardy as disgraced reporter Eddie Brock, who becomes the film's antihero, Venom, after bonding with an alien symbiote and gaining superpowers. THR's Todd McCarthy wrote that the film paled in comparison to Marvel superhero flicks: "The pervasive lack of imagination and resourcefulness that's gone into this film under the auspices of director Ruben Fleischer ... makes one appreciate the thought and care that Marvel has lavished not only on the likes of Black Panther and Captain America but even on more minor league entries such as the amusing Ant-Man titles." 

  • 'The Hate U Give'

    The adaptation of Angie Thomas’ YA novel, directed by George Tillman Jr., features a young cast that includes Amandla Stenberg, K.J. Apa and Algee Smith. Stenberg plays Starr Carter, a black student at a predominantly white private school who witnesses her longtime friend (Smith) being fatally shot at the hands of a police officer after attending a party in her neighborhood. THR critic John DeFore wrote in his review that "in sanitizing some aspects of this experience, The Hate U Give brings the world of protest and agitation a little closer to those whose privilege has made it relatively easy to ignore."

  • 'Loving Pablo'

    Real-life husband and wife duo Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz play Medellin cartel leader Pablo Escobar and his mistress, Virginia Vallejo, in the English-language film. Adapted from Vallejo’s memoir, Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar, the onscreen story unfolds from her perspective. THR critic Deborah Young wrote that the film "leaves an empty feeling," though she praised Bardem’s performance: "Glowering and seductive, Bardem’s Escobar is an outsize character who attracts with his charisma and repulses with his calculating, unblinking eyes."