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SMALLFOOT (Movie Review)

Migo is a happy and contented yeti, as yetis go. He loves being a part of his big-footed community in the Himalayan mountains. And like everyone there, he enjoys each day and knows his job.

Migo is next in line to become the village gong-ringer, once his father retires. It's an important job, too. The gong-ringer flings himself across the valley and smacks that gong each morning with his own rugged noggin. It's painful work—a job that's flattened his dad's dome and left him a few feet shorter—but, hey, how else will the glowing Sky Snail know that it's time to rise in the east?

Yep, everyone knows his or her part by heart. And they know the rules, too. You see, their happy little yeti village has existed for hundreds of years, safe in the knowledge that all of their laws and histories are carved into small stones. The stones tell them, for instance, that they all fell from the backside of the Great Yak. The stones also declare that the yetis' cloud-shrouded mountain sits on the back of a phalanx of wooly mammoths. And other great facts.

Those stones are kept and worn as a garment by the Stonekeeper—a learned yeti sage who reminds them all of their sacred laws and truths. In fact, one of the stone laws is never to question the stones. Ever. And Migo never would have dreamed of doing such a thing except … except for the fact that he saw something. Something unexpected. Something startling. Something … small.

One day while practicing his flying gong bonk, he missed his mark and wound up out on a mountainside where he saw none other than the fabled Smallfoot.

This tiny little creature (that some call a "hew-mon") doesn't really exist. Or at least that's what the stones say. But Migo saw one. Its winged vehicle crashed down on the mountainside, and Migo saw the itty-bitty thing with his own big, round eyes. But by the time Migo ran back to the village to bring witnesses, all remnants of the crash had mysteriously slipped off the side of the mountain to be hidden away beneath the clouds.

The Stonekeeper says Migo must be mistaken. But when Migo keeps asking questions, The Stonekeeper banishes Migo from the village until he's learned the proper lesson: Some questions just need to be pushed away and forgotten.

But Migo isn't really in the mood for lessons. He wants the truth. And if that means traveling down the mountainside, past the clouds and down into the places where the stones said they never should go, well that's exactly what Migo is going to do.

Because, well, some questions just have to be asked. Some stones need to be challenged. Even if that means Migo might never return to his safe and happy village ever again.


VENOM ( Movie Review )

The devil made me do it!

This line never worked on my parents. But it doesn't stop me—or, maybe, most of us—from trying to escape blame by making excuses when we can. I was running late! we'll tell the police officer as he writes out a speeding ticket. You didn't remind me! we'll tell our spouse when we forget to pick up a pie. The dog ate my homework!

But Eddie Brock really has the king of all excuses: I was being controlled by a hungry alien Symbiote at the time!

And he has a point. It's not like he asked to be possessed by the thing. It's not his fault he was an ideal host. He was just minding his own business and doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Well, OK. So maybe he did secretly break into a super-sinister laboratory populated by evil scientists, dead test subjects and sentient piles of alien goo. And maybe he did smash through a lab room where one pile of said goo had possessed a not-yet-dead test subject. But did he actually invite said goo into his body? Ask it to start a running internal dialogue with him? Certainly not. Nope, if anyone lost their heads over this situation—and I mean that quite literally, given that the gooey Symbiote has a thing for biting them off—it's not Eddie's fault. He's just a bystander. Sort of.

But as Eddie and Venom (that's what the Symbiote calls itself, because it apparently studied English before its arrival and perhaps had ambitions of becoming a lead guitarist in a hip metal band) get to know each other, their relationship becomes less one-sided. Eddie suggests that not everyone deserves to be eaten, that Earth itself might be more than a gigantic, disposable buffet table. Venom, for his part, teaches Eddie the finer points of devouring live lobsters and throttling assailants with gooey tentacles.

In short, they become less a blatant example of multiple personality disorder and more of a team.

Good thing, too, because Eddie and Venom are being chased by a villain with a penchant for grand rationalization himself: medical and tech visionary Carlton Drake. Sure, I brought a few Symbiotes to Earth, he'll admit. Yeah, maybe they killed a few people. And OK, so they may want to subjugate, enslave and eventually eat the entire human race. They won't get that far … I don't think. Sure, some folks may be killed and eaten, but it's really for the betterment of all. And hey, if I'm wrong … well, it's not my fault.

The Symbiote made me do it.

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