After what feels like a hundred years in the making, acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) has finally released his take on Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking sci-fi novel Dune. Part one of two, this adaptation is hauntingly stark, epic, and impeccably shot.
Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atreides, heir to the Atreides throne, who is tasked with saving the planet Arrakis from the Baron Harkonnen.
There’s a lot of info to get to in the film’s two and a half hour runtime, from the shadowy power and politics of the Bene Gesserit, a sisterhood of witches searching for the Kwisatz Haderach, a superbeing who will change the outcome of the universe, to the fate of Arrakis and the influence of spice, the substance that draws armies and colonizers to the planet in the first place.
But if you can deal with all of that necessary mythmaking, you’re in for a film that basks in its outlandish scale and scope and wows in exactly the right places. —Amil Niazi
Dune will be in theaters and on HBO Max on Oct. 22.
“The past can haunt a man” is the first superficially melancholic line that gets muttered in “Reminiscence,” a moody, snail-paced mix of neo-noir and sci-fi, overflowing with similarly indistinct wisdoms about time and nostalgia. It does aptly define the tone for “Westworld” co-creator Lisa Joy’s narrative feature debut as a writer/director, however. Set sometime in the future along the Miami coast—now, devastated by climate change and partially sunken, with a modified version of life still persisting on its belt nocturnally since days are just too hot—“Reminiscence” aims for something existential within a well-recognized film-noir template. Sadly, the result is an unpersuasive, vaguely pessimistic dystopia at best, one that liberally pulls 101-level references from recognizable Hitchcock flicks and neo-noirs alike, only to drown their time-honored spirit in murky waters.
Within the action genre, there are plenty of movies that revolve around one main character – particularly a current or retired assassin – going on a mission with determination to see it through for whatever reason. In Kate, the filmmakers put a spin on that trope by setting up the story so that the main character only has a day to live and must complete her mission within that timeframe. The movie is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) from a script by Umair Aleem (Extraction), with John Wick co-director David Leitch serving as one of Kate’s producers. Kate has some decently fun action, despite certain trite directorial choices, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead serving as the movie’s main bright spot.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Sony dropped four character posters for Venom: Let There Be Carnage this morning. We aren’t just getting a look at the key hero (Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock) and the main baddie (Woody Harrelson Cletus Kasady). Those are two of the four images, while three and four highlight Michelle Williams’ Anne Weying (who may or may not be getting another turn at getting Venom) and Naomie Harris’ Frances Barrison (Kasady’s main squeeze and eventually the super villain known as Shriek). I’m guessing Reid Scott (Dan Lewis, Anne’s fiancé and strong contender for tragic second-act murder victim) and Stephen Graham (Mulligan, the cop trying to uncover Kasady’s missing victims) aren’t getting posters, but I hope Sony gives Peggy Lu (convenience store owner Mrs. Chen) her own poster.
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon
“Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon“A misunderstood teenager embarks on a quest to single-handedly save the Amazonian rainforest and halt mankind’s relentless pillaging of Mother Earth in a mystical computer-animated odyssey that nods more than once to Moana, Avatar and The Lion King. Thus, a tribal chief’s daughter faces a strange sickness that threatens her land, the environmentally conscious script’s rallying cry against the depletion of our planet’s resources echoes James Cameron’s box office behemoth and Disney’s comical double-act, meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa, are mimicked here by a dry-witted armadillo and portly tapir. The screenwriters’ mining operation also scrapes creative inspiration from The Neverending Story.
An official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, The Stronghold (BAC Nord in the original French) is a gritty ‘cops and drug dealers’ film that pulls no punches in its message. But for it to have been a must-watch, it needed more to offer. Three seasoned Marseille policemen (the closest of friends) comb the notorious northern quarter of the city to prevent the drug menace from proliferating. There’s Greg Cerva (Gilles Lellouche), the group’s de facto leader, and by the looks of it, the most experienced and hardened of the trio. Antoine (François Civil) is the official hothead; in tricky situations, his temperamental behaviour (pulling out his gun, pushing and shoving at the slightest instance, using his fists etc.) puts their entire strategy in jeopardy. The third member of this tight ship is Yass – the person with the most to lose. He has a partner (also a policewoman) with whom he is expecting a child.