REVIEW: Dune (2021)

Josh Brolin, left, as Gurney Halleck and Timothée Chalamet, right, as Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) — Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth.

When science-fiction neophytes first lay their eyes on the marketing material for Denis Villeneuve’s latest science-fiction film, Dune, they should be forgiven, if they immediately remark that it looks like an imitation of Star Wars — or other similar films. Obviously, they would be under a false impression, but, after all, it is a little bit strange that one of Star Wars‘ most obvious sources of inspiration — Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune — has not previously generated a widely known or appreciated adaptation.

In fact, the Dune property is perhaps especially renowned for being difficult to adapt. Famously, Alejandro Jodorowsky tried but failed to get an adaptation off the ground, while David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 was critically panned. Those ‘failed’ attempts are, in fact, more widely known than the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series that the franchise also spawned. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have now entrusted auteur Denis Villeneuve with the job of adapting Frank Herbert’s rich, influential, and dense source material, and I think that was a very smart decision.

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REVIEW: Red Sparrow (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – 20th Century Fox

The following is a review of Red Sparrow — Directed by Francis Lawrence.

In a talk show interview with Stephen Colbert, Jennifer Lawrence — the star of Red Sparrow — asked her haters not to see her psychological spy thriller. “If you’re, like, a typical ‘hater’ and you have a blog, don’t go. You’re officially totally uninvited,” Lawrence laughed. Although I would not call myself a ‘typical’ hater, or even a Lawrence-hater, I am, on the other hand, not a die-hard fan. I have been intrigued by her choices of late, though. With intriguing films like mother! and, now, Red Sparrow — two audience-unfriendly thrillers — Lawrence is starting to reframe the way she is perceived. Continue reading “REVIEW: Red Sparrow (2018)”