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.
The following is a review of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker — Directed by J. J. Abrams.
Although the subtitle of this film suggests otherwise, Disney has been pretty adamant in saying that the Skywalker saga (i.e. the episodes) is coming to an end with this ninth episode, which thus ends Disney’s sequel trilogy. It has been a trilogy that has been bumpier than I expected it to be, which is largely due to Lucasfilm hirings and firings, as well as the return of a rabid, entitled, and toxic part of the Star Wars fandom, which has been determined to have their say on what can and cannot be appreciated about these films. This part of fandom has been absolutely infuriating, and it has robbed Star Wars fans of the happiness that one should get when you discuss something that you love. J. J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens was an undeniably satisfying and very rewatchable table-setter, and Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi was an ambitious, bold, and critically acclaimed exploration of legacy, legends, and failure. Now we have The Rise of Skywalker, J. J. Abrams’ curtain-closer. Though I did ultimately enjoy the film, I have to admit and acknowledge that this is definitely the sequel trilogy’s low-point, in part due to Abrams’ obvious attempt to appease parts of the fandom that could only be pacified by reversing decisions that were made in Rian Johnson’s film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)”→
The following is a review of Triple Frontier — Directed by J. C. Chandor.
From the director of All is Lost and A Most Violent Year, J. C. Chandor, and the writer of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal, Netflix’s Triple Frontier — named for the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay — includes arguably the most star-studded blockbuster-like cast for a Netflix Original Film yet. Continue reading “REVIEW: Triple Frontier (2019)”→
The following is a review of ANNIHILATION — Directed by Alex Garland.
There is this really sad quote about daring cinema that I once found as I was searching the Web for some interesting thoughts on the film industry. Actor and filmmaker Sean Penn reportedly once said that “if you put three thoughts into a movie, you’ve broken the law and no one will come [see it].” It is a quote that I’ve used before to describe cerebral cinema that was rejected by audiences. But I think the quote’s best companion piece is Alex Garland’s ANNIHILATION, a smart science-fiction film that was literally cast aside by a major studio because the film ‘broke that law.’ Continue reading “REVIEW: ANNIHILATION (2018)”→
The following is my review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi — Directed by Rian Johnson.
There is nothing like Star Wars. The Star Wars saga includes the biggest films of all-time, the most influential films of all-time, and one of the most rabid and passionate fandoms in popular culture. There is an innumerable amount of lore about the galaxy far, far away, and the philosophy of Jediism was once recorded as a religion. Star Wars, as author Chris Taylor wrote, conquered the universe, and its influences can be felt throughout popular culture. Continue reading “REVIEW: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)”→
The following is a review of X-Men: Apocalypse, a Bryan Singer film.
I think X-Men: First Class is one of the most brilliant superhero-team movies ever made. The sequel, Days of Future Past, was a confident time-travel film, and I thought that film really worked well too. Indeed, since we’ve been met with the second wave of X-Men-films, starting with First Class in 2011, the franchise has been pretty spectacular. Sadly, X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t work as well as the two X-Men-films that preceded it. Continue reading “REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)”→