Dune: Part Two
Denis Villeneuve finishes his epic two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel with sprawling scope and thorny politics.
It's really a miracle that the first of Denis Villeneuve's Dune films penetrated the public consciousness as well as it did. It was released amid a worldwide pandemic; it was an IMAX-ready blockbuster that was simultaneously dropped onto people's streaming subscriptions same-day; it's based on a dense, impenetrable sci-fi novel Villeneuve patiently chose not to wholly adapt in one film. The results, blessedly, were commercial and critical success and a host of technical Oscars the following year.
That success was enough to secure Dune: Part Two, a chance for Villeneuve to complete his vision of Frank Herbert's seminal work of political science fiction. Where Part One worldbuilds, Part Two barrels down the road of its inevitable conclusion in satisfying style, even as it makes some noted changes from the novel or any previous adaptations -- some for the better, some for the worse. Continue Reading →
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
One of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One's earliest pieces of marketing was a trailer-by-way-of-behind-the-scenes featurette. In that clip, Tom Cruise, strapped to a motorcycle, rockets off the edge of a cliff in the Swiss Alps. He lets the bike drop away before popping his parachute and sailing into the horizon. It's one of the most death-defying sequences ever captured on film and, as we now know, it's one Cruise himself did again and again and again. The sequence, even devoid of context, sums up exactly what director Chris McQuarrie and Cruise (the two are also co-producers) hoped to achieve in Dead Reckoning: grade A movie spectacle. Continue Reading →
By the time Silo’s action builds to a crescendo in its back third, it causes a deep ambivalence. On the one hand, after episodes of fastidiously building to this moment, it is akin to arriving at that fireworks factory. Conversely, there is a certain sadness in disrupting the series’ strange, contemplative tone. Continue Reading →
When I first heard the announcement of a new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s magnum opus Dune, I think I might have groaned and said, “God, not again.” Even with the cult followings that Lynch’s now-disowned 1984 version and SyFy’s plodding 2000 miniseries have amassed, there has yet to be a version that had the kind of mass appeal that gets butts in seats. Continue Reading →
Hugh Jackman chases down the ghost of Rebecca Ferguson through futuristic memory tech in Lisa Joy's ponderous, limp tech-noir pastiche.
It would only be frustrating to recount exactly how many opportunities writer-director Lisa Joy (Westworld) throws away in her desperate effort to please in Warner Bros.’ latest, Reminiscence.
It’s not just that Joy fails to follow through on the noir tropes she so clearly wants to pay homage to while attempting to subvert, or a cast that features Thandiwe Newton and Hugh Jackman as jaded private gumshoes in a dystopian Miami, not to mention the near-perfect timing of this movie’s release. Noirs didn’t just come into their own in the years around WWII: some of the best examples of the genre came in the wreckage after, as people still flailing in the trauma of the Great Depression and genocide wondered what the hell was next in a new era of peace and prosperity that some found just as terrifying as what preceded it. Continue Reading →