Cinema Dispatch: Dune

Dune and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Dune is just one of those things that I’ve only ever known from the outside looking in; like modern art trends or Homestuck.  I never read the book but I have seen the David Lynch movie which is… well it’s certainly in the ballpark of what I’d imagine a David Lynch space opera to be, but it still took me two or three viewings before I could even grasp what was going on; especially when the second half just sped through years of its plot in a few quick montages.   Eventually though, I got the gist of it and there are things about the world that I did like even if I found quite a bit of it to be rather flawed and overly convoluted.  Perhaps Warner Bros had the same idea when they greenlit this remake as I doubt they’d put as much money as they did into a project as esoteric as David Lynch’s weird little sci-fi epic.  Then again, with the way Warner Bros has been acting recently, it’s hard to tell where their head is at and what we can expect from anything they put out anymore.  Is this a worthwhile adaptation of one of Science Fiction’s most esoteric classics?  Let’s find out!!

If you’re still in the dark as to what this whole DUNE thing is about, then brace yourselves as this will be a bit much to take in and yet still only scratching the surface!  At its core, it’s the story of two great houses IN SPACE; The Harkonnens and the Atreides.  The Harkonnens have been running a Spice plant on the planet Arrakis for generations on behalf of the Galactic Empire, but since Galactic Empires can’t help themselves from stirring the pot now and again, they’ve decreed that the Harkonnens will no longer run Arrakis and that Atreides will run the Spice plant instead; a task that involves managing very tense relationships with the native people of the planet known as the Fremen.  Spice by the way is… a lot to get into; just imagine that it’s Space Oil and also Peyote as it allows ships to fly across the galaxy while ALSO getting you super high!  What it ultimately serves as is for the plot is a resource that the two families are fighting over that they only partially understand, and the young prince of the Atreides family Paul (Timothée Chalamet) is your typical sci-fi and Fantasy hero who bears the burden of his family’s name and has a greater destiny that he is not truly aware of yet.  To go much further than that would be getting into the second half of Dune while this movie only covers the first half, so essentially it’s a power dispute between two great houses over control of this planet that ends up being the starting point for a greater journey that Paul has to take that could shake the Galactic Empire to its core!  Will the Atreides, led by Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), be able to fill in the shoes left by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and produce enough Spice on the harsh desert planet of Arrakis?  What threats must they face on the planet, and are some of them coming from much closer than they expect?  I know it’s a different sci-fi universe, but do you think we can just call Paul a Jedi and be done with it?  I mean we can beat around the bush with names like Kwisatz Haderach and groups like the Bene Gesserit, but frankly, I’m giving Lucas a point here for keeping his sci-fi buzzwords short and punchy.

“Kwisatz Haderach.” “The Quiz-art Hader-act?” “Kwisatz Haderach.” “The Quick-sat Hatter-axe?” “Kwisatz Haderach!” “The Knick-knack Paddy-wack?” “Okay, close enough.”
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Cinema Dispatch: Red Sparrow

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Red Sparrow and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Francis Lawrence

What, were you expecting a review for Death Wish?  Yeah… no.  Eli Roth isn’t about to get another cent from me after the crap I went through with his LAST film, and seeing him remake an already tonally uneven film with the ham handedness that he makes all his other films is an experience I am VERY much willing to overlook and stuff down the memory hole along with everything else I’d like to forget; like Devilman Crybaby or that guy who’s occupying in the Oval Office right now where an ACTUAL President should be sitting.  So that left me with this Jennifer Lawrence starring spy thriller which… I don’t know.  The trailers didn’t really do enough to get me interested in the story, and I still have nightmares over the LAST time I saw Jennifer Lawrence star with uneasiness into a camera while contending with impending doom.  At the very least though, it won’t be as bad as Death Wish… right?  Let’s find out!!

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“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to shoot these puppies out of a canon and straight into the sun.”     “I have a choice?”     “Sure you do!  Either follow all of my orders or I’ll burn your house down!”     “I think that’s called an ultimatum.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Assassin’s Creed

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Assassin’s Creed and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Justin Kurzel

We all knew it was only a matter of time until they took a stab at making the next great video game movie, and since Warcraft turned out to be such a disaster there’s a nice big opening for Ubisoft to take the throne as the first company to get this right.  Now the trailers really don’t inspire much hope as it looks like a bunch of overqualified actors in a routine action film, but then maybe that’s enough to make this a GOOD film (a feat unto itself at this point) even if it can’t quite be a great one.  Does this manage to be the sign of things to come as studios begin to buckle down and seriously try to crack the code on adapting video games to the big screen, or will Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat still be the high bar that no one else has inexplicably been able to reach?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Cal Lynch as a young boy (Angus Brown) walking in on his mother (Essie Davis) with a stab wound in her neck and his dad (Brian Gleeson in the flashbacks and Brendan Gleeson in the present) with a bloody Assassin’s blade and wearing a very uncomfortable looking coat considering the scene seems to be set in New Mexico or something.  Little Cal doesn’t have long to contemplate this as a whole bunch of black vans with hired goons rolls up on the house and tries to kill the both of him, but Cal manages to escape.  Well, not for TOO long as we jump to present day where Little Cal is now Handsome Cal (Michael Fassbender) and is on death row for… some reason.  Except not really!  Apparently a super science corporation named Abstergo arranged it so that the state would PRETEND to kill him and then hand the poor sap over to Sofia and Alan Rikkin (Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons) who want him for their nefarious ends… I think.  Apparently Cal is the Great Great Great Great Great Great (and so on) grandson of some Assassin from the fifteenth century and was ALSO the last known person to have the McGuffin of ultimate power… I mean the Apple of Eden.  Using this giant crane device which is supposed to the Animus, they’re gonna send his brain back in time to live out the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha and find where he left the damn thing so they can find it and use it for whatever the hell it is they want to use it for.  This of course is assuming that NO ONE MOVED IT OR FOUND IT IN FIVE HUNDRE YEARS, but I’m sure This all makes sense if I played Brotherhood or something.  Will Cal be able to locate the Apple and gain his freedom in the process?  What about all these OTHER assassins that Abstergo has collected and are housing in this Science Gulag?  Are they gonna be all that happy that Cal is working to help find this artifact?  Is there ANY reason this fucking thing had to be so damn complicated!?

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The guy jumps around and stabs people.  It’s not that hard!!

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