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.
Doctor Sleep and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Now that we’re a good few years into the Stephen King revival that was kicked off by IT (actually Stranger Things if we’re being honest) it was about time we start calling back to OTHER Stephen King adaptations, and not just that brief shot of the original Pennywise in IT or the numerous random callbacks in The Dark Tower. This is a sequel not only to Stephen King’s original Shining novel, but is the sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, so describing the making of this movie as Quixotic is not that much of a stretch. Then again, there’s no reason not to swing for the fences if you’ve got the chance, and the director has proven time and time again with films like Gerald’s Game and Ouija: Origin of Evil that he’s capable of making very good horror films, so perhaps the untouchable triumph that was The Shining is not so out of reach after all! Is this a worthy sequel to the original film and a great movie in its own right? Let’s find out!!
Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has had a rough time of it since he and his mother managed to escape from the Overlook Hotel where his dad tried to murder the two of them before dying in the snow. It seems that he took after his father in the second worst way possible as he may not be an axe murderer, but he is an alcoholic who’s using his addiction to avoid dealing with his own problems as well as the powers that seem to have done nothing but cause him trouble as the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel try to haunt him to this day. He manages to find a bit of stability though in the town of True Knot where he meets a friend named Billy (Cliff Curtis), manages to give up the booze, and even gets a job as an orderly in a hospice care facility where he uses his power to sooth those who are about to die with those gifts that have given him nothing but heartache for the past thirty years. He also seems to have made a connection with another psychic user as they communicate with each other anonymously, but circumstances are about to change that will force them to finally meet one another. It turns out that there is a cult of other psychic users who have found out that eating the souls of psychically powerful people will give them everlasting life and so they roam the country looking for people to eat (mostly children as they are the most potent) and are ostensibly led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s powers are among the strongest out there. Our mysterious pen pal to Dan whose a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) catches psychic wind of these monsters as they feast upon a child, and Rose the Hat catches a glimpse of her as well, so now that both parties know of the other’s existence there will surely be some serious X-Men like conflict coming soon and Abra could use all the help she can get to bring these fiends to justice. Will Dan be willing to help his friend Abra with her little problem of cannibal psychics trying to hunt her down? Who exactly are these murderous psychics, and why is one of them wearing such a distinctive hat? Will they find an excuse for going back to the Outlook Hotel so they can sell this movie on Shining nostalgia? Well of course they will, but will it be a GOOD excuse!?
Men in Black: International and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by F Gary Gray
As tacky as it may seem, I kind of want to see MORE studios blatantly try to pick at the MCU’s carcass by snatching up its major talent and putting them in new scenarios with similar dynamics. It’s kind of like the cinematic equivalent of an Elseworld’s tale or maybe even one of those bizarre crossover comics where the X-Men are on the Enterprise or Doctor Who has to fight the Cenobites or whatever. Picking up both Chris Hemsworth in full on Thor Swagger mode and Tessa Thompson at the height of her popularity is probably the best thing this film has going for it because it certainly isn’t the name brand recognition. The first Men in Black movie was good but is older than the target audience of this film, the sequel was utter dreck despite having my beloved Johnny Knoxville in a fun supporting role, and I never even bothered with the third movie that this thankfully doesn’t seem to be a direct sequel to. Still, the concept is at least unique enough that you could still salvage it given the right talent which looks to be the case with its cast as well as being directed by F Gary Gray. Can the MIB be brought back from the dead to be the next big cinematic franchise, or are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the late nineties and early 2000s over and over again
Molly (Tessa Thompson) has spent the last twenty years looking for the mysterious Men in Black organization which tried to capture an alien in her childhood home but failed to do so and also failed to neuralyse her like they did her parents. It was a pretty serendipitous event as well because Molly is a bit of a loner and cares more about unlocking the mysteries of the universe than having friends or forming genuine human relationships; a trait prided in members of the MIB! Because of this as well as her ability to eventually find them, the current head of the New York branch Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives her a shot with the new moniker Agent M and sends her to London for training where she runs into Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) who is a big shot hero from a few years ago but seems to be in a bit of a slump. He and the head of the London branch High T (Liam Neeson) once stopped an alien invasion with nothing but a couple of weapons and their wits, but when a protection operation H takes M along on goes completely awry, it could spell the end of not just their careers but the Earth itself. They must solve the mystery of who wanted to kill H’s alien buddy Vungus the Ugly (Kayvan Novak) and whether or not there’s some greater conspiracy happening with the MIB that this is just a small part of. Oh yeah, and there’s a comic relief alien (Kumail Nanjiani) that does cute things and spouts sarcasm. Can M and H learn to work together and solve the mystery before MIB or something more dangerous catches up to them? Will the organization that prides itself on being secretive collapse into ruin due to the duplicitous nature of one of its own? Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly hard to believe that THIS many people and THIS much equipment are STILL a complete mystery to the undiscerning masses; all of whom have smart phones and social media accounts?
The Kid Who Would Be King and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Joe Cornish
What, a kid’s movie in January? Man… I don’t want to waste my time watching this, especially after seeing Into the Spider-Verse! Is any movie gonna be as good as that one? No? Then why even bother! Wait a minute… this is directed by Joe Cornish? As in… THE Joe Cornish? As in Attack the Block Joe Cornish!? Well why didn’t you lead with, imaginary person I’m pretending to have a conversation with! Yes, after a rather long hiatus between Attack the Block and this one where he stepped back to be a writer instead of director, he’s finally back with his second film after such an extraordinary first feature! Seriously, if you haven’t seen Attack the Block then stop reading this review and go see it now! Now, I tell you!! You want to know why John Boyega is in Star Wars!? GO WATCH THAT MOVIE!! Anyway, does the triumphant return of Joe Cornish mean we have yet another masterpiece on our hands, or did he stay away from the director’s chair this long for a good reason? Let’s find out!!
In what I can only assume is a Post-Brexit London, Alexander Elliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is your run of the mill kid who gets bullied mercilessly at school but has a funny best friend named Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) whose got his back when he needs it. One day he stands up for his buddy when he’s getting taunted by older kids Lance and Kaye (Tom Taylor and Rhianna Doris) who end up chasing him down to a construction site which JUST SO HAPPENS to be empty and there JUST SO HAPPENS to the sword Excalibur sticking out of the ground. You’d think someone would have excavated it, but instead they cleared all the dirt around the sword and left it sitting there in case someone felt the urge to pull it out. This is good news for Alex who DOES have such an urge and voila! He pulls it out and all heck starts to break loose! Well not at FIRST, but the sword leaving its resting place has awakened the dark sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson who’s… in the center of the Earth I think, and it calls out to the wizard Merlin (Angus Imrie and Patrick Stewart) who heads back to London post haste to meet the new king! After some shenanigans and a fight with a giant monster that shows up at his house, Alex learns that he is in fact the next king of… Well I GUESS England (or maybe the whole UK now?) and must gather some knights to finally stab Morgana to death once and for all! Through even MORE shenanigans, he manages to enlist the help of the bullies to join him as his fellow knights along with Bedders, and so they must now find a pathway to the center of the Earth! So where do they start? Um… well, Alex’s father gave him a book on Arthurian lore when he was a kid, so maybe they should visit him on the other side of the country since he seems to have known about Alex’s King-ness well before anyone else! As good a place to start as any I guess! Will Alex and his crew find where Morgana is hiding and stop her before she can take over the world? What challenges will they be forced to face along the way, and is Alex ready for such a huge responsibility at such a young age? Can we maybe get this movie, but with the cast of Attack the Block instead? I mean I’m sure John Boyega costs a lot more now, but it’d at least make a lot more sense to me!
Mission: Impossible – Fallout and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Is it just me, or does it feel like a REALLY long time since the last one? I don’t remember much about Rogue Nation except that I didn’t particularly like it (mostly due to how much I DID like Ghost Protocol), but that’s all in the past! It’s time for Ethan Hun to go on a NEW mission and prove once again that Tom Cruise is a box office draw! Well… most of the time at least (*cough* The Mummy *cough*), but hey! At least they brought Superman in for this adventure! This movie by the way is the reason Henry Cavill couldn’t shave his facial hair for the Justice League reshoots which led to the weird CG face issues, so if nothing else this movie deserves SOME credit for making that movie that much more hilarious! Does this franchise manage to keep the momentum going for one more outing, or is the impossible mission now to keep audiences interest for yet entry? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receiving a mission that, should he choose to accept it, could save the entire world for at least the sixth time but that the US government would obviously disavow if he got caught or murdered. You know, you’d think that there might be some underlying geopolitical issues that could use some resolving if the US Government had to constantly send this dude on impossible missions that they couldn’t POSSIBLY claim to be a party to, but I guess a stable foreign policy doesn’t make for a particularly interesting spy film. Anyway, it turns out that Solomon Lane (Same Harris) from the LAST movie had a whole bunch of followers known as THE APOSTLES who are wreaking hell all over the world and even created an outbreak of Smallpox in Kashmir seemingly for shits and giggles. Their biggest plan yet is to get their hands on stolen Plutonium so they can make nuclear bombs, and while Ethan gets REALLY close to recovering them he ends up dropping the ball when his teammates Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) almost get caught in the crossfire. Determined to fix his mistakes, he’s assigned to go after a black market merchant known as THE WHITE WIDOW (Vanessa Kirby) who can broker a deal between the Apostles and a world famous terrorist that Ethan will pretend to be for the Plutonium. Get Solomon Lane out of jail, and he gets the Plutonium. Complicating matters are the Director of the CIA Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) and her right hand man August (Henry Cavill) who don’t trust Ethan not to screw this up again, and even Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s back in the picture but is once again not easily classified as a friend or foe in this situation. Will Ethan be able to get the Plutonium back before the Apostles blow the heck out of city and start World War III? Can Ethan just hand over such a dangerous terrorist in order to stop nuclear war, or could Solomon be planning something even worse? Just how many ridiculous stunts can they convince Tom Cruise to do by telling him how youthful it makes him look!?
The Snowman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Is anyone else super excited to see this movie? There’s something innately appealing about a serial killer movie, as morbid as that sounds, mostly because I feel they’re one of the purest forms of a Good Guy vs Bad Guy story that pits two characters against each other in a battle of wits to see who comes out on top! Face/Off, Death Note, Silence of the Lambs, Sherlock; the list goes on and on and I always find them to be at least somewhat enjoyable… though I have never seen that Alex Cross movie which I hear is so bad it’d probably ruin the whole genre for me. At least this movie looks better than THAT film did and from the trailers it looks like a rather interesting murder mystery with a neat little gimmick for the killer that certainly sets them apart from your typical slasher. Will this be another great film to add to the list, or will all the hopes I had for this melt into a sad little puddle like a snowman left in the sun for far too long? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventure of the hilariously named Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and if you think that’s just a poor translation; the writer of the book this is based on ALSO wrote a book called Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder. Anyway, Detective Hole is a complete and utter wreck when we catch up with him as he’s constantly drinking and sleeping on park benches despite the fact that he’s supposedly a legendary detective who’s solved all sorts of difficult cases… I think. The latest mystery he’s tasked to solve is a series of disappearances which may end up being homicides and he’s got a fresh new detective out of the academy named Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) to help and/or annoy him as he tries to find a connection between them. I’m not sure if he figures out that the connection is a snowman being built in front of the home of each victim (the movie is rather bad at conveying information) but that seems to be the killer’s signature; hence the title. Detective Hole has to get to the bottom of this case soon; not only to save whoever the killer’s next victim is, but because the killer seems to have taken a liking to the drunk detective and may be targeting him or his loved ones soon if he can’t catch him first. Can Detective Hole figure out who’s been kidnapping these people and cutting them to pieces; despite his hilarious name? Doe these recent kidnappings have anything to do with a case from six years ago that was led by Detective Gert Rafto (Val Kilmer) who died under mysterious circumstances? Seriously, did anyone read the script to this before filming? Were there pages missing or did someone ACTUALLY think that this all made sense?
Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
What’s with movies trying to tell us that Space is totally scary!? I LIKE space! That’s where all the Star Trek stuff happens! I mean, between Ridley Scott’s Alien, Gravity from a few years ago, and now THIS movie, it’s like Hollywood has a grudge against NASA or something! This may be the most overt example though considering it’s literally called LIFE which is about the FIRST FORM OF LIFE WE’VE DISCOVERED OUTSIDE OF EARTH (from freaking MARS of all places) is apparently a serial killing jellyfish monster. Anyway, does this latest entry into the horror sci-fi genre turn out to be another classic, or is this yet another uninspired snooze fest trying to grasp onto ideas that have already been done in much better movies? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins IN SPAAAAAAACE on what I believe is supposed to be the International Space Station, but it could just be a unique space station for this movie. The six member crew of this station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya) receive a package from a probe that was sent to Mars which has some dirt samples for them to analyze, and of course they find a single living cell tucked away inside; confirming once and for all that there is life outside of Earth. Of course, the cell turns out to be PURE EVIL as it grows SUPER fast and eventually turns into some white squid/bat looking thingy which starts to wreak havoc on the crew members and on the integrity of the station itself. Can our fearless astronauts stop this space menace from killing them all and destroying the station? Failing that, can they keep the monster from making it back to Earth and presumably destroying all life on it!? WHY DIDN’T THEY BRING SOME SPACE MARINES ABOARD IN CASE SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED!? Master Chief could have solved this in minute!!
The Girl on the Train and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tate Taylor
The only thing I knew about this movie before walking in was that the trailer had probably the most baffling musical choice imaginable. Seriously, who the hell puts Kanye West in the trailer for a movie that we’re supposed to take SERIOUSLY!? If you can somehow tune out the poor choice of music (how is the WOMAN heartless when she’s the one who gets MURDERED!?) there is something intriguing about the premise and it’s the perfect time to release these kind of dark murder mysteries now that Oscar Season is upon is. Is this an early contender for best of the year status, or is this a wannabe Gone Girl knockoff that’s simply jumping on the bandwagon? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Rachel (Emily Blunt) as the titular girl on the train as she passes by the same sight she sees every time she rides it. Every day, the train stops right in front of these two houses; one has her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new family, and the other has this couple who from all outward appearances looks perfectly happy. This routine goes on for some time until one day she notices a new man in the house with the woman Megan (Haley Bennett) which shatters Rachel’s already fragile mental state (for various reasons, she’s crawled inside a bottle for the last few years) and she gets even MORE drunk than usual that night and gets off at the stop that’s close to their house. Jump to the next morning and Rachel wakes up in her room; covered in mud, blood, and booze with no explanation of what happened the night before. Eventually, it turns out that Megan has disappeared (which means she’s dead but they haven’t found the body yet) and no one knows what happened. Rachel seems to have an idea, but the memories of that night are so fried that she can’t piece them together and feels compelled to save this woman who she’s been watching all this time… and if she can also throw some shade at her ex-husband’s new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) in the process, well then that’s just brownie points. Can Rachel find out what happened to Megan and find some sense of self-worth, even in her completely debilitated state? Who was this woman that’s gone missing, and can her past lead us to the reason she was murdered? Can we all just agree to give Emily Blunt the Oscar now!? It’s basically Leaving Las Vegas 2!!
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Trying to make a good Mission Impossible movie WITHOUT Brad Bird? Sounds like a job for the IMF to me! After the success of the fourth installment in the Mission Impossible series (Ghost Protocol), Tom Cruise and company are going to try their luck at making this into a noteworthy franchise once again. This time around though, they don’t have Brad Bird on hand but they DO have the director of Jack Reacher which was a fun little Tom Cruise power fantasy so this new guy might just be a good fit for one of this series which is known for being a collection of Tom Cruise vanity projects. While I have not seen the first three movies, I thought that Ghost Protocol was incredibly enjoyable and Tom Cruise has been on an upswing lately with movies like Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow, so there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to recapture what made the last movie work despite the absence of its director. Will they succeed once again in their mission to make something worthwhile out of this aging franchise, or will this blow up in their face (in five seconds)? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about super spy Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise who HAS to be a real life Highlander considering how good he still looks in his fifties.