Dune (2021) (Dune: Part 1) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A cinematic work of genius and masterclass in literary adaptation     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Dune. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

Dune Review

Few films have filled me full of trepidation and promise, like the prospect of another Dune film. Dune is a book series that means a lot to me, and the miniseries fits in as one of those foundational moments where you discover the joys of filmmaking. Add to this the spectacular run of films from Denis Villeneuve from Sicario, Arrival & Blade Runner 2049, one of which was my top movie in 2016. Look, this is a long way of saying I came into this with very high expectations, and can I say that this film exceeded all of them.  

So to set the scene, in an empire that spans the galaxy, the most valuable commodity is The Spice Melange. It extends life, allows intergalactic travel, and can only be found on one planet in the entire galaxy: Arrakis, Dune. The brutal House Harkonnen runs Dune, though its cruel Barron (Stellan Skarsgård) and his nephew Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista), commonly called “Beast Rabban”. But their time running Arrakis is up, as the Emperor has decreed that House Harkonnen’s mortal Enemies House Atreides, led by Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), manages the planet. All is well, but Leto is fearful for him, his son Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and consort Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Because while this is a great opportunity, it could also be a trap.

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Movie Review – Sicario: Day of the Soldado

TL;DR – When you have lost so many of the components that made up the first film it is going to have an effect, and the follow-up never quite reaches the heights of the first.

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Sicario Day of the Soldado. Image Credit: Lionsgate/Sony

Review

The first Sicario (see review) was a film that was equal parts facilitating, beautiful, and deeply problematic. It followed a new recruit as they worked through the often murky situation that is the US/Mexico border where cartels smuggle drugs and people. It was a film that was the master at crafting tension, it weaponised sunsets, had some truly phenomenal acting. However, it also engaged in some deeply problematic events but tried to ignore the ramifications. So with that in mind, I was interested to see where they would go with a sequel when through tragedy and unavailability they have lost their director, cinematographer, composer, and one of the lead actors. Can it hold up with such a change, well no, but it still does have its moments.

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Exploring the Past – Sicario (2015)

TL;DR – A masterful look at how to use tension to build a story in a brutal world

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Sicario. Image Credit: Lionsgate

Review
Today I got to cross a film off my pile of shame that has been sitting there for quite a while. Sicario was one of those films that were made by people I have come to deeply respect in the film industry but at the time when it came out, I was not in the right head space to give it a watch. Ever since then I have been meaning to go back and give it a go if only to add to my understanding of some of these filmmaker’s work, but it sat there. Well, today that changes as we take a dive into the world, or at least one perspective of the world on the American/Mexican border.

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Movie Review – Deadpool 2

TL;DR – Takes everything that worked in the first film turns it up to 11 and then gives it real emotional stakes.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – there are two mid-credit scenes

Deadpool 2

Review

Back in 2016, there was this little film that could that exploded out into the zeitgeist of the film world. The first Deadpool (see review) was a passion project for all involved because it took years to get it greenlit, indeed, it took test footage being leaked to finally convince the studio to start it, and even then they cut the budget drastically before shooting because they had fears about what an American R-rated film would make at the box office. Well as we know it make bank at the box office and now we get to see the fruits of that decision with Deadpool 2, well also it probably helped convince 20th Century Fox to finally let them do Logan (see review) as they really wanted, so thanks for that too. So today we are going to look at the follow up to the merc with the mouth, can they capture that same feeling that exploded out on screen both literally and metaphorically, well let’s dive in and see.

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

TL;DR Infinity War brings everyone together and then tares them apart leaving you with a foreboding as to what will happen next, but also an excitement as they try to work it all out.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars (this is a tentative score, it might change after Part 2)

Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene

Avengers Infinity War Banner

Review

It should be no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the new Avengers film. In preparation not only did I map out the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see here) but I also ranked every film released in the build-up (see here). However, if I am to be perfectly honest, part of this stemmed from a nervousness, could they stick the landing, could they create a story that would give justice to all the desperate characters they were involved, could they actually bring on Thanos? Well as you can probably tell I have seen the film now, so I can now answer those questions … sort of. Now a quick note today, there will be [SPOILERS] for several of the recently released Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok (see review) and Black Panther (see review). As well as this, I will try to avoid most of the major spoilers until a paragraph at the end when we discuss the ending, but because of how quick the film moves this is just a general [SPOILER] warning if you have not seen the film yet.

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Movie Review – Hail Caesar

TL;DR – Hail Caesar is an interesting film, with a lot going on, but that is much of the problem, its scattershot nature means the film lacks real substance, but it still has a lot of spectacle to make up for it.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Hail Caesar. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

This is an interesting film, but it is also a very flawed film and that makes it quite difficult to review, or at least score. There are some really interesting ideas at play here, and there are also some amazingly wonderful set pieces throughout which are a joy to watch. However, it is trying to do so much, that it just can’t do any of the ideas justice, so it just feels like a scattershot of a film, which is a bit a disappointment.

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