My View: Dune: Part Two (2024) PG-13 Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) has found love in Chani (Zendaya) and has the Fremen on his side in getting revenge against the conspirators who murdered his family. Paul may have to choose between love and the universe’s fate as he endeavors to prevent a horrible future only he can foresee. Dune by Frank Herbert was one of those books read by ten-year-old Mike that made me love science fiction. It was a magical ride to a world where a hero rode giant sandworms and battled to save a people from a horrible government. I read it thinking that this will never be a movie. Well, David Lynch tried in the 80s and failed, with a performance by Sting that still gives me nightmares. A couple of TV series also tried. Even a crazy director in Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to make one, but it never got off the planning stage. Now Denis Villeneuve has brought us Dune in 2021, and now, Dune: Part Two, and to my surprise and the joy of the 10-year-old Mike inside me, he has succeeded. I loved the first film, though I did have a complaint that the film didn’t emphasize enough in the movie about the prophecy of a Messiah coming to save a people. Well, in Part Two, the film is basically about that prophecy and how it haunts Paul. It’s a future that he doesn’t want to happen, but as the story goes along, he realizes he will have to face the fact that it is his one and true path. The film has some outstanding performances, with Chalamet leading the bunch. He is perfect as the man/boy who proves at every turn that he is the person who will save the planet. Chalamet has the charisma and the charm that makes you believe he could lead a people to do the impossible. Zendaya is wonderful as Chani, the woman who, against her better instincts, falls for Paul, even though she is sure that he isn’t the messiah that everyone thinks he is. I loved Dave Batista as the villain who believes his brute force will win every battle. I don’t think there are a lot of big men (looking at you, The Rock) that could do this role with all its twists and turns. And then we have Austin Butler, as the main villain in this film, Feyd-Rautha. He gives us a bad guy to root against who doesn’t care who he hurts or destroys. It’s an over-the-top performance needed for the part he plays, and he is brilliant in it. The film does not feel at all it's 2 hours and 46 minutes length, with the action sequences filling the screen with incredible battles. Please see this film in a theatre, on as big a screen as possible, so you can be overwhelmed like I was with the spectacle of Dune: Part Two. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Dune: Part Two Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Spaceman (2024) R Jakub Procházka (Adam Sandler) is the first astronaut from Czechoslovakia. He has been isolated in space for six months on a mission to reach a mysterious cluster of space dust. He desperately misses his wife (Carey Mulligan) and begins obsessing over his marriage when he is given an opportunity to see her again. Is this real or all in his mind? I like and admire when Adam Sandler does dramas instead of his Hey, let's make a comedy with my buddies in a vacation spot type of film. My guess is that most people who see this film on Netflix are hoping for some levity in the drama but there isn’t any in this drab film about a man who is on a solo mission and reflects on his life and how he has treated his wife, who is left behind on Earth while she is pregnant. Almost right from the start, the film pushes the boundaries of whether what Jakub is experiencing is real or all in his mind. The film tries and fails to explore themes like loneliness and selfishness, with Jakub slowly realizing the mistakes he has made in his relationship with his wife. By about halfway through, I was bored with the concept and wanted the film to have even a little bit of conflict or action. However, it never arrived, leaving me lost in space. My Rating: Cable Spaceman Website Now playing on Netflix
Indiefest: Outlaw Posse (2024) R Chief (Mario Van Peebles) has returned from years of hiding in Mexico to gather a group of outcasts to reclaim stolen gold from the Civil War. It’s a harsh and unfair world, but Chief plans on righting a few wrongs. Outlaw Posse is a film that seems to be made so that Mario Van Peebles could make a western with his son, Mandela Van Peebles, and bring in some fellow actor friends to make cameo appearances to make the film seem filled with stars. Unfortunately, this is a poorly written film with plot holes so badly dealt with that they give you whiplash as the movie jumps around from one concept to another. It’s a film that tries to do too much and give us speeches while almost nothing happens that couldn’t happen in the film's first fifteen minutes. Added to the mess is a villain that seems to be right out of a 60s comic book, played by William Mapother, who chews up scenery like it is going out of style. I love Westerns, but this one is just like Chief continually firing his six-shooters. It’s just shooting blanks. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again Outlaw Posse Website Now Playing in theatres.
Indiefest: Asleep in My Palm (2023) A father (Tim Blake Nelson) and his daughter (Chloe Kerwin) are living in a storage shed off the grid in rural Ohio, where they hustle to stay alive each day. The problem is the father is hiding from his violent past, and his daughter is no longer a little girl who can accept everything her father tells her. Asleep in My Palm is a small independent film that does exactly what you want it to do: explore characters in an up-close and personal way. The reason to see this film is Chloe Kerwin, who plays the daughter who lives with a father who has raised her off the grid, living in a storage shed and stealing to make ends meet. The problem is that the daughter is growing up, wanting to see what more is out in the world and by her pushing the boundaries, it means that they could be discovered. Chloe Kerwin gives us a magical performance by a young woman who provides us with a character who is much older in smarts and experience than her age. As always, Tim Blake Nelson provides us with a character that is interesting to watch, one who loves his daughter but doesn’t want things to change. The film, directed by Time Blake Nelson’s son, Henry Nelson, lets us see a world we never knew was there because the people who live in it don’t want us to see them. My Rating: Full Price Asleep in My Palm Website Now playing in theatres
Forgotten Film: Find Me Guilty (2006) R Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) is a career mobster once shot four times by his cousin. Jackie is arrested and sentenced to thirty years in person for selling drugs. His crime family, the Lucchese mob, is up on charges, and Jackie is part of the trial. Jackie decides to defend himself in what becomes the longest criminal trial in history. 5-time Academy Award nominee Sidney Lumet, known for his movies 12 Angry Men (1957) and Serpico (1973), wrote and directed the film. Vin Diesel is a lot of fun as the wisecracking and loyal Jackie, who thinks he can do a better job than any lawyer can do. Diesel was hot off his roles in The Fast and the Furious, XXX, and The Chronicles of Riddick when he made this film, and it took me a little while to realize who it was (he wears a wig and prosthetic nose). This film is a fascinating look at a court trial system that has gone off the rails, with a supporting cast that includes Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra, Peter Dinklage, and Alex Rocco. Find Me Guilty isn’t a great film, but it’s a fun performance by Diesel, and there are some wonderful and sometimes powerful scenes, including a brilliant scene between Diesel and Annabella Sciorra, who plays Jackie’s wife, that shows us the dynamic that made up their relationship. And by the way, the film is based on a true story, and the real Jackie hand-picked Vin Diesel to play him in the movie. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Find Me Guilty Info The film is available to rent/buy on Amazon and Apple TV.
Weird Credits: From the credits of Dune: Part Two: Tube Rigger
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: I Saw the TV Glow (2024) PG-13 Two teenagers (Justice Smith and Brighter Lundy-Paine) bond over a TV show called The Pink Opaque. As their bond grows, things start getting weird. I feel that my description of the film is off a bit because of the buzz it has gotten having just played at Sundance. It’s defiantly a film to keep on the lookout for. I Saw The TV Glow Website In theatres in early May.