Reviews

‘Dune’ Review

Denis Villeneuve has out done himself with his latest outing. Delivering us with an epic science-fiction space opera that makes you believe in cinema again.

Dune (2021) - IMDbFeature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Let’s just this out of the way first. Dune is masterfully and beautifully directed by Denis Villeneuve, cementing himself as perhaps the new King of science fiction. From Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 to now Dune, each new experience he has grown as a film-maker, and continued to submerge us into new depths of some of the most stunning visuals I have ever seen.

Escape reality and enter into the world of Arrakis, where the land will literally kill you. Whether it’s the heat, that is too hot for any man to survive or the sand worms that will swallow you up in a matter of seconds. It would be like watching a man step on an ant, that’s how small these people are compared to the great sand worms of Arrakis. The Atreides are a nobel family that have been sent to planet Arrakis to make peace and finally bring some sort of balance to their universe. Duke Leto (Oscar Issac) Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and their son Paul (Timotheé Chalamet) make up this royal family that is home to one of the greatest armies in the entire universe. Leading this army is Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) who plays a stiff but intense close ally to The Duke, and their fearless compainion Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa). Both of these dudes just shine in this film. I certainly believe this is the strongest outing of Jason Momoa’s career and will go even further and say he is the best part of this movie.

With Dune comes a big responsibility, this is a beloved franchise of novels that fans have been waiting to see a great live action adaptation take place. There is so much lore, so much backstory and characters being flushed out especially in the part of the novel that this movie is covering. I wondered how they would accomplish this ginormous task. Glossing over certain things and not developing certain characters more was bound to happen, but I’ll say this. They do it so organically in the movie, not cramming all the information down your throat, and let you get immersed into this world before dropping a bunch of exposition on you. It was a herculean task to bring this novel to life and they did it flawlessly I believe.

So what exactly is Dune all about? Two words, desert power. Paul is dreaming of a girl on Arrakis; Chani (Zendaya) and he’s not quite sure what his dreams truly mean. If you’re going into this movie expecting a ton of Zendaya I hate to break it to you, but she serves as mostly a music video girl, you’ll understand once you see it. But remember, this is only the beginning. This movie is all about Paul and his story about self-discovery and learning who he is truly meant to be. On one hand, Paul is bound to the throne after his father Duke. He is meant to be a great political leader and needs to learn how to not only lead but what is important in being a great leader. On the other hand his mother Lady Jessica, she is part of the Bene Gesserit, which is almost a secret society. They are basically witches, who use a higher power, “the voice” to control everything and everyone behind closed doors. Reserved for females only, the tide shifts when Jessica starts teaching Paul the ways of this unique and powerful gift. The world doesn’t run on Dukin’ Doughnuts anymore, but rather spice. It’s the most prized possession and when going to Arrakis a world full of it, Paul quickly realizes that it isn’t actually the most valued commodity on Arrakis, but rather its people, the Fremen. Banished to the underworld of this desert planet, they will ultimately play a vital role in changing the course of this intense power struggle.

Why is this movie so special? Because these are the exact kind of movies that are made when you think of movie theatres. The scope, the size, the sound, are all magnificent, it’s honest to god holy. See this on the biggest screen possible and you are actually being transported to another world. It all feels so rich and vast while not thinking “this is just one big CGI cluster-fuck.” How Denis Villeneuve is able to pull off such remarkable visual effects all while keeping his movie so grounded is beyond me. One of the things he does best in this movie, is making you realize how large the size of something is, whether it’s a space ship, an army marching towards their enemies or one of the breathtaking sand worms. His eye for focusing on one target that is rather small and surrounding it by just immense scale is truly world class film-making.

Dune is this generations Star Wars, hell the book was published before Star Wars and it’s clear that George Lucas was a fan of the material. There are so many parallels between the two, that it only makes sense. This is a science fiction masterpiece that will go down as one of the very best science fiction movies to ever be made. It is film-making at its finest and as I’m sitting here writing this review, we just got word of the Dune sequel and life is great, and movies are just back. Go see Dune.

I fully expect this movie to clean up at the Oscars, probably a clean sweep of every technical category and I won’t be shocked if both Ferguson and Chalamet are nominated for their acting, because both give emotional and raw performances.

Dune = 95/100

News

‘Hot Summer Nights’ Trailer

This kid Timothee Chalamet might very well be the next Leo.

This kind of came out of nowhere. Hot Summer Nights has apparently made a few rounds at some film festivals and people are impressed. After watching this trailer I can see why. Timothee continues to shine and prove that he is a terrific up and coming actor.

I think the reason why I was so impressed with this trailer was because the man behind the camera, Elijah Bynum. I went on his IMDB and this is it. His first ever project, it appears he hasn’t worked on anything else before, and if that’s actually he case, this is one incredible achievement. Beautifully shot, impeccably made, I can’t believe this is his first time behind the camera. Elijah looks like a natural and that’s what I took away the most from the trailer.

A coming of age kind of story, romance and toss in some teenager trying to get involved into the world of drugs? I’m in!

Check ya later.

Reviews

‘Call Me By Your Name’ Review

“Remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Before you know it, your heart is worn out. And as for your body, there comes a point where no one looks at it. Much less wants to come near it.”

call_me_by_your_name_2.jpg
(Frenzy Films)

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Do you remember what it felt like? Maybe your first crush? Your life changes when you meet that person, or you have certain feelings for the very first time in your life. It’s a special moment in every person’s life because well love is suppose to make you fell something, it’s suppose to make you feel complete. Call Me By Your Name is just that, a love story. Just so happens it has to be a gay love story, which occurs in the summer of 1983 in a villa in Italy. Honestly who wouldn’t want to fall in love in such a place? Italy is such a beautiful country, filled with beautiful people and in the summer of 1983 it saw a romance form like no other.

Elio (Timothee Chalamet) is a 17 year old boy who in the summer lives in a villa in Italy with his parents Mr. Perlmen (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Annella (Amira Casar). His father, an archaeologist who studies sculptures, brings in a grad student every summer to help him with his work. Elio rarely thinks anything of these students, as they come and go every year, and he never seems to be able to form any sort of bond or friendship with them. When Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives, well everything changes. Hammer, has a statuesque stature himself. From the very get-go you notice the size difference between Oliver and Elio. The Perlman’s are as the world would put it today “boujee,” they are fluent in multiple languages, well read and educated and appear to have an incredible amount of wealth. When Oliver first arrives, Eilo gets a sense of entitlement and cockiness, and is immediately fascinated by him. He gives off an “American” vibe, for instance, whenever he leaves, he declares “Later!” Elio is thrown off by his behaviour, but the two form a bond right away.

Most days for Elio are spent riding his bike, reading pool side in his swim trunks and flirting with the local girls. Oliver joins in with all of these activities, and when they start to bond and begin a friendship, Elio doesn’t know how to react. He isn’t sure if this is a real friendship or if Oliver is just being nice and Elio is merely the professors kid. Elio is a 17 year old kid, he’s going through what any 17 year old goes through. An insane rush of emotions and hormones. Elio is so intwined with Oliver, he cares so much about how he views him and what he thinks of him. The movie doesn’t give us any back story to Elio’s character, so we don’t know if he has had feelings like this before, but once Oliver arrives, it awakens something in him, he begins to finally see the light.

Call Me By Your Name isn’t so much about “doing it,” but rather wanting to “do it.” It’s about discovering your true sexual orientation and being comfortable in your own skin. For the most part, our two leads are wearing no shirts and just swim trunks, it’s summer, it’s Italy and it kind of sets the stage for some early physical contact, when Oliver offers to help Elio with his injured shoulder. The word “gay” is uttered once throughout the whole movie, which you might find strange in a movie about a gay romance. The one time it is said isn’t even directed at either one of our leads but rather a person in passing. The conversations about that subject between Elio and Oliver often happen off screen and I found this quite fascinating. This all happens naturally because director Luca Guadagnino allows it to, he sets the stage early on, and we watch as this progresses. Remember Oliver is only here for the summer, so this ends up being a painful summer romance, and when they finally figure out what they share together it is simply too late. The problem lies within Elio where he at one point asks Oliver if he is sick. Oliver simply replies “I wish everyone was as sick as you.” You almost wish these two would have had more time together, because they ultimately wish the same thing.

From the very start you knew these two would get along, Elio and his self confidence and intelligence meshed well with Oliver’s sometimes arrogance and often at times bro-ish behaviour. They are attractive to each others intelligence first, then it becomes more physical. They seem perfect for one another, but all good things must come to an end, and when the summer ends, so does this romance. It’s a coming of age kind of summer for Elio as cliche as that sounds. By the end of the summer, he is now who he was meant to be, and he is heartbroken.

The two leads give inspiring performances, and have incredible chemistry. It’s a testament to both actors. And they seemed to form a great bond in real life as well. Timothée has such a bright future in acting and seeing this side of Armie Hammer made me respect him even more as an actor.

This is 1983, the world was a different place and this kind of relationship wouldn’t have been accepted. So when Oliver arrives to work for Elio’s father, the two become close. He becomes part of the family. They have an incredible close knit family, that is very tight. So as this is going on, you are unaware of how the parents are viewing this and if they know what is even going on. Throughout the movie, glances are shared between the Perlman’s, that gives you the idea that they know something is going on. Nothing is ever said between the pair or to their son. They are being so supportive of their son, and they don’t even have to say a word. They are generous people, the kind of parents you want to grow up with. As one would put it, they are reading between the lines of this friendship forming before their eyes. They notice the changes in their son. They are allowing their son to become something, that as it’s put in the movie, most parents would not allow to happen. Allowing their son to grow into the person he is meant to become is your job as a parent. You know the saying – you don’t know what you got till it’s gone? That’s pretty much what Call Me By Your Name is about. Oliver and Elio sit outside well into the night and talk about how much wasted time they had this summer. That most things in life come and go so quickly that before you realize it, that thing you are experiencing is already a memory. Some of the greatest things in life are ephemeral, and for Elio and Oliver, their love is the greatest example.

The movie ends with a beautifully haunting speech by Michael Stulhbarg when he sits in his office with Elio and tells him about love. About what he experienced with Oliver is the type of love that people will search for their entire lives. That he wishes he found what they had this past summer. He envies what he had with Oliver, and that most parents wish and pray their son would land on his feet – he’s no such parent. It touches on everything you just felt watching Call Me By Your Name, all the themes and messages the film was trying to convey. “We rip out so much of ourselves, to be cured of things faster. That we are bankrupt by the age of 30, and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.” This final interaction between father and son is so powerful and emotional, that I feel like it’s a scene that will almost live on forever. When you are unsure about something in life, maybe love, go watch that scene and be reminded it’s okay to be different and that love is such a powerful thing. Don’t let the world change who you are, and be who you are meant to be. I am shocked Stulhbarg wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for this performance. The more I sit with this movie, the more I think I enjoyed it.

I will also never look at a peach the same way again.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Call Me By Your Name = 84/100