Hyped for Dune Part Two and Godzilla Minus One, and more from the week in film

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures, Wilson Webb/Working Title/Focus Features, Lionsgate, JC Olivera (Getty Images), Imeh Akpanudosen (Getty Images), MGM, Screenshot: Tenet, Image: Forthright Entertainment and Soma Games, Graphic: The A.V. Club, Images: The A.V. Club, Focus Features, Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images, Vittorio Zunino Celotto
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures, Wilson Webb/Working Title/Focus Features, Lionsgate, JC Olivera (Getty Images), Imeh Akpanudosen (Getty Images), MGM, Screenshot: Tenet, Image: Forthright Entertainment and Soma Games, Graphic: The A.V. Club, Images: The A.V. Club, Focus Features, Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images, Vittorio Zunino Celotto
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Dune: Part Two review: Visually ravishing storytelling from Denis Villeneuve

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two

The biggest gotcha of 2021’s Dune—a movie full of spectacle and visual wonder—was that it was not a complete story. Most audience members were surprised by the ending, which set up a continuation of the story. And quite literally at that, with the final line being Zendaya’s Chani saying “This is a new beginning.” Now almost two and half years later the story finally gets its bigger and bolder sequel. Dune: Part Two picks up exactly where its predecessor left off, as in the next scene. From then on it manages to have the same rhythm, look and feel as the first one, for better or worse, as neither movie can stand alone. They should be taken together as one long five-hour adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel. Read More

Tenet is the ultimate rebuttal to the idea that Christopher Nolan is a “no fun” filmmaker

John David Washington in Tenet
John David Washington in Tenet

Christopher Nolan was an acclaimed filmmaker before he made Batman Begins, but it was certainly his gritty, hard-edged superhero movies that made him one of the definitive blockbuster directors of all time. Partially because of his Dark Knight trilogy, and the way those movies took Batman “seriously,” Nolan has developed a reputation for making Serious Movies. Inception and its elevated tone could also be seen as an attempt to class up action movies, and Interstellar really wants you to think it’s a hard sci-fi movie about real science stuff until that stops being true. Then there’s Oppenheimer, a mega-budget crowd-pleaser about a broken man reckoning with the fact that he may have ruined the world. But while his Serious Movies reputation isn’t totally unearned, it’s also an overly reductive interpretation of Nolan’s filmography. You only need to look at one movie, Tenet, to see that. Read More

Drive-Away Dolls review: A forgettable pastiche of better road movies

Geraldine Viswanathan and Margaret Qualley in Drive-Away Dolls
Geraldine Viswanathan and Margaret Qualley in Drive-Away Dolls

In his first foray into narrative film without his brother and collaborator Joel Coen, Ethan Coen keeps it in the family. His partner in Drive-Away Dolls is his wife Tricia Cooke. He produced, wrote, and directed and she produced, wrote, and edited the new film. Or so they are credited, but perhaps like his work with his brother, this is a true collaborative partnership and credit and critique should go to both for all filmmaking aspects. In style and substance, Drive-Away Dolls harkens back to early Coen brothers movies like Raising Arizona or Blood Simple. The humor is outlandish, the characters either eccentric or stupid, and mostly on the wrong side of the law. Read More

Eli Roth invites us to Borderlands in first trailer

Borderlands
Borderlands

Who knew Cate Blanchett would follow up her TÁR Oscar run with a blockbuster video game adaptation? Well, those who have been following the long road to the Borderlands adaptation knew; Blanchett has been attached to star since May 2020, not long after her The House With A Clock In Its Walls director Eli Roth signed on to direct. She was eventually joined by an eclectic group of stars: Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Edgar Ramírez, Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, Gina Gershon, and Jamie Lee Curtis (also fresh off an Oscar run). Now, the long-awaited movie finally has a trailer ahead of its release date on August 9. Read More

Why Godzilla Minus One could, and should, win an Oscar

Godzilla Minus One team members Tatsuji Nojima, Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya and Masaki Takahashi at the 96th Oscars Nominees Luncheon
Godzilla Minus One team members Tatsuji Nojima, Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya and Masaki Takahashi at the 96th Oscars Nominees Luncheon

At the Oscar nominees luncheon last week, Godzilla Minus One writer-director-VFX supervisor Takashi Yamazaki had a moment so surreal he wasn’t entirely sure he wasn’t dreaming. In a room full of A-list talent, there was only one person in the room he really wanted to talk to. That person was Steven Spielberg, and as it turned out, the acclaimed filmmaker really wanted to talk to Yamazaki, too. Read More

The Redwall books are just sitting there, waiting for a big, fun adaptation

The Lost Legends Of Redwall
The Lost Legends Of Redwall

Forthright Entertainment and Soma Games released a couple of small video games this week based on Redwall, the beloved children’s fantasy series written by the late Brian Jacques. They are, effectively, the first time the franchise has been touched in over a decade, when Jacques’ final book in the series—2011’s The Rogue Crew—was released posthumously. That means, for 13 years, every Hollywood studio has either ignored Redwall or failed to make any adaptations of its epic saga about heroic medieval mice and villainous foxes materialize. In an industry where everyone is always on the lookout for the next hot IP, Redwall deserves a chance. Read More

10 years ago, The Lego Movie proved that a film based on a toy wasn’t such a bad idea after all

Wyldstyle and Emmet at the premiere of The Lego Movie
Wyldstyle and Emmet at the premiere of The Lego Movie

The idea of a movie based on a toy has always been shorthand for the complete creative bankruptcy of the film industry—an idea so craven and depressingly capitalistic that it seems to go against the very idea of art. And yet, for every five or so examples where that’s true, there’s an exception to the rule. Clue, for example, may be the very first theatrical film based on a toy (board games count), and it’s a cult classic now. A real cult classic, not a “I saw it a lot as a kid so that means it’s good” cult classic. Read More

We can finally get back on the Challengers hype train with new trailer

Josh O’Connor and Zendaya in Challengers
Josh O’Connor and Zendaya in Challengers

We all have our personal most painful strike-related cancellations and delays. One that cuts deep is Challengers, Luca Guadagnino’s tennis drama starring Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist. Originally set for release in September 2023, MGM whet our appetites with a sexy, titillating trailer back in May. But then the actors strike happened, Challengers got pushed to April 26, and we all had to suffer knowing “the tennis is the sex” movie was further out of our grasp. But now the Challengers hype machine is kicking back into gear, and a new trailer is here to get us back in the cutthroat, competitive mindset of professional sport. Read More

Partners in crimes: Film’s finest female dynamic duos

Clockwise from top left: Thelma And Louise (MGM), Chicago (Miramax), The Handmaiden (CJ Entertainment), and Ocean’s 8 (Warner Bros.)
Clockwise from top left: Thelma And Louise (MGM), Chicago (Miramax), The Handmaiden (CJ Entertainment), and Ocean’s 8 (Warner Bros.)

The trailers for the upcoming films Drive-Away Dolls (opening February 23) and Love Lies Bleeding (opening March 8) have us thinking about all the badass women team-ups in films through the years, especially the ones with criminal intent. They may love each other or hate each other, but they belong to a sisterhood of women who aren’t content to simply play the hand society has dealt them. They’re fighting back against a rigged game. For these characters, rules and morals are merely suggestions. That’s what makes them so much fun to watch. Here are our favorite female lawbreakers and troublemakers from films of the past, listed in chronological order of release. Read More