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Director: Denis Villeneuve Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgaard, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster Running Time: 156 minutes

 


 

Frank Herbert’s Dune is today considered one of the sci-fi forefathers, a richly told epic with much on its mind and an influence on everyone, from George Lucas to Hayao Miyazaki. Adapting the story itself on screen has proven…challenging, for many reasons, the material dense on its own merits and a challenge to capture the eye of audiences without everything that drew from it already obscuring the view.

 

 

Where Jodorowsky failed and David Lynch befuddled, now Denis Villeneuve steps in with a new effort to make Dune a success. His weapon of choice is the modern blockbuster model, a brutalist exercise in asserting box-office through sheer force of will. Every tool in the arsenal – the all-star cast, the source material devotion, the enormous runtime, the spoiler seclusion and sequel hooks – they’re all out there to get Dune over and get the Part Two in future that this film’s opening title implies, fans, stans and studios. The drive is considerable, and tautological: Dune here is a big name franchise because it looks like, moves like and is certainly budgeted like a big name franchise.

 

 

Has it got ambition? Unquestionably. Scale? Massively. Heart? Well. Um.

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Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo Starring: Everybody. Running Time: 149 minutes


Ten years ago now, there was an idea. To bring together a group of remarkable characters and see if they could become something more. There was a time, unbelievable as it is now, that having a ‘shared universe’ of various franchises seemed like a massive risk rather than the movie studio holy grail. A time when people wondered how the first Avengers film was possibly going to manage a story with six superheroes. Infinity War has twenty. Plus sidekicks and supporting cast members, absentee Avengers, love interests, a few surprise appearances, the army of an entire country, and a new mass of villains. And Stan Lee. The Universe has grown and grown, developing an enormous, enamoured audience along with it. Marvel know they have most every blockbuster-loving film fan in the palm of their hands at this point, so to keep them captivated, what’s the best thing they can do at this point? Make a fist. Or snap their fingers.

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Director: Denis Villeneuve Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas Running Time: 163 minutes


 

The advanced screening of Blade Runner 2049 and presumably, all advanced screenings of the film, began with a letter from the director, imploring those in attendance to keep tight lipped about the film’s various twists and turns, to “not spoil the magic”. And though there are plenty of spoilers that will, for the purposes of playing ball, be avoided in this review, Blade Runner and its sequel are not films about the plot details, not really. Despite the many story-changing cuts and decades of speculation and misleading trailers and advance screening advanced warnings, these are films whose true value lays not in the story beats but in the ideas and the images and everything else that a rogue tweet or a too-curious eye over a Wikipedia page cannot take away from you. From the outside, Blade Runner 2049 may look like yet another nostalgia cash-in, and an odd choice for one at that, but it’s no mere replicant of the original, providing a beautiful backdrop against which the series’ themes about identity, memory and autonomy are given further thought.

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Director: James Gunn  Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kurt Russell  Running Time: 136 mins


Living up to the first Guardians Of The Galaxy was always going to be a daunting task. Based on a largely unknown bunch of characters from the pages of Marvel comics, the first film was an insanely successful surprise hit that caught audiences off guard in the best possible way with its unique brand of humour, adventure, sci-fi thrills, and breakout characters. Sure the trailers looked good, but nobody knew quite what to make of it until they sat down in the theatre and had their proverbial minds blown.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2, arriving on a wave of expectation and hype, has the unenviable task of trying to recapture that magic. And honestly, although it can’t quite match the surprise impact and originality of its predecessor, it still gives it one hell of a good shot. This film is absolutely tons of fun – expanding on the scale, humour, and unique quirks of the first film, while aiming to dig a bit deeper into the characters and their own separate corner of the Marvel universe.Read more…