Posts Tagged ‘Zendaya’

Fall of the House Atreides

Dune

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster

Running Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

After its impressive premiere at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve’s eagerly anticipated Dune has finally arrived on Commercial cinema screens globally.

Unlike David Lynch’s equally ground breaking film version of Dune back in 1984, this absolutely superb version of Dune is a film for the 2020’s – a vision of the future quite attuned with the current state of the geopolitical world.

Assembling an unbelievably fantastic cast including Oscar nominee Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) as the pivotal hero Paul Atreides, there is also Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) rounding off a truly international and talented cast.

To add some much required muscle there is Jason Momoa (Aquaman) as Duncan Idaho and Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Beast Rabban Harkonnen nephew to the brutal and slimy Baron Vladimir Harkonnnen superbly played by Stellan Skarsgard, who is hell bent on destroying the House Atreides, headed by the pompous Duke Leto Atreides played by Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year, Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi).

On every level, visually and technically, Dune is a truly ground breaking cinematic achievement, a carefully constructed allegorical tale on the fall of colonialism, the collapse of a nobility and more significantly the journey a young heir has to take, from boyhood into manhood.

Dune is equally an astute comment on paternity, the expectations brought onto sons by arrogant fathers, the brittle strength of masculinity, which is often a combination of skill, strength and ingenuity and the complex relationship between mothers and sons, as betrayed in the pivotal scenes between Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica Atreides, beautifully played by Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson.

Visually Dune is an epic, a science fiction story about the fall of the House Atreides, but at its emotional centre is the unique character growth of Paul Atreides, wonderfully played by Timothee Chalamet, who at times does get overshadowed by the grandeur of Denis Villeneuve’s vision of this Science Fiction epic.

Based on the acclaimed series of novels by Frank Herbert, Dune fans will not be disappointed at this brilliant reimagining on the big screen. Dune is both a comment on fragile power structures as it is on the effects of climate change, Dune is at once insightful and incredible, remarkable and respectful.

In a pivotal scene and key to the whole film is the remarkable scene between the young Paul Atreides and the Reverend Mother Mohiam expertly played with an austere aloofness by the commanding Charlotte Rampling, whereby the young heir is tested on his capacity for fear, endurance and leadership?

The Reverend Mother promptly tells Paul’s mother Lady Jessica Atreides exceptionally well played by Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Greatest Showman), that she was told only to give birth to daughters, because a son would challenge the intergalactic order.

Dune should be a front runner for Best Picture at the 2022 Oscars, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score.

Director Denis Villeneuve has outdone himself in his brilliant film about the epic fall of the House Atreides and done justice to the legions of Dune fans globally. From the colour palettes, to the amazing costumes, to the visual and sound effects, Dune is next level entertainment, a film to savour on the big screen, impressive, spell bounding and legendary.

Dune gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is absolutely a testament to the new decade of the 2020’s, a political society that has been revolutionized, whereby humanity’s existence is fragile purely because they ignored the yearnings of a planet that refused to be mined, colonised and mistreated.

Dune is highly recommended viewing, a visual feast about nobility, patriarchy and greed.

An Elemental Surprise

Spiderman: Far From Home

Director: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, Zendaya, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori

Spiderman: Homecoming 38 years old director Jon Watts returns with a sequel Spiderman: Far From Home which follows directly on from Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel so theoretically this film is strictly for Marvel fans who have been following the series of MCU films.

British rising star Tom Holland reprises his role as the geeky school kid Peter Parker aka Spiderman and this time we join him and his friends on a summer science trip to Europe taking in the best locations including Venice, Prague and Berlin.

However at the insistence of Aunt May, wonderfully played by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) Peter Parker packs his Spiderman suit for the trip to the continent.  As predicted the moment they are in Venice enjoying the canals a mysterious elemental force wreaks havoc on the Venetian waterways and is miraculously saved by Mysterio aka Quentin Beck wonderfully played with a sly malevolence by Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain).

Naturally the impressionable Peter Parker trusts Quentin Beck with some sophisticated technology produced by Stark industries only for Mysterio to go all Donnie Darko on us.

Nick Fury played with relish by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) enlists the help of the awkward school going kid Peter Parker to save Europe from total destruction specifically London and Venice. Spiderman must not only figure out who the real enemy is but also pluck up the courage to kiss the love of his life MJ played by Zendaya (The Greatest Showman) and trust her enough to reveal his true identity.

Humour in Spiderman: Far From Home is provided by Flash Thompson played by Guatemalan-American actor Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel) who has some witty one liners and Spiderman’s father figure is played by Happy Hogan played zest by Jon Favreau (Iron Man).

What makes Spiderman: Far from Home so brilliant are the dazzling visual effects especially displayed with professional dexterity in the film’s second half. Gyllenhaal is brilliant as the crazy computer genius Quentin Beck and is a perfect foil to the charming but insatiably awkward Spiderman for the Instagram generation wonderfully acted by Tom Holland who beats Tobey Maguire in the Sam Riami trilogy and the doomed casting of Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spiderman.

In any event, the amount Disney paid Sony to use Spiderman in the Marvel Avengers cinematic universe is worth its weight in gold judging by how fill a Saturday matinee was at the theatre.

Spiderman: Far from Home gets a Film Rating of 8 out of 10 and is worth seeing for the brilliant visual effects, great onscreen chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Holland and a perfect action adventure film which will surely inspire the millennials to embrace this crazy web slinger who likes taking selfies as he flies around Manhattan skyscrapers.

Celebration of Humanity

The Greatest Showman

Director: Michael Gracey

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Paul Sparks, Sam Humphrey

Set in the Victorian age, director Michael Gracey’s exuberant and brilliant film, The Greatest Showman is an outstanding musical inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) gives an inspiring performance as circus founder P.T. Barnum whose poverty stricken childhood stoked his ambitions to make something of his life. Barnum meets the wealthy Charity wonderfully played by Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea).

Audiences should go into The Greatest Showman expecting superb musical numbers similar to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land without the contemporary Hollywood twist.

Barnum soon collects a host of freaks and outcasts to star in the Greatest show ranging from the Bearded Lady wonderfully played by Keala Settle to a Napoleonic dwarf played by Sam Humphrey, all the time justifying his curious show to outspoken critic James Bennett played by Paul Sparks from the Netflix series House of Cards.

To add credibility to the motley crew of performers, Barnum persuades the aristocratic and dashing Philip Carlyle wonderfully played against type by the blue eyed Zac Efron (The Paperboy) to join him as a junior partner in the entertainment business relinquishing Carlyle’s chance of a massive inheritance.

Soon the Barnum entourage are invited to visit Queen Victoria where Barnum meets the dazzling Swedish Opera singer Jenny Lind superbly played by Rebecca Ferguson, who I am glad to see is displaying her electrifying singing talents in The Greatest Showman and certainly makes an eye catching onscreen debut in the opening number in the New York performance scene.

The Greatest Showman is a wonderful musical featuring crisp cinematography by Oscar nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (Atonement, Anna Karenina).

When the narrative needs some dazzling pace, the characters break out into song and audiences that enjoyed some of the best onscreen musicals including Rob Marshall’s Chicago and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables, will love The Greatest Showman.

The Greatest Showman gets a film rating of 9 out 10 and is highly recommended viewing. Let’s see how this musical fares at the upcoming 2018 Awards Season.

Rejuvenated Web Slinger

Spiderman Homecoming

Director: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Logan Marshall-Green, Jennifer Connelly, Laura Harrier, Angourie Rice, Zendaya

Young British star Tom Holland, who was riveting as Naomi Watt’s son Lucas in director J. A. Bayona’s The Impossible, takes on the iconic superhero role of Spiderman in the Sony Marvel reboot of the webslinger franchise in the captivating Spiderman Homecoming directed by Jon Watts.

Since Marvel entered into a rights partnership agreement to use the Sony copyrighted superhero in Captain America: Civil War when audiences first caught a brief glimpse of Tom Holland as the new Spiderman it was inevitable that he would get a film of his own.

Spiderman Homecoming is thoroughly entertaining augmented by Holland’s spunky performance as the brash young Peter Parker who is struggling to complete High School while also being mentored by Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jnr. The young Spidey has allusions of grandeur of being inducted into the Avengers army but Tony Stark is rather letting him prove his worth first.

In a poignant moment, Stark says to Peter Parker, if you are nothing without this suit then the suit will mean nothing. In other words, the clothes do not maketh the man.

Parker, played with humour and courage by Holland soon proves his worth and apparent screen appeal when while revealing his alter ego to his best friend also has to contend with an evil villain Vulture wonderfully played by Oscar nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman) and his protective aunt May, whom he loves dearly played by another Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny).

While all this parental authority weighs down on the young webslinger he soon finds his own feet as he saves his science group from a diabolical end in the Washington monument whilst on a school trip to Washington D. C. The Washington monument and the action packed ferry sequences are two of the best in Spider Homecoming, both scenes being awash with symbolic American patriotism.

The irony is that Tom Holland is British is not lost on a more erudite viewer of pop culture.

Spider Homecoming has with some great cameo’s including Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Bokeem Woodbine of Fargo TV series fame as Herman Schultz, Vulture’s evil sidekick known as Shocker 2. Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) plays the ill-advised first evil sidekick Shock 1.

Parker’s love interest is high school crush Liz played by Laura Harrier which allows for the narrative to set up an interesting twist towards the end and will definitely satisfy any lack of diversity disclaimers.

Audiences should forget Tobey Maguire as Spiderman in the Sam Raimi Trilogy or the ill-fated Amazing Spiderman films starring Andrew Garfield. Tom Holland presents a revitalized savvy young superhero which will ensure the franchise’s continued survival in the cluttered Marvel universe as he will next be appearing in the anticipated The Avengers: Infinity War.

You never too old to watch Spiderman.

Spiderman Homecoming is blissfully entertaining and gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

 

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