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Posts Tagged ‘Josh Brolin’

Today’s review is for the 2021 science fiction epic:  “Dune” (aka: “Dune: Part 1“), they couldn’t squeeze the book down into one long movie with any hope of capturing the essence or the subtleties of the novel the movie is based on.  The film stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides (the main character), ducal heir of House Atreides;  Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica (Paul’s mother) a Bene Gesserit (a priestess in a religious order) / and consort to Leto (Paul’s father);  Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, (Paul’s father) the leader of House Atreides;  Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, weapons-master of House Atreides (one of Paul’s mentors);  Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (the main bad-guy), leader of House Harkonnen, enemy to House Atreides, and former steward of Arrakis;  Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban Harkonnen (second main bad-guy), nephew of Baron Harkonnen;  Javier Bardem as Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr;  “Zendaya” Maree Stoermer Coleman as Chani (Paul’s love interest), a young Fremen woman and Stilgar’s daughter;  Chang Chen as Dr. Wellington Yueh (the traitor), a Suk doctor in the employ of House Atreides;  and, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, the sword-master of House Atreides and another of Paul’s mentors.
Background:  The book “Dune” is considered one the the greatest science-fictions novels ever written.  The author was Frank Herbert.  Herbert later wrote five sequels.  (His son wrote a dozen more sequels after his father passed away.)  The book is about a fictional war for a planet which is the sole source of a “spice” / drug, which allows navigators to safely pilot spacecraft around the universe in “folded space”.  As such, the spice and planet are the most valuable assets in the universe and control of which brings untold wealth.  The “Fremen” are the “native” inhabitants of the desert planet “Arrakis”.  They appear to be human, and there is never any explanation of how or when the Fremen first got to Arrakis.  The Fremen are waiting for the arrival of a “savior” who will deliver them to freedom from the various oppressors they’ve had over the years.  The “savior” is to be both a military and a religious figure / leader.
At the start of the book / movie the spice planet (Arrakis), is controlled by the evil House Harkonnen (ruled by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen) and his nephew “Beast” Rabban.  The emperor compels them to give up Arrakis and awards the planet to the “good-guys”:  the House Atreides.  Both houses are aware they are being set-up for a war to weaken each / both their houses.  House Atreides takes command of Arrakis.  House Harkonnen uses a traitor to disrupt communications / drop defenses, defeats House Atreides in a surprise attack and kills Duke (Paul’s father) Leto.  Paul and his mother (Lady Jessica) escape the slaughter and meetup with the Freman who grant them sanctuary after Paul wins a fight-to-the-death with one of the Freman who doesn’t want to grant them sanctuary.  The movie ends with Paul and his mother looking out over the desert and watching a Freman ride on a Spice-worm (a giant “worm” like creature which produces the spice).  …And, break for Part 2.
So, is this movie any good?  Is it better than the 1984 version?  Is it entertaining?  Yes, much and yes.
Technically, the movie was generally well received by both movie critics and the general viewing audience.  It received multiple nominations for Oscars and received most of the awards.  I found the movie setting to be a bit too dark which made discerning action difficult.  A bit like many of the DC comic movies – particularly the “Batman” trilogy and two Justice League movies.  Other than that relatively minor point, I found the acting good, the pace “okay” and I wasn’t left feeling it was too long of a movie.  I felt it was closer to being “Laurence of Arabia” scope than “2001:  A Space Odyssey” mainly because the scale of the images of the desert and water planets felt FAR more realistic than any of the “space” related images.
This is a MUCH better movie than its predecessor – the 1984 version (my review here).  The ONLY thing “better” about the 1984 version is they managed to get the whole book into one movie (granted, a LONG movie) instead of dragging us through two parts with a multiple year break separating the parts.  Of course some of this has to be laid at the feet of today’s vastly superior film technology, but still the acting a scenery was just poor in the early adaptation.
Is this version entertaining?  Yes!  In addition to better technology (filming and FX) and acting, breaking the movie into two parts allows the time to develop the characters while giving the audience the action sequence “fix” every twenty minutes or so.  What I particularly liked was they showed us the spice-worm early and then multiple times.  As an aside, I’m not sure this version of the worm is “better” than the 1984 version, particularly when they present their respective open maws.  Since we don’t get a good look at the Fremen or Paul riding a worm, I’ll reserve judgment on which version really has the best representation of a giant spice-worm until after viewing the sequel.
Final recommendation:  moderate to strong.  I enjoyed watching this version and it didn’t leave a bad after-taste (unlike the 1984 version).  I look forward to seeing part two when it is released in 2024.
Final thought:  You can be entertained by a movie (this movie in particular) without it making ANY scientific or warfare / combat sense.  Most of this movie makes NO sense whatsoever.  So, don’t bother thinking about it (the “science” behind the movie).  Just go and watch it for what it is:  escapist entertainment with a bit of political moralism overlayed in between the action sequences.  This review is after my second viewing of this film.  I saw it initially during its first month of streaming.  I just never got around to a review.  Unlike the 1984 version, this movie was better after a second viewing – and I didn’t wait over thirty years to sit a second viewing.  I will watch it again when “Part 2” comes out – just to get back in the spirit of the film.
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On This Day In:
2021 A Simple Choice, Really
Waaaay Before The Movie
2020 I Just Want To Stay Happy
Fading…
2019 Show Righteousness, Not Fear
2018 Sounds Like Politics, Too
2017 Resist More
Conservatives Are Not The Enemy
2016 Two Weeks To Go…
2015 Remembering
2014 The Creeping Death Of Civilization
Orange October (X) – A Blue Morning Turns Into An Orange Evening
2013 License Problem
2012 Giants Win Game 2 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Adage, n.
Questions Women Should Ask Before Voting…
2011 What Are You Looking At?

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Sicario (2015) — movie review
Today’s review is for the drug cartel crime fighting thriller, Sicario,  released a few years ago and which has a sequel just wrapping up in theaters now.  The movie title translates to “hitman” according to the opening credits.  It stars:  Emily Blunt as FBI Agent Kate Macer;  Antonio Banderas — just kidding — Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick;  Josh Brolin as CIA Agent Matt Graver and Daniel Kaluuya as Blunt’s FBI partner Reggie Wayne.  Gillick’s “character / role” is not entirely clear.  On the one hand, he is said to be an attorney who’s family is murdered by a drug cartel, and on the other had he is said to be a member of the Medellín cartel.  I think I would have to view the movie again to see which is true as multiple sources seem to disagree (Rotten Tomatos, IMDB, Wikipedia).  Really, he’s a combination of Paul Kersey (Death Wish) – vengeance / vigilante, John McClane (Die Hard) – one man against the gang / vigilante, and Frank Castle (Punisher) – super-efficient killer with multiple weapons / vigilante.
The basic plot is the CIA needs an FBI agent on a cross-departmental team to function on US soil.  Hence, they recruit Macer and Wayne to help “arrest” (i.e. track down and kill) some cartel leaders.  To do this, they pursue the cartel in both the US and Mexico.  Blah, blah, blah.  Shoot-em up.  Blah, blah, blah.  Feel sorry for Macer and Gillick.  Blah, blah, Gillick saves Macer.  Blah, blah, Gillick gets revenge.  Blah, blah, Macer let’s Gillick skate (to make a sequel).  Kind of a happy / unhappy ending…
So, is this a good movie?  Does it work as a thriller?  Is it realistic?  Yes.  Yes.  And, so-so.  I found the movie to be very interesting because it was the best depiction I’ve seen of night vision / thermal vision head gear.  The acting is solid and the characters are reasonably developed enough that you can start to feel for them.  The movie works quite well as a thriller.  The action starts strong with a pretty powerful (if gruesome) opening of the FBI breaking into a house full of dead bodies to arrest / kill gang members and free hostages and then it just goes from there.  Anyway, the Department of Justice wants to make a “bigger” difference in the drug war, so they join the CIA and DOD’s Delta Force to perform operations both in the US and in Mexico.  There are multiple action / set pieces and they work – in terms of both increasing theatrical tension and creating bonding of the law enforcement team (character development).
Is the movie realistic?  I do believe it’s realistic in terms of gang violence and military capability.  No.  I don’t believe it is realistic in the depiction of action.  The action happens the way we (as an audience) would like it to happen – person shot, person drops.  But, again, it’s only a movie, so I’m willing to cut Hollywood some slack.  They are trying to entertain us, not educate us.
The movie is rated:  “R” and this is deserved due to the graphic depiction of gang violence.  Having said this, it shies away from the most graphic violence of Gillick avenging his own family by killing the drug lord (and his family first, in front of him).  Today’s post title is a quote of the final words Gillick says to the gang / drug lord.
So, final recommendation:  strong.  The story is good.  The action and tension builds.  The characters / actors get developed during the film.  It has a satisfying (if not happy) ending.  With the proviso that it is not for the squeamish and is correctly rated as “R”, it is worth your time if you are into spy / crime / thriller / action movies.
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On This Day In:
2017 Wealth Within
2016 Soaring
2015 Gone To The Library…
2014 Choose To Lead
2013 Not Sent Yet
2012 Wall-Crawler Reboot
Learning To Count
On Worshiping God
2011 Emancipated Differences
2010 A Little More Technology, Please…

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Yesterday, my brother Sean came down for a visit (with his son Sean, Jr).  As it was Jr’s 18th birthday on Friday, Hil and I took them out for lunch.  Afterwards, we dropped Hil off at home and we went to see the new “Men In Black” movie “MIB3“.  Now the original “Men In Black” was a very good comedy, SciFi, buddy-flick starring Tommy Lee Jones (“K”) and Will Smith (“J”).  Two was so-so (for me).  At some levels, this is the best of the trilogy. Of course, the comedy was better and the concept more original in the first movie, but this movie (again, for me) has more heart than the two prequels.  It follows the standard formula and is predictable, but if a movie is entertaining and it still manages to press the right buttons (for me), I’m still going to be all in at the end.  And I was…
Unfortunately, there’s not much else to be said about MIB3 without giving away most of the story and it’s twists.  What I can say is pretty public already – “J” must save “K” by going back in time.  Josh Brolin plays the younger version of “K” and he is brilliant in his impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones in character.
I really enjoyed the original MIB.  I know I’ve seen MIB2 a couple of times, but struggle to remember it without looking it up on Wikipedia.  (That, in itself, is a measure of MIB2.)  This movie (MIB3), kind of closes the loop between the two (“J” and “K”) a little tighter than even MIB2.  Now, I’m starting to give away too much again.  If you like SciFi action movies – Just go see it.  You’ll enjoy it!  Bottom line:  Highly Recommended!!
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