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The ‘Dune: Part Two’ Reviews Agree The Sequel Is A ‘Masterpiece’ And ‘A Hell Of A Lot Weirder’ Than The First Film

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Warner Bros

Denis Villeneuve‘s first Dune film arrived at a very weird time for Hollywood and the world. Part One, as it’s now being called, dropped onto HBO Max at the tail-end of Warner Bros. studio’s highly controversial decision to stream its entire 2021 film slate on the platform as the COVID pandemic ravaged the theater industry. Fortunately, the circumstances spared Villeneuve from relying on box office receipts to justify a sequel as Warner Bros. immediately gave him the greenlight for Dune: Part Two.

After some delays, the sequel is finally ready to give the back-half of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic a proper theatrical release, and judging by the reviews, Part Two absolutely deserves the big screen treatment. Much like the social media reactions, the word “masterpiece” is being tossed around as critics agree that the sequel exceeds the first film in every possible way.

You can see what the reviews are saying below:

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

On Villeneuve’s press tour for his first Dune, here was the first half of a movie, with no ending, that despite it all was getting almost universal acclaim and would wind up with a Best Picture nomination, and instead of taking a victory lap, even he was like, Just wait for the next one. He was right. You’re going to see people throw around the word “masterpiece” about Dune: Part Two and I’m not going to sit here and tell you they are wrong. It very well might be. (I would say, ask me in a year.) But Dune: Part Two is certainly up there with some of the best science fiction movies I’ve ever seen. And yeah, turns out Dune is certainly a filmable movie.

David Fear, Rolling Stone:

Thank your respective gods that Villeneuve got the greenlight for another chapter. His Dune: Part Two isn’t just a continuation of a saga. The French-Canadian filmmaker has delivered an expansion and a deepening of the world built off of Herbert’s prose, a YA romance blown up to Biblical-epic proportions, a Shakespearean tragedy about power and corruption, and a visually sumptuous second act that makes its impressive, immersive predecessor look like a mere proof-of-concept. Villeneuve has outdone himself. More importantly, he’s done justice to the scope and scale and sheer weirdness of a stoner-lit touchstone’s back half without, pun intended, sanding away its edges. It’s unapologetically geeky. It’s twice as unapologetically cinematic.

Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post:

Speaking of happy tears, Villeneuve is careful — actually, much more careful than the last director to take on this story, David Lynch — to avoid “Dune” becoming a “Star Wars” or an “Avatar.” Although those differently excellent movies would surely not exist without Frank Herbert’s seminal novel “Dune,” this is a far more complicated tale of geopolitics and religion. Good and evil are not so clear-cut. It’s also a hell of a lot weirder.

David Ehrlich, IndieWire:

As usual, Villeneuve thrives in the world-building of it all. Few directors who operate at his scale — and there are only a few directors who operate at his scale — are as skilled at framing bodies against the vastness of blank space, and we intuit more about the history of Arrakis from Patrice Vermette’s awe-inspiring sets than we do from anything the characters have to say about it. Watching Paul walk through the Fremen’s half-buried homestead tells us everything we have to know about the urgency of their fight for survival against the Harkonnen colonizers who’ve pillaged their planet for its spice, and when Lady Jessica is forced to ingest “centuries of pain and sorrow” in order to become the Reverend Mother under penalty of death, we can imagine what that tastes like.

Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter:

Running close to three hours, Dune: Part Two moves with a similar nimbleness to Paul and Chani’s sandwalk through the open desert. The narrative is propulsive and relatively easy to follow, Hans Zimmer’s score is enveloping, and Greig Fraser’s cinematography offers breathtaking perspectives that deepen our understanding of the fervently sought-after planet. All these elements make the sequel as much of a cinematic event as the first movie.

Rachel Leishman, The Mary Sue:

One of the shortcomings of the previous movie was the use of Zendaya. While Chani was not yet an important character to Paul, outside of the dreams he had of her, we as the audience only got crumbs of Zendaya’s performance. Part Two shines in how it gives her power as a voice among the Fremen while still building out her relationship with Paul.

Damon Wise, Deadline:

Intrigue is the key word in Part Two, as some old faces reappear and new ones are teased. But whenever we’re away from Paul, the story starts to drift, and the plotting — so seamless in Part One — now seems episodic, in a serial TV kind of way, even though the production values are obviously much, much higher than that. The world of the Harkonnens is heavily stylized, recalling Ridley Scott’s Alien worlds, and yet there’s also the faint whiff of prog-rock about it, as if this were the subject of a lost 1970s Rick Wakeman concept album, the kind that would usually be performed as a rock opera on ice.

Peter Debruge, Variety:

Audiences spoiled by TV series such as “The Sopranos,” “Succession” and “Game of Thrones,” which juggled intricate strategizing with explosive confrontations over runs of many years, will find in Villeneuve’s multi-part saga a satisfaction few films can offer. It’s an enormous gamble, given the expense of creating at this scale, and a vote of confidence in cinema, which still hasn’t recovered to the pre-pandemic level where the franchise was conceived. The fate of far more than Arrakis is riding on “Dune.”

Dune: Part Two worms into theaters on March 1, 2024.

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The Kid Laroi’s Journey From Start To Stardom Is Chronicled In ‘Kids Are Growing Up,’ A New Documentary

The Kid Laroi has been a certified star for a few years now and he’s only 20 years old. Indeed, he burst onto the international music scene as a teen phenom, and now his fascinating rise to stardom will be chronicled in a new full-length documentary, Kids Are Growing Up: A Story About A Kid Named Laroi.

The film is set to premiere on Amazon’s Prime Video on February 29, and a trailer is out now.

A press release notes of the movie:

Kids Are Growing Up tells the intimate story of Charlton ‘The Kid Laroi’ Howard who went from an unknown musician living in Australia to a teenage global superstar selling out his hometown arena on back-to-back nights in just three years. The film captures a unique moment in time, as Laroi enters adulthood, navigating the pressures of rapid fame, struggles with his mental health, first love, and the tragic death of his mentor — the late great Juice WRLD. Cameras began rolling before the massive success of ‘Stay’ and continue as Laroi gears up for his first world tour and studio album. As Laroi is forced to deal with problems greater than his age, he searches for what happiness truly means, and how to handle outsized expectations from the public, those closest to him, and himself.”

The release also notes that Justin Bieber and Post Malone will be featured in the film.

Check out the trailer above.

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Barry Keoghan Is Up For Making A Very Irish Movie With Ayo Edebiri

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Barry Keoghan has made a very specific name for himself as Ireland’s Official Weirdo, but he respects his fellow Irish, all of whom have been killing it lately. There’s Cillian and his distressed face, our boy Colin, and of course, Ayo Edebiri (honorary Irish).

Keoghan was interviewed by Vanity Fair when he praised the recent Irish wave. “There’s so many of us. We definitely have to feckin’ get some sort of movie going. A big ensemble,” he proposed. Maybe something along the lines of the 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie Luck Of The Irish? He added. “It’d be like, ‘Who’s the most Irish?’ We’d be all really putting it on. All the accents, oh, God. You wouldn’t understand us because when we all get together, we become more Irish, and no one understands anything that’s being said.”He explained. Whatever happens, we just have to make sure Saoirse Ronan is free for this one. We cannot have another Barbie situation.

It would not be a proper Irish film without the famous Irish icon Edebiri. Keoghan agrees, “Exactly. She’s killing it, man. She’s killing. I bumped into her as well at…what was it? I’m losing track. The Governors Ball. Oh, she’s so cool, she really is,” he added. No, Edebiri is not Irish. But that doesn’t stop her from standing alongside her Irish peers and leaning into the whole thing.

As long as the proposed Irish film includes Brendan Gleeson, Paul Mescal, and some of the Derry Girls, it will surely be a must-see blockbuster.

(Via Vanity Fair)

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Jeezy Took The Tiny Desk Crowd To The Trap In His Motivational Tiny Desk Concert

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts have run the gamut from folk-pop to trap rap, so it’s little surprise to see one of the latter genre’s original pioneers stop by the station’s Washington, DC office to deliver a motivational show. Jeezy has worn a lot of hats in recent years — New York Times bestselling author, talk show host, therapy advocate — but he’s still best known for slanging metaphorical snowstorms of aspirational street raps.

That’s exactly what he did during his set, playing his signature, game-changing hits backed by a string quartet, along with live drums, keys, and bass — all decked out in Jeezy’s Snoman shirts. Between songs, he paused to address the audience, telling the stories behind the tracks and introducing his band, and encouraged the crowd to sing along. He even did his best to sing the chorus of “Everythang” from his 2008 album TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition through his gravelly rasp, all while prominently showing off the cover of his autobiography Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe. The set was a chest-thumping walk down memory lane, and you can see the full setlist below.

Jeezy’s Tiny Desk Concert Setlist

“Standing Ovation”
“Air Forces”
“Bottom Of The Map”
“And Then What”
“Go Crazy”
“Everythang”

Watch Jeezy’s Tiny Desk Concert above.

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The ‘Borderlands’ Trailer Delivers A Badass Cate Blanchett And Reigning Video-Game Movie King Jack Black As The Robot Mascot

It’s an understatement to say that Borderlands has been a long time coming (since the initial 2015 announcement of Eli Roth as director) as a big-screen movie adaptation. However, gamers just experienced a year where multiple adaptations — The Last Of Us, Five Nights At Freddy’s, Super Mario Bros. — lived up to or exceeded expectations, so perhaps the timing could not be better.

Well, what of this trailer? Looks like sheer chaos, obviously, as it should. Shark Fanboy Roth co-authored the screenplay with Joe Crombie, and the Cabin Fever director previously told IGN that the movie (and any followups) would adhere to its own canon separate from the canon of the games. The star-studded cast is led by Roth veteran Cate Blanchett (The House With A Clock In Its Walls), who portrays the outlaw Lilith, returning to Pandora, but she’s not happy about it, with a motley crew of fellow vault hunters.

The film also stars Jamie Lee Curtis (as Dr. Patricia Tennis), Kevin Hart (as Roland), Ariana Greenblatt (as Tiny Tina), Gina Gershon (as Mad Moxxi), and video-game adaptation king Jack Black (as Claptrap, although Norman Reedus could come for that “king” title eventually, officially in movie form), who cannot quit these game-to-big-screen transformations.

This is also as good a place as any to mention that The Last Of Us and Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin was reportedly once attached to the script but has since denied being involved, and he also totally did not [waves] save Game of Thrones from putting out a “complete piece of sh*t” pilot.

Oh, look at Claptrap, y’all.

Borderlands arrives in theaters on August 9, 2024.

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Charles Barkley Roasted Shaq For Being Mad His Jersey Retirement Was On NBA TV Instead Of TNT In Leaked Footage

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Last week, Shaquille O’Neal became the first player to have his jersey retired by the Orlando Magic, as the organization that he began his career with in 1992 put his No. 32 in the rafters at the Kia Center.

The ceremony was on a Tuesday night, when TNT had a doubleheader with Kings-Suns following the Thunder-Magic game. As such, Shaq’s retirement ceremony was shown in full on NBA TV rather than TNT, and that apparently had the big man a bit irked. At All-Star Saturday Night in Indianapolis, prior to going on air with an interview with Victor Wembanyama, Charles Barkley spent five minutes riling Shaq up about it in footage that leaked onto the internet and showed that the Inside crew is the exact same off air as on — just with more cursing.

Chuck just won’t let Shaq move on, with O’Neal insisting he wasn’t really that mad but then getting progressively madder as Barkley kept prodding. Ernie and Kenny briefly try to take Shaq’s side before realizing Charles is right that there wasn’t a way to show it on TNT with a doubleheader, with Barkley delighting in the opportunity to keep winding Shaq up. He talks about how they’ll go on the road and make sure to cut into any live coverage for his jersey retirements in Boston, Cleveland, and Phoenix, making himself laugh each time. My favorite part is probably Ernie laughing at one of Chuck’s bits about Cleveland and then saying to Shaq “I’m not laughing at him, someone over there did something.”

It really is exactly like the show, just with cussing, and a reminder of why they work so well on TV because there isn’t anything done for show. They just naturally roast each other and can’t help but wind someone up when they find something that makes them mad, like all good friends should.

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How Much Is Tyler The Creator’s Louis Vuitton Capsule?

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Tyler The Creator has had multiple opportunities over the years to collaborate with his hero Pharrell Williams, and his latest involves Williams’ role as the head designer of Louis Vuitton. Just as Tyler’s production style is clearly influenced by Williams’ work with The Neptunes in the early 2000s, his Louis Vuitton capsule collection takes inspiration from classic styles and remixes them with Tyler’s signature sporty fits and pops of pastel colors, a la his own high-end line, Golf Le Fleur. The collection hits stores on March 21, with Tyler showing off many of the items on Twitter:

How Much Is Tyler The Creator’s Louis Vuitton Capsule?

The least expensive item is a silk pocket square for 210 euros ($227.11) and the most expensive is a special edition Courrier Lozine 110 trunk for 68,000 euros ($73,540.30), according to Women’s Wear Daily. While the report doesn’t list all of the prices, you can assume most will fall somewhere in this range, with items going from a monogram short suit, a cable knit sweater, and several golf-inspired pieces including a technical anorak, a windbreaker, and a zip cardigan all patterned with Vuitton’s signature checkerboard. There are also collectibles like a chessboard and a golf kit.

“Everything that Tyler does is thoughtful and authentic,” Pharrell told WWD. “We’ve done something completely new with this project that merges our two worlds and the outcome is uniquely LV. Check out some of the looks below:

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Solange Revealed That She’s Been Learning How To Play A New Instrument While Writing New Music

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Solange is known to push the musical envelope with each of her albums. But her next project may take even her most open-minded fans by surprise.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Solange shared an update regarding her future endeavors. During the conversation, she revealed she has started experimenting with some new instrumentation.

“I’ve started writing music for the tuba, and I am trying to talk myself into releasing it,” she said, “but I can only imagine the eye rolls from people being like, ‘This b*tch hasn’t made an album.’”

To be exact, Solange hasn’t put out an album since 2019’s When I Get Home. But as she is making new music, she explained her connection with the tuba and why she feels it falls in line with her artistry.

“It sounds like what the gut feels like to me,” she said. “There’s a way that it takes up space that you can’t deny, and it also just feels very Black to me.”

While it’s been over five years since Solange released an album, she’s been hard at work. Back in 2022, she debuted an original score for the New York City ballet for a performance called Play Time. Last year, she debuted In Service To Whom — a four-act performance in the mediums of sound, video projection, scenography, and archival Collection — at the Art Gallery Of New South Wales.

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‘Dune: Part Two’ Is Phenomenal, RIght Up There With The Greatest Sci-Fi Films Of All-Time

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warner brothers

Let’s just start with Austin Butler. A few months ago a promotional image was released of his look as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, an appearance that looks nothing like Sting in David Lynch’s Dune from 1984. Sting is only mentioned because if you go to the Wikipedia page for Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen right now, you still see Sting’s smiling face. Say what you will about Lynch’s Dune (like honestly, go ahead, I won’t be able to hear you so I don’t care), but Sting* is what most people remember about that movie. But back to Butler, it’s a striking image, especially after getting so used to him looking (and sounding) like Elvis Presley. Even in this movie based on the second half of Frank Herbert’s book Dune, it takes awhile for Butler’s Feyd to show up. But once he does, good gosh he’s electric. Just a demonic beast – who likes to stab people for vengeance, sport and boredom – also completely re-frames Dave Bautista’s Glossu, the older brother of Feyd, as a sad character and, now, at least somewhat sympathetic. (A lot of credit goes to Bautista here, too, who knows how to wear a face that reads, “I’ve done some bad things but, look what I have to put up with here.”)

*I rewatched Lynch’s Dune somewhat recently** on the Arrow-released 4K set. I quite enjoyed it for what it is. (Also, my friend Max wrote a great and extremely thorough book about it.) The last time I saw it was when it was on HBO in, I’d assume, 1985. Back then I only watched it because of Sting. At the time I assumed Sting was the main character. He is not. Like in this adaptation, Feyd takes a long time to show up.

(**I just looked up what I apparently consider “somewhat recently.” According to Letterboxd I last watched David Lynch’s Dune in September of 2021, almost two and a half years ago. I truly have no concept of time anymore.)

Look, a lot of people loved 2021’s Dune. I remember being mixed: impressed with the gall of even trying to make an adaptation of a book that so many people have declared unfilmable, but also realizing I just sat through two and a half hours of character introduction and exposition. To be clear, beautiful-looking character introductions and exposition, but character introductions and exposition nonetheless. On Villeneuve’s press tour for his first Dune, here was the first half of a movie, with no ending, that despite it all was getting almost universal acclaim and would wind up with a Best Picture nomination, and instead of taking a victory lap, even he was like, Just wait for the next one. He was right. You’re going to see people throw around the word “masterpiece” about Dune: Part Two and I’m not going to sit here and tell you they are wrong. It very well might be. (I would say, ask me in a year.) But Dune: Part Two is certainly up there with some of the best science fiction movies I’ve ever seen. And yeah, turns out Dune is certainly a filmable movie.

Dune: Part Two, unsurprisingly, picks up where Dune left off – Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), walking off with the Freman on the desert planet of Arrakis, a planet of great interest to many warring factions as the only producer of Spice, which is both a mind opening drug and fuel. (Imagine if a canister of Pennzoil could also produce the effects of LSD.) Leading the Freman is Stilgar, who is convinced Paul is a messiah who will lead the Freman to victory in vanquishing the Harkonnen, eventually commanded by Feyd, from Arrakis. A fellow Freman, Chani (Zendaya), thinks Paul becoming a messiah is bunk (Paul tends to agree) as the two fight alongside each other and a romance develops.

The effects in this movie are gorgeous. Sometimes I get down on CGI (like a lot of people do) but there’s lazy CGI just like there used to be lazy practical effects. I found a lot of what I was looking at to be stunning. Most significantly, Paul being sent on on the challenge of riding a sandworm. In theory, this should look cool. In 1984’s Dune, it did not look “cool.” There’s a fine line here. Turns out, this is a gorgeous, triumphant-looking scene. (Spoiler, the main character does not get eaten by a sandworm halfway through the movie while he tries to use it as a car.) The first movie looked great, but just like the character development and exposition from the first film that all pays off in this film, the effects do the same thing. We’ve been introduced to all these creatures and machines and aspects, now they all get to pay off. (Another terrific effect, maybe less about CGI here, is the time we spend on the House of House Harkonnen’s home world, Giedi Prime, which is all presented in a very sharp, stunning black and white.)

Getting too much more into the weeds of the plot of Dune seems like a fool’s errand. The people who know it, well they already know it. And the people who don’t, it doesn’t tend to lend itself into an easy summary of events. And, of course, the book containing so many parallels with our world’s dependency on fossil fuels, and who strives and suffers, as a result has been well documented. Also of note, which is kind of out there now, but Dune: Part Two doesn’t wrap itself up at the end. Villeneuve has tentative plans to make Dune: Messiah, though no script is finished and nothing has been green-lit. And Villeneuve wants to take a few years away from Dune anyway, so it will be awhile. Dune: Messiah takes place 12 years after the events of these movies, so he has some time.

Though, it will be interesting to see how Dune: Part Two performs. The first movie did well, with the disclaimer “all things considered.” Meaning people were still skittish about movie theaters and, maybe more importantly, Dune hit HBO Max on the same day it was released in theaters. There will be no “all things considered“ this time. So, for the foreseeable future, people are just going to have to be satisfied with having, finally, both parts of the definitive film adaptation of Dune. A movie, again, many people will call a masterpiece. And, again, they might just be right.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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Is Amazon Shutting Down The Freevee Service?

Bosch
Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime Video‘s recent foray into streaming ads has already sparked a class-action lawsuit, and now, it may have its first fatality. According to a new report, Amazon is pulling the plug on Freevee, the streamer’s free ad-based tier that’s now redundant thanks to Prime Video running ads as of January 29.

The Freevee service has been home to Bosch: Legacy, Jury Duty, and American Rust, all of which will be ported over to Prime Video and used as “front porch” titles to entice new subscribers.

Via AdWeek:

The duplicate nature of Freevee and Prime Video has led to confusion among both viewers and ad buyers, according to two people familiar with the matter. Heading into NewFronts, Amazon would like to focus its efforts on selling one ad-supported service rather than two.

Likewise, the marketing budget dedicated to promoting Freevee has come under scrutiny amid a larger effort from Amazon to reduce expenses. The company conducted layoffs in January across Prime Video and streaming service Twitch.

From the look of things, Freevee’s fate was sealed when the decision was made to put streaming ads on Prime Video. However, we can’t help but notice that prolific author Stephen King voiced his discontent with the service. That can’t be a coincidence.

King’s hunger for killing streaming services will surely only grow from here. May God have mercy on us all.

(Via AdWeek)