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Dune – Movie Review | Venice Film Festival Review

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Before we get started. Word of Advice: See it in IMAX! That’s all.

This was the big one. Literally. Out of all the films at Venice, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was indisputably the big ticket film on this years festival. Not only in terms of (IMAX) size, scale, scope and star-power but also in terms of how much hangs in the balance.



Many have tried before to adapt Frank Herberts’s renowned sci-fi novel before with varying degrees of success. But if anyone seemed like the right fit to take on Herbert’s space epic and do it justice, it was Denis Villeneuve. The man’s CV speaks for itself, with recent sci-fi gems like Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 under his belt. But with Villeneuve’s decision to split the acclaimed novel into 2 parts and Warner Bros controversial decision to release the film both in cinemas and on HBO Max at the same time. Many were worried (myself included) that we might see another repeat of what happened to Blade Runner 2049 – raved by critics but poor box office performance. Will Villeneuve’s blend of mainstream grandeur and artistic integrity render Dune part 2 doomed to exist?

Well, fear not. After an uproarious response from critics and cinemagoers at Venice and TIFF. I would bet my first born child that Villeneuve will get to see his vision come to fruition with Part 2. People would riot if he didn’t because the film is simply too damn good. Warner Brothers have offically stated that as as long as Dune’s numbers are strong on HBO Max then part 2 will be green-lit regardless of box office numbers.

I can only imagine what a relief that must feel to the die-hard Dune fans but for someone like myself who had zero knowledge of the books and previous adaptations going into Dune, I too am beyond ecstatic to know I’ll get to see how part 2 will play out.

The added benefit of never having read the book or having seen David Lynch’s 1984 version or the early 2000’s TV series, is I had no preexisting knowledge or expectations for Villeneuve’s film. I had nothing to compare it too so I could go in as a blank slate and judge objectively for myself.

I will admit after reading the synopsis, I was worried that a story so vast as this would be a challenge for me to keep up. Thankfully that was not the case. Not once did I feel lost watching Dune. The exposition is handled extremely well. Villeneuve has taken newcomers by the hand and explained the universe in a way that is very easy to digest. So those worrying it might not be accessible to all audiences – if I can keep up with it, then anyone can.

The year is 10191. Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Issac) of Calden is tasked by the emporer with the stewardship of the deadly desert planet of Arrakis (also known as Dune). Arrakis is home to the most valuable resource in the universe known as spice which can extend a human life span and is the key to space travel. So naturally, whoever holds Arrakis holds the power.

Leto intends to mine the planet for spice but he also takes his Concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and son Paul (Timothée Chalamet) down to Arrakis in hopes of teaching his son how to become the leader he needs to be. By forging an alliance with the native inhabitants of Arrakis known as Fremen his people will know peace and prosperity when Paul becomes Duke.



However, when house Atreides learns of a spy within their rankings Lady Jessica and Paul must venture into the Arrakis desert to find the Fremen for help. Which is no small task as the desert lands are populated by 400m-long burrowing, man-eating Sandworms.

Villeneuve certainly sets the stage for bigger things to come in part 2 but despite being only one half of the story, part 1 completely works as a standalone film.

The praise knows no bound for this film. Every department harmonises succinctly with the next.

The casting alone – while admittedly it’s a tad boastful in it’s star-studded lineup but truly, everybody is exceptional. To go through the cast and effusively sing their praises one-by-one would be a waste of a word-count, so I’ll say everyone fits their role like a glove but I’ll call special mention to a few.

Timothée Chalamet has been a star for years but Dune just solidifies the fact he will be gracing our screens as a leading man for decades to come. As Paul he finds just the right balance of boyish naivety and inner strength. Thanks to his Concubine mother’s lineage, Paul has gifts such as prophetic dreams and mind manipulation but he’s not quite mastered them yet. But where the film leaves us with Paul is tantalisingly teasing.

Rebecca Ferguson does most of the emotional heavy-lifting as Lady Jessica. A mother role that’s pleasantly full of surprises. Ferguson shines here. If the Academy weren’t so genre-biased towards sci-fi I would say she is worthy of best supporting actress nomination.

Many were concerned due to the early trailer footage of Jason Momoa, that he would be coasting on his Aquaman charisma but his Duncan is sincerely heartfelt.

And Stellan Skarsgård is frighteningly good as Baron Harkonnen. He might be caked in makeup and buried in a fat-suit but his stunning performance beams through.

On the technical side, every single department hits the bullseye. There’s a visible fusion of Eastern inspiration between Patrice Vermette’s production design, Bob Morgan and Jacqueline West’s costumes and Greig Fraser’s cinematography. They all should be receiving Oscar nominations next year.

But not only do Villeneuve’s dazzling visuals cascade off the screen. They’re complimented perfectly by Hans Zimmer’s immaculate score. For the past decade Zimmer has been synonymous with the Bwom-heavy soundtracks of the Tenties thanks to his game-changing score for Inception. Now he will be known as the man who pulled off the impossible; the man who made bloody bagpipes sound epic as fuck. For real. His majestic score is nothing short of astonishing.

One really has to go searching for faults with Dune and the only thing that might be concerning to some viewers is Dune is not a particularly funny film. The two humorous lines from the trailers are essentially all you get in terms of comedic relief. But I personally found the lack of snarky Marvel-esque humour refreshing. The truth is, the film simply doesn’t need it – not when the characters are this interesting and the world building is so immersive. Villeneuve’s preference to shoot as much on location rather than green screen sound-stages helps to make Dune one of the most transportive films of late memory. You can practically feel the Arrakis sand beneath your feet.




Dune is the reason we go to the cinema. It’s movies like this which is why I do what I do – to get lost and absorbed in story. Many considered the source material unadaptable for the big screen but in the hands of Denis Villeneuve, he’s truly made the impossible possible. Much like what Peter Jackson did with The Lord of the Rings, Villeneuve has made a film for the fanboys (and the critics) but he’s also made it completely accessible to newcomers. Dune is cinema at its most ambitious, boldest and most beautiful.

Dune is having a staggered worldwide release over late September and October. It will be available on HBO Max regionally as the same time as cinemas. But please, I cannot stress this enough; go see Dune in the cinema. IMAX if possible. THIS IS CINEMA! No home theatre system can do this film justice.

For more of Luke’s coverage from the Venice Film Festival be sure to check out his YouTube Channel.

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The Dive (2023) is a Claustrophobic Thriller | FrightFest

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Maximilian Erlenwein’s The Dive stars Billions’ Louisa Krause and Medieval’s Sophie Lowe. It follows two sisters May (Krause) and Drew (Lowe) as they go on their yearly diving trip off a remote coast. However, disaster strikes, and the sisters find themselves underwater when a rock slide occurs. May gets trapped under some of the rocks and must instruct Drew on how to get out of the situation. What follows is Drew needing to find a solution to rescue her sister, while her air is slowly starting to run out.

The Dive brings us a claustrophobic thriller that uses the real-time oxygen supply to keep us on edge. It gets to highlight how remaining calm is the best way to survive. The Dive uses the real-time situation to show the desperate measures Drew must go through to rescue her sister. Along with the obstacles that have now been placed in her way.

The Dive [credit Augenschein Filmproduktion]

The Dive gets to set the pulsing racing and the blood pumping even though the characters remain incredibly calm. This gets to explore the dangers of diving in remote locations without any added safety measures. The movie involves problem-solving and flashbacks to the sister’s childhood getting into the hobby. Louisa Krause brings an unbelievably natural calm to her performance. While Sophie Lowe shows us the inside panic she is dealing with.

Over the recent years, we have seen a lot of movies with somebody trapped in or on the water being hunted by a predator. In this movie, we get to keep the situation down to the accident and the idea of trying to figure out a way out of the situation. This creates an edge-of-your-seat journey that keeps us wanting to see the next challenge they are facing. Think 127 Hours meets 47 Metres Down and you know exactly what you are facing.

The Dive is tense, suspenseful and gets the blood pumping as we join the race to survive.

Rating 4/5

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Dune: Part Two Where Will The Anticipated Premiere Land?

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Dune: Part Two is one of the most hyped movie releases for 2023. The latest announcement from the project, is that it will not premiere at the Venice Film Festival, unlike the first movie. This is due to the Visual Effects (VFX) team needing more time, which has prolonged the initial release date. Originally scheduled for 20th October 2023, “Dune: Part Two” will now be released November 3, 2023.

Dune: Part Two will see the return of Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgard, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Charlotte Rampling. In addition to the new cast members Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Lea Seydoux, Christopher Walken, and Tim Blake Nelson.

The immediate successor to the 2021 film, it will be the second installment of a two-part film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune, and will cover approximately the second half of the book and possibly include aspects of Dune Messiah.

Dune 2021, Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya | Warner Bros. [Credit: Alamy Stock Photo]

The sequel will follow Paul Atreides (Chalamet) as he joins forces with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen to exact vengeance on the villains who murdered his family. Faced with a decision between the love of his life and the destiny of the universe, he attempts to avert a dreadful future that only he can predict.

Dune premiered at Venice Film Festival two years ago, followed by Toronto, New York and London Film Festivals. There is a possibility for the film to still premiere at other film festivals such as London Film Festival which will also run from 4th October to 15th October 2023. This also doesn’t mean the cast may not be present at the Venice Film Festival.

While Challengers starring: Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor directed by Luca Guadagnino announced a UK release on 15th September 2023,  the aim is perhaps do an initial premiere at Venice Film Festival. There is also potential of Wonka (2023) premiering at the Venice Film Festival despite the viral online leak of the trailer two weeks ago and announcing its UK release on 15th December 2023.

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Philadelphia Film Festival Announces 31st Festival Lineup | Tickets Available Now

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Now that the NYFF is winding down, it’s about time for the regional film festivals to begin heating up as the awards season begins. The 31st Philadelphia Film Festival — which I am thrilled to be covering — will begin on October 19 and will commence on October 30. With some of the year’s best major releases that are set to come later this year and in 2023 and all of the indie darlings, the Philadelphia Film Festival is one you won’t to miss if you can make it. First, I will highlight a number of the films I have seen or am dying to see at the festival and you can see a full list of the titles below.

The full Festival schedule and digital Festival Program Guide are available now on www.filmadelphia.org/festival.

Screenings for the 31st Philadelphia Film Festival will take place at the below venues: 

●    Philadelphia Film Center (1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102)

●    PFS Bourse (400 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106)

●    PFS East (125 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 – Formerly Ritz East) 

Tickets are on sale now.


31st Philadelphia Film Festival Full Line-up

 Part of the PFS on Us Complimentary Tickets Initiative

Opening Night Film

○    The Banshees of Inisherin, Director Martin McDonagh. 2022, United Kingdom, Ireland, USA.

Closing Night Film

○    All The Beauty And The Bloodshed, Director Laura Poitras. 2022, USA. 

Centerpieces

○    Armageddon Time, Director James Gray. 2022, USA, Brazil.

○    Empire of Light, Director Sam Mendes. 2022, United Kingdom, USA.

○    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Director Rian Johnson. 2022, USA.

○    The Inspection, Director Elegance Bratton. 2022, USA.    

○    She Said, Director Maria Schrader. 2022, USA.

○    Till, Director Chinonye Chukwu. 2022, USA.

○    The Whale, Director Darren Aronofsky. 2022, USA.

○    White Noise, Director Noah Baumbach. 2022, USA.          

○    Women Talking, Director Sarah Polley. 2022, USA.    

Special Events

○    An Evening with Dream Video Divisonᐩ 

○    Magic Mike XXL, Director Gregory Jacobs. 2015, USA.      

○    RRR, Director S.S. Rajamouli. 2022, India.

Masters of Cinema – The latest films by a new generation of acclaimed auteurs and established directors who continue to reshape the cinematic landscape.

○    A Compassionate Spy, Director Steve James. 2022, USA. 

○    All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Director Laura Poitras. 2022, USA.

○    Broker, Director Hirokazu Kore-eda. 2022, South Korea. 

○    Brother and Sister, Director Arnaud Desplechin. 2022, France.

○    Decision to Leave, Director Park Chan-wook. 2022, South Korea.

○    EO, Director Jerzy Skolimowski. 2022, Poland, United Kingdom, Italy.  

○    One Fine Morning, Director Mia Hansen-Løve. 2022, France, United Kingdom, Germany.

○    R.M.N., Director Cristian Mungiu. 2022, Belgium, France, Romania.

Spotlights – This year’s highly anticipated titles featuring some of the biggest names in front of and behind the camera.

○    Alice, Darling, Director Mary Nighy. 2022, Canada, USA.

○    Call Jane, Director Phyllis Nagy. 2022, USA.

○    Causeway, Director Lila Neugebauer. 2022, USA

○    The Lost King, Director Stephen Frears. 2022, United Kingdom.

○    Lynch/Oz, Director Alexandre O. Philippe. 2022, USA.

○    “Sr.”, Director Chris Smith. 2022, USA.

○    Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, Director Lizzie Gottlieb. 2022, USA.

○    Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Eric Appel. 2022, USA.

World View – Works that demonstrate the diversity and vitality of contemporary international cinema from some of the globe’s most exciting filmmakers.

○    A E I O U – A Quick Alphabet of Love, Director Nicolette Krebitz. 2022, Germany, France.

○    Aftersun, Director Charlotte Wells. 2022, United Kingdom, USA.

○    Alcarràs, Director Carla Simón. 2022, Spain, Italy.

○    The Beasts, Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen. 2022, Spain, France.

○    Before I Change My Mind, Director Trevor Anderson. 2022, Canada.ᐩ 

○    Before, Now & Then, Director Kamila Andini. 2022, Indonesia.

○    The Blue Caftan, Director Maryam Touzani. 2022, France, Morocco, Belgium, Denmark.

○    The Box, Director Lorenzo Vigas. 2021, Mexico, USA.

○    Boy from Heaven, Director Tarik Saleh. 2022, Sweden, France, Finland.

○    Burning Days, Director Emin Alper. 2022, Turkey, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Croatia.

○    Close, Director Lukas Dhont. 2022, Belgium, Netherlands, France.

○    Corsage , Director Marie Kreutzer. 2022, Austria.

○    Falcon Lake, Director Charlotte Le Bon. 2022, Canada, France.

○    Holy Spider, Director Ali Abbasi. 2022, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France.

○    Leonor Will Never Die, Director Martika Ramirez Escobar. 2022, Philippines.

○    The Line, Director Ursula Meier. 2022, Switzerland, France, Belgium.

○    Love Life, Director Kôji Fukada. 2022, Japan, France.

○    Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Director Antonio Lukich. 2022, Ukraine.

○    Millie Lies Low, Director Michelle Savill. 2021, New Zealand.

○    Oink, Director Mascha Halberstad. 2022, Netherlands.

○    Pamfir, Director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk. 2022, Ukraine, France, Poland, Germany, Chile.    

○    Return to Dust, Li Ruijun. 2022, China.

○    Subtraction, Director Mani Haghighi. 2022, Iran, France.

○    Viking, Director Stéphane Lafleur. 2022, Canada.

○    Xalé, Director Moussa Sene Absa. 2022, Senegal, Ivory Coast.

Non/Fiction – Compelling and provocative, these contemporary docs encourage viewers to see the world through a different lens.

○    American Pain, Director Darren Foster. 2022, USA.

○    Butterfly in the Sky, Director Bradford Thomason, Director Brett Whitcomb. 2022, USA.

○    Chop & Steele, Director Ben Steinbauer, Director Berndt Mader. 2022, USA.

○    Crows Are White, Director Ahsen Nadeem. 2022, USA, Japan, Ireland.

○    Good Night Oppy, Director Ryan White. 2022, USA.

○    Nothing Lasts Forever, Director Jason Kohn. 2022, USA.

○    The Picture Taker, Director Phil Bertelsen. 2022, USA.

○    Tantura , Director Alon Schwarz. 2022, Israel, USA.

○    The Thief Collector, Director Allison Otto. 2022, USA.

○    The YouTube Effect, Director Alex Winter. 2022, USA.

After Hours – Bringing together the odd, eerie, thrilling, and downright weird, this is the home of cult classics in the making.

○    Attachment, Director Gabriel Bier Gislason. 2022, Denmark.

○    Christmas Bloody Christmas, Director Joe Begos. 2022, USA.         

○    Huesera, Director Michelle Garza Cervera. 2022, Mexico, Peru.

○    Kids vs. Aliens, Director Jason Eisener. 2022, USA. 

○    Mister Organ, Director David Farrier. 2022, New Zealand.

○    Sick, Director John Hyams. 2022, USA.    

○    Sick of Myself, Director Kristoffer Borgli. 2022, Norway, Sweden.

○    Smoking Causes Coughing, Director Quentin Dupieux. 2022, France.

From the Vaults – Film classics come alive as they were meant to be seen – on the big screen!

○    A Confucian Confusion, Director Edward Yang. 1994, Taiwan.

○    Orlando, Director Sally Potter. 1992, United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, France, Netherlands.ᐩ 

●    30th Anniversary

○    Pink Flamingos, Director John Waters. 1972, USA.

●    50th Anniversary

○    Rittenhouse Square, Director Robert Downey Sr. 2005, USA.

●    Presented in 35MM

○    Sorcerer, Director William Friedkin. 1977, USA.

●    Presented in 35MM

●    45th Anniversary

Filmadelphia – Showcasing the most dynamic and talented voices from the Greater Philadelphia area.

○    A Woman on the Outside, Director Lisa Riordan Seville, Director Zara Katz. 2022, USA.

○  Gradually, Then Suddenly: The Bankruptcy of Detroit, Director Sam Katz, Director James McGovern. 2022, USA.

○    Land of Gold, Director Nardeep Khurmi. 2022, USA.

○    Not for Nothing, Director Tim Dowlin, Director Frank Tartaglia. 2022, USA.

○    Rittenhouse Square, Director Brandon Eric Kamin. 2022, USA.

○    This Is My Black, Director Stephen Adetumbi, Director Jarrett Roseborough. 2022, USA.

○    Your Friend, Memphis, Director David P. Zucker. 2022, USA, Italy.

Made in USA – Lo-fi gems and new indie classics that offer a fresh perspective on today’s America.

○    Blood Relatives, Director Noah Segan. 2022, USA.

○    Every Day in Kaimukī, Director Alika Tengan. 2022, USA.ᐩ 

○    Nanny, Director Nikyatu Jusu. 2022, USA.

○    Next Exit, Director Mali Elfman. 2022, USA.

○    Something in the Dirt, Director Justin Benson, Director Aaron Moorhead. 2022, USA.

Cinema de France – Sharing a language with some of cinema’s most revered classics and legendary auteurs, these new films have that certain je ne sais quoi.

○    Five Devils, Director Léa Mysius. 2022, France.

○    Forever Young, Director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. 2022, France.

○    The Innocent, Director Louis Garrel. 2022, France.

○    The Night of the 12th, Director Dominik Moll. 2022, France, Belgium.      

○    The Passengers of the Night, Director Mikhaël Hers. 2022, France.

○    Return to Seoul, Director Davy Chou. 2022, France, Germany, Belgium, Qatar.

○    Rodeo, Director Lola Quivoron. 2022, France.

Green Screen – In Honor of the Philadelphia Film Society’s inaugural year producing the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival, introducing Green Screen. From animal welfare to the effects of climate change, these thought-provoking films address urgent environmental issues.

○    All That Breathes, Director Shaunak Sen. 2002, India, United Kingdom, USA.ᐩ 

○    How to Blow Up a Pipeline, Director Daniel Goldhaber. 2022, USA.

○    Rebellion, Director Maia Kenworthy, Director Elena Sanchez Bellot. 2021, United Kingdom.

○    The Smell of Money, Director Shawn Bannon. 2022, USA.ᐩ 

Sight & Soundtrack – Featuring rockumentaries, musician biopics, and films centered on the unifying power of music.

○    Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues, Director Sacha Jenkins. 2022, USA.

○    Meet Me in the Bathroom, Director Will Lovelace, Director Dylan Southern. 2022, United Kingdom.

○    Rebel, Director Adil El Arbi, Director Bilall Fallah. 2022, Belgium, Luxembourg, France.

○    The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlisle, Director Kathlyn Horan. 2022, USA.

○    Taurus, Director Tim Sutton. 2022, USA.         

State of the Union – Stories of some of the most significant figures and events in American politics and diplomacy, which continue to shape the future of the nation’s democracy.

○    Boycott , Director Julia Bacha. 2021, USA.ᐩ 

○    The Exiles, Director Ben Klein, Director Violet Columbus. 2022, USA, Taiwan, France, China.ᐩ 

○    The Grab, Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite. 2022, USA.ᐩ 

○    Loudmouth, Director Josh Alexander. 2022, USA.ᐩ 

○    Retrograde, Director Matthew Heineman. 2022, USA.ᐩ 

○    Shouting Down Midnight, Director Gretchen Stoeltje. 2022, USA.ᐩ 

Short Films 

○    A Short Story, Director Bi Gan.

○    Beware of Trains, Director Emma Calder.

○    Bump, Director Maziyar Khatam.

○    The Cave, Director Kim Jinman, Director Chon Jiyoung.

○    Chaperone, Director Sam Max.

○    Craze, Director Bianka Szelestey.

○    Deerwoods Deathtrap, Director James P. Gannon.

○    Five Cents, Director Aaron Hughes.

○    The Flying Sailor, Director Wendy Tilby, Director Amanda Forbis.

○    Goodbye Jérôme!, Director Adam Sillard, Director Gabrielle Selnet, Director Chloé Farr.

○    I (heart) Jack LaLanne: A Cartoon Memoir, Director LeAnn Erickson.

○    Ice Merchants, Director João Gonzalez.

○  It Feels Personal, Director Hugh Clegg.

○    Kylie, Director Master Sterling.

○    Le Pupille, Director Alice Rohrwacher.

○    Long Line of Ladies, Director Rayka Zehtabchi, Director Shaandiin Tome.

○    Meal on the Plate, Director Chenglin Xie.

○    Memnon, Director Cameron Clay.

○    Persona, Director Moon Sujin.

○    Ro & the Stardust, Director Eunice Levis.

○    She Got Balls!, Director Cheryl Hess.

○    Something in the Garden, Director Marcos Sánchez.

○    The Stand, Director Andrew Bilindabagabo.

○    Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver, Director Lewie Kloster, Director Noah Kloster.

○    Tank Fairy, Director Erich Rettstadt.

○    Warsha, Director Dania Bdeir.

○    Zoon, Director Jonatan Schwenk.


Please see individual film listings, screening schedule and guests anticipated to attend on https://filmadelphia.org/festival.

The 31st Philadelphia Film Festival is made possible through the generous support of its sponsors, including AKA and  iHeartMedia.

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