Latest filmed version of ‘Dune’ beautifully entertaining

Rick's Reviews

Timothee Chalamet plays Paul Atreides in the new film version of “Dune.” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — One new version of an old story that works while another one that fails are among this week’s new entertainment options.

“Dune” 3 ½ stars: Director Denis Villeneuve faced a major challenge in creating “Dune,” an epic science fiction production based on the classic 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. Herbert’s writing is so rich and complicated that past efforts to adapt the book have either failed to happen or in the case of the 1984 film from director David Lynch, could not live up to the power and grandeur of the original writing.

Villeneuve (“Blade Runner 2049”) has succeeded where others have failed by showing a deep respect for the novel but also being equally aware that the very essence of the production is that it must be entertaining. His “Dune” is a visually stunning tale of greed, power, hope and love that finds sharp contrasts in a monochromatic environment.

Telling the tale in a proper way is complicated by the futuristic world that Herbert created as the setting for his story. Unlike the picturesque beauty of the “Lord of the Rings” setting or the intergalactic backdrop of the “Star Wars” franchise, “Dune” unfolds in a world almost void of color.

Despite the harshness of the location, Villeneuve has created a film that embraces what should be dismissed as visually bland and shows how beauty can be found in even the most subtle of differences. He got great help from two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette, two-time Oscar-nominated editor Joe Walker, two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert and Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer in creating the stunning visuals in the film.

The end result is a movie worthy of the source material.

“Halloween Kills” Grade ½ star: The film picks up moments after babysitter-turned-vigilant Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) have “killed” Myers in the 2018 film “Halloween.” They have left him caged in Laurie’s basement that has been set on fire.

Of course Myers doesn’t die and sets off on a killing spree where the deaths range from grossly bloody to super silly. No one should ever have to die by having a car door hit the gun they are firing and accidentally shooting themselves.

David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Scott Teems – writers of “Halloween Kills” – try to pass off what is shorter than a fortune cookie message as a full movie script. The entire story is Michael Myers kills stupid people who chase him.

The trio has taken the pathetic horror film trope of having the victims of the killer hopelessly running away until they can be slaughtered and turned it into everyone running toward the killer until they can be slaughtered. They were going to get killed anyway but the stupidity level of this movie will make your head hurt.

Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of Jan. 11:

“Spencer”: Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) tries to deal with a Christmas holiday despite all of the turmoil in her life.

“Heart of Champions”: Tough new coach looks to help a college rowing team find success. Michael Shannon stars.

“Dawn Raid”: The film explores the struggles beneath the glamor of chart-topping hits with the hottest local and international talent in New Zealand.

“Cobra Kai III”: Series takes place more than 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament with the conflict between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).

“Amityville Uprising”: Chemical blast at a military base sets off a supernatural disaster.

“Mass”: Two sets of parents (Reed Birney and Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton), agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart.

“Ema”: Lives of members of an experimental dance troupe are thrown into chaos because of a shocking incident.

“Joy Womak: The White Swan”: American woman becomes the first to sign a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet.

“Corinth Films Historical Drama Collection”: “Calm at Sea” and “Within the Whirlwind” part of the five films included.

Available on streaming platforms

“A Journal for Jordan”: Soldier deployed to Iraq begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son.

“Diary of the Grizzly Man”: Documentary looks at how Timothy Treadwell studied grizzly bears until one of the bears killed him.

“See for Me”: This home-invasion thriller has a blind protagonist.

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