Tag Archives: Film critic

Writes reviews for many flicks!

Dune Review

Dune is a mesmerizing visual masterpiece. And the visuals, along with Director Denis Villeneuve use of top-notch scoring and sound effects, adds up to sheer brilliance.

Dune is based on the sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert. I remember reading a condensed versions of the book in school, but experiencing Villeneuve’s film version in IMAX is a whole different world.

In Dune, set far in the future, we meet Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet. He is the son of a prominent and accomplished family around the galaxy. His parents are Lady Jessica Atreides, and Duke Leto Atreides, played by Rebecca Ferguson and Oscar Isaac. Paul is given the power to protect his people, and mankind, from the dangers of their universe. But with little experience and not being able to handle his powers properly, the journey for Paul and the people he loves becomes quite treacherous. With help and inspiration from Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho, played by Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa, Paul may have a chance, but there is more to the task than anticipated.

Dune is not your typical sci-fi flick. It is an in-depth experience offering realism and continuity that is spellbinding. In fact, Dune may be one of the best immersive sci-fi experiences of 2021. Watching it in IMAX certainly added to the experience, and is definitely worth the additional cost. We always think of the visuals with IMAX, but the sound in that format is just incredibly crisp and clear as well. There is no better way to get into the mind of director Villeneuve. Seeing it in normal large cinema format would be the next best thing, but watching it at home on HBO Max just wouldn’t do it justice.

I truly enjoyed this film. Three and a half stars for Dune.

Drive My Car Review

Drive My Car, from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, is a Japanese language film with universal contemporary values that are displayed with empathy and artistry. The film, winner of the Best Screen Play award at the Cannes Film Festival, can be harrowing and sad, but it is a compelling story and a visual experience that will take your breath away.

The main character in Drive My Car is Yusuke Kafuku, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima. Yusuke is an actor and stage director, and he lives in Japan with his wife Oto, played by Reika Kirishima. Oto is a playwright, and she and Yusuke live a life of creativity, love, and commitment to each other. But Yusuke’s life takes a tragic turn when, just as he is about to start a stage production, he finds out he has glaucoma and then his beloved wife Oto dies. Yusuke is a stoic man and he continues with the stage production. He hires a chauffeur, Misaki Watari, played by Toko Miura. Yusuke makes directing his top priority, but it is obvious that he is struggling with his wife’s death.

Yusuke soon finds himself at odds with his production cast, and he unsure of their confidence in him. He begins to question himself as a person, and that affects his production even more. But as he becomes more at odds with those in his production, he finds a growing connection with Misaki, his chauffeur.

Losing someone we love is a tragedy that remains with us forever but, as Drive My Car reminds us, that is just how life goes sometimes. And there is always a path forward.

I loved Drive My Car. Despite its almost three hour length, I was hooked on it from the beginning to the end. The dialogue was inviting, the issues were inviting if difficult, and the outcomes were inviting as well. Four stars for Drive My Car.

Belfast review

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.”
–Kenneth Branagh

In Belfast, Director Kenneth Branagh delivers a film that is not only based on his own life, but one that is a masterpiece of brilliance and realism. Belfast is amazing, with moments of happiness, sadness, and many difficult challenges. Branagh’s auteur directing submerses us in his childhood world of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The film is emotionally moving and visually engrossing.

Belfast focuses on a small boy named Buddy, played by Jude Hill, who lives in Belfast with his working-class family. His mom and dad are played by Catriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan, and his grandpa and grandma are played by Ciaran Hinds and Judi Dench. Buddy loves his life in Belfast, but his family faces uncharted territory with the tumultuous riots in Northern Ireland. The largely black and white cinematography of the film sets the tone for the mood of the film, but Buddy’s happy experiences are in color. I loved this aspect of Belfast.

The film made me think a lot about challenging times in my own life. Branagh reminds us to see the light in both good times and bad, and to always keep moving forward.

Although Branagh obviously had ups and downs during his time in Belfast, I loved that his film doesn’t focus on the depressing drama of those times; rather, he keeps the tone optimistic and pleasant. Belfast touched me, and it will touch many around the world. It reminds us to always focus on what motivates us in our life. Four stars for the brilliant Belfast.