By A.D. Beal

In Theaters
In the far future, a young man must face his destiny when his family is under attack over control of a planet and its resources. Dune is the ideal blockbuster and a showcase of Denis Villenueve at the height of his filmmaking career. With worldbuilding not seen since The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, each faction, character and planet feel alive and breathing, despite their different amounts of screen time. In spite of its handling as an adventure/action film (which it delivers), the film is filled with several moments straight out of a horror movie with Paul’s terrible visions of war and the scenes on Giedi Prime. At the same time, the tragic moments pack their necessary punch and the cast is one of the best ensembles in recent years. A true masterpiece, and likely to be a defining film of its time, Dune is not to be missed.
A fable about Princess Diana set over three days. Haunting, but not scary, Spencer is strangely a relatable movie. The anxiety that Diana feels throughout the film, in one of Kristen Stewart’s finest roles, is realistic and terrifying, sometimes going into surreal. The fuzzy visuals add to the mood of the film, giving it a lovely but still unsettling mood. Jonny Greenwood’s score is outstanding, very different from his usual film work, more like his earlier Radiohead days in how somber it comes across. If you can stomach how patient it is as a film, you will be rewarded with an incredible experience.

After thousands of years without interfering, a group of immortal beings find themselves divided on what to do about a world-ending event. You can almost see the tug of war between Chloé Zhao and the people of Marvel Studios in regards to the direction of Eternals. Some have praised this film for diverging from the usual Marvel fare, but to me it didn’t go far enough. Every now and then, an interesting idea about these characters’ roles pops its head, and almost goes somewhere. But then, the script does nothing with it and chooses to focus on something else, like the usual forced humor of Marvel films or long scenes of dull exposition. You feel bad for the actors here, trying so desperately to get something out of this material when they have so little to work with, but only Brian Tyree Henry comes out succeeding. Most of all, for a film with the lore it has, it strangely does little with it and takes potentially grand images and worlds and wastes them. What could have been something special in this series turned out to be another disposable picture to add to the Disney+ library.

On Netflix
The Harder They Fall
Nat Love assembles his old gang to find the man who murdered his family. For a directorial debut, The Harder They Fall establishes Jeymes Samuel well. An homage that doesn’t become a copy, energetic but still thoughtful, it’s a rare Netflix original with genuine personality to it. Portrayed like a tall tale of these real-life people, the cast brings them to life with the tone that fits its time while still modernizing it. The old west feels like it’s at the end of its peak in this film, complimented by the production design, which is both complex and minimal when needed. Most of all, the action is exciting with each blast, explosion and punch hitting their mark. The Harder They Fall is one of Netflix’s best films yet.

December 3:
• Try Harder!
• Wolf
• Flee (Limited)
• Bendetta (Limited)
• The Hand Of God (Limited)
• Invasion (Limited)

December 10:
• West Side Story
• Red Rocket (Limited)
• Being The Ricardos (Limited)
• Don’t Look Up (Limited)

December 17:
• Spider-Man: No Way Home
• Nightmare Alley

December 22:
• The Matrix Resurrections
• Sing 2
• The King’s Man

December 25:
• A Journal For Jordan
• American Underdog: The Kurt
Warner Story