DUNE: PART TWO – Review by Susan Granger

Denis Villeneuve’s mythic sci-fi sequel Dune: Part Two has already grossed $500 million globally, making it the highest-grossing film of 2024 – domestic and worldwide – surpassing the first film, released back in 2021. Based on Frank Herbert’s anti-imperial, ecologically dystopian Dune saga, it revolves around Paul (Timothee Chalamet), heir to the House of Atreides, wiped out in Part One under the fascist aegis of grotesque, genocidal Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard). As with any franchise, seeing the first installment is vital to understanding the second. Written by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts with an emphasis on action – as opposed to exposition and character-development – this shallow, self-important sequel runs 2 hours, 46 minutes, dominated by Grieg Fraser’s spectacular cinematography and Hans Zimmer’s propulsive score.

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DUNE: PART TWO – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

“Power over Spice is power over all,” a voice intones before the film even begins, which is about as much backstory as Dune: Part Two allows, The script by Villeneuve and returning co-writer Jon Spaihts picks up largely where the 2021 film left off—and ends on an ambivalent note, even after two hours and 46 minutes. Thankfully, while the earlier film handled a lot of table setting, this one dives right into the action, unfurling at a brisk pace. While the ending implies plenty more story to tell, Dune: Part Two for now crafts an immersive sci-fi adventure.

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DUNE: Part Two – Review by T. J. Callahan

This sprawling, blockbuster was green lit for a sequel seconds after Part One hit the big screen in 2021. The sci-fi romantic adventure of warring families is The Ten Commandments meets Star Wars. Timothee Chalamet is the Moses of Arrakis riding sand worms in pursuit of a better life for his chosen people. Dune: Part Two is why we go to the movies. Read up on the legend beforehand, especially if you haven’t seen Part One, settle in with some popcorn and marvel at what masterful filmmaking is all about.

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DUNE: Part Two – Review by Susan Kamyab

The second installment picks up where it left off with Paul uniting with Chani and the Fremen to seek revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Director and co-writer, Denis Villeneuve properly brings this science fiction novel to life. Beginning with the mesmerizing world he’s created. Desert sand has never looked this attractive; swirling through the winds and fight sequences, paired with a roaring soundtrack that will make you truly feel as if you are in the movie. The set is immersive and the work, especially the cinematography by Greig Fraser, that has gone into this imaginative society is engaging without any dialogue or action.

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THE LITTLE MERMAID – Review by Susan Granger

Why this live-action remake of Disney’s beloved 1989 animated classic? Because it’s “woke” 2023 – when audiences may want to see a more dutiful, diversity-aware approach to race and gender in The Little Mermaid. Sweetly guileless Ariel (Grammy-nominated Halle Bailey) is one of King Triton’s many, multiethnic mermaid daughters. Despite her widowed father’s disapproval, she avidly collects artifacts from the human world that she scavenges from shipwrecks with the help of her fish friend Flounder and Scuttle, a squawking seagull.

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THE LITTLE MERMAID – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Disney’s new live-action take on The Little Mermaid goes along swimmingly in its sweet romance, but it doesn’t diverge enough from its animated roots to truly make a splash. First things first: The charming Halle Bailey gets Ariel endearingly right, from her innocent optimism to unquenchable curiosity. Unfairly targeted with racist vitriol after the initial trailers, Bailey is a likable lead, and it’s easy to imagine young mermaid fans loving her and her sisters, who also are women of different races. The Little Mermaid is adorable enough in parts, but its story largely stays on the surface. Like Ariel in “Part of Your World,” I wanted more.

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THE LITTLE MERMAID – Review by Susan Kamyab

Thanks to the committed cast and their captivating performances, this is one of the few Disney live-actions I’m happy with. And if there was any reason for this remake in particular, it was to have Halle Bailey play Ariel. Baily shines as Ariel. Her voice is breathtaking and she’s a talented actor. It’s also heartwarming to know that so many young girls are going to get to see themselves represented through such an iconic Disney Classic.

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BEING THE RICARDOS – Review by Martha K Baker

Being the Ricardos proves especially hard to watch for any one of 60 million viewers who saved Monday evenings for I Love Lucy. We know what those actors looked like in those roles; we know the plots. Heck, even folks who have watched the iconic television situation comedy in re-runs know. Unfortunately, this look behind the scenes in 1960 is terribly uneven.

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