‘Dune’ and the streaming premieres

Photo: Disclosure/Warner Bros. / Modern Popcorn

‘Duna’ is the big streaming debut of the week. But with a detail: anyone who is not a subscriber to HBO Max will also be able to see it, paying more than the monthly subscription, on one of the many VOD platforms that are now offering their digital rental simultaneously this Friday (11/26).

Among the other tips, there are two Christmas films and many award-winning releases on the festival circuit, with an emphasis on ‘Annette’, a musical that won two trophies at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is unprecedented on the official circuit of Brazilian cinemas.

Below are 10 suggestions for getting the most out of streaming over the weekend.

‘Dune’| HBO Max

Warner’s biggest cinematic hit during the pandemic, ‘Duna’ comes “free” to streaming – included in the regular subscription price of HBO Max – to be viewed preferably on a giant-screen Smart TV that enhances its breathtaking visuals . The scenography, the depth of field, the ambition, everything is gigantic, Babylonian.

Originally written by Frank Herbert in 1965 and first brought to screen in 1984 with direction by David Lynch (the creator of ‘Twin Peaks’), the plot of ‘Dune’ follows an aristocratic family who take over the oversight of the Spice Mining, the most prized element in the universe, which exists only in the world of Arrakis. Whoever controls the Spice has a significant economic advantage over opponents, which makes the family face plots and suffer an attempt. But the son, Paul Atreides, escapes and seeks revenge, using Arrakis’ bizarre ecology as his main weapon. In particular, the giant worms that inhabit the great dunes – and that are really responsible for the production of the Spice.

If in the foreground there is a great adventure, in the second there remains a critique of colonialism and greed, with parallels nowadays to the energy crisis and the visceral disputes over the market between large corporations.

The cast assembled to materialize this story is as grand as the scale of the production, with highlights including Timothée Chalamet (‘Call Me By Your Name’) as Paul Artreides, Jason Momoa (the ‘Aquaman’), Josh Brolin (the Thanos of ‘ Avengers: Infinite War’), Oscar Isaac (‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’), Rebecca Ferguson (‘Mission Impossible: The Fallout Effect’), Zendaya (‘Spider-Man: Back Home’), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’), Charlotte Rampling (Oscar nominee for ’45 Years’), Dave Bautista (‘Guardians of the Galaxy’), Stellan Skarsgard (‘Thor’) and Javier Bardem (‘007: Operation Skyfall’).

But beware: ‘Dune’ is also an endless story. Director Denis Villeneuve (‘Blade Runner 2049’) has adapted only the first half of Frank Herbert’s book and will complete the story in another film – or two, as he plans to adapt the next book, ‘The Dune Messiah’.

‘Annette’ | MUBI

Leos Carax’s first English-language film (‘The Lovers of Pont Neuf’), who won the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director trophy this year, is a musical that highlights the French filmmaker’s surreal style in striking visual scenes and lots of song.

Originally conceived as a rock opera by the band Sparks, who signed the original French festival award-winning soundtrack, the plot follows Adam Driver (‘Star Wars: The Skywalker Rise’) as a stand-up artist and Marion Cotillard ( ‘Allies’) as a singer of international fame, who form a couple surrounded by glamour. But the birth of their daughter Annette, a “mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny,” changes the course of their lives.

‘The Trouble with Being Born’ | MUBI

One of the most provocative sci-fi plots of recent times, ‘The Trouble with Being Born’, awarded at last year’s Berlin Festival, follows Elli, a child-shaped android robot programmed with memories that mean everything to their owners, but nothing for her.

The plot brings the machine’s point of view and clashes at first with images of child sexualization, which suggest abuse of the relationship between owner and “daughter” – and the incest insinuations were enough for the Melbourne Festival to give up showing the filmmaker’s film Austrian Sandra Wollner (‘The Impossible Picture’) on her schedule.

But this is just the beginning of the story. On an impulse to escape, Elli ends up in the hands of another owner, taking on another look and toxic relationship. In the end, it is a moral parable that goes beyond an obvious commentary on the dehumanizing effects of technology.

‘Wound’ | Netflix

Actress Halle Berry’s directorial debut is a dive into the world of professional women’s wrestling. In addition to being behind the camera, she also stars in the production as Jackie Justice, a failed MMA fighter who abandoned her newborn son six years ago. Her life takes a turn when little Manny unexpectedly returns to her life and she finds herself needing to support the child. With his lackluster résumé, the way to do that is to come out on top in an effort to regain his career and prestige in fights against young stars of the sport.

For the shoot, the 55-year-old actress trained with Brazilian Cris Cyborg, a professional fighter and MMA champion. The practice was tough, but she ended the preparation for the role with a six pack abs – “there’s no better feeling”, she even posted on Instagram.

‘Chain Reaction’ | Amazon Prime Video

Márcio Garcia takes risks as an action thriller director in his first “Brazilian film” – after shooting two features in the US – and the result is surprising. Even without a Hollywood budget, ‘Chain Reaction’ has decent car chase sequences without exorbitant special effects. But his greatest asset is the script written in partnership between the director, Thiago Dottori (of the two ‘Turma da Mônica’ films) and Bráulio Mantovani (of the two ‘Tropa de Elite’ and ‘City of God’). With a plot that addresses crime and corruption, it delivers an authentic portrait of political rot in Brazil.

The protagonist (Bruno Gissoni) is the fiscal auditor of a company that, unwittingly, is faced with a large corruption scheme that fuels the Brazilian political system. The situation involves organized crime and puts your family at risk. But unlike Hollywood action movies, the hero doesn’t solve the problem by arming himself to the teeth. His main weapon is the intelligence with which he faces the threats and plot twists, outlining a plan to resume his normal life. It arrives on Saturday (11/27) on Amazon.

‘The End of the World’ | Filmicca

A kind of Portuguese ‘City of God’, filmed with non-professional actors, ‘O Fim do Mundo’ follows an 18-year-old boy who has spent the last 8 years in a juvenile detention unit and tries to resume his life in Reboleira, a favela in Lisbon. His childhood friends are still there, as well as the cariocas and the parties. But also trafficking and sworn enemies. Seeking balance is even more difficult as bulldozers begin to demolish the neighborhood and everyone tries to cling to dreams, whether romantic or violent.

Best Portuguese IndieLisboa Film of last year, Basil da Cunha’s second feature was quite successful on the international festival circuit, revealing a universe little seen in European cinema, and which had already appeared in the first film by the Portuguese-Swiss director, ‘Até See the Light’, in the already distant year of 2013.

‘Take the smile off your face’ | Filmicca

Critically acclaimed as it aired at the Berlin and Tribeca festivals, American director Daniel Patrick Carbone’s debut follows two brothers as they mature abruptly from the shock of the death of a friend. Disturbed in ways they cannot understand, they seek refuge far from the city as they ponder the mysteries of nature and mortality itself. In filming this journey, Carbone delivers a beautifully photographed portrait of the American countryside from the distorted lens of youth.

‘Christmas in 8 Bits’ | HBO Max

One of the funniest Christmas-themed movies this year, ‘Christmas in 8-Bit’ revolves around a late 1980s teenager’s misadventures to get the gift of his dreams: the ultimate in video game consoles, the Nintendo Entertainment System . Even though his family’s request for Christmas is refused, he does not give up and enters a contest full of challenges to win the grand prize.

The story is reminiscent of the boy’s well-known epic of ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983), but also shares the sweet and ironic humor of ‘The Princess Bride’ (1987) in the form of Neil Patrick Harris (‘How I Met Your Mother ‘) tells the story to her daughter, swearing that everything is true and happened in her childhood. Not to mention that it’s full of references from the most pop decade of all.

‘A Boy Called Christmas’ | Netflix

The quality of the effects and the good cast set this fantasy apart from the many Christmas titles released by Netflix this end of the year. The story unfolds as Maggie Smith (‘Downton Abbey’) tells a group of children how Christmas really began, when a boy named Nicholas and his talking mouse embarked on an impossible journey in search of some magic.

Scripted and directed by Gil Kenan (‘Poltergeist – The Phenomenon’), the cast also includes Kristen Wiig (‘Wonder Woman 1984’), Sally Hawkins (‘The Shape of Water’), Toby Jones (‘Captain America: The First Avenger’), Jim Broadbent (‘Harry Potter’) and rookie boy Henry Lawfull.

‘Becoming Cousteau’ | Disney+

Awarded at the London Film Festival, this documentary celebrates the career and achievements, but also recalls the tragedies that marked the life of the famous explorer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997). He himself was an award-winning documentary filmmaker – winner of three Oscars – who for many years had his name associated with the greatest underwater adventures in real life, as well as being responsible for important inventions and awakening the oceanographic passion in several generations who grew up watching his works. television programs such as ‘The Undersea World by Jacques Custeau’, ‘The Odyssey of Custeau’ and many others – he even made a series dedicated to the exploration of the rivers of the Amazon in the 1980s.

About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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