3/15 Movie Trip

3/15 Movie Trip

3/15 Movie Trip

Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trips to the Movies talks about “Dune 2,” “Damsel” and “Arthur the King.”

Paul’s monthly movie series at Emagine Theaters in Eagan is on the fourth Sunday of every month at 3 p.m., this month’s movie is Good Will Hunting.

DUNE PART TWO (in theaters)

Director Denis Villeneuve has created another out of this world cinematic experience as he continues to expand on Frank Herbert’s Dune with Dune Part Two. The second part picks up right where the first one left off. We’re introduced to Florence Pugh’s character, Princess Irulan, narrating the events of what happened. The power over the Spice means power over all the people. The Harkonnens took over Arrakis destroying the House of Atreides. It’s believed that Paul Atreidis (Timothee Chalamet) is dead, but what the Emperor (Christopher Walken) and Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) don’t realize is that he’s alive and hiding within the Fremen people. Word starts to spread that Paul may be a Messiah or he’s living as a False Prophet. Paul’s destiny has grave impacts on his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), his budding relationship with his friend Chani (Zendaya) and future of the planet.

-It’s helpful going into Dune Part Two knowing that Denis Villeneuve is hard at work making this a trilogy. Part Two is a long film clocking in at 2 hours and 40 minutes and certainly acts as the middle film of a trilogy, especially when you compare it to The Two Towers of The Empire Strikes Back.

-Villeneuve hits the ground running and sets the stage catapulting audiences into a visual feast of lush filmmaking with the desert sun, the heat, and orange hues all jolting off the screen. Villeneuve crafts such thrilling action sequences with how he works with cinematographer Greig Fraser, who won the Oscar for his work on the first film.

Dune Part Two builds on Paul being a potential Messiah, but also introduces us to the other side of the moral coin with Feyd-Rautha, Austin Butler’s character who acts as a psychotic devil in the making. Butler does stunning work at making Feyd the terrifying monster that he is

-Denis Villeneuve and his entire production team have created distinct, lived in worlds bringing Frank Herbert’s novel to life with their gorgeous costumes and set pieces. Rarely do we see big sci-fi epics like this that feel so real and tangible in the age of CGI filmmaking. Dune Part Two is a thrilling edge of your seat epic with high stakes, breathtaking filmmaking, and lasting visuals that are all enhanced by another Hans Zimmer score that deepens its emotional core.


ARTHUR THE KING(in theaters)

Mark Wahlberg is tackling the true story of an adventure racer and the dog that wouldn’t leave his side in Arthur the King.  Wahlberg plays Michael Light who is based on Michael Lindnord who competed in the 2015 Adventure Racing World Championship. His team didn’t win after getting stuck in the mud and now he’s hoping for a redemption race. It’s three years later and he can’t let this concept go. He’s at a crossroads in life and knows he’ll need a sponsor, a new team, and the blessing of his family if he wants to race again. He gathers his team consisting of Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ali Suliman. Simu Liu’s character, Leo, has a sordid past with Michael after their last race, but Michael needs him on the team due to his social media following. The team is tested around every curve until a stray dog seems to be following them and gives them that extra push for Michael to keep going.

-The movie is based off the book “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home” by Mikael Lindnord.

-Michael Brandt’s screenplay keeps this a pretty lean story sticking to Michael’s team competing in the race for a majority of the film. It’s like watching a 90 minute episode of The Amazing Race or Survivor and then bookending it with Michael’s personal life.

-Director Simon Cellan Jones leans into the peril at hand and the death-defying challenges they face.  The movie makes feel like you’re on this trek with the team. If you’re at all scared of heights or falling, you will be tested and may need to cover your eyes at times during one tense scene involving a zip line and a literal life or death moment.

– As Michael, Mark Wahlberg dons a scruffy unkept look with his usual tough guy, hot shot personality that we’re used to. It seems like he’s in a stage of his career where he’s taking on family films, inspirational stories, or both that live in a narrow lane for him.

-I’d love for Wahlberg to get back to more challenging character work like we’ve seen in the past whether it’s The Fighter, The Departed, Boogie Nights or I Heart Huckabees.

Arthur the King succeeds at being a thrilling adventure for those that love the power of being one with nature.

-There’s something deeper missing throughout as it feels a little imbalanced on whether it wants to be about Michael, the team, or Michael’s relationship with Arthur. Only in the end, do you feel those emotional heartstrings pulling if you’re someone who knows the power and connection to a dog or other pet.


DAMSEL (Netflix)

Millie Bobby Brown is no stranger to playing resourceful, kick butt characters with her work in Stranger Things and the Enola Holmes movies. She takes on double duty as actress and producer with Damsel playing Elodie who comes from a poor family and is told she set to marry a Prince she’s never met. He’s played by Nick Robinson. Elodie has no interest in this arranged marriage, but she knows her family needs the help that could come from her new family. Her parents are played by Ray Winstone and Angela Bassett. In the days leading up to the ceremony, it’s clear that Angela Bassett’s Lady Bayford, senses something rotten is happening behind the scenes after a chilly reception from the Prince’s mom, Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright). There’s no happy ever after when Elodie is thrown into a cave as a sacrifice for the royal family. It becomes a story of resilience and  survival our dear Elodie.

Damsel flips the script on what we think of when it comes to a “damsel in distress” The film’s voice over at the beginning sets the stage that this is NOT the story “where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress.”

-The film sits well in the fantasy world with its royal family, various kingdoms and classes, and even a fire-breathing dragon, voiced by Shoreh Agdashloo.

-The costumes by Amanda Monk are all stunning right now to the metallic masks we see in a ritualistic ceremony.

-It’s not overly scary or gruesome like Game of Thrones, as it’s made for a pre-teen, teen audience who are already fans of Millie or the fantasy genre. Damsel plays smart for its audience. It’s never a cutesy film as Elodie is not that kind of princess.

-The film relies on thrilling action scenes, peril, and the fight for survival for Elodie. Millie Bobby Brown is up for the challenge. The whole middle third finds Elodie alone in a cave trying to get out all while battling the dragon. Brown has no issues carrying the film alone as she navigates the big twist thrown at Elodie.

-Shoreh Agdashloo is perfectly sinister as the dragon. It’s fun to see Robin Wright return to the fantasy genre going from the innocent Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride to now playing the wicked, evil Queen.

– Millie Bobby Brown is a big reason why Damsel works well as she’s magnetic on screen. Between this and Enola Holmes, we’re already seeing the kind of characters and stories Brown will take on after she ends Stranger Things. Damsel will certainly appeal to a younger audience who will love her character. There are strong themes that will ring out and speak to its audience.