By William L.G. Stephens
“Dune” Release: Oct. 22
It has been 36 years since David Lynch’s film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel “Dune” was released. Although Lynch’s adaptation has gained a cult following, fans of the novel have only wondered what could have been.
“Dune” 2021 covers the first half of Herbert’s novel as Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet, and his family House Atreides are thrown into a war for the planet Arrakis, between the Fremen people and House Harkonne. The cast joining Chalamet are no strangers to action as Jason Momoa (“Aquaman”), Josh Brolin (“The Avengers”) and Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) will be entering the battlefield.
On Oct. 22, we will find out what director Denis Villeneuve and his star-studded cast are capable of bringing to the table.
It’ll be interesting to see if “Dune” is a cut and paste of “Blade Runner 2049,” another one of his films that was surprisingly good but had low reception.
“House of Gucci” Release: Nov. 24
“House of Gucci” is based on the true story of Patrizia Reggiani, who was tried and convicted of orchestrating the assassination of her ex-husband, and former head of the Gucci fashion house, Maurizio Gucci.
Lady Gaga, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “A Star Is Born,” plays Reggiani. Adam Driver, who was last nominated for his performance in “Marriage Story,” will be portraying Maurizio. The cast also includes Oscar winners Jared Leto, Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons as Gucci family members.
“Nightmare Alley” Release: Dec. 17
“Nightmare Alley” is an upcoming Guillermo del Toro film and the second adaptation of the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham. Del Toro is the Academy Award winning director and producer behind “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Shape of Water.”
“Nightmare Alley” features Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper and Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. The supporting cast includes Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara and Ron Perlman. Perlman portrayed the titular character in del Toro’s “Hellboy” series.
“Licorice Pizza” Limited release: Nov. 26, Wide release: Dec. 25
“Licorice Pizza,” originally given the working title “Soggy Bottom,” marks the return of writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson, eight-time Oscar nominated filmmaker who last helmed “Phantom Thread” in 2017.
All that’s known about the plot is that it follows a high school student becoming an actor in the 1970s. The film introduces Cooper Hoffman, the son of late actor and frequent collaborator of Anderson, Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Licorice Pizza” also stars Bradley Cooper, Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly, Tom Waits, Sean Penn, and Christopher Walken.
“The Matrix Resurrections” Release: Dec. 22
“The Matrix Resurrections” is another film getting a dual release in theaters and on HBO Max.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will be reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively, in the fourth installment of “The Matrix” franchise. By the looks of the film’s trailer, which features a well-placed “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, it appears as though Neo and Trinity are both suffering from amnesia. Once again Neo is offered the choice of taking the blue or red pill.
As disappointing as it is that Laurence Fishburne wasn’t asked to reprise his role as Morpheus, I am excited to see Yahya Abdul-Mateen II stepping in his shoes.
“The Matrix” redefined the action genre and CGI in 1999. Let’s see how Lana Wachowski can up the stakes two decades later.