Tag Archives: Jürgen Prochnow

Dune (1984) Review

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Dune (1984)

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica
Leonardo Cimino as the Baron’s Doctor
Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries
José Ferrer as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV
Linda Hunt as the Shadout Mapes
Freddie Jones as Thufir Hawat
Richard Jordan as Duncan Idaho
Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides
Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan
Silvana Mangano as Reverend Mother Ramallo
Everett McGill as Stilgar
Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Jack Nance as Nefud
Siân Phillips as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
Jürgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atreides
Paul Smith as The Beast Rabban
Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck
Sting as Feyd Rautha
Dean Stockwell as Doctor Wellington Yueh
Max von Sydow as Doctor Kynes
Alicia Roanne Witt as Alia
Sean Young as Chani
Director: David Lynch

In the year 10191, a spice called melange is the most valuable substance known in the universe, and its only source is the desert planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides (Jürgen Prochnow) and ousts his bitter enemies, the Harkonnens. However, when the Harkonnens violently seize back their fiefdom, it is up to Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), Leto’s son, to lead the Fremen, the natives of Arrakis, in a battle for control of the planet and its spice. Based on Frank Herbert’s epic novel.

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I’ve heard about Dune for some time, especially that it was David Lynch directing a movie based on the influential novel, and had been meaning to watch it at some point. With Denis Villeneuve’s version coming however, I was felt that the time was right to watch Lynch’s version. Dune certainly was an ambitious book to adapt for the big screen. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to work out all that well, even Lynch himself didn’t have a good time making the movie, mostly due to the studio interference that went on during the movie. Still, I liked what I saw.

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I haven’t read Frank Herbert’s Dune, so I can’t comment on how well it was adapted to the big screen. A lot of adaptations of books can suffer from not being able to cover everything in its story and having to condense it down quite a bit, but that especially feels the case with this movie. It certainly feels like there’s a lot missing from the movie, even at 2 hours and 15 minutes. The last half of the story particularly feels quite rushed. One of the biggest mistakes was the use of narration, it’s used not only to explain a lot of the background and worldbuilding but it’s mainly used to reveal their inner thoughts. It was already quite a bit much with Kyle MacLachlan, but there’s narration from multiple characters about their feelings and it quickly becomes annoying. The exposition dumps were also pretty bad, the film literally opens with a floating head narrator shoving so much information onto you, and it is just a mess. Additionally, I wasn’t particularly interested in the characters or the story, I was just following what was going on.

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Dune has got a large cast, including Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, Brad Dourif, Max von Sydow. Sean Young and Sting. Generally I remember the cast being alright, but they are constrained by the characters being not particularly well written or interesting. However, they do what they can.

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David Lynch is a great director and we know this from many of his other movies like Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet and The Elephant Man. With that said, while I haven’t seen all of his movies, when most people say that Dune is easily his weakest movie, I believe that. At the same time, I think it has got a lot of things going for it, and I even liked some of the choices that Lynch made. The production designs and costumes definitely go all out on the craziness. I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure if the designs are supposed to resemble how they look in Lynch’s movie, but looking at it all as its own thing, I liked it in a campy and over the top sci-fi way. The visual effects however don’t hold up well. Some are a little dated, other parts look so absurdly dated that I can’t imagine that it looked particularly good even for the 80s.

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David Lynch’s Dune is a bit of a mixed bag to say the least. Some of the direction didn’t work so well, and while the ideas are there, they weren’t executed the best. I think mainly that Dune just wasn’t ready to be made into a movie that early on, and at 2 hour and 15 minutes long it wasn’t quite enough. However, I don’t regret watching it, and I even enjoyed it for what it was. I will say that what benefited my experience of this movie was knowing that Villeneuve’s version would be coming and imagining how many of these concepts would be delivered by him (I even started imagining some of the characters in Lynch’s Dune played by the actors cast in Denis’s version). 1984 Dune doesn’t succeed all that well, but I think it’s worth a watch at the very least.

A Hidden Life (2019) Review

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A Hidden Life

Time: 174 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
August Diehl as Franz Jägerstätter
Valerie Pachner as Franziska Jägerstätter
Karin Neuhauser as Rosalia Jagerstatter
Michael Nyqvist as Bishop Joseph Fliesser
Jürgen Prochnow as Major Schlegel
Matthias Schoenaerts as Captain Herder
Bruno Ganz as Judge Lueben
Director: Terrence Malick

Based on real events, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War 2. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner), and children, that keeps his spirit alive.

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A Hidden Life was a movie I was paying attention to for a while. Terrence Malick is a divisive filmmaker, but I’ve seen almost all of his movies (not gotten around to The New World yet) and I liked most of them. After Tree of Life which most people liked, Malick got a little more experimental and loose with his narrative, and not everyone has warmed to his next few movies. A Hidden Life however seemed to be a lot more focused and conventional in terms of story, and I was curious what he’d be doing with this movie, especially with one based on a true story. Having seen it, this might actually be one of Terrence Malick’s best movies.

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First thing to note is that A Hidden Life is nearly 3 hours long. While I really like Malick, I always get the feeling of his movies being stretched out, and this is indeed one of his longest movies. I will say that you do feel the runtime here and I wish this movie was trimmed down just a little bit (probably mainly some parts with the main character’s family in the second half as it begins to be a little repetitive, but otherwise the length didn’t bother me too much, I was pretty invested. It doesn’t do that thing where it meanders like Knight of Cups, Song to Song or To the Wonder, it seems pretty steady with its focus on the story. The story is deeply emotional and reflective, and unlike some of his other movies, there is a strong dramatic backbone throughout. It’s also thematically strong, about right and wrong, faith, and the like. Although it was a long experience, I really felt it was all worth it.

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The acting from everyone is good, but it’s the two main performances that are particularly incredible. That is of August Diehl who plays the main character, and Valerie Pachner as his wife. Both gives generally internalised but very emotional and believable performances, deserving of very high praise. I do think it’s worth noting that this film also features the final on-screen appearances of Bruno Ganz and Michael Nyqvist.

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Terrence Malick as usual directs beautifully. You do get the familiar Malickisms, the beautiful music, the shots following people, the usual editing, voiceovers, if you’ve seen his other movies, you know what to expect here. While his style isn’t for everyone, I liked it, and he’s done some great work here. While Malick films are typically shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, this time the cinematography is done by Jörg Widmer, and it’s a gorgeous looking movie, making great use of the locations and environment. Definitely among some of the best cinematography in a 2019 film. It’s such an intimate movie and not on such a large scale like some of Malick’s other movies, but it’s directed just as well. While some have called some of his most recent uses of voiceovers to be bordering on self parody, with A Hidden Life, it definitely has a strong purpose. The music by James Newton Howard is also great and works perfectly for the movie.

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A Hidden Life is an emotional, at times harrowing, yet beautiful and excellently well made film, and a stand out from 2019. A Hidden Life probably won’t work for those who haven’t seen a Terrence Malick movie before, or aren’t a fan of any of his movies. However to those who are, it’s really worth checking out.

Judge Dredd (1995) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd
Armand Assante as Rico Dredd
Rob Schneider as Fergee
Diane Lane as Judge Hershey
Jürgen Prochnow as Judge Griffin
Max von Sydow as Chief Justice Fargo
Director: Danny Cannon

In a dystopic future, where urban areas have grown into Mega-Cities that cover entire coastal regions, the justice system has evolved to a single person invested with the power of police, judge, jury and executioner: the Judge. Among the Judges of Mega-City One, Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) is one of the best, and a particular favorite of the Head of the Council, Chief Justice Fargo (Max von Sydow). But there are evil forces at work in the Justice Department: block riots and the escape of Rico (Armand Assante), a homicidal maniac, are only steps in a plan that ultimately lead to the sentencing of Dredd for a murder he did not commit. And Dredd must discover the secrets of his own past and survive to stop the evildoers.

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Before the underrated 2012 film there was an attempt at making a Judge Dredd movie in the 1990s. The end product wasn’t very good. It is however an incredibly entertaining movie, it was cheesy from the over the top acting, to the cliché dialogue, it’s an enjoyable movie for how silly it is. But I really wouldn’t call it a Judge Dredd movie.

Judge Dredd feels like a typical sci-fi, dystopian action movie from the 1990s. The first 10 minutes felt somewhat like a Judge Dredd film but any of those elements is gone after that point. The Sci-Fi world that we are introduced to has been made a million times over, so it just feels rather generic and not very unique. On top of that, for a lot of the movie we aren’t even exploring that world, we are just going from random location to random location, and these locations aren’t really intersting. So to recap, the sci-fi world isn’t that unique and we are stuck in locations that are even less interesting. As for the plot, I’m not a Judge Dredd fan really but I don’t think this plot was right for Dredd. Dredd being falsely accused of murder and going from one place to another to further the plot really doesn’t feel like a story for him, it’s more of a plot for another Stallone character. This movie is also very goofy. The dialogue is very cheesy and over the top. Seriously, count how many times Stallone is talking about ‘The Law’, often in an over the top way, or asks people “How do you plead?” before responding to their replies with “I knew you’d say that”. In that sense it is very fun to watch, because of how silly it is. I was entertained throughout, there wasn’t a dull moment when viewing this as a silly Stallone flick (except for when Rob Schneider was on screen).

Sylvester Stallone is trying to play Judge Dredd and the character is barely Judge Dredd. It feels like the whole movie was trying to be a Stallone movie, just him with the name of Judge Dredd. If you want any proof, Stallone barely wears the mask, (and Stallone himself insisted having it on all the time but to no avail). The cheesy dialogue doesn’t help much, as I said Dredd in this movie comes across like a Sylvester Stallone character rather than actually Judge Dredd. Despite all that, he is very entertaining. Armand Assante is the villain and he is incredibly over the top. He’s not that great as a villain but he is entertaining and is super into his role, so I do appreciate it. Supporting actors like Max von Sydow are fine. In terms of bad acting, we’ve got the comedic relief by none other but Rob Schneider. Yes, that Rob Schneider. Honestly while the role was written to be an annoying comic relief, any actors could play that role and be passable in the role. Schneider however turns a mildly annoying role into an insufferable role. He just had no reason to exist, he wasn’t funny, nor did he serve to really help Dredd or the other characters. He was completely useless, and it made me wonder why Dredd kept bringing him along with him.

The action is typical over the top 80s/90s sci-fi action. It doesn’t feel particularly gritty (something that the new movie thankfully changed), it is entertaining however. I might even say that for the most part the action is done well. There is a space bike chase with some obvious green screen, then again this is typical for this type of movie in the 90s. The costumes are over the top and honestly kind of cheap. Even when Stallone is in the helmet, he just looks silly, and it’s not Sylvester Stallone, it’s the helmet surprisingly.

Judge Dredd is not a very good movie, it’s silly, it’s cheesy and its completely over the top. However it is endlessly entertaining for those same reasons, intentional or not. It’s a guilty pleasure for me, however it isn’t the movie that Judge Dredd deserves. If you want an entertaining and silly Stallone flick, you’ll like this movie. But if you would prefer a proper Judge Dredd movie I highly recommend the 2012 film with Karl Urban.