Four new films to see in cinemas this week

Dune, The French Dispatch, Dear Evan Hansen, Boss Baby 2

Rebecca Ferguson and Timothée Chalamet in Dune: Part One

Rebecca Ferguson and Timothée Chalamet in Dune: Part One

 

DUNE: PART ONE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem. 15A cert, gen release, 155 min
Chalamet is Paul Atreides, heir to House Atreides, in the much-anticipated opening part (don’t forget that) of Villeneuve’s take on Frank Herbert’s space epic. Dune belts along until it stops dead with more than an hour of holding pattern to go. Chalamet’s naturalistic style is an ill fit for the sombre dialogue and Ferguson, perhaps because she’s too young for the role, exudes neither the menace nor fierce maternalism required for his mum Lady Jessica. There’s no pay-off, only a glossy, opening gambit that makes one think of staring at a beautiful table centrepiece before a meal. Full review TB

THE FRENCH DISPATCH ★★★☆☆
Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Elizabeth Moss. 15A cert, gen release, 107 min

Tilda Swinton in The French Dispatch
Tilda Swinton in The French Dispatch

Typically beautiful, intensely designed Anderson joint translating impressions of mid-20th century France via the journalists of a high-brow American magazine. The usual problem with anthology films is that no story is given a chance to properly breathe. Here the reverse is the case. The French Dispatch focuses on just three yarns, none of which quite justifies its relatively modest length. Still, the has its undoubted pleasures. Swinton has a delightful cameo. The impressions of Jacques Tati’s aesthetic are diverting. The animations are cute. Mid-level Anderson for all that. Full review DC

DEAR EVAN HANSEN ★★☆☆☆
Directed by Stephen Chbosky. Starring Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams. 12A cert, gen release, 137 min

Ben Platt and Julianne Moore in Dear Evan Hansen
Ben Platt and Julianne Moore in Dear Evan Hansen

A young man gets mistaken for the friend of a schoolmate who has killed himself. Much attention has focused on the casting of a somewhat superannuated Platt in the title role of this odd musical. There is plenty else that doesn’t work on screen. The film also reduces the dead character to a cypher and lets the protagonist off the hook too easily. The endless emotional frankness of the lyrics – those who seek the ironic distance of Sondheim need look elsewhere – becomes exhausting all too quickly. Moore does good work as Evan’s mum, but this is a doomed project. Full review DC

THE BOSS BABY 2: FAMILY BUSINESS ★★☆☆☆
Directed by Tom McGrath. Voices of Alec Baldwin, James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Ariana Greenblatt, Jeff Goldblum, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow. G cert, gen release, 107 min

Boss Baby 2: Family Business
Boss Baby 2: Family Business

The bad sequel to the dumb family hit finds adults drinking a magical formula that turns them into babies as well. We’ll say one thing for Boss Baby 2: It’s untidy, unpredictable, and unmannerly form does, indeed, evoke the exhausting, mucky business of baby tending, albeit with nothing like the familial rewards. Smaller viewers may well thrill to the relentlessness. It feels churlish to call a talking-baby movie implausible, but the script by Austin Powers co-writer Michael McCullers really does test one’s faith in the three-act structure, as well as enchanted ponies. Full review TB

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