Entertainment News: Dune Trailer reaction; black goes green; DC streaming phased out; and more

Usually in my opening remarks I talk about a TV show or movie that I’ve watched recently. Occasionally I point you to a review I have posted recently. Also I never post links to new trailers that come out from time to time for movies and TV shows. However this time we are making an exception. I want to call your attention to the new trailer for the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic sci-fi novel “Dune”. Rather than just pointing you to the official trailer, I’m giving you a link to an interview that Stephen Colbert had with the cast and director of this new adaptation. Colbert is a big fan boy of the novel and gushes like a little kid talking to the cast.

The original book is frequently cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history winning the 1966 Hugo Award and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965. Herbert wrote five sequels. After his death his son Brian Herbert along with Kevin J Anderson published a number of prequel novels as well as two novels completing the original Dune series partially based on his father’s notes discovered after his death. Dune is a masterpiece of what science fiction calls “world building” in which the author creates a deeply detailed alien set of characters, creatures, environments, politics, history and traditions. Rather than go into a lot of exposition in the original novel, Herbert plunges the reader headfirst into this alien world and lets you figure it out on your own as he goes. It’s a challenging bit of reading but it pays off in the end. I never was as impressed with the sequels as I was the first novel. And I’ve not read any of the Brian Herbert additions to the franchise.

This is not the first adaptation of this sci-fi classic. In the mid-1970s avant-garde director Alejandro Jodorowsky planned an ambitious project to bring the story to film. Ultimately that project never got off the ground and its failure is brilliantly chronicled in the 2013 documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune“. In 1984 director David Lynch created a version of “Dune” starring Kyle MacLachlan as the main character Paul Atreides. Many fans were disappointed in that film and while it had its problems I enjoyed it. Then in 2000 Syfy Channel had a three part miniseries “Dune” followed in 2003 by “Children of Dune”. While it was nice that this miniseries delved into the second book in the series and covered the story a little more detail, I didn’t find it as compelling as the David Lynch version.

The new 2020 version of “Dune” is directed by Denis Villeneuve most noted for his films “Sicario“, “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049” all of which were excellent.

The new trailer can only be described as 100% fan service and as a fan I feel very well served. Several of the most memorable scenes of the story appear in the trailer and are beautifully depicted. Shot on location in Jordan and the UAE they use as many practical effects as possible. The cinematography is absolutely spectacular. The special-effects are spot on. The giant sandworms that are central to the story looked a bit larger than previous depictions but that’s okay with me.

Timothée Chalamet is cast as Paul Atreides he is known for films such as “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name” but I’m not really familiar with him. I like the fact that he works younger than previous versions of the character. Teen star Zendayl seems perfectly cast as Paul’s freeman love interest Chani . Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho and Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck look wonderful in their parts. The instant I saw Oscar Isaac with a full beard I knew immediately he was Duke Leto Atreides Paul’s father. While some people are having difficulty separating these actors from previous iconic roles Aquaman, Thanos, and Poe Dameron I have no trouble with the casting. I can’t wait. No sign of character Shadot Mapes which was famously played by NCIS: LA star Linda Hunt. The character is not listed in the credits on IMDb.

I’ve told my friends that I’m going to see this one in the IMAX theater even if I have to put on a hazmat suit. It is currently scheduled for release December 18. I have linked the Stephen Colbert interview which features the trailer at the end available at the end of this blog. Check it out.

Pandemic News

  • The Christopher Nolan sci-fi film “Tenet” has long been considered sort of the “canary in the coal mine” about the health of the movie business. It’s been delayed multiple times because of the pandemic but is finally being released into theaters. However in an unprecedented move, Warner Bros. is refusing to share detailed box office numbers. One can only speculate that the numbers are low and they don’t want the negative publicity.
  • “Wonder Woman 1984” which was scheduled to be released October 2 has now been pushed to December, one week after the much anticipated “Dune” sci-fi classic.
  • For now Survivor season 41 will not film until spring of 2021 to be aired in the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic. However late reports say they are still looking at other options than their usual location of Fiji which is closed to the US.
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a TV event only with no actual parade route. See the linked article below for details.
  • James Corden hosted his “The Late Late Show” remotely after being in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid 19.
  • Production has resumed on the film “The Batman” after Robert Pattison tested positive for Covid 19.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • ABC has released its revised list of premier dates. See the link below for details. Also despite previous reports that “Stumptown” would be returning for season 2, ABC has canceled it. The show may be shopped to other networks or streaming. It is a private eye series starring Cobie Smulders . Cancellation was related to Covid 19 scheduling issues.
  • Jim Carrey is set to play Joe Biden for the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live. Maya Rudolph will be democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris and Alec Baldwin of course will continue to portray Donald Trump. Three new supporting cast members you’ve never heard of will be added to the show. The entire main cast will return this season after a last-minute deal to re-sign Kate McKinnon. There will be a live audience but the numbers will be limited.
  • Former “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany is going from black to green. She has been cast as She-Hulk in an upcoming series for Disney+.
  • CBS is bringing back “Sunday Night Movies” because most of its scripted dramas are delayed. “Big Brother” will move from Sunday to Monday.
  • HBO Max has renewed “Doom Patrol” and “Harley Quinn” each been renewed for season 3. These series were originally on the DC Universe Streaming service however DCU is getting out of the streaming business and will be strictly a comic book subscription site. All future DC television shows will appear on HBO Max. The new DC Universe will be renamed “DC Universe Infinite”.
  • Syndicated medical talkshow “The Dr. Oz Show” has been renewed for 2 years.
  • HBO has renewed “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” for another 3 seasons.
  • ABC has canceled sitcom “United We Fall” after 1 season. I never heard of it.
  • “Desus & Mero” comedy show has been renewed at Showtime for season 3
  • HBO Max’s sci-fi hit “Raised by Wolves” has been renewed for season 2. I’m really loving it.
  • CW network has renewed “Two Sentence Horror Stories” for season 3.

Miscellaneous News

  • YouTube has introduced “YouTube Shorts” a new 15 second video format to compete with TikToc.
  • In other TikToc news… Oracle has beaten out Microsoft in a bid to buy out the China-based social media video app after the Trump administration has threatened to ban the app based on security concerns. The Justice Department is reviewing the plan. Meanwhile the app will be banned from sale in the US starting Sunday.
  • Viacom CBS announced that it will rebrand “CBS All Access” as “Paramount+” in 2021.
  • Madonna says she will direct and co-write her own biopic “The True Untold Story of Madonna”
  • The Sony PS5 will launch November 12 and start at $499 with a cheaper all-digital version for just $399. An additional controller will cost $70.
  • The new Xbox Series X will cost $499 but the digital only Xbox Series S is $299 . Will be released November 10.
  • Nintendo has discontinued its 3DS handheld gaming platform.

In Memoriam

  • Author Winston Groom who wrote the novel “Forest Gump” age 77.
  • Stephen Lee a.k.a. “Puppet the Psycho Dwarf” pro wrestler who appeared in 2 “Jackass” movies. Age 54
  • Former “Top Chef” contestant Aaron Grissom age 34 in a traffic accident.
  • Al Kasha Oscar-winning composer of “The Morning After” age 83
  • Christopher Scott Ellis a mechanic on Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws” age 39 apparent heroin overdose.
  • Tony Tanner director of Broadway version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” age 88.

Links of Interest

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