Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” (March 1) has finally screened for critics, and brought some freshness to the latest episode of IndieWire’s “Screen Talk” podcast.

The past few weeks on the podcast have been all about the awards season, from the Oscar nominees luncheon last week to the BAFTAs over the past weekend. So “Screen Talk” co-hosts Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio were plenty happy to talk about something else for a change: How does the second “Dune” installment stack up to the first? (IndieWire’s Chief Film Critic David Ehrlich, as you’ll see from his review, was not a fan.)

While Anne was awed by the visual effects spectacle set on the planet Arrakis as Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) sparks a romance with Fremen warrior Chani (Zendaya) and seizes control of the galactic empire, Ryan had less kind words for the film’s rushed editing and storytelling and a black hole of miscasting in the form of Christopher Walken as Padyszach Imperator Szaddam IV. As we discuss, it’s a very much “here’s my mark, and here are my lines” kind of deadpan performance that doesn’t take advantage of Walken’s proven mettle in playing a villain.

“Dune: Part Two” hurtles toward a setup for an inevitable third movie already underway but not quite yet greenlit from Warner Bros. and Legendary. (The box office for “Part Two,” sure to be major, will seal that fate.)

Also afoot at Warner Bros. this week: a major date change for Bong Joon Ho’s Hollywood debut “Mickey 17,” now shuttled to a worrisome January 31, 2025 release date after already moving out of spring 2024. We surmise Warner Bros. Discovery head David Zaslav is to blame as the studio continues to shuffle and write off properties.

Meanwhile, we also wrap up the Berlin Film Festival, which reveals its awards this weekend and yielded a raft of high-profile hot packages out of the market; less so the actual competition.

Finally, a movie we can both agree on: Anne and Ryan recommend you see “Drive-Away Dolls” this weekend, Ethan Coen and his wife Tricia Cooke’s brazenly ribald lesbian road comedy starring Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan as gay besties on the lam.

Watch the full episode above or listen to it below.

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous episodes here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 

Leave a comment