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kottke.org posts about Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve’s Four Favorite Films

Letterboxd asked Dune director Denis Villeneuve what his four favorite films were and he cheated and listed five (including 2001 and Blade Runner).

First of all, who knows how long Blade Runner has been on his top 5 (or even 10 or 20 list) but getting to do a sequel of one of your favorite films has to be unbelievably rewarding as a director.1

And I’m going to cheat as well here and list a number of other films that Villeneuve has publicly praised, courtesy of this piece from IndieWire: Vertigo, Children of Men, Downsizing (?), There Will Be Blood, Seven Samurai, The Beguiled, Jaws, and three Nolan films (Dunkirk, Inception, Tenet).

  1. I was trying to think of what might be the equivalent to this for me and all I could come up with is getting hired to reboot Suck or something.
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The Most Beautiful Shots in Movie History

From a YouTube channel called The Solomon Society, a pair of videos that some of the most beautiful shots in the history of film. When Denis Villeneuve emphasizes the important of image in film, these are the kinds of shots that he’s talking about.

Oh and in case you want to waste the rest of your day watching beautiful scenes from movies (no judgment here if you did): The Most Beautiful Shots in Film of the 21st Century, The Best Movie Shots of All Time, Some Amazing Shots from the Last Decade of Movies, The Most Beautiful Shots in Animation History, and The Most Beautiful Black and White Shots in Movie History. (via open culture)

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Lego’s New Dune Set With a Loooooong Baron Harkonnen Minifig

a lineup of the Dune Lego minifigs, inclduing a super-tall Baron Harkonnen

several views of the Lego Dune set

Lego is coming out with a huge new set that’s based on Denis Villeneuve’s two-installment adaptation of Dune (or, as it’s know around these parts, DUNC). OMG, the Baron Harkonnen minifig!! It reminds me of something…ah yes:

Long Baron Is Long

Longbaron is looooooooong.

Anyway, it’s coming out in February and the main build is a 1369-piece model of the Atreides Royal Ornithopter with “fold-out, flappable wings, deployable landing gear and an opening cockpit”. Baron Harkooooooooooooonnen. I can’t stop! I, uh, may have pre-ordered this the second I saw it. (via polygon)

Update: Absolutely perfect:

Dune Lego 03

(via @justgregb)


Trailer for Dune: Part Two

Ok, here’s the first trailer for second part of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Time to get hyped! It comes out on November 3 — we have until then to decide what “Timothée Chalamet rides the worm” is a euphemism for.


The Beauty of Denis Villeneuve’s Films

Dune. Arrival. Blade Runner 2049. Sicario. The films of director Denis Villeneuve are filled with incredible cinematography. Some of the best shots are showcased in this 6-minute video accompanied by the haunting strains of Max Richter.

This is from a YouTube channel called The Beauty Of, which has many similar videos featuring the cinematography of movies, TV shows, and video games. Like Studio Ghibli movies, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Wire, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films, and The Queen’s Gambit.


The Trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune

I’ve never read or seen any of the Dunes (Herbert’s book, David Lynch’s movie, or even Jodorowsky’s Dune) but I have very fond memories of the video game Dune II and will watch anything that Denis Villeneuve makes, so I’m definitely going to check this out when it’s released…let’s see….on December 18, 2020 in theaters? WTF?

Ok, so just watch the trailer if that’s what you’re here for, but I remain baffled that movie theaters are a) currently open (Tenet was showing in 2810 US theaters last weekend) and b) slated to still be open in December in a country trapped in a pandemic death spiral. Easy testing w/ quick results and contact tracing, the twin keys to controlling the virus, are still a mess. A safe & tested vaccine that’s distributed widely by the end of the year? I wouldn’t hold my breath. And you’re going to put a bunch of people who are laughing and gasping together in a room for two-plus hours with a virus that’s airborne1 and assume they’re going to stay properly masked up (except for when they are eating popcorn and nachos!) and properly distant from each other? (Have you met Americans?!) Even if you assume that movie theater screening rooms are huge & well-ventilated (some definitely are not) and capacity is restricted, I repeat: What The Fuck? And in terms of societal trade-offs, reopening places where people gather indoors for entertainment is more important than ensuring our kids can safely go to school? *extreme hair-tearing-out noise*

Update: Aaaaand the Dune release has been delayed until Oct 2021. Between the Trump debacle2 and the CDC acknowledging that the virus may spread through aerosols, I feel like people are coming around to the idea that indoor gatherings, entertainment, and dining are going to be problematic for several more months.

  1. Along with the lack of testing and tracing, the evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols is the important bit here. Most people and organizations are still acting as though it’s not airborne because the measures would be different if they were taking that into account. See this expert’s advice about movie-going for example — there’s not a single mention of aerosols in the entire piece, so it’s tough for me to take it seriously.↩

  2. Just to clarify, I mean the outbreak of Covid-19 in the White House and not any other previous or future debacles.↩


A comparison of the visual similarities between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 takes place in the same location 30 years after the events in the original Blade Runner film, so it’s natural that the two movies share a visual style. But director Denis Villeneuve and director of photography Roger Deakins also sprinkled their film with direct but subtle references to scenes in the old movie, as seen in this side-by-side video. In this discussion with Rian Johnson, Villeneuve talked about his approach:

This is the first time I was making a movie inspired by another movie and I didn’t try to stay away from it. I just kept it as a bible, as a reference, as music that was very close to me that I was always referring to every time I was directing, thinking about the spirit of the first movie.

The effect is not enough to be distracting, but there’s definitely some visual rhyming going on.

See also the visual effects breakdown for how they created the digital double for Rachael in Blade Runner 2049.


Blade Runner 2049

The words “Blade Runner sequel” have inspired equal parts excitement and dread in my heart. Some things, you just shouldn’t mess with, particularly if you’re Ridley Scott (see the Alien5 franchise). But with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford headlining, Denis Villeneuve directing (he did the pitch-perfect Arrival), and this teaser trailer, the scale has tipped towards excitement.

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.