When star power creates cinematic gold

14 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
When star power creates cinematic gold

The Sunday Mail

Film Review

Tinashe Kusema

WELL, the reviews are in and it is safe to say that “Dune: Part Two” exceeded all expectations.

You know a movie is good when the biggest gripe one has is that it ended a bit too soon, and this epic science-fiction movie is roughly 190 minutes long.

The strengths of this movie will vary from one critic to another, and one viewer to another. Some are enjoying the fact that it is a true adaptation of the actual novel while others will point out things like great aesthetics, superb cinematography and great story.

Well, for me, Warner Brothers did a great job in the casting department as this star-studded flick had a lot of recognisable faces who, for the most part, understood the assignment.

For those not in the know, here is the full list of big names who make up the cast: Timothée Chalamet (Paul Atreides), Zendaya (Chani), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck), Austin Butler (Feyd-Rautha,), Florence Pugh (Princess Irulan), Dave Bautista (Beast Rabban), Christopher Walken (Emperor Shaddam VI), Léa Seydoux (Lady Margot Fenring), Stellan Skarsgård (Baron Vladimir Harkonnen) and Javier Bardem (Stilgar).

Their performances range from average, good and great, but never does one actor or actress threaten to derail the movie with their star power.

It is against this underrated achievement that I have decided to compile my own short list of star-studded movies that both failed and succeeded in utilising a powerful cast ensemble.

*******

“Black Hawk Down”

One of the great war movies of the early 2000s, this flick has the distinction of carrying a great cast, but before most of the actors were famous.

The now-great Tom Hardy made his big feature debut in the film and it also featured a couple of stars on the rise like Eric Bana; Ewan McGregor; Orlando Bloom (before “Lord of the Rings”); and Jeremy Piven, before his “Entourage” days.

This is in addition to the recognisable faces of Ty Burell (Modern Family), Jason Isaacs, William Fichtner (Prison Break) and Tom Sizemore.

Much like “Dune”, this movie owes a lot of its success to the great cinematography and the fact that these stars were not yet famous, which probably is the reason everything flowed smoothly, with less distraction from the story.

*******

“Jungle Fever”

The movie featured future icons and legends like Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson and Tim Robbins, while the duo of Halle Berry and Queen Latifah made their big feature debuts.

What makes this film unique was that the headliners — Snipes, Jackson and Robbins — were mere years away from the movies that would shape their careers in “White Men Can’t Jump”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Shawshank Redemption”.

*******

“Pulp Fiction”

Samuel L. Jackson would go from one star-studded line-up to another as he joined the likes of John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken and Bruce Willis in the cult classic “Pulp Fiction”.

I recently sat down to rewatch this picture-perfect flick and it gave lessons in storytelling and nailing a star-studded cast.

Every one of these characters nails it in their performances and never attempts to outshine each other.

Fun fact: “Pulp Fiction” will go down as the film that bonded Jackson and famed director Quentin Tarantino. To date, the two have collaborated in as many as seven films.

Honourable mentions: “Tropic Thunder”, “Crash”, “Oceans 11, 12 and 13”, “The Expendables” movie franchise and most of the MCU Avengers movies.

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