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Film picks: The Forgotten Battle, Dune, Pig, Entertainment News & Top Stories

Film picks: The Forgotten Battle, Dune, Pig, Entertainment News & Top Stories

The Forgotten Battle (M18)

127 minutes, showing on Netflix, 4 stars

In the list of notable World War II events, the Battle of the Scheldt is nowhere as famous as, say, the Battle of Britain.

This 2020 Dutch movie, added to Netflix last month (October), might correct that oversight. It is a well-told and emotional drama that forgoes explosions and bullets in favour of looking at how the German occupation, and the fight to free the Netherlands, affected civilians living in the conflict zone around the Scheldt estuary.

Teuntje (Susan Radder) is a city clerk whose family has so far avoided crossing paths with German occupiers until her brother is arrested on suspicion of being a member of the resistance. Meanwhile, British glider troops led by Captain Turner (Tom Felton) crash nearby. Between them and the safety of friendly lines is a formidable force of German defenders.

Dune (PG13)

149 minutes, showing on HBO GO, 4 stars


Sharon Duncan-Brewster in Dune. PHOTO: HBO GO

Until a week ago, this adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert science-fiction novel could be watched only in cinemas. It is now also online, on HBO GO – welcome news for those who might need to take breaks because of its lengthy runtime of close to three hours.

French-Canadian director and co-writer Denis Villeneuve gets the crucial job of world-building done without resorting to too much voice-over or text crawls or getting bogged down in self-indulgent minutiae.

Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), son of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and his concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), is visited by strange dreams.

His clan, on the emperor’s orders, is about to take over stewardship of Arrakis, the only source of spice, the stuff that prolongs life and makes faster-than-light travel possible. House Harkonnen, the former stewards, are unwilling to let go of their prize.

Villeneuve, known for “big ideas” science fiction – he directed 2016’s alien-contact movie Arrival and 2017’s android-Pinocchio story Blade Runner 2049 – adapts Herbert’s sand-and-spaceships fantasy with his trademark minimalist approach.

Pig

NC16, 92 minutes, opens Nov 11 exclusively at The Projector, 4 stars


Nicolas Cage in Pig. PHOTO: NEON/THE PROJECTOR

This drama about a hunt for a missing porcine buddy is scary and funny in equal measure. A hairy, near-mute Nicolas Cage is Rob, a reclusive forest-dweller eking out a living as a truffle hunter, aided by his talented pig.

When the creature is stolen, Rob is forced to leave his shack for the bright lights of Portland, Oregon, to dive into its delightful but dangerous high-end culinary scene. Alex Wolff is Amir, a truffle dealer who is Rob’s only friend. He is a man dragged reluctantly into Rob’s mission.

American film-maker Michael Sarnoski’s debut feature has been likened to the John Wick franchise (2014-2019), but the resemblance extends only to the missing animal as a plot trigger. This is by no means an action film, though there is plenty going on.

Cage’s Rob, stoic beyond measure and wearing the open wounds received from beatings like a religious icon, opens himself up as the story progresses.

Information about Wolff’s Amir also appears, especially about his relationship with his father Darius, played by a scowling Adam Arkin. Darius is a truffle dealer who guards his business with the scorched-earth intensity of a mob boss.

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