New to stream: Sci-fi epic Dune and Ricky Gervais' latest series of After Life
DUNE (Cert 12, 155 mins, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller/Romance, available now via Premium Video On Demand rental, available to rent from January 17 on BT TV Store/iTunes/Prime Video/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from January 31 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £26.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £34.99)
Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista.
THE Emperor issues a proclamation that Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) will assume control from sworn rival Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) of harvesting Spice, the most valuable mineral in the universe, on the desert planet Arrakis.
Duke Leto, his concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and son Paul (Timothee Chalamet) relocate to Arrakis, home to superstitious desert-dwelling people called The Fremen, whose eyes glow blue from prolonged exposure to highly addictive Spice.
The young Atreides experiences disorienting visions of a young Fremen woman, Chani (Zendaya), as he undergoes rigorous training with weapons master Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) and sword master Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa).
Alas, these great warriors are powerless to prevent Baron Harkonnen and his nephew Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista) from staging a deadly assault on Arrakis, designed to exterminate everyone loyal to Duke Leto.
Adapted by director Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth from Frank Herbert's supposedly "unfilmable" novel, Dune – or more accurately Dune Part One – is a visually breathtaking tale of intrigue and bloodshed.
By design, the picture lacks a dramatic resolution but this opening chapter is well constructed and anchored by the fiery mother-son dynamic of Ferguson and Chalamet.
Villeneuve's sprawling vision combines live action and impeccable digital effects to realise vast new worlds where dragonfly-like aircraft with fluttering wings swoop over undulating sandscapes to monitor the golden bow waves created by an approaching giant worm.
"This is only the beginning…" coos Zendaya's desert warrior to co-star Chalamet after two and a half bombastic hours of warmongering.
Thankfully, Part Two will surface in October 2023.
AFTER LIFE – SEASON 3 (6 episodes, streaming from January 14 exclusively on Netflix, Comedy/Romance)
THE end is nigh for Ricky Gervais as lovable everyman Tony when his self-penned comedy drama reaches its bittersweet third and final series on Netflix.
Set in the fictional town of Tambury, the concluding six episodes continue to follow local newspaper writer Tony as he responds to the death of his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from cancer while wrestling with his feelings for nurse Emma (Ashley Jensen).
The loss of his father (David Bradley), who was always an emotional rock, requires painful self-reflection but Tony has grown so much from his dogged efforts to be a better man and friend to everyone around him.
When the going gets really tough, which it will, Brandy the German shepherd is a source of unconditional love and emotional support.