8 Movies Like Dune: Part Two (2024) On Criterionchannel

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Martin Bell documents the lives of youth living in the streets of Seattle in the early eighties with profound empathy. It's a type of filmmaking that doesn’t judge or condescend, but seeks to capture the humanity of its subjects. The result is a film bursting with life and laughter, and although tragedy lurks around every corner it isn’t over-sentimentalized or exploited, taking a backseat to the compassionate depiction of everyday moments. 

The audience is left to its own devices to pull together the extent to which these youth have been failed by a broken safety-net and the expired promise of an American dream. These ideas rise to the surface naturally and serve as a testament to the power of the documentary form when it’s loosened from the grip of mawkish narrators and sugary moralizing.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Dewayne Pomeroy, Erin Blackwell, Lulu Couch, Patrice Pitts, Rat, Roberta Joseph Hayes

Director: Martin Bell

Despite the amusing specificity of its title, this lovely documentary from director Les Blank is really for all of us. Through the example of gap teeth — a physical feature many of the participants here report being made to feel self-conscious about — the film makes a rallying call to embrace ourselves and all of our physical “flaws.”

A big part of what makes this film so heartening is that so many of the women featured here (including model Lauren Hutton) have come out on the other side of loathing their gap teeth, giving us a tangible example of what it looks like to love yourself in spite of other people’s opinions about your body. What’s more, even within a limited runtime, Blank finds space to devote to exploring other aspects of the featured women’s lives — their art, professions, religious practices — and thereby quietly expands the film’s focus from physical beauty and onto the myriad beauties of life itself. It’s an ironic pleasure that Gap-Toothed Women ultimately refuses to define its subjects by the very feature described in its title, and instead gives us this life-affirming shot of wisdom for the ages.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Lauren Hutton, Lauren Moore, Sandra Day O'Connor

Director: Les Blank

While best known for 1977 cult horror classic House, Nobuhiko Obayashi first dreamed of adapting Hanagatami, a 1937 novella by Kazuo Dan, and it was only until the later end of his life that he got to fulfill that dream. It’s possibly the reason why Hanagatami feels like a surreal set of memories, with Karatsu’s seaside portrayed with theatrical sets and back projection, with scenes flipped and unflipped ever so often, with Bach looped and mixed with dissonant chords and children singing. And as the teenagers of Karatsu try to cling to their innocence despite the looming possibility of death, Obayashi remembers the lives cut short, not in nostalgia, but in an anxious bid for us to remember humanity’s biggest failure.

Genre: Drama, Romance, War

Actor: Hirona Yamazaki, Honoka Yahagi, Kayoko Shiraishi, Keishi Nagatsuka, Kiyotaka Nanbara, Masahiro Takashima, Mugi Kadowaki, Shinnosuke Ikehata, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Shunsuke Kubozuka, Takahito Hosoyamada, Takako Tokiwa, Takao Ito, Takehiro Murata, Tetsuya Takeda, Tokio Emoto, Tōru Shinagawa, Toshie Negishi, Tsurutaro Kataoka, Wakaba Irie, Yuriko Ono

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi

Swiss filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe gave us the free-flowing fandom doc The People vs. George Lucas in 2010 and hasn't stopped obsessing over his favorite filmmakers ever since. Can you blame him? Dedicating years of your life to research of the the weird Lynch-verse is a mammoth task, especially since the kernel of his new doc can be found in a single line uttered by the director. At a Q&A in 2001, he said:"There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about The Wizard of Oz," and that was reason enough to conceive of the 1939 Technicolor film as a lens to read Lynch's whole filmography through. Philippe is dedicated beyond measure, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage for the whimsical exploration of such a fascinating body of work deserves complete devotion. Perhaps even bordering on obsession. A wildcard documentary for the Lynchheads, Lynch/Oz includes not only excerpts from shorts, features, and TV he made, but also clips from various appearances. Plus, the six chapters feature different filmmakers and critics who imbue the film with their own interpretation of the enigma that Lynchian cinema is.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Aaron Moorhead, Amy Nicholson, David Lowery, David Lynch, Jack Paar, Jay Leno, John Waters, Judy Garland, Justin Benson, Karyn Kusama, Rodney Ascher

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe

While the market for animation is mostly dominated by American 3D and Japanese anime, once in a while, a film outside the two industries comes up with an entirely new style of its own, with the design inspired by their respective countries. European animation has garnered some interest with Loving Vincent, but Chicken with Linda! takes it further, taking a more vibrant than impressionistic approach to its art. Somewhat like a neon-colored Fauvist Madeline, the film proceeds with a series of hijinks that wouldn’t be out of place in a children’s storybook, but it charmingly captures the mother-daughter relationship healed through the power of homemade food. It’s sweet and chaotic, much like childhood and the art movement that inspired the film, and it’s undeniably human. Chicken with Linda! is an unexpected delight for both kids and adults.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family

Actor: Claudine Acs, Clotilde Hesme, Estéban, Laetitia Dosch, Mélinée Leclerc, Patrick Pineau

Director: Chiara Malta, Sébastien Laudenbach

Rating: NR

After a long life lived in a home one chose, it can be hard to uproot your entire life, especially in a country that seems diametrically opposed in manners and values. Before his American produced hits like Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi, Ang Lee made his debut through Pushing Hands, a film entirely shot in America but produced from Taiwan, exploring from the Chinese perspective the generational conflict between Asian immigrants and the mainlander parents that they brought to have a good life. It’s humorous at certain moments, with the steady demeanor of Chu contrasted to everyone around him, but Pushing Hands stems from the understanding of someone who’s directly lived through it, unfolding into a thoughtful, sentimental drama that quickly established Lee’s directorial voice.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Chit-Man Chan, Deb Snyder, Fanny De Luz, Haan Lee, Sihung Lung, Wang Bozhao, Wang Hung-Chang, Wang Lai

Director: Ang Lee

By all appearances, Eliza and Louis have a charming marriage. They’re casual and good-humored in the morning and full of passion in the evening. So when Eliza finds a love note addressed to her husband one day, naturally, she freaks out. She enlists the help of her eccentric family and sets off to Manhattan, where they all try to get to the bottom of the affair; what follows is an endearingly awkward adventure around town.

Though the film often meanders both in plot and dialogue, the expert ensemble keeps things compelling with their convincing chemistry and wry, visual humor. Coupled with lush images of ‘90s New York and brilliantly droll writing, The Daytrippers is a joyride of a film, as unassuming as it is enthralling. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Mystery

Actor: Adam Davidson, Amy Stiller, Anne Meara, Campbell Scott, Carol Locatell, Douglas McGrath, Hope Davis, Liev Schreiber, Marc Grapey, Marcia Gay Harden, Marcia Haufrecht, Parker Posey, Pat McNamara, Paul Herman, Peter Askin, Stanley Tucci, Stephanie Venditto

Director: Greg Mottola

Rating: R

There are horrors in the world that people have faced, and if they survive, they live with the trauma for a long, long time. But what happens when the perpetrator of that trauma has moved on? What happens when they resolve to be better, and pursue a different path? Our Father, the Devil is a psychological drama where an African refugee has to deal with seeing the warlord that once destroyed her entire village, but it unfolds in such a unique way, with the riveting Babetida Sadjo living a split life between her chef and caretaking career in the day, and being tormented by the past at night. It’s a fascinating portrait, one that we haven’t seen in a while, of a traumatized refugee granted the rare opportunity to exact retribution.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Babetida Sadjo, Franck Saurel, Jennifer Tchiakpe, Martine Amisse, Souleymane Sy Savane

Director: Ellie Foumbi

Rating: NR