Talking Movies: The House, Dune and Love Hard

Spling reviews The House, Dune and Love Hard as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about an animated dark comedy drama, an epic sci-fi adventure and a romantic comedy.

Starting off with a film now on Netflix…


Across different eras, a poor family, an anxious developer and a fed-up landlady become tied to the same mysterious house in this animated dark comedy.

Writer: Enda Walsh

Features the voice talents of: Matthew Goode, Helena Bonham Carter and Mia Goth

– When most people think of British stop-motion animation, it’s usually the comedy of Wallace & Gromit.
– Yet, the craftsmanship, patience and scrapbook textures of these dead-alive creations foster a natural creepiness.
– The House takes full advantage, using the genre’s innocence and playfulness to lure you into its dark fairytale world.
– Composed of three chapters, all centred at the same house, the animators present three very different tales from a poor family accepting a generous offer to a rat house-flipper trying to keep up appearances to a small commune of cats living in a flooded world.
– The stories are delightful, funny, twisted and Walsh’s imagination and wit is reminiscent of Roald Dahl, harnessing the original intent of the brothers Grimm with dolls house and anthropomorphic character design to match the tone.
– What’s even more astounding is the exquisite detail of the backdrops, capturing woodgrain in the floorboards, recreating fine living mansions and crafting the most intricate decor.
– Immersing viewers in each of these distinct stories, solid performances from its fine voice talent and timeless themes help you forget you’re watching animation.
– Served in three equally entertaining and magical chapters, The House is a wonderful and transcendent showcase of stop-motion animation at its highest level.

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

Moving on to a film now on Google Movies…


The son of a noble family is entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Writer-Director: Denis Villeneuve

Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya

– It’s easy to see the ascent of the contemporary master filmmaker, Denis Villeneuve, on the back of Incendies, Prisoners, Sicario, Enemy and Arrival.
– Taking a page from Arrival’s otherworldly beauty and scale; and learnings from the entrancing yet flat-footed Blade Runner sequel, Villeneuve’s crafted a majestic and epic adventure in Dune.
– Adapted from Frank Herbert’s sci-fi odyssey, it serves as the first installation in a two-film project, toning down Jodorowsky’s 14 hour ambitions and sidestepping Lynch’s stuffed 2 hour version.
– Heralded by Chalamet, Ferguson and Isaac present some of their best work to date with a number of stalwarts in the wings.
– Dark, sleek and artful, it’s casting reflects this mood with Villeneuve siphoning many excellent performances from his far-reaching and talented ensemble.
– Capturing a Messianic quest, the production has the scope of a biblical epic set against desert landscapes, echoing the scale of Laurence of Arabia.
– Colossal transporters are suspended in the air, troops assemble in numbers to intimidate and the desert’s giant sentinels lie in wait.
– The soundtrack is just as impressive, summoning up similar monolithic power, almost taunting the visuals to match its grandeur.
– Able to leverage the visual technology of today, given free rein, demonstrating his abilities and able to carve up the story into smaller parts, Villeneuve captures a cinematic purity breaking the stigma (and maybe even curse) the adaptation has carried since the ’70s.

A near-perfect 9 on the splingometer!

And finally a romcom on Netflix…


An unlucky-in-love columnist travels 3,000 miles to discover she’s been catfished.

Director: Hernan Jimenez

Stars: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang and Darren Barnet

– While Christmas may seem like a distant memory, the holiday’s heartwarming spirit and festive charm are encapsulated in the ever-expanding glut of Christmas movies.
– Thankfully Love Hard is not your typical Christmas movie, instead using the occasion as an excuse for romantic comedy.
– A “You’ve Got Mail” for today’s age, this fun movie grapples with the paper walls and illusions of the modern dating game.
– While there are no name stars, Nina Dobrev has a young Julia Roberts quality, supported by a game cast and collective of oddball characters.
– Pitting Die Hard versus Love, Actually as the ultimate Christmas movie showdown, it’s also the inspiration for the movie title with a number of references.
– From dating apps to real-world meet ups, the comedy and calamity stays fresh as one deception pre-empts another until all hell breaks loose.
– Sweet, entertaining, funny and even heartwarming at times, Love Hard may not be an instant classic but nimbly sidesteps some of the genre’s pitfalls.
– Leaning on many of today’s double standards for comedic effect and layering, it’s a charming and enjoyable distraction for fans of the genres.

It did just enough to get…

A solid 7 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

THE HOUSE… an inspired stop-motion animation triptych composed of a talented voice cast, intricate backdrops and imaginatively dark and twisted tales… An excellent 8!

DUNE… well-balanced direction, elegant visual effects, sharp performances and an immense soundtrack power this mesmerising sci-fi epic… A near-perfect 9!

LOVE HARD… this sweet-natured, charming, fun-loving and lighthearted Christmas “romcom” deconstructs the illusion of the modern dating scene… A solid 7!

For more movie reviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.

And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!