READER REVIEW: MY “THE DUNE” REVIEW

Reader recommendation (of sorts) by Daniel Ableev. Begins in medias res.

Apparently not, because Frank Heibert’s worm-building classic is somewhat of an epic, at least judging by the number of the pages involved (I haven’t actually read the scan template in question). Therefore it does not seem beneficial to wish for a reduction of such an extensive, grandiose, downright monstrous larger-than narrative to a three-minute flick. Of course this is a rather original artistic approach, but whether Villeneuve will be able to convince die-hard fans, as opposed to Davin Lynch‘s infamous attempt, remains to be seen (or doubted). In any case, there is not much room for strong storytelling or relationships in Dennis’s new work. After his already remarkably short thrillers “The Prisoner” and “The Sicario”, the undoubtedly talented Frenchman has now finally penetrated the heart of the avant-garde. Hectic cuts and cryptic off-screen dialogues turn the badly fragmented Deconstructor into an intensely dense deity in dire need of getting used to. Guest appearances by Dave Bautista and Jason Mamoa, both of whom seem to have stiffened their “-a”, and the fact that Oscar Isaacs is unwilling to leave the sci-fi genre would be even more commendable if he didn’t keep forgetting something (cf. shaving). As for the main character, the naive linnet’s Canadian-sounding surname provides a valuable clue—but what for? Viewers, severely maimed and crippled into question marks made of flesh and blood, have been for years in search of time to be lost, yet what they’ve managed to find is not more than three effing minutes of film material. Understandably they start pushing for answers without even having formulated the slightest of questions: Why does the crowd-pleasing worm twister at the end insists on being called The Big Lebowski? Why are those neo-Nazis, gracefully lowered on nylon threads, planning an eye-2-butter conversion intervention of sorts? And wouldn’t it be way more efficient to stretch the film so that the rather lavish CSI can finally come onto its own? Fun Fact: Hans Zimmer will undoubtedly go down as one of the most oven shots in film and cinema history, the simple reason for that being that Villeneuve had only time for one single song which wasn’t even composed, let alone Zimmer-ed.

We now realize: The spice melange lies in its brevity and the giant lies in its duneability, as does the perforated hoaxbox of sorts that has found more than one way into a fishnet. Uncanny Ville directs out of his hole, and a collection of grotesque vistas emerges: While Ed Wood himself keeps some of his favorite UFOs suspended, ambitious hyper-flies buzz along the sandtime continuum and animatronic sun rays accelerate the frementation process. Always dependent on artificial respiration, the indigenous Cyanos flee into Tremorpaul’s imperceptibly, yet all the more tightly pinched kneecap-jerking fantasies. Conclusion: “Independence Day” meets “Langoliers” with PS5 graphics and a threat extension of swords.

1 out of 5 stars

FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2020: THE LOOSE ENDS.

A roundup of less-weird but still notable genre films screening at this year’s digital-only Fantasia Film Festival. If the descriptions intrigue you, look out for these in the coming months (given the current climate, most likely as digital rentals or streaming options).

Yummy: Lars Damoiseaux’ debut feature is the inspirational story of a young medical school drop-out who bravely overcomes his fear of blood…

Nah. It’s actually a zombie/Resident Evil rehash brimming to the gills with Eurotrash sensibilities. (It even has a “Chazz“-archetype character featured prominently.) The hospital-based zombie party is kicked off by a visit of a young woman, her boyfriend, and her mother heading to a skeezy Eastern European hospital so she can get breast reduction surgery (she complains of a bad back and difficulty running, though the hooting and ogling of all passers-by en route to the facility suggest another motive). Once there, surprise surprise, things are not all that they seem…

In festivals prior, I’ve been told that for many filmmakers, horror movies are a reliable ticket into the field: they’re generally inexpensive to make and attract investors because they invariably recoup their money. Yummy is a nice, diverting bit of fun and gore, with at least two “firsts” as far as I know: a character loses his penis by fire extinguisher, and a surgeon jams his arm into a high-powered shredder to stop an infection. Walking into this at your local stream-a-plex, you will know exactly what you’re getting into, and won’t be disappointed.

Sanzaru: Filipino mysticism and Southern Gothic collide in Xia Magnus’ tale of creepy, creepy family history. Magnus manages to make the wide open spaces of Texas non-existent, setting all the action in her contemplative tale of ghosts and memories at one remote ranch. Evelyn is the live-in Filipina aid to aging and decrepifying Texan matriarch, Dena, who is suffering from dementia, and prone to fits of shouting at an unseen assailant in the wee hours of the night. Evelyn hears these disturbances, among other cryptic and unsettling sounds, on the house’s room-to-room intercom system.

Sanzaru gets plenty of bonus points for atmosphere, which goes a long way to make up for the lack of focus. The Texas family’s backstory is fascinating, and deeply unsettling once fully revealed, and Continue reading FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2020: THE LOOSE ENDS.

AMAZON PRIME WEIRD WATCH PARTIES SEPTEMBER NOMINEES AND RSVPS

We’re doing things a little differently with our Weird Watch Parties this month. We’re going to schedule two Amazon Prime watch parties in a row. Assuming there’s enough interest, our next  parties will be scheduled for Saturday, September 19 and September 26 at 10:15 PM.

As always, we’ll be looking for five movie screening nominations from people who plan to attend (for both or either session). After we get the minimum five nominations and likely attendees, we’ll put up a poll. We’ll then schedule the poll’s second place vote-getter to be screened on September 19 and the first place contestant on September 26. Management will break any ties.

Amazon Prime’s catalog of movies is larger (and less exclusive) than Netflix’s. Ed Dykhuizen’s availability spreadsheet is a good resource to check for Canonically Weird movies (look for ones marked “free w/ Prime” in the “Amazon” column). Or, do your own research and come up with a title from Amazon. Eligible movies will have a “watch party” button on their Amazon page. You must be a Prime subscriber; you don’t have to download an extension or additional software.

We will not provide tech support; you’re on your own. Help each other.

When the party is set to begin we’ll announce it in three places:

  • On this site (if you’ve signed up for regular email alerts via the sidebar you’ll also get a notice that way)
  • On our Facebook page
  • On Twitter

Now, RSVP and make your nominations in the comments below.

 

Netflix Watch Party #18—”I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS” (2020)—starts in fifteen minutes

As the title states, Netflix Watch Party #18—I’m Thinking of Ending Things—starts in fifteen minutes.

Please install the Netflix Party extension if you haven’t already. You must have a U.S. Nextflix account (we think) and a Chrome-based browser to participate.

There will be no pausing or rewinding except for technical reasons.

We are offering no technical support, so help each other out if needed.

Here is the link to join: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80211559?npSessionId=24a43880efd0f43c&npServerId=s36

Be sure to click on the red Netflix Party icon to sync up and join the chat room.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 9/11/2020

366 Weird Movies may earn commissions from purchases made through product links.

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs and Blu-rays (and hot off the server VODs), and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.

ONLINE EVENTS (Saturday, Sep. 12, 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT):

I’m Thinking of Ending Things Online Q&A: Online Q&A with writer/director , sponsored by American Cinematheque. Via Zoom, free but registration is required. Register for I’m Thinking of Ending Things Online Q&A.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

“The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection”: Another anthology from Universal, with classics Rear Window, the canonically weird Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds. Eight discs (four Blu-rays, four Ultra-HDs), but the big draw is the original theatrical version of Psycho, previously unavailable on home video. (The uncut Psycho is also being released separately on a single Blu-ray, should that be all you require.)  Buy “The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection”.

The Comic (1985): Set in a future dystopia, the story involves an orange-haired comedian who kills a rival to get a gig. Another oddity uncovered by Arrow Video, who promote it with the claim “From the annals of bizarre cinema comes perhaps the most bizarre one of them all!” IMDB rating: 3.2. Blu-ray only. Buy The Comic.

Ghost in the Shell (1995): Read our review. A 4K restoration/re-release of the seminal cyberpunk anime, on Blu-ray + Ultra HD. Buy Ghost in the Shell.

CANONICALLY WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

Independent theaters are cautiously starting to reopen across North America at diminished capacity, and we’re seeing a trickle of new screenings. We expect this section to grow slowly throughout the fall. You’ll have to use your own judgment as to whether it’s safe to go to movie theaters at this time.

FREE MOVIES ON TUBI.TV:

Adpaptation. (2002): Read the Canonically Weird entry. If I’m Thinking of Ending Things has put you in the mood for more mind-bending, Charlie Kaufman style, then this quintessential Kaufman meta-movie about Charlie Kaufman () suffering writer’s block will fit the ticket. “Leaving Soon” from Tubi. Watch Adpaptation. free on Tubi.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE: Reminder: on Saturday night we’ll be screening I’m Thinking of Ending Things as our Netflix Weird Watch party. We’re expecting/hoping for a decent turnout for this one, so look for the link to join around 10 PM here, on Facebook, or on Twitter. We’ll provide our own views on the film in the following week—maybe your observations from the chat will make it into our analysis. There will likely be another review or article next week to accompany that one, but we won’t swear to it. (We do have a couple of print projects to work on that we’ve been neglecting.) At any rate, onward and weirdward!

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that we have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

9*. GEMINI (1999)

Sôseiji

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Recommended

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: Masahiro Motoki, Ryô

PLOT: Yukio is a successful doctor, decorated for his service in the war. His wife Rin is an amnesiac. Yukio discovers he has an identical twin from whom he was separated at birth—a resentful and savage twin, bent on revenge.

Still from Gemini (1999)

BACKGROUND:

  • Tsukamoto adapted the story from a 1924 short story by Edogawa Rampo (“the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe”).
  • In an unusual move, fellow director assembled a 15-minute “making of” featurette to accompany the film on DVD.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Our first glimpse of the twin in the shadows. He looks just like Yukio, but wears ragged robes and a bizarre fur earmuff that covers half of his face. He shakes like he’s having a fit, then approaches the camera by doing cartwheels. It’s scary enough to give someone a heart attack.

TWO WEIRD THINGS: Eyebrowless clan; somersaulting doppelganger

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Pulling back from the unbridled mania of Tetsuo: The Iron Man and similar body-horror experiments, Shinya Tsukamoto proves that he can generate cold sweats with a more subtle, purely psychological approach. With its deep shadows and determined pace, Gemini generates an uncanny horror that seeps into your bones.

The opening minutes of “The Making of Gemini

COMMENTS: Gemini begins with an abstract, ominous prologue. It Continue reading 9*. GEMINI (1999)

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