Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was about as grand and moving a film as I’ve come to expect from him. In a little over a decade, he’s become one of the most interesting directors working today. His films are sticking around for the long haul, and I frequently rewatch many of them.1
This is a film that should be seen in theaters. It deserves as big a screen as one can find. I bet an IMAX showing would be a uniquely moving experience. Heck, given how impressive the sound was, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually shook some people right out of their seats. You should see it. It’s impressive, to say the least.
I watched it on HBO Max on my relatively dinky 55” television. I’ve also got a pair of HomePods I use for audio. Compared to the vast expanse of a theater screen—a canvas truly worthy of the gargantuan size of the terrifying Sandworms—my television was a shameful Lilliputian consolation.2 Suffice it to say, Denis isn’t going to be impressed with how I viewed his film.
Our friendship prospects are looking bleaker by the day.
Were it not for both COVID and the recent, tragic shooting at one of my preferred local theaters, I would have seen this great film the way it was meant to be seen. I’ve always treasured going to the theater. It was something special I did with my dad and I’ve also treated myself to solo trips on countless occasions. It breaks my heart that I no longer feel safe or enthusiastic about indulging in an activity that means so much to me.
I can do what I’ve always done about COVID. I could wear a mask and distance myself from other theatergoers. I’m also vaccinated, so my personal risk is fairly low, despite how many people are still not fully vaccinated.
But how does someone avoid a hateful, destructive person who is intent on murdering others who are only sitting peacefully in a theater and enjoying the entertainment they paid for? How does one prevent a seemingly random act of disgusting violence from befalling them, especially in a place where visibility and awareness are so low? How do I avoid dying in a theater if not by avoiding theaters altogether?
Those senseless murders are horrible for two reasons: lives were ended and terror was forced into our minds. I hate that I have to live with this fear now because evil, cowardly, sick people keep feeling the need to make theaters their personal hunting grounds.
I wish that I could have seen Dune the way it was meant to be seen. I would have loved those two and a half hours in one of my favorite places. Instead, I watched it at home. It’s a better theater experience only in as much as I’ve got a large, comfy couch to sit on and I can pause the film for bathroom breaks whenever I want.3 Otherwise, it hardly has the special magic of a theater.
I wish my country didn’t have an insane, crippling fetish for instruments of death. There is no need for them to be so easily accessible by the general public. I wish sick people could better receive the care they desperately need. I wish they would stop taking the lives of others.
And I want my theaters back.
UPDATE: Looks like I’ll get to watch Part Two on my television in the future, as well. I’m very glad the sequel was greenlit. It would have been such a shame if this adaptation wasn’t able to get a conclusion.
Listen to this rollercoaster ride of an episode right here! 🎙
macOS Monterey is out now. I think it’s a fine release. I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping that it won’t destroy my computer in the coming days.
What I’d love to see now is any sort of attention paid to Reading List. A first-party solution with actual organization would be nice.
There’s supposed to be a lot of rain in my area today, and I couldn’t be more excited. It feels foolish to wish for consistent weather these days, but I’m still going to hope this means we’re officially out of summer now.
I think the new Apple Music Voice Plan may be a decent offering.
I do feel some pity for fans of classical music who will have to request “Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, K. 183: I. Allegro con brio.” Or Bon Iver fans who want to listen to anything from 22, A Million.
After a marathon reading session, I’ve finally finished Stephen King’s The Stand.
I was left feeling breathless and satisfied. I’ll remember it for being thrilling, complex, maddening, exultant, and uncomfortably prescient. 📚
I’ve been enjoying a renewed interest in Animal Collective lately. I’m reminded of when their album, Centipede Hz, came out in 2012. Words cannot express the profound disappointment I felt upon my first listening of its third track, “Rosie Oh.”
It begins with swirling whines, rhythmic kick drums, and one of the most pleasant and intriguing rising bass lines ever before devolving into a mess of noise that’s a bit much even for them.
It mars what’s an otherwise decent album. Luckily, they’ve done far better work before and after that song, so there are always other things to enjoy.
Gabrielle Sanchez, writing for The A.V. Club,
Speaking about her own injuries as Batwoman, Rose explained that she underwent emergency surgery for two herniated discs, with doctors telling her she could have been paralyzed.
The actor said she was required to return to work 10 days after her surgery, with [Warner Bros. TV executive Peter] Roth telling her the crew would lose their jobs and it would cost the studio millions if she did not promptly return. She also alleged Roth hired a private investigator to trail her after she left the show.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a terrible thing to read, and what happened to her is inexcusable. Combined with the recent story about the grotesque treatment Gal Gadot received from Joss Whedon during the reshoots of Justice League, and a clearer picture starts to form. See also: Ray Fisher’s hellish time on the same set.
It’s more evident than ever that Warner Bros. and the people running it are rotten to the core. It’s a damn shame. The company has a long history of bringing great entertainment to audiences for decades. I have serious doubts that anything there will change unless they raze it all to the ground and start over again.
In this week’s episode of Stream Dream Team, Lee got freaky with Freaky, I want to become a breadmaker, and Dazzle realizes that one should never meet their heroes because they might try to murder you.
Give this hilarious new episode a listen right here! 🎙
Forget a new MacBook Pro. All I want in my life right now is more well-made courtroom drama movies.
I will never not love that this image exists. Even if it’s (probably) fake, it’s still glorious. May it bring you a smile, as well. 🐱
In the last month, I’ve lost eight pounds, and all just by cutting out the great amount of artificial sweets to which I was clearly addicted.
I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in the next month!1
From House of Cards to Mindhunter to Mank and now a new documentary film series about cinema, Fincher is once again proving himself to be one of the most progressive directors working today. I’m not in the least bit surprised. This man, one of my favorites, has always been at the forefront of filmmaking. His brilliant 2007 film, Zodiac, was one of the first feature films to be captured almost exclusively with a digital video camera, the Thomson Viper FilmStream Camera.1 This was at least a good six years before films shot with digital cameras started to outnumber those shot on film.2
The man likes trying new things.
Contrast this behavior with that of other directors, like Steven Spielberg. In an interview with ITV News, he expressed his distaste for movies made for streaming services being given the same reverence and accolades that movies made first for theatrical screening can receive. He said,
Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.
I’m not necessarily saying this venerated, incredible director is wrong. He’s expressing his own opinions, many of which I share. I love seeing a complex, moving film in a dark cinema. There’s something unique and special about that experience. Furthermore, he’s certainly earned the right to comment on and criticize the way corporations have minimized the spectacle of theatrical premieres. Goodness knows that I’m not a legendary filmmaker and a household name.
I would suggest that he’s also showing a fair amount of famous person privilege. He shouldn’t forget that he came from nothing. He should also recognize that extremely talented filmmakers, whether they be known now or up and coming, may never achieve the sort of clout necessary to have a film released in theaters. Some of the most brilliant films to ever be made will debut and live only on streaming platforms. It would be a shame if those films didn’t receive the recognition they deserve from the Academy just because they don’t fit Spielberg’s idea of what a “real” film should be. The world would be lesser for it.
I don’t think theaters will ever disappear completely, but it’s clear that the filmmaking business and viewers around the world are more interested in streaming their media outside of a theater. Therefore, it’s more exciting for me to watch a director “skate to where the puck is going,” so to speak. Fincher is not someone who has ever shied away from being at the vanguard of new techniques or experiences. Instead of fighting the growth of streaming services—a futile battle—he welcomes them. He’s diving into this new world headfirst. No one will ever be able to accuse him of being stuck in the past. He might still make films that premiere in theaters, but he won’t do that out of stubbornness and inertia.
I’m excited to see Voir when it’s released. It will surely be the product of much attention, talent, and love. That will help further legitimize filmmaking in all its forms, whether it be released in cinemas or on a streaming service.
In this week’s episode of Stream Dream Team, Lee watched dinosaurs rampage in all their glory, I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger save all of Mars, and Dazzle Novak creates the worst film ever made in Moonbeam City.
Give this great new episode a listen right here! 🎙
Paramount+ has the distinct honor of being the worst streaming service that I’ve ever seen or used. Their competitors aren’t even close. UI issues aside, if I can’t count on it to even just play a chosen video, then it deserves nothing but shame.
This week on Stream Dream Team, my brain was sucked out by a Starship Troopers bug, Lee is going to create her own Jurassic Park, and we all travel to Moonbeam City, where the police are buffoons and the neon is endless.
Give this delightful episode a listen right here! 🎙
Tony Marx, NYPL President:
The New York Public Library is proud to announce a major policy shift: as of today and moving forward, we will no longer charge late fines on overdue circulating materials. In addition, we have cleared all prior late fines and replacement fees from patron accounts so that everyone gets a clean slate at the Library. This is a step towards a more equitable society, with more New Yorkers reading and using libraries, and we are proud to make it happen.
Some might say fines teach accountability and ethics. I disagree. New Yorkers are quite reliable and responsible, clearly respecting our collections and the need for them to be available for others to borrow. We can reinforce the importance of returning books without attaching a financial burden that targets those most in need. If we’re talking ethics, it is clear to me that the real ethical conundrum lies with pricing our most vulnerable citizens out of using a free, public library system.
We sure could use more institutions that think and act this way, and I hope more follow in the footsteps of the NYPL.1 Punishing those who are least capable of paying something like a library fine, which is not an effective motivator, is not a kind or, as Mr. Marx says, equitable action to take.
Access to knowledge should never come with a price tag.
It’s overcast and gray outside. Finally, my preferred weather is returning. I’m noticing that the cooler it gets the more my mood improves. Is it any wonder that my preferred season is winter?
Despite its relatively small catalog, Apple continues to prove that it won’t hesitate to cancel an underperforming show. A failed show is always a shame, but I will forever prefer quality over quantity.
Total movies watched: 24.
Favorite movie of the month: Grosse Pointe Blank. It would have been Crazy, Stupid, Love. if I hadn’t already seen it.
Least favorite movie of the month: Sharknado. I had to watch it for More Movies Please! This was one of the worst things, and not just movies, that I’ve ever witnessed.
Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥