Movies of the Week #36 #37 (2020)

In Fabric (2018): Coming across a movie as gorgeous as Peter Strickland’s In Fabric is a rare thing. It being a complex B-movie about a killer dress and yet engaging all your senses is nigh on unheard of. So for all aficionados of the Lynchian vibes, this pseudo-horror-comedy is surely for you – a movie that defies genre constrictions, narrative or dialogue constrictions, to fascinate and confuse at will. Yet, it somehow walks the razer’s edge and let’s you in on just enough to keep you interested, while obscuring the rest to keep you intrigued and tingle your synapses. Basically, you understand something like 50% of what’s going on and the remaining 48% is where your imagination dabbles in strokes of comprehension. Dammit, it’s already affected me gravely! 9/10

The Social Dilemma (2020): A documentary making the rounds and aiming to put you off the social medias comes from Netflix. As a timely piece of criticism on the underlying structures of our digital world and the machinations that make it function, The Social Dilemma hits its mark and then some. Crisply argued points about the way this technology is shaping our lives and the absence of people truly questioning the rationale behind it makes for a chilling watch. Of course, this fixation with one part of the story is actually one of the problems of social media and TSD does little to provide perspective, or anything resembling a road map for the future. What I also feel doesn’t necessarily work is the interweaving of an acted out narrative, exemplifying how innocuous and insidious the socials can be. There’s no doubt we are prone to manipulation and the opaque nature of how Facebook et al. nudge us leaves room for serious debate, but a lot of the stuff presented is very well known by anyone who cares. The key, as well pointed out, is in our capacity to adapt fast enough to the changes occurring in the syntax of life and our understanding of it – would have loved to hear more on that. 7/10

Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (2020): The second movie to the Psych series takes on the challenge of creating a story around Timothy Omundsen’s Carlton Lassiter. Having suffered a major stroke in 2017, it’s been both heartbreaking and touching to see Omundsen fight to recover his motor functions and setting him front and center in this movie was a brave choice. There’s great camaraderie in the cast of Psych after their eight year run, and their efforts to make Lassie Come Home work are a further testament to that. Thankfully, it does work, it’s great to see Lassiter back (after the truly rough cameo he had in the first movie), and the vibe is just right for Shawn and Gus to go about their usual shenanigans. I doubt the movie will convert anyone who isn’t familiar to the show, but for those who are, it’s a fun and emotional extension to the psych-o-sphere. 7/10

Arachnofobia (1990): I sure find it funny how these family friendly horror movies used to scare the crap out of everyone. It’s a film mould that’s been off the shelves since the late nineties, but it worked reasonably well in its day. Starring Jeff Daniels and with an iconic small role by John Goodman, Frank Marshall’s Arachnofobia is a camp movie about, you guessed it, spiders. It follows the safe formula of transporting a big, bad spidey from the Amazon rainforests to the US of A, where it breeds with some local spider species to create a lethal combination that runs amok in the countryside. While with some hair-raising moments, the movie never overwhelms you with tension and terror, which does not mean it won’t put you off spiders if you’re susceptible to scares. Waltzing between family drama, low key comedy and jump scares, it all still somehow works, remaining one of the memorable movies of my youth. 7/10

Skin (2018): This discount version of American History X is well acted, occasionally engaging, yet not inspired enough to be relevant. Directed by Guy Nattiv and starring Jamie Bell and Danielle Macdonald, it tells the redemption story of Bryan Widner, a racist skinhead who gives up his racist ways to enjoy the benefits of leading a non-hate-filled life. Based on true events, the movie lacks the unpredictable, which means you’ll have to be content with the performances. Overall, it just doesn’t all add up for me to something worth recommending. 6/10