Runstedler’s DVD Pick of the Month: Bringing out the Dead

Streamer of the Week – Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead | Spirit of  the Thing

Martin Scorsese’s 1999 film Bringing out the Dead is an adaptation of Joe Connelly’s excellent novel of the same name (the title actually comes from, as you might think, from the infamous scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail), which is actually based on his own experiences as an EMT in New York City, and tells the story of Frank, a burnt-out paramedic working the graveyard shift in Hell’s Kitchen who starts to see hallucinations/ghosts of his dead patients, namely Rose, a young woman who overdosed that he couldn’t save. Nicolas Cage stars, but he is unusually restrained for the most part here, and it’s one of his best films in my opinion, alongside some of his other less over-the-top roles such as Leaving Las Vegas, Joe, Raising Arizona, and Red Rock West, to name a few. But he’s great for the role – he really wanted to work with Marty, and Marty thought of him instantly when he read Connelly’s book. I devoured the book in a few days, and its themes of grief, overcoming trauma, healing, and rumination on why we cared about others really stayed with me. In addition, Frank’s philosophical and existential musings were very inspiring. I couldn’t unhear Nicolas Cage as I read the book, and that’s a good thing, although part of me kind of wishes I had read the book beforehand.

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Duds – Death Spa (1989)

Death Spa (1989) - IMDb

What a dazzling corker of an opening! The camera cranes down to the marquee of a health facility and suddenly lightning strikes on the sign. Henceforth the club is “Death Spa” and cinematographer Arledge Armenaki lurks around the corridors with a voyeuristic point-of-view. In a steam room, a curvaceous dancer sensually caresses her body until the temperature increases and she is practically simmering inside.

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Duds – The Hunt (2020)

The Hunt | Own & Watch The Hunt | Universal Pictures

‘The Hunt’ is Blumhouse’s archly hipster, redundant rendition of ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ with liberal dosages of presumptuous gallows humor which never materialize into talking-head laughs (the anti-elite lines are mortifying edentate- “We’re gonna be on Hannity…Just like those two Jew boys that fucked Nixon up.”).

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Gems – The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)

The Wolf of Snow Hollow Reviews - Metacritic

‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’ is an enjoyably blithe horror-comedy hybrid for Jim Cummings’ trifecta of headliner, writer and director and beyond that, it is a bittersweet epitaph for Robert Forster whose gravitas stratify this lycanthrope tale to snowbound film noir on the wavelength of Coen Brothers (“You feel like you’re having a heart attack? Right now?” “Nah, since August.”).

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Duds – Antebellum (2020)

Antebellum (film) - Wikipedia

‘Antebellum’ is a punishingly self-congratulatory, crystalline thriller with an egregious exploitation of the nation’s dehumanization of Nubian citizens to the point of non-minority prejudice (Jena Malone is defiantly overacting as Elizabeth, a Caucasian succubus who obviates eye contact with “inferior” ethnicities).

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Gems – Possessor Uncut (2020)

Possessor (film) - Wikipedia

‘Possessor Uncut’ is a clinical, nonplussed grotesquery about the fungible nature of identity in an Orwellian surveillance society and Canadian auteur Brandon Cronenberg more than adjudicates how plainly rancorous monolithic corporations are and will be in the adjacent future.

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Gems – You Should Have Left (2020)

You Should Have Left | Own & Watch You Should Have Left | Universal Pictures

‘You Should Have Left’ is a byzantine, paranormal thriller which is also a scalpel-sharp Tinseltown satire (e.g. The rhetoric of a “closed set” is verboten to non- industry outsiders like Susanna’s (Amanda Seyfried) scandal-embroiled husband Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon) but not the latte delivery boy).

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Duds – Hubie Halloween (2020)

Hubie Halloween (2020) - IMDb

‘Hubie Halloween’ is Adam Sandler’s bovine, stratospherically unfunny vendetta against the Academy Awards committee who omitted his nomination for his tour-de-force performance in last year’s ‘Uncut Gems’.

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Gems – Shivers (1975)

Shivers (1975) - IMDb

Slide-show photography of Montreal’s Starliner Towers is immediately unnerving despite being pictures of the swanky tennis court and delicatessen. It could be the wryly monotone instructional video announcer and how it culminates with the medical examiner on the premises. David Cronenberg germinates the groundwork for the epidemic thunderclap ahead with those images and how the doorman’s gun is “just an advertising gimmick.”

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Castor’s Hallow’s Eve Duds – Peninsula: Train to Busan (2020)

‘Train to Busan: Peninsula’ is a faineant sequel to the exquisitely overrated South Korean zombie flick from 2016 and it doesn’t filibuster about pandemic theories (a pundit television appearance is the viewers’ only hypothesis and the acting is quite amateurish) when a breakneck pace is stipulated.

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