This is the second of the films that I was most anticipating at the start of the year. Following the vague disappointment of The Last Stand, the anticipation-ometer needed a shunt in the right direction – happily Don Coscarelli’s John Dies At The End was far better than I was expecting, from the very opening scene, reproduced below, I knew I was going to enjoy it. In fact, you should watch it right now and if you like it, don’t bother reading the rest of this review – you’ll love the rest of the film .
It is a film that quite nicely defies any sensible attempt at rational description – the plot is a dense mix of weird horror/fantasy demon battling combined with the spread of an alternate-dimension revealing narcotic named ‘soy sauce’. There is also stuff in there about TV psychics, crazy punk bands and the illusion that time is moving in a uniform direction.
If you like a film bursting with ideas – and are prepared to just dive in and see what happens, then JDATE will be right up your dark and foreboding alley. If you prefer a film that doesn’t make you feel like you are at a lecture on quantum physics while heavily stoned, then I’d give it a miss. Personally, as soon as I get the chance, I will be checking out the sequel novel, This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It.
As I said John Dies At the End thoroughly exceeded my expectations and also gets bonus marks for including a fine turn from Glynn Turman aka Mayor Clarence Royce from The Wire, getting all homicidal in a violently righteous manner.
CURRENT ANTICIPATION-OMETER STATUS AFTER 2 of 10 FILMS: Balanced out
I have been somewhat remiss in providing regular updates recently, this is mostly to do with the fantastic response to the LUC Short Film Prize. Thus far, the top secret LUC evaluation panel have watched about 130 entries (with more arriving all the time) – now we are starting to select the films that will be shown during the week. The aim is to screen between 100 and 150 shorts throughout the festival – with fifteen finalists to be shown at our exclusive gala LUC night on Sunday 29th September. The deadline is still over two months away on the 2nd August, so plenty of time to finish off that ground-breaking hybrid western/sci-fi you’ve been working on.
In terms of the programme for the week, the overall shape is coming together nicely. The plan is for the main list of events to be announced at the end of June and then for tickets to go on sale in July, but here are some new additions (please note these are all subject to final confirmation):
LUC will be taking over (in what may be a needlessly violent fashion) the weekly quiz at The Clarendon on Wednesday 25th September for a special film themed edition.
A screening of what has been described as “the most punk rock film of all time” at Zephyr Lounge on Thursday 26th – trust me, it is.
LUC is beavering away on all sorts of other exclusive feature screening and potential events, so keep an eye on the blog for more advance info in the next few weeks. Hopefully will have another very exciting screening to announce next week.
If you follow LUC on twitter, I should probably apologise. The last few weeks have seen me shamelessly punting around the details of the first LUC short film prize to the great and good of the twitter film community.
All this shamelessness has been well worth it though, via lots of re-tweeting (and what people will actually call ‘Virality’ with a straight face) the message has got around and we already have loads of ace entries for the film fest, all in with a chance of scooping the thousand pound first prize.
One of the great things about organising a film festival is that you get to watch tons of films and I’ve really enjoyed the diverse and entertaining shorts that have been entered so far – thanks to everyone who has already submitted their work.
However, with a squeaky-bum inducing entire week programme to fill, we still need plenty more cool, interesting and original short films – so spread the word to all your filmmaking family, friends and maybe even an enemy or two. The deadline for submissions is 2nd of August, so still plenty of time to finish off, or maybe even start work on your sub-ten minute masterpiece.
To enter your film, visit the dedicated page on this very site, check out the rudimentary rules and use the form to enter – with any luck your film will be on a big screen somewhere in Leamington Spa during the week of 23rd-29th September.
Here is an astoundingly exciting bit of advance news about the programme for the LUC Festival. On Saturday 28th September there will be a free screening of Don Hertzfeldt‘s It’s Such a Beautiful Day. If you’ve seen any of his previous work then you will understand why this is so exciting – if you haven’t watch the trailer below at once – or check this review in the Guardian from the recent screenings at the ICA.
As stated above this is going to be a free event, info on the location and logistics will be revealed nearer the time. I know, how very intriguing.
More early news on the festival programme will be coming this week.
Calling all talented musicians looking to make your mark on the world (and untalented ones who fancy winning a thousand pounds) – it’s time to start getting in your entries for LUC & The Clarendon‘s film music battle of the bands, SCORE-CRAZY!
The grand final will be at The Clarendon on Saturday 28th September, where the top five entries will battle it out to win a grand as part of the week long festivities making up the first Leamington Underground Cinema Festival.
On Sunday 26th May, Leamington Underground Cinema invites you to another evening of short film treats gathered from the darkest corners of the internet.
Two halves of cinematic delights will kick off at 8PM on the big screen at Leamington’s premier public house, The Clarendon, where every effort will be made by our crack team of technical experts to make sure that the projector works properly this time.
Entry is free to everyone with a fully working sense of humour.