This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


“Dune”: Once more, with feeling.

“Dune”: Once more, with feeling. (photo)

Posted by on

Some day, cinema’s going to get around to filming the grand doorstop novels of postmodernism — any medium foolhardy enough to attempt not one but two versions of Joyce’s “Ulysses” (and one of “Finnegan’s Wake”!) will sooner or later convince itself that nothing is unfilmable.

In the meantime, I’m struggling to figure out why Frank Herbert’s “Dune” is straggling towards the screen for a third time, courtesy of “Taken” director Pierre Morel.

Like those massive postmodern works, Herbert’s classic sci-fi tome is unfilmable not because of its length so much as because of the amount of detail that makes up its texture. If David Lynch’s attempt failed with fans of the book, the general public and its own maker (it’s the only movie he’s not proud of), it was sort of unavoidable at a runtime of under three hours — hardly enough to get started. Since a decade ago, the SciFi (now SyFy) network gave us a five-hour miniseries that seemed to please most of the true believers, what’s left to do?

The world of “Dune” itself is as arcane and convoluted as ancient Rome. Herbert’s book has actually been compared to Edward Gibbon’s six-volume “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” and it’s clear why that couldn’t be a movie. (A sexed-up HBO show, on the other hand…)

The usual compromise for not being able to have, in movie form, a long enough running time to properly do justice to a story is usually FX. So where does this proposed remake come in? Morel has so far been fuzzy on the specifics of his “very respectful” adaptation, but a respectful and viable production seems pretty much impossible. Is “Dune” supposed to be the new “Lord of the Rings,” with a franchise-hungry studio taking a big gamble on length and expensive effects?

01132010_afailedentertainment.jpgI could see “Dune” working now as an ecological horror story — which is what it was supposed to be anyway — but that seems an awfully thin hook on which to hang a blockbuster. Meanwhile, the fans have been appeased, and no one else will take it.

On the topic of unfilmable works of literature, Columbia University’s Neiman Gallery is going to have an exhibitions of works works from the filmography of James O. Incandenza, the fictional paterfamilias/tortured auteur of David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.”

Incandenza’s invented filmography, complete with running times, casts and formats, is the first major footnote in a work that’s famously heavy with them, filled with clues and context that turn out to be useful later. (It’s also a great goof on film academia.)

[Photos: “Dune,” Universal, 1984; “A Failed Entertainment” poster, LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, 2010]

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More