One of those movies (see also: The Game, Hypnotic) where people have to behave exactly as predicted by the supervillain for the plot to work – though there is a hitch in the plan when our man on the run (Choi Min-sik, who’d return in Lady Vengeance) and his sushi chef girlfriend/daughter (Kang Hye-jung of Invisible Waves) discover and remove their tracking devices, and the bad guy (Yoo Ji-tae, the married guy in Woman is the Future of Man) kills one of Choi’s friends with a “you made me do this” sort of speech that I didn’t buy, figuring that killing all of Choi’s friends was part of the deal. The deal is that Young Choi spotted Yoo smooching his sister in high school, told others then forgot about it, she killed herself, so Yoo becomes a rich maniac devoted to tricking Choi into fucking his own daughter. Good ending: they end up happy together after he gets the illegal prison’s house hypnotist to make him forget the girl’s identity. I can forget things just fine without hypnosis, so I’ll happily rewatch this in theaters every 20 years and be surprised each time.

John Woo’s follow-up to Blackjack, a Dolph Lundgren movie I’d never heard of before this moment. But he was obviously chosen based on his Face/Off experience in mask-based deception, and his ability to make dudes look extremely cool riding motorcycles, wearing leather jackets and sunglasses, kicking ass surrounded by explosions, jumping through the air whilst firing two guns.

Thandiwe Newton bounces between hero and villain (Dougray Scott of Ever After). Anthony Hopkins too embarrassed to be credited as the mission leader even though his other credit that year was the Jim Carrey Grinch movie. Aussies: Ving is joined by John Polson in the chopper and the baddie is assisted by finger-trauma Richard Roxburgh. Evil henchman William Mapother had been in Magnolia, but I think not in the Cruise scenes, and the scientist who sets off the whole plot by creating a supervirus runs the costume shop in Eyes Wide Shut. Bad guys just want to spread the virus across Sydney after securing stock options in Brendan Gleeson’s chem company that will manufacture the cure, and stock options are a boring reason to get the whole IMF on your ass, killing you and your friends, but at least they do it in style.

Young guy dies pathetically in front of the girl he likes, flees the afterlife, rewinds time and returns to his body, manic and indestructible. The character models keep shifting, the movie throws in 3D and crazy perspectives and photography, light and form and dimension and rationality all fluid. I wasn’t purposely looking for something to show up The Congress, but couldn’t have chosen better. The guy, his girl Myon (whose main characterization is “has got large boobs”) and her sister are swallowed by a whale while escaping the situation caused by our dude’s violent resurrection, and meet an old man who built a city inside.

I haven’t loved Yuasa’s recent features, but he’s in the animator pantheon for this and Walk On Girl. I should try either Kemonozume or Devilman Crybaby.

I am sorry that I’m so far behind on the movie blog…
I do intend to write more thoughtful and researched posts,
but in order to catch up, I’ve got to deal with the last two months of movies
and sometimes my notes just say:

Mabel is bank worker with wacky monitor colors
Nancy is Broderick’s wife?
Ruffalo halfway between Odenkirk in the donut shop and Doug from The State
Bob asks her to marry
Rod/Ron comes from the church to talk to Ruffalo
Rudy Sr drops charges

We have found another great Ruiz movie – the cinematography and music in this are not kidding around. Like La Flor, it opens with a diagram of the movie’s structure, then proceeds to blend some of Ruiz’s favorite things (pirates, painting, mirrors) into a meta-narrative folding in on itself. Death is extremely temporary here. Throw in some cannibalism and incest. And of course there’s a Ruiz film with morphing in it, why wouldn’t there be?

Guy Scarpetta in Rouge:

Here, the familiar features of Ruiz’s universe – parallel worlds, baroque uncertainties, telescoping of different times, co-presence of multiple spaces, deconstruction of characters, transgression of every parameter of classical narrative – are subject to an overflowing enthusiasm and gamesmanship … But we must not conclude that the film proceeds from the pure arbitrariness of an unbridled imagination. Quite the contrary, and this is the first great paradox to be emphasised: nothing, here, is left to chance … Nine narrative themes (in principle autonomous, heterogeneous) are posed as the raw material … the entire combinatory consists of making these cellular narratives cross each other’s paths, whether two by two or three by three, and also consecutively – each of these telescopings engendering, almost automatically, a specific narrative (one which logically implies that the characters can double or reincarnate themselves, leap time frames, and belong in several places at once).

High quality from the start, the rare perfectly-calibrated teen movie, best I’ve seen since Detention. The writers have watched Harold & Maude a couple times, but the teen sisters’ suicide pact and gruesome fake deaths pay off nicely.

Ginger is bitten by a wolf, which drug dealer Sam then runs over with his van, and now outcast Brigitte tries to save her sister’s life while Ginger makes the most of her new supernatural popularity.

Mimi Rogers nails it as their mom. Chris Nolan a big fan, cast both girls in Insomnia the next year – Ginger also did Bones and Freddy vs. Jason, and both returned for the sequels. Drug Dealer Sam is aka Revenge-Seeking Goth Ian from Final Destination 3.

The Roller Coaster Sequel. After the big funhouse setpiece, M.E. Winstead (the girl with hair like this) and her late bestie’s bf Kevin (a guy from The Ring Two Remake) survive, along with two goths (I’m about to see him in Ginger Snaps, she was in a Queen Latifah movie), a jock (Texas Battle of Wrong Turn 2), and two girls named Ashley who will soon die in cranked-up tanning beds, leading to a great edit to their coffins. Winstead figures out the pattern just quickly enough to find each person moments before their deaths, while being stalked by a goth, until something happens, I forget what, and they all think they’ve escaped, until a haha coda on an NYC train.

Our heroes, too late to save the jock:

Little sister Julie in front of a Carolyn Mark poster:

Very funny and enjoyable movie, obviously a must-see motion picture, but it loses something – part one was original, and part two carried a previous character forward and developed the idea, but then this is just part one again, almost a remake, the previous movies only existing diegetically in a web search jumbled in with 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Maybe unwise to watch two Stephen King movies in a week, but what’s wise about SHOCKtober? This movie is famous for its incredibly bleak ending (survivors are mercy-killed before discovering army is defeating monsters), the main change from the book, which is incredibly bleak in a different way (humanity loses).

Man vs. Tentacle:

Thomas Jane (lately of Shane Black’s Predator) is a poster artist working on a Dark Tower cover, going into town with his son and prickly neighbor Andre Braugher (of a Salem’s Lot remake), becoming trapped in a grocery store by the mist and its monsters. But the thing with The Mist isn’t the monsters, it’s everyone in town who hates each other suddenly getting trapped in a confined space and unloading their baggage. Got a real TV movie feeling despite all the pedigrees. Darabont’s still in gee-whiz period-piece mode in a modern setting, and all the theatrical on-the-nose dialogue doesn’t help. Performances are still a leg up on Langoliers (as are the digital effects, but that’s a very low bar).

Woman vs. Insect:

Little Billy followed this up with The Dark Knight, then a starring role in Joe Dante’s The Hole, not bad. Laurie Holden (Pyewacket) is the teacher who takes care of the kid while TJ works on becoming the hero of the story. Store Manager Robert Treveiler (the Richard Chamberlain Night of the Hunter remake) tries pulling rank, townie William Sadler (running the trifecta after Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption) tries to out-tough-guy TJ. Hard to keep track of every character as they quickly fall to bugs or suicide or murder, but the beardy hick dude who aggressively follows whatever’s the worst idea going around is veteran of terrible sci-fi/westerns Buck Taylor (Cowboys & Aliens, Wild Wild West, Timestalkers). There’s only one gun and Toby Jones claims to be a crack shot, so in a rare display of good sense, the group hands it over. He’ll eventually use it to kill Marcia Gay Harden, who starts raving about the apocalypse and demanding sacrifices. It’s cool that TJ recognizes early on that loud Christians are dangerous, though the movie’s overall theme seems to be having no faith in humanity.

Wasn’t kidding about the Dark Tower cover:

“Dad, I’m worried about you. You need to get back into biotech research.” Gotta give it up to Shinya for making the same exact cyberpunk movie for the fifth time. Diminishing returns, but once again a guy finds himself hulking out, turning into a machine.

Desaturated greys and browns except for a few popping colors. It’s in English; the dialogue and the plot being spelled out more explicitly are both weaknesses. When the action comes it’s prolonged and incoherent. The soundtrack is more pounding than ever. The clean HD photography clashes with the jittery underground lo-fi intentions. I did not hate it.

Hulking-guy’s son is run over by Shinya. He learns he was born from an android replica of his dead mom… he gets blasted by a hitman, also shoots himself in the head and lives… tetsuos a few city blocks. I wrote “I think Shinya wanted to be a suicide cult leader,” but I don’t know if I meant the director himself or the character he’s playing.