The opposite of what I just said about Undine (“thought the overall structure of the movie only kinda worked, but moment-to-moment I was quite thrilled to be watching it”) – in this case I didn’t appreciate any particular scene at the time, but ended up thinking it was great.

Set ten years in the future, telling a story about the past (then-present) year 2001, when raves were still in fashion. The Assassin star Shu Qi is Vicky, stuck with her abusive and controlling man Hao-hao (Duan Chun-hao of Long Day’s Journey Into Night). She’s with rich Jack (Hou lifer Jack Kao) for a while, but movie is a cycle – I like the pulsing music under all the action that sometimes rises and takes over. Beautifully mobile camera, I dig how it moves from outside to inside Jack’s place via security cam. I guess I’ve seen half of Hou’s major films now, but I still don’t have a strong sense of what he’s on about.

Two old friends get together, the larger Munho (Yoo Ji-Tae of Oldboy the year before) is a married teacher, and the glasses-wearing Hyeongon (Kim Tae-Woo of Joint Security Area) a wannabe filmmaker. Seonhwa (Hyun-Ah Sung of a couple Kim Ki-duk films) is introduced being abducted by a former schoolmate.

drunken hanging-out:

Things begin repeating and skipping through time, both guys with Seonhwa at different points, then they’re reminiscing and visit her again… she is basically mistreated, and they’re both kinda pathetic. Multiple sex scenes, a fun soundtrack. I’m being short and inspecific since I watched this too long ago.

“Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days… Satan is our only hope.”

I’m not immune to expectations, and when you hear for a decade that a movie is very bad, then you start to hear that actually it’s maybe quite good, so you watch it and it’s excellent, that weight of the previous decade makes you want to yell that it’s one of The All-Time Great Horror-Comedies, so I dunno if I’m just amped or if this is true. Either way, I had a fine time, and between this and Dellamorte I’ve got a couple new favorites.

Amanda Seyfried is our protagonist “Needy,” with mom Amy Sedaris, boyfriend Young Neil (whose mom is Bonnie from The Player). Chris Pratt is a local cop, JK Simmons is a teacher with a mechanical hand – this great cast must be post-Juno Diablo Cody’s doing, and not post-Aeon Flux Kusama’s. Our lead succubus is of course Megan Fox, proving that she only sucked in the Transformers movies because everything in those movies sucked.

After a music club fire that triggered dark memories of Collectiv, Fox is drugged and kidnapped by the indie band, then virgin-sacrificed to further their career. This works, career-wise, they become huge, but she was not a virgin and so becomes a demonic creature seeking boys and blood and revenge. Loved the goth kid Colin Gray (Kyle Gallner of Red State), didn’t love the very studio sound of the “live” band, but at least the club atmosphere was right on.

Fake documentary following the exploits of an area serial killer after the discovery of a room full of videotapes documenting his crimes. Much of this movie is footage “from” those tapes – not just VHS quality, but with an effect like the tapes or camera suffered magnetic damage, the picture bending in waves.

It’s a bummer of a movie that makes you feel bad for watching it. The guy’s first known crime is the abduction/rape/murder of an 8-year-old, the central case is a girl he keeps for a decade and subjects to Martyrs-level torment, and the interviewees are a parade of FBI guys impressed by the killer’s craftiness, which includes railroading a cop to a state execution for the killer’s crimes. So the killer is portrayed as an evil genius still at large at the end, but Se7en or Memories of Murder this ain’t. Let’s stay away from the real sordid feel-bad movies this week and look for more horror-comedies.

Crappy old horror movie The Invisible Ghost is given the Arnold treatment. In this case it’s less time manipulation – there might be some but I’m not sure since this is the same length as the original film – than erasing dialogue and actors from the frame. The storyline of the original sounds nuts – there’s little sign of it here as Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, and our interchangeable young lovers roam a house, giving each other meaningful looks or having semi-conversations or just standing around looking haunted. Often the camera will just look through an empty room, and towards the second half, even the semi-conversations dry up, which is too bad since they were my favorite part. It’s more technically impressive than his other films, but it’s less of everything else. No credits because it was an installation – I should’ve guessed.

The catalog description says:

Death becomes the fury of disappearance which gives witness to an “unbearable transition beyond existence” (Georges Bataille). The madness has been inscribed into the faces. The ecstasy of effacement, the annihilation of being, the hypostatization of the inorganic,

and so on, because you don’t become a catalog description writer by saying “crappy movie is digitally altered, parts of the image and sound painstakingly erased, to create different crappy movie.”

Earliest Dumont I’ve seen and my least favorite, which suddenly makes me hesitant about the two that just came out on Criterion. Also our second movie in a row with a girl peeing on camera. I’d heard this might be a horror, and it’s not, it just has really bad vibes.

David and Katya ride around the American West in his hummer, listening to twangy French songs, never wearing seatbelts. She gets unaccountably sad after asking what he’s thinking and he says nothing. They have splashy hotel pool sex, sulk at each other about basic things, later do some nude rock climbing. He’s a film person of some sort, and yeah this is what I imagined film people do between shoots. The sex and the fights both escalate and she almost leaves one night. Then out of the blue, truckers drive them off the road, smash his head and rape him, and I guess back at the hotel he loses his mind and kills them both.

Katya was in major films by Claire Denis and Leos Carax before her premature death. David’s been in a couple things, but most importantly, when he wears his round sunglasses and lets his hair flop around, he looks like Michael Showalter’s Doug from The State.

Doug and Katya:

“Isn’t it a terrible world?” One of the most honestly messed-up movies. Still very good, but it does take its time, when you know what’s coming. We’re halfway through the two-hour movie before it shows its hand with the sack in the apartment, and there’s only 20 minutes left when Asami puts on the rubber gloves.

Our dude is Ryo Ishibashi, the wide-faced star of Suicide Club and a couple Grudge movies. His filmmaker buddy who sets up the fake auditions is Jun Kunimura, who I’ve seen in 15 movies and has appeared in 150 more. And Asami is Eihi Shiina, of Eureka and Harmful Insect, but probably better known for schlock like Tokyo Gore Police.

L-R: movie buddy, our dude

L-R: creepy sack, Asami

Forgot about the wheelchair-bound music teacher (Miike regular Renji Ishibashi, also of Ronin-Gai), and that she severs one of our dude’s feet before his son shows up and knocks her down the stairs.

“It is really inelegant for a man to let himself grow old.” A late film to be sure, an old man looking back at his debut from 70 years ago, remembering his young life. How was anyone supposed to know that Oliveira, in his 90s, would make ten more features after this?

Sometimes it’s a fun story of artistic discovery, but there’s a rueful thread of disappointment since all these good times took place with his friends, all artists, exiled and dead. Some old film clips and photographs, as expected. The movie centers around a series of real-time scenes: an opening overture with the camera behind the conductor… a drive through the streets at night… a poem… a song.

Rewatched with Katy on Criterion Channel. I guess we’d last seen it before I started the blog, and there’s a particular reason we had to rewatch it now, but since I’m not going to elucidate, and since I didn’t get any screenshots from streaming, I’ll just link to Eric Hynes’s great writeup.