“Lenny’s a racist, but he’s one of the good ones.” Filipe’s short letterboxd review kept coming to mind, “the overall absurdism does have its moments and Morris’s anger comes through,” especially when the movie ends with cops and feds getting cheerfully promoted for destroying the lives of cool weirdos. Lead weirdo is Moses, who runs a black militant duck farm. Agent Anna Kendrick is looking for people to set up to take credit for saving the world from terrorism I guess. The feds determine Moses’s crew is no threat, but after Moses sells fake uranium to nazi cop Jim Gaffigan (!), the higher-ups get involved and everybody below goes to jail.

Moses presides:

Danielle Brooks (Clemency the same year) gives Santa a touch-up:

Afrika nails informant Kayvan Novak (Four Lions):

Anthony Mackie (currently having a superhero moment on TV) and his partner Jamie Dornan (Barb & Star) are New Orleans paramedics investigating a bad drug scene in a crazy long take. Mackie has an unusual brain tumor, dreams of flooding coffins, and as they discover a wave of deaths from the titular drug which lets you “experience time as it actually is” (?), Dornan’s teen daughter takes it and vanishes. Since Mackie is dying anyway and has a suspiciously coincidental pineal gland abnormality, he sets off trying to rescue his friend’s daughter from a series of pasts. “The past fucking sucks,” he accurately reports after every few-minutes-long jump back attempts to kill him. He even World-of-Tomorrows to the ancient tundra, very exciting. Things work out for the girl, if not for Mackie. More conventional than Benson & Moorhead’s other features, but as long as they keep making time-loop thrillers, I will keep watching them.

Our dudes go to the fair:

Sketch of a movie following a narcoleptic young man as he takes over for the retiring rat breeder at a bird sanctuary. Flute music over the rat intro gives unavoidable Rat Film flashbacks. Ordinarily I’d be all over a bird movie, but I’m torn on this one. Cutting a rat to bits with scissors isn’t great, but feeding it to an injured owl moments later compensates. Pulling shards from a swan’s wound isn’t great, even though the bird is being helped (Katy ditched at this point). Finally some escaped rats have their revenge on the injured birds (offscreen) and a little birdy has to be euthanized (onscreen). Next time let’s have more birds, less death, no humans.

I’d just rewatched Walker with Katy, hoping she’d want to go on a multi-part Walker journey before graduating to Stray Dogs, but nope that was quite enough for her, so I watched this recently-surfaced movie alone.

The walker is slower than ever, an even more hardcore viewing experience than the first movie.

Lovely urban digital photography.

Suddenly we are nude bathing with Miike (and Nightmare Detective) actor Masanobu Andô!

Gail and Doug are siblings living together – he studied forensic science but has a job at an ice factory. Ice worker Carlos moonlights as a DJ, meets Doug’s ex Rachel when she’s in town then becomes concerned when she skips a date… and belatedly/charmingly this hangout movie swings into mystery mode, our three heroes investigating Rachel’s whereabouts with ever more brazen detective tricks.

Great music by local Oregonian Keegan DeWitt who later worked with Robert Greene and Alex Ross Perry. Carlos was later in We The Animals and Unsane, Gail starred in Infinity Baby and last year’s haunted house movie Girl on the Third Floor. My first movie by Katz, whose Gemini I missed a few years ago. Looking back at his contemporaneous interview in Cinema Scope, he describes the next two films he was writing, neither of which sounds like the next two films he made.

Costa loves his very low-light digital cinematography (very cool, Lois Patiño-esque) with actors being extremely still, until he faces a challenge in the second half with a jittery Ventura – either the actor or his priest character is now afflicted with Parkinson’s. Everyone in this movie is desperate, all zombie-walking through spaces, only VV has any passion left. Her confrontation with Ventura is intense, and her big backstory monologue takes place on the toilet.

Park’s followup to The Handmaiden doesn’t reach the same heights as Stoker, his other English-language movie, held back by the writing and the six hours of buttoned-up spies underplaying to survive. Big actory dialogue though – by episode three I decided I wasn’t buying any of it, but it’s pretty fun so I watched to the end. On the plus side, cool sets and costumes and cars. Park can really throw light exactly where he needs to, is excellent at photographing multi-level architecture. Michael Shannon has a wonderful laugh, but we maybe hear it once, given he’s playing a tormented Israeli agent on a convoluted revenge mission. Most importantly, Florence Pugh has the most openly expressive face of any actor right now, so what’s she doing in a spy movie? Well, it’s complicated, but she plays an actress hired by Shannon to get caught up with the Palestinian bombers so they can eventually be trapped or killed. Kidnappings and love letters and multiple fake relationships as she becomes a terrorist-in-training… as far as U being who U pretend to be, I wonder if Mother Night is out on blu-ray.

Pugh dances with Alexander Skarsgård:

Pugh practices with evil mastermind Khalil:

Watching the Detectives (2017, Chris Kennedy)

Silent and over a half hour long, so I played Zero Kama’s The Secret Eye of L.A.Y.L.A.H., as the director undoubtedly would’ve intended if he could’ve afforded the rights. The day or so after the Boston Marathon bombing, represented mostly through screenshots from reddit: marked-up surveillance photos and a long-distance attempt at forensic investigation by the chatmob. At least I liked that the text was against a gentle wash of dark static instead of plain digital black. Last ten minutes is just reporting news with no new redditting.


Once Upon a Screen: Explosive Paradox (2020, Kevin Lee)

Lee’s always in my feed championing essay film, so checking out one of his… it’s short and lo-fi. He parks outside the liquor store that used to be the movie theater where he saw Platoon as a kid, recalling that experience while shooting parking lots and brick walls. The credits shout out the director of The Viewing Booth, which I watched last night.


Green Ash (2019, Pablo Mazzolo)

A landscape turned into blobby light, like peering through fluttering almost-closed eyelids. Ordinary shot of a bush, but the foreground and background bushes jitter and blur independently. Light starts going crazy across grassy fields, a tricky version of Nishikawa’s Tokyo-Ebisu effect, making it feel like this is lo-fi natural footage, but simultaneously taking place in a glitching holodeck. The lush green Argentinian fields with the hand-drawn map at the end gave me La Flor flashbacks. I played Yazz Ahmed’s “Barbara” since the timing matched, very nice.


I Am Micro (2010, Shumona Goel & Shai Heredia)

Narration by a film artist who dreamed of being Godard or Pasolini before everything went commercial and became “scattered,” the camera roving the grounds of an abandoned studio.


Five by Tomonari Nishikawa – all quotes are by the director, from his website.


Tokyo-Ebisu (2010)

Scenes of a noisy train station, frames within the frames showing different actions, sometimes like a shot has been divided into a semi-grid and each segment is playing a different moment in time. Shot on film, which seems excessively difficult, since he says they’re “in-camera visual effects,” so what, mirrors? Exposing partial sections of the film then running it back?


45 7 Broadway (2013)

Times Square, and this time it’s the full frame overlapping with a time-shifted version of itself, but each source has been processed as red, green or blue, appearing to be a 3D effect gone horribly wrong, or a broken RGB projector during an earthquake, quite wonderful.


Manhattan One Two Three Four (2014)

Quick swish pans up, down, and across city buildings, rapidly cut together (“all edited in-camera”), no sound.


Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars (2015)

Crackling hum, and a very scratched mothlighting blue-dyed image, the sprocket holes often visible. This one is political, the film image resulting from being buried in radioactive soil the government said was safe.


Amusement Ride (2019)

Tracking across the metal skeleton of a Japanese ferris wheel, never looking out at the typical views, the camera panning up a bit at a time, “which resembles the movement of a film at the gate of a film projector or camera.”

Guess I should’ve watched the show instead of the movie, because the antagonistic interviews with celebrities are very fun, but I didn’t need the framing story of Zach G and his crew road-tripping to conduct a certain number of interviews in a week for boss Will Ferrell. After binging On Cinema episodes, maybe it was bad timing to watch another show about a deluded low-rent awkward talk-show host.