Evan has a dying mom, is also a bit of an impulsive fuckup, and during his immediate post-mom depression he acts self-destructively to the point of having to flee the country. Off in Italy he meets a couple of drunken brits, takes a job with chill farmer Angelo, and hooks up with gorgeous local Louise (Nadia Hilker), who turns out to be an ancient cat-squid-beast, as shown through some dodgy CG.

Evan then spends the rest of the movie trying to convince Louise not to be reborn as a new identity, which is something that happens every generation or so, forcing her to disappear and make new ID documents and will herself possessions (shades of Highlander), but to remain mortal and live a normal life with a tourist loser. Someone described it as Before Sunrise as a monster movie, which is about right, and I enjoyed it even though it seems like I have nothing nice to say.

Evan is Lou Pucci, who looks like my neighbor Jared, but is actually the doomed nerd of Evil Dead Remake and bazooka kid of Southland Tales. The Moorhead/Benson duo also contributed a segment to V/H/S/3 and have made two other features which seem to be horror movies but aren’t, really. Count me in.

Maybe my favorite of the four Hosoda movies we watched. Katy complains that it conformed to gender norms, as the girl suppressed her wolf nature to fit in with other schoolkids, and the boy went full-wolf into the wilderness. And we both thought it odd that the kids’ mom makes love with their werewolf dad while he’s in wolf form.

But most of the movie is about the mom trying to raise two wolf children, with nobody she can confide in, and while I usually don’t go for all-sacrificing parent stories, the unique challenges here along with the kids’ gradually-developing personalities and the mom’s low-key perseverance added up to something special. The advantages of animation are more apparent here than in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, as the kids transform into wolves and back at will (and unconsciously) in the middle of shots.

Mouseover for wolf children:
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Adam Cook:

This is certainly the closest Hosoda has come to replicating the magic of Miyazaki. In fact, several scenes seem to deliberately reference the great man’s work, particularly the sequence where the children discover their new provincial home for the first time.

After this and Like Someone In Love and Zero Theorem and Maps to the Stars, I feel like I’m watching a marathon of poorly-reviewed latest films by current (and former) favorite directors. Might as well follow these up with Burying the Ex, Amelia, Mood Indigo, Twixt, Sin City 2, Noah, Tomorrowland, Big Eyes, Queen of the Desert, Knight of Cups, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Blackhat, Restless, The Hobbit, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, Oz the Great and Powerful, Tusk, Tricked, and everything Kiyoshi Kurosawa has made since Tokyo Sonata… then get totally depressed and stop watching movies forever.

I paused after the first few minutes to grab some food, wrote myself a note that the movie would have to try hard to overcome such a boring narrated backstory introduction. And it does try hard, with visuals and action scenes as crazed as the Wachowskis could muster, but it’s also absolutely overstuffed with British-accented galactic royalty speaking endlessly about a plot nobody could care less about, and line readings ranging from stilted to flamboyantly awful (it’s funny that Eddie Redmayne won an oscar for portraying Stephen Hawking the same year he deserves some sort of worst-performance award for this). The self-seriousness and plot overload was a letdown after the campy fun of Speed Racer a month earlier, but at least the action scenes were fun.

What’s happening: Mila Kunis has a shitty job, a selfish family, and is the reincarnation of the galactic queen, whose three kids are fighting over her destiny. There’s evil Eddie, and two others who act nicer but are basically also evil: Douglas Booth (Noah) and Tuppence Middleton (the DJ in Sense8). Ronin Wolfman Tater Channing tenaciously protects her (at one point holding onto the outside of an interstellar-travelling spaceship, which outdoes that stunt in the new Mission Impossible). Sean Bean helps Tater. Doona Bae and some others are crop-circle-creating bounty-hunters.

Matt Singer: “It’s hard to believe that a movie that contains this much exposition could also be this confusing, but it does and it is. Something went horribly wrong here.” And on our heroine, who is constantly being rescued: “Imagine a Matrix where Neo was repeatedly told he was destined for great things and then never learned kung fu or fought Agent Smith, and you begin to see the primary problem.”

Gugu Mbatha-Raw with giant mouse ears:

Amusing vampire comedy, directed and starring people from Flight of the Conchords. Shot reality-style (the film crew wore crosses), set mostly in the New Zealand house shared by four vamps: Taika Waititi with a sweet Andy Kaufman smile, fashionable Jemaine Clement, rough ex-nazi Jonathan Brugh and a Nosferatu horror named Peter in the basement. They turn a clueless new guy called Nick, who goes around town bragging he’s a vampire, attracting the vampire hunter who kills Peter. But Nick gets to stay because everyone loves his mortal friend Stu. The great ending twist is that the werewolves (led by Conchord manager Rhys Darby) turn Stu instead, which ends up uniting the two groups.

I actually only started watching it because Edge of Tomorrow was gonna take an hour to copy. Didn’t seem like an amazing comedy, just lightly enjoyable, though admittedly much better than a vampire reality show had any right to be. But Slant and Dissolve gave it masterpiece-level ratings and it made the front cover of Film Comment. And now it’s opening in town, which should teach me to wait a few months before watching new acclaimed indie films.

N. Rabin:

What We Do In The Shadows brilliantly juxtaposes the mundane with the supernatural, where superhuman creatures of the night are subject to the demands of a chore wheel and complain about five years of no one doing the bloody dishes (i.e dishes covered with blood). The movie gets terrific comic mileage out of the contrast between the decked-out ghouls and the ramshackle, go-nowhere town where they do their dark yet tedious bidding.

O. Ivanov:

As we watch the vampires make new friends and become reacquainted with old lovers, the film reveals itself to be a thoughtful and moving treatise on aging gracefully. Confronted with endless cycles of loss and regret, the vampires avoid melancholy by embracing the inexhaustible possibilities of love and friendship that life offers to even its unholiest creations.

Not the kind of movie I was looking for. It has realistic lighting instead of movie lighting, which makes all the difference. Also I’m not sure that it was a horror movie. Depends what happened, who any of these people were, and whether the one bloody action montage (preceded by a girl dancing topless in a wolf mask, but with poor lighting) was supposed to be actually happening, or was the movie they’re shooting, or something else.

Sheil:

Swanberg (his own lead actor, just like Polanski, except not at all like that) is casting a werewolf movie, frustrated with moviemaking, says it’s crap if it’s just filmed theater, that we need new forms (I suggest he watch some Guy Maddin). I think he’s casting a girl in his movie who makes his girlfriend uncomfortable. He goes on about how movies (making/watching them) doesn’t make him happy, and right now his movie isn’t making me happy, so I’m off to the IMDB. Interesting thing is this one stars two experienced actresses – Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color) and Kate Lyn Sheil (all the Alex Ross Perry and Ti West and Adam Wingard movies) – plus at least three four film directors – Swanberg, Ti West, Larry Fessenden and Antonio Campos – but I’m not sure who anyone played or what was going on. Maybe I could’ve paid closer attention. Anyway, first movie I’ve seen by Swanberg (not counting a V/H/S episode) and I was hoping I’d love it since he has made a hundred more.

A werewolf with a gun is twice as deadly:

Welcome to a special SHOCKtober edition of The Last Ten Minutes, in which I find horror movies on Netflix streaming which I may have actually been tempted to watch (because I am stupid and will watch any trash some days), and remove that temptation by seeing how they end.

Howling VII: New Moon Rising (1995, Clive Turner)
A made-for-TV inspector is clumsily explaining the entire movie to priest John with copious flashback scenes. Ted (played by the director, who was also a producer on Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace) is a longhair biker rebel suspected of killing all the townsfolk, but the inspector is saying it wasn’t Ted. Later, a girl named Cheryl is even more clumsily explaining to Ted that she’s the werewolf. Does the whole movie consist of long explanations by terrible actors? Oh no, here’s a heinous morphing effect, then the townsfolk shoot the Cheryl-wolf to bits, and a county band plays us out, first apologizing to Ted that the whole town thought he was a werewolf. The music was the best part, all extended guitar solos, doing its own thing in a way reminiscent of Rollergator. This is the last Howling movie to date, though I’m sure they’ll remake the original any day now, since they’ve already done Pirahna.

Ghost Ship (2002, Steve Beck)
Cool music. First words I heard: “Murphy’s dead.” Shit, Murphy was Gabriel Byrne, and he’s the only reason I’m watching this – not for Julianna Margulies, beach-blonde Ron “Deep Impact” Eldard or a possessed-by-evil Desmond Harrington. Yay, blondie shoots the evil guy… but evil cannot be killed with a shotgun, as proven by a dodgy computer morph. Boat explodes, Julianna escapes, but a metal song indicates the evil is still alive. Director Steve Beck (13 Ghosts remake) went on to make… nothing. Good.

Day of the Dead Remake (2008, Steve Miner)
A room full of attractive young people led by Mena Suvari (Stuck) are in a bunker. Wow, the zombies can dodge bullets in this one. “He’s smarter than the others.” Oops, Nick Cannon got eaten. Makeup budget must have been low because whenever they show zombies, the camera goes all freakity flop. A zombie shot a zombie, and the kids rig a giant flamethrower that infernoes the whole place except for their little room. Whatever, looks bad all over. From the director of House and Lake Placid and the writer of Final Destination.

Shrooms (2007, Paddy Breathnach)
Lindsey Haun, I suppose, prowls a spooky house with an axe. Now they’re in a forest. I know from the netflix description that they all took killer shrooms so maybe nothing that is happening is really happening. Ah indeed, in the hospital Haun realizes that she was the killer all along. She took shrooms and killed all her friends! Haute twist.

Machine Girl (2008, Noboru Iguchi)
Hoo, some silly-ass special effects. Serious-looking schoolgirl Ami with machine-gun arm and her friend Miki with chainsaw foot kill yakuzas in the woods. Ami is badly bloodied by ninja lady with steel drill bra, then bisects the heads of the baddies. Naturally from the writer/director of RoboGeisha.

American Psycho 2 (2002, Morgan Freeman)
Netflix say: “Patrick Bateman is dead, but his evil legacy continues with Rachael Newman, the only victim who managed to escape Bateman’s grasp. Rachael will get rid of anyone who threatens her chances of becoming teaching assistant to the infamous Dr. Daniels.” Hmm, Mila Kunis is telling William Shatner (via answering machine) that she loves him. In flashback, she steals some girl’s identity and talks to herself all the time. I think this is supposed to be a comedy. I wonder if Bret Easton Ellis got paid for this. She kills herself in a car… or does she!!… followed by a news montage, then the infamous Daniels (dude from a couple vampire TV series) giving a lecture and she shows up. Looks stupid, but it might’ve been less stupid if it hadn’t pretended to be an American Psycho sequel. Freeman is sadly not the great sad-voiced actor but some nobody with the same name, and the writers of this movie fortunately never worked again.

The Signal (2007, Bruckner/Bush/Gentry)
Bad guy is beating up good guy. IMDB calls it “A horror film told in three parts, from three perspectives,” so I guess this is the last ten minutes of the third perspective. Everyone’s face is awfully bloody. Bad guy, with a voice like Patton Oswalt’s, is having an argument with his wife-in-a-coma, then both guys have identity crises and Patton punches through one of many TVs showing “the signal,” electrocuting himself to death. Then I think there’s a fake epilogue but I don’t get it. I thought this one would actually be cool (I dig the premise) but the ending looks somewhat worse than Ghost Ship.

Subspecies (1991, Ted Nicolaou)
Two girls (the Demi Moore one and the Catatonic Blonde) break free from prison but oops, Catatonic Blonde is a vampire. The evil vampire (Radu?) is a terrible ham, and what’s with his fake plastic fingers? Ooh, a shotgun-toting vampire hunter and a quick spot of stop-motion. Your standard swordfight ensues, along with a falling chandelier and some beheadings and everyone’s a vampire in the end. I think the bad guy has been in some Lars Von Trier movies, and I’m not sure who the vampire hunter was but he looked like a wannabe-Toulon. I also checked out the first couple minutes because I ain’t watching Subspecies without seeing Angus Scrimm in a Ludwig Von wig. Looks better than most of the Puppet Master movies, if that’s saying anything.

Subspecies 2: Your Sister is a Vampire (1993, Ted Nicolaou)
Michelle “daughter of Kirk” Shatner has come to fetch another girl from the castle. An old man sloooowly tries to stab a vampire, and his lack of haste is repaid by getting stabbed by a puppet. Evil vampire Radu is alive again and hammier than ever, until he’s stabbed repeatedly by the imprisoned girl amongst some sub-Evil Dead (sub-Subspecies, for that matter) puppet creatures. The original looked grudgingly watchable, but obviously sequels yield diminishing returns. Nicolaou, who helmed the ridiculous TerrorVision, would make two more Subspecies sequels then Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys, all for the sinister Charles Band and his Full Moon Pictures.

The Astro-Zombies (1968, Ted V. Mikels)
Ted V. Mikels is maybe the only filmmaker I’ve ever met, but the only movie of his I’d seen was on Mystery Science Theater. Yay, John Carradine! He and crony William Bagdad (The Black Sheik in Head) are working on astro-zombie (read: dudes staggering around wearing rubber skull masks) brain transplants when Tura Satana and some actor from Agent for H.A.R.M. interrupt. The sound, lighting and editing are uproariously bad. Oh, I learned that bullets cannot stop a machete-wielding astro-zombie. Some people in suits tell us the moral of the story, and all was quiet for thirty-four years until Mikels and Satana made a sequel.

Watched many times before, but never in dolby disney digital 3-D with cool polarized-lens non-headache-inducing glasses! The 3D effect was great, adding layers of depth (not pop-out-of-the-screen gimmicks) to an already gorgeous movie. Of course seeing the movie on a big screen again gives new appreciation to the intricate visual details, but why were some of the camera-panning motion scenes so blurry? Did the 3D effect do that, or have they always been that way?

fun fact: Chris Sarandon, lead actor in master-of-horror Tom Holland’s “Child’s Play” and “Fright Night”, voices the non-singing Jack Skellington.

Katy sorta likes it. Maria did not. Kids today… sigh.

FEB 2017: Watched at The Ross, followed by a Q&A with the great Danny Elfman.
I think Katy likes it more than she used to.

Reporter is stalked by serial killer who turns out to be a werewolf. Then to recover from all that, she’s sent to a retreat which turns out to be a werewolf cult. Bad news!

Her doctor is a werewolf. The stalker’s family are werewolves. Her friend is killed by a werewolf. Her husband falls for a werewolf. Her husband becomes a werewolf. Your sister is a werewolf.

Your werewolf:
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Your sister:
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Another friend buys silver bullets from an antique bookstore owner (Dante regular Dick Miller), goes to the country and whups some werewolf ass, locks everyone in the barn, sets fire to it, and has a close escape… TOO close, cuz the reporter gets bitten! They expose their story by having her wolf-out live on her next newscast (to the horror of her boss, Dante fave Kevin McCarthy), then her friend shoots her and we end.

You should’ve seen him in “Piranha”:
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Keeps silver bullets in stock:
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Fun werewolf effects, movie manages to be a little scary, is less funny than the others… mostly just a good time. Star Dee Wallace-Stone (later star of Critters and Cujo, mom in E.T., Jake Busey’s co-killer in The Frighteners) has got a good scream on her. Her buddy Dennis Dugan is currently gathering bit parts in Adam Sandler movies. Her hairy husband Chris Stone was also in Cujo (he must be the Stone in Wallace-Stone). Another Dante fave, Robert Picardo (Mark Dark in 976-EVIL), is the serial killer Eddie Quist. Elisabeth Brooks is the goth hottie. John Carradine (of The Return of Frank James, Man Hunt, and Red Zone Cuba) must’ve been the old man wandering the werewolf camp, and Slim Pickens was the sheriff.

Cujo:
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Carradine?
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