Coyote (2010)

Josh Burge plays an unhealthy loser in this, if you can imagine. Josh wakes up next to a body by the river, walks back to the derelict house he stays in, lip-syncs(?) a song by Chance Jones then listens to Paul Simon and Minor Threat and shoots heroin. Wakes up by the river again, steals and pawns a boombox, smokes crack while playing a stolen tape of french songs, becomes a werewolf, goes out and kills a couple guys, just a regular week.


Thing from the Factory by the Field (2022)

“You were like in love with Michael Jackson last year. You’re not deep, or dark or whatever.” Teens starting a band bring the new, square girl in town to a field for an initiation ritual. Liz shoots her crossbow into the air and happens to hit a minor demon, then finishes it off with a rock. Now they’re worried that Liz will go to hell, so the churchy new girl takes charge, saying it’s not a sin to kill for hunting, so someone has to eat it. Not very snappy until the end, the whole thing having been a setup for a McDonald’s joke. Made me feel a little ill, so it’s partly successful.


Visited Joel’s vimeo page… I didn’t watch “Joel Calls Indie Film Type Dudes” yet, but did watch him goofing on Radiohead with an electric toothbrush.

Charming little small-town murder-mystery, with plenty of sharp scenes and cool editing, cutting back and forth in time during each major incident. Tourist dies first after offending the locals, but that doesn’t set a pattern, and the savage wolf attacks get more gruesome (decapitation, dead baby) until a crazed taxidermist with a wolf suit is caught. The next movie by Cummings is already out, and sounds good.

The Family Force: Robert Forster, Riki Lindhome (Knives Out, Under the Silver Lake), and our fearless writer/director

A killer, but not The killer:

The main cop’s daughter has a LOVE WITCH poster in her room!

Okay, Soul had its moments, but it’s almost a shame that just a few days later we watched this movie which so thoroughly blew it away. Such intricate illustration and character design, fun perspective tricks, it all looks so handcrafted and amazing.

No shocker after Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea that the plot concerns Irish mythology, and as in Kells there’s a supernatural girl on the outskirts of a besieged town. This time the girl is leading the wolf army they’re all afraid of, and new girl Robyn’s dad is hired to trap and kill them, but Robyn (with her cool pet falcon, oh my heart) ventures into the woods, meets the red-haired wolf girl, and accidentally becomes a wolfwalker herself. Later her dad will become one, and they’ll turn on the wolf-hating tyrant who rules the town. Not a grim, doomsy movie at all – the baddie is the only death, and there’s nearly as much friendly romping as there is story.

In a fancy Brazilian apartment building in 2010, young, pregnant, white Dona Ana hires Clara, a woman with no experience or references, as nanny on instinct, because she does this:

The two start sleeping together, but it turns out both women are behind on their rent, Ana’s friends and family don’t speak to her anymore, and she gets cat-eyed and bitey on nights of full moons. Finally a were-baby bursts out of Ana’s belly, killing her, and after weighing her options, Clara grabs it and runs.

The movie has been pretty typically shot, with fine lighting and color even in the dim scenes, but it adds some new flavors around the halfway point. Ana’s were-pregnancy backstory is told with still drawings, the child is probably a CG-enhanced puppet, and as Clara makes her escape, a homeless woman sings a warning song.

The second half jumps to present day, and the main stylistic addition is a CG wolf-boy that’s not quite there. But first, a bunch more plot, as Joel is turning seven, and starts to rebel against his restrictive diet and being chained in a dungeon on nights of full moon. Clara is a busy nurse now, so Joel is alone and the landlady feeds him meat, then things spiral. He sneaks into the mall at night and rips his best friend to shreds, then sneaks off to the school dance and almost kills his girlfriend before mom intervenes with a gun. She again can’t bear to kill him or leave him behind, so the movie ends beautifully with them preparing to take on a mob of angry neighbors together.

I had a flashback to this movie during Parasite:

A Locarno prizewinner, playing alongside Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun and The Wandering Soap Opera and A Skin So Soft, a bizarre lineup. Isabél Zuaa (Clara) has got range, was in last year’s anthology slavery horror The Devil’s Knot. The writer/directors have been working (mostly together) since the 1990’s, with some shorts and one musical comedy horror about gravediggers.

Twenty-three SHOCKtober movies this year… I would’ve guessed the worst would’ve been Cannibal Holocaust, or another Italian horror, or the late Ken Russell, or one of the 1980’s movies… but it ended up being this made-for-TV horror-comedy stop-motion feature. The very words “stop-motion feature” make for a must-see movie, and this month’s The Wolf House was an insane masterpiece, but this thing felt like a celebrity Scooby Doo episode.

Outside of the stop-motion (especially anything involving water), Bride of Frankenstein Phyllis Diller’s laugh is the main source of enjoyment – otherwise it’s all horrible jokes and slow, pointless plot and voice impressions. All the world’s monsters, plus a sap (Jimmy-Stewart-sounding Felix Flankin) convene at Dr. Frankenstein’s castle for something or other, then fight over the doctor’s inheritance and his “formula for destroying matter.” I think we turned it off after red-haired Francesca falls in love with Felix for hitting her, or maybe it was during the endless song she sings right afterward. The monsters are all hoping IT doesn’t show up, so I watched the end of the movie the next day, but IT was just King Kong minus his trademarked name.

Most voices were by Allen Swift – his career ranged from Howdy Doody to Courage the Cowardly Dog. In the late 1950’s he was on WPIX channel 11 NYC as “Captain Allen,” ensuring his eternal legacy via the Arcwelder song. Karloff played the Doctor, at the end of his career, the year after voicing The Grinch. Francesca was Gale Garnett, who beat Bob Dylan at the Grammys a few years prior, and also appears in future Shocktober classic The Children. Diller was in her celebrity prime, the year before Tashlin’s Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell. Rankin/Bass made this between their Rudolph and their Frosty, long before their Hobbit and Last Unicorn, and the cowriter was Mad Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman, whose jokes work better in print.

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:
image

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.