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.
“Profit is the only principle.” Double featuring this with No No Sleep, I was tickled that the lead character is named Walker. During a robbery turned murderous, Lee Marvin’s wife and his partner turn on him and leave him for dead. Years later he’s on a singleminded revenge rampage, demanding his share of what turns out to be a relatively small amount of money from the people involved… I feel like the “I want my two dollars” kid from Better Off Dead was based on Lee Marvin.
After visiting traitorous wife Sharon Acker he beats up a car dealer who leads him to Sharon’s sister Angie Dickinson, who offers to help. He catches up with his killer an hour in (never trust a man named Mal) and the guy’s a whiny bitch who gives up his bosses immediately. Marvin drops him off a building anyway. Instead of paying him to go away, Mal’s organization boss Keenan Wynn uses Marvin’s uncautious killing spree to their advantage, letting him kill off Wynn’s enemies/partners.
Besides being a satisfying Lee Marvin action story, the movie has some of the most baller shots and editing of all time, every bit as good as I remembered. Dispatched crime bosses include Lloyd Bochner (The Dunwich Horror) then Carroll “Archie Bunker” O’Connor. Car dealer Michael Strong looked familiar, but it must’ve been from this since I barely remember Patton. Mal was John Vernon who’d later go up against Clint Eastwood a few times and presumably lose. Big Bad Wynn had recently been in Dr. Strangelove, and I haven’t seen Dickinson or Marvin in enough movies.
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!
It’s singer Ma’s show, but the record producers whine about every last expense, and the new guy in the band gradually takes over the movie as he antagonizes everyone. Ma is Viola Davis, also great in Fences and Blackhat, who holds a certain amount of power as long as she expends all her energy every day holding onto it, and the new guy is Chadwick Boseman in his celebrated final role, mixing arrogant with tormented. The veterans: Michael “Brother Mouzone” Potts, Glynn “Mayor Royce” Turman, and bandleader Colman Domingo (Red Hook Summer preacher-accuser). Ma gets a stuttering relative to intro the band as a power move, while Chadwick speaks of himself in the third person – never a good sign. Sure enough, he pulls a knife on Domingo, gets fired from the band after the session, and finally stabs Turman over nothing. I don’t understand the editing – good performances, though. Opening scene is set an hour south of here, in Barnesville.
Chadwick in happier times with hottie Taylour Paige, star of last year’s Zola:
Turman, Domingo, Potts, an hour later after Chadwick has pulled a knife:
Chadwick, boxed in:
“How could you do that?”
“Had to! Science, you know!”
Historians/Archaeologists being uncareful with their findings, discover the mummy of Imhotep who was buried alive. These guys have fragile British minds, and one goes instantly mad when he sees the mummy walk away from the dig site. Unlike the Hammer version, the mummy doesn’t return as a silent grey-ragged monster but as a well-spoken Boris Karloff, who helps the remaining dudes and one of their sons figure out where to dig next. Karloff hypnotizes a hottie named Helen to make her into his immortal queen, but the other guys needlessly interfere after realizing Karloff is their lost mummy by watching flashbacks in a magical TV-pool.
Imhotep’s funeral procession as seen in the Flashback Pool:
The hottie was Zita Johann of Howard Hawks’s Tiger Shark. Her movie career was as short as Freund’s directing career – he had shot Dracula and Metropolis, and after stepping up for this movie he made Mad Love and a few others before returning to his cinematographer role. David Manners, our young hero nobody cares about, also played the hero nobody cares about in Dracula, and his dad was Arthur Byron, sadly unrelated to Mary Shelley’s buddy Lord Byron.
L-R: Byron, Johann, Karloff, Manners
Fun to interview people as their online avatars about the idea that we’re living in a simulation, and promising to structure around Philip K. Dick’s visions. A change since Room 237 is inviting skeptics into the room – Chris Ware has a more reasonable outlook than the gamer kidz, and one woman says their ideas are “school shooter mentality,” which would make PKD a School Shooter Jesus. Pretty early I started thinking these guys all have protagonist syndrome, and this plays out in the end, when a Matrix-obsessed trenchcoat kid kills his parents, the movie ruined for me as it lets him monologue about his cool murders. Music by the Clipping guy, anyway.
Three generations of women in an old house, then grandma goes missing and returns with bizarre skin spots and self-mutilative behavior. Conveniently cuts away from all the unexplained stuff, and I thought it was all pretty average until the daughter slipped into a House of Leaves dimension between the walls. Best explanation I could come up with is bodily aging as an inherited disease. Good to watch a creepy horror or two early in the year, it’s unhealthy to save them all till October.
A doc begun by meteorite enthusiast Clive Oppenheimer, who has previously appeared in Herzog’s volcano and Antarctica movies, so these guys are kindred explorers. Herzog helps make sure we don’t end up with a bland doc about space rocks (a rock doc), in fact he takes a moment towards the end to inexplicably yell about “the stupid doctrine of film schools.” Another time he films some men standing very still (does this a few times, reminded me of that frozen time moment in My Son) and instead of asking them questions, he adds his own voiceover: “What are they thinking? What if the human race went extinct?” The strings-and-choirs music by Cave of Forgotten Dreams composer Ernst Reijseger is gorgeous, as are the visuals. The parade of scientists, priests (and scientist-priests), artists and explorers gives the rare impression of an engaged, intelligent and optimistic global community. Extremely delightful movie.