Tahar from A Prophet misses Virginie from Benedetta after their almost-wedding and becomes very sad, returns to his theater career where he keeps seeing her as different characters around town, then the actual Virginie arrives to act in his show. Nice-looking sophisticated movie full of song and dance, so I feel bad that I remember so little of it.
Colin Farrell is oscar-nominated for Banshees, and I think we should give Colin 3 or 4 oscars, but Yang is also very beautiful in this (Justin Min of nothing else). Colin lives with Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim) and their girl Mika, and unfortunately Yang was an out-of-warranty refurb technosapien and unfixable, so he’s being donated to research, which, if these things are so proprietary-secretive, should be against the license agreement. Colin tries to understand Yang’s chosen memories and discovers his hang-out buddy, clone Haley Lu Richardson. A major Lily Chou Chou reference, for some reason, and Yang had a Pentax camera if that’s anything. A weepy movie: “His existence mattered – and not just to us.”
An hour before seeing this I learned that an NC-17 version played Sundance, but decided a missing shot or two of Skarsgard’s penis and busted face wouldn’t keep me from the theatrical experience. The Movieland’s dirty screens act similarly to 35mm film grain in helping digitally composited shots look more natural. Great title design, decent Tim Hecker score. Despite the title, we never get to see the pool. I hope he was referencing Michael Snow in some early shots… even if not, it made me think about Snow, which is always a good thing. The color-washed orgy montage a highlight. Which version/clone of Skarsgaard survives to ditch his flight in favor of the abandoned resort? What is the real motivation for the Mia Goth-led group leading him through these ordeals? Is it all a dream or a drug trip? Doesn’t matter!
We have found another great Ruiz movie – the cinematography and music in this are not kidding around. Like La Flor, it opens with a diagram of the movie’s structure, then proceeds to blend some of Ruiz’s favorite things (pirates, painting, mirrors) into a meta-narrative folding in on itself. Death is extremely temporary here. Throw in some cannibalism and incest. And of course there’s a Ruiz film with morphing in it, why wouldn’t there be?
Guy Scarpetta in Rouge:
Here, the familiar features of Ruiz’s universe – parallel worlds, baroque uncertainties, telescoping of different times, co-presence of multiple spaces, deconstruction of characters, transgression of every parameter of classical narrative – are subject to an overflowing enthusiasm and gamesmanship … But we must not conclude that the film proceeds from the pure arbitrariness of an unbridled imagination. Quite the contrary, and this is the first great paradox to be emphasised: nothing, here, is left to chance … Nine narrative themes (in principle autonomous, heterogeneous) are posed as the raw material … the entire combinatory consists of making these cellular narratives cross each other’s paths, whether two by two or three by three, and also consecutively – each of these telescopings engendering, almost automatically, a specific narrative (one which logically implies that the characters can double or reincarnate themselves, leap time frames, and belong in several places at once).
Dr. Robert Powell (Ken Russell’s Mahler) arrives at the titular asylum to work for Dr. Starr, but is met by his assistant Patrick Magee instead. Magee says Starr is now a patient, locked safely upstairs with a trusty electrical system controlled by this button (I’ve heard that one before), and challenges Mahler to correctly identify the doctor. Mahler heroically pads the film on the way upstairs, and the orderly (who I correctly/immediately guessed as the doctor) lets him into each room, one at a time… yes, it’s a corny anthology horror, the same year Magee and Cushing and Dr. Orderly appeared in Tales from the Crypt. 1972 would seem to be too late for this kinda thing, but British people such as Edgar Wright think all this is great.
Bonnie (Barbara Parkins of The Mephisto Waltz and A Taste of Evil) isn’t even the murderer in her story – her boyfriend Richard Todd (the least famous person in House of the Long Shadows) chops up his harpy wife (Sylvia Syms, appropriately of Victim) and puts her in the basement freezer, but her butcher-paper-wrapped body parts reanimate, strangling him and attacking the unwitting Bonnie with the hatchet until the police arrive to blame the whole mess on her.
Tailor Bruno (Barry Morse of The Changeling) was brought the Man in the White Suit material by mysterious customer Peter Cushing, who planned on using dark magick to resurrect his dead son with the suit, but the tailor’s wife puts the suit on a mannequin which comes to life instead.
Barbara (young Charlotte Rampling, whoa) seems the most culpable so far. She starts by blaming Lucy (Britt Ekland of Wicker Man) for murdering her brother (James Villiers of Mountains of the Moon) and the nurse (Megs Jenkins of The Innocents), but Lucy might be an invented personality of Barbara’s.
Dr. Byron (Herbert Lom of The Sect) is at least a doctor of something – I don’t know how we’re supposed to imagine that the previous three were actually psychologists based on their stories. But Lom’s specialty is transmitting his consciousness into sub-Puppet Master wind-up dolls. The new visitor must’ve inspired a rampage, since he and Dr. Orderly go on the attack.
Beginning of a long line of ill-reputed Hellraiser sequels and remakes, but I have a soft spot for this one, having watched it so many times on video as a teen. And compared to the stuff I’ve seen lately – The Mist, Books of Blood, Langoliers, this is shockingly well made (by the Waxwork guy). So, do I like this because I’ve seen it so much, or did I watch it so much because it’s actually good? Nostalgia, objectivity, always you wrestle inside me.
Fancy leather art collector buys the rotating pillar, which comes with an embedded hellbox and the hell priest himself. Failing young reporter Joey is ambulance-chasing with cameraman Doc when she witnesses a stray hellbox victim, picks up club girl Terri and starts investigating. Some promises and betrayals later, everyone’s a cenobite but Joey, who harnesses her dreams about her war-killed father to contact the pre-ceno Doug Bradley and summon him against his pinheaded self.
Tiny cameo by Ashley Laurence, who didn’t have a huge post-Hellraiser film career, appearing in a Warlock sequel that doesn’t even have Julian Sands in it. Lead girl is from Deep Space Nine, leather guy cowrote 3000 Miles to Graceland, Doc was involved in Phantom of the Paradise, and club girl Terri returned a year later in the director’s Warlock: The Armageddon, missing Ashley by one Warlock sequel. Sometimes I look up Barker online; he’s the Ween of authors, every year announcing new works that don’t materialize. I read his 2015 The Scarlet Gospels during a movie-sequel dry spell, now just killing time until the new HuluRaiser comes out.
Me trying to decide what the hell to listen to:
“Dad, I’m worried about you. You need to get back into biotech research.” Gotta give it up to Shinya for making the same exact cyberpunk movie for the fifth time. Diminishing returns, but once again a guy finds himself hulking out, turning into a machine.
Desaturated greys and browns except for a few popping colors. It’s in English; the dialogue and the plot being spelled out more explicitly are both weaknesses. When the action comes it’s prolonged and incoherent. The soundtrack is more pounding than ever. The clean HD photography clashes with the jittery underground lo-fi intentions. I did not hate it.
Hulking-guy’s son is run over by Shinya. He learns he was born from an android replica of his dead mom… he gets blasted by a hitman, also shoots himself in the head and lives… tetsuos a few city blocks. I wrote “I think Shinya wanted to be a suicide cult leader,” but I don’t know if I meant the director himself or the character he’s playing.
Alec Baldwin has atrocious hair, starts out the movie stealing someone’s identity and accidentally(?) killing a hare krishna, and just gets crazier from there. He slows down to hook up with call girl J.J. Leigh and build a convincing domestic life with her, but he’s still pulling insane stunts whenever he goes out (robbing drug dealers with an uzi squirtgun, stealing cop Fred Ward’s gun and badge and teeth), just running the most improvised scams. Alec pulls off a triumphant Nic Cageian performance in a perfectly balanced comedy – it’s like if Raising Arizona didn’t signal that it’s a comedy from the beginning, acting like a crime movie until the comic tone finally overwhelmed the others (so, it’s like Vampire’s Kiss).
Welcome to Locorazo, the successor of LNKarno, during which we watch films that played the Locarno Festival a few years back.
After La France, I’m sorry this isn’t a musical, but the kids do get a rap performance about the uselessness of school. It’s an attractive looking movie, well-lit with a bright palette, bold camera moves. The story keeps pausing to demonstrate math lessons. Bozon is a better director here than writer, but it’s eccentric and unusual, and that’s what we like about Locarno.
Isabelle Huppert is a teacher who can’t handle her class, being investigated by higher-ups due to complaints that the students don’t learn anything. Malik is the most abusive of the lot, making Hitler jokes and humiliating the teacher for social points, though he remains an outcast. After Huppert is struck by lightning, she becomes a better teacher, finding new ways to engage the students and drawing out the crippled Malik through one-on-one lab lessons, but she’s also becoming a fire creature who torches a kid and two dogs to death. She’s assigned a trainee who takes crying breaks in the bathroom, and she’s given a promotion at work, but is eventually taken away by the police (“I was expecting you. Goodbye, students.”)
Wacky principal Romain Duris starred in The Beat That My Heart Skipped and Mood Indigo. Her soulful house-husband José Garcia was a doctor in Trouble Every Day. Trainee Guillaume Verdier is a Bonello regular.
Blake Williams in Cinema Scope:
In order … to elevate it to something that manifests beauty through experience as opposed to only being about it, Bozon – working with his cinematographer (and sister) Céline Bozon and editor François Quiqueré – amplifies the tactility of the images and the impact of the montage … Factor in the sustained emphasis on all the senses – bodies radiating, skin burning, hands wafting, noses sniffing – and you have an impression of a world that is real and embodied. The movie becomes a living object that breathes, and it excites its moments of beauty into something close to both lunacy and the ecstatic.
On Letterboxd: “Nothing to Hide” by Yo La Tengo