August 9, 2008

Three Extremes 2: A Short Film Takes Forever Times Three

The film shorts trilogy Three Extremes had work from China's Fruit Chan ("Dumplings"), Japan's Takashi Miike ("Box"), and most memorably Korea's Park Chan-wook ("Cut"). Three Extremes II has three mini-movies from Thailand's Nonzee Nimibutr ("The Wheel"), Hong Kong's Peter Ho-Sun Chan ("Going Home"), and Korea's Kim Ji-woon ("Memories"). Sadly, each of the new featurettes tries way too hard—albeit in a different way. Nimibutr's contribution has a gnarly narrative as if six different screenwriters had pitched an idea about a demonic puppet and the director had opted to do all of them instead of picking the best one. Chan's "Going Home" strains credulity as it constantly out-weirds itself with an out-there account of a naturopathic doctor who puts his wife in a coma to cure her cancer and administers acupuncture to a kidnapped cop while his aborted daughter's ghost roams the halls with the cop's missing son. Kim's featurette is the most disappointing—a pretentious, shapeless dreamscape in which a guy flashes back-and-forth between an amnesic state and a lived-out fantasy of murdering his wife. The highest praise any of these deserve is "laughable." Let the tittering begin.

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