The omnibus Three... Extremes heralds the newest New Asian Cinema — the one with all the po-mo gore-pop. Further swelling Takashi Miike’s C.V. (of his celluloidorrhea, Joyce Carol Oates was recently heard to comment, “dude... slow down”), Box expertly cut-and-pastes J-horror conventions: sterile tracking through clinically underpopulated hallways, fractured dream/flashback chronology, creepy preteen twin sisters... Miike’s only original touch is making the girls contortionists — admittedly, pretty original.
H.K. indie filmmaker Fruit Chan stands to benefit most from the project. Lucky for him, his Dumplings — eccentrically unwashed Bai Ling promises eternal youth via dumplings made from human fetuses — is, per the lush surveillance-cam drift of Chris Doyle’s cinematography and Miriam Yeung’s unnerving turn as an increasingly un-squeamish customer, the triptych’s best entry. But are Dumplings’ two (two!) eye-averting abortion scenes eliciting sympathy for females fallen into the Beauty Trap, or condemning their vanity?
Either way, it’s preferable to Park Chan-wook’s wallowing ultramodern grotesque Cut, wherein the Tarantino-anointed ‘Korean Tarantino’ ingeniously tortures his movie-director protagonist by chopping off his wife’s fingers — pointlessly reflexive and tiresomely virtuosic, Cut cements Park’s position as the preeminent sadist in movies today.
Opens October 28