Takashi Miike's contribution, "Box," is a return, at least partway, to control and assurance, in alternating tones of cool blue and toasty yellow, yet it is not a return from boredom. The ghostly apparitions early on (a Japanese specialty) are spookily well done, but the abstractness of the dream narrative -- a working-out of sisterly rivalry and fatherly favoritism, not without some grisliness, some claustrophobia combined with combustion -- is uninvolving at best and soporific at worst. The relative tameness, the relative discreetness, in comparison to Miike's Gozu and Audition, to say nothing of Park's "Cut," ought not to be something to bemoan, however.
* * *
Over a year ago, right around fourteen months ago, I vowed in print never to purchase another copy of the more and more unreadable and unusable TV Guide. I am happy to report I have stayed clean ever since. Now the magazine, rather than simply admit defeat, has come out in a larger, redesigned format that moves even farther away from its former area of monopoly -- the stuff I craved as a weekly habit -- and more toward the crowded field of People, Us, and the like. Who needs it? Even without the admission, this is a clear defeat. And another end of an era.