Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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We watched Piccadilly (1929), a silent British crime film with some remarkable acting and direction (and, for the time, a progressive script), and I'm halfway through Ken Burns' eight(!)-hour documentary on Muhammad Ali.

I also saw and reviewed the 2018 remake of Suspiria awhile back. It's has some great moments and concepts, but it's trying to do a series' worth of interesting things in a single remake.

THE MYSTERIANS: I got more responses to Matango than anything else I've posted in the last month, so it's time for another Toho! The front of the DVD case proclaims The Mysterians to be: "The greatest science-fiction picture ever conceived by the mind of man." I don't know about that, but let's see what the back cover copy has to say: "After a Japanese town is totally destroyed, the military arrives to investigate. they encounter a giant robot that is destroying everything in its path. A dome appears out of the ground and a group of scientists are invited to meet the alien Mysterians from the planet Mysteroid. the Mysterians have come in peace -- all they ask of humanity is three square kilometers of land and the right to interbreed with Earth women to repopulate their species. Outraged by such a suggestion, humanity declares war on the Mysterians."

Yeah, that about sums it up. I may not be "the greatest science-fiction picture ever conceived by the mind of man," but this 1957 features ranks alongside other sci-fi movies of its era such as, say, This Island Earth. Unfortunately, the preview trailers didn't enlighten me to any Toho additional Toho movies with which I was previously unaware, so after I Dogora and Gappa, that may be it for a while. 

Oh, one other thing... Americans appear in two scenes speaking English, which a translator then repeats in Japanese. But we watched the dubbed version, so the translator just repeats pretty much what the Amercan just said... in the same language, which was kind of funny. (Maybe not.)

"From behind the Moon they came... to invade the Earth... abduct its women... level its cities!"

THE GIANT GILA MONSTER: Another "trifecta" movie. In addition, I have a dubbed copy of the MST3K version. I probably haven't watched it since I got it, but I still remember the "she sings whenever she swings whenever she sings" running gag. There's not really much more plot than can be gleaned from the title alone. A group of the cleanest cut teenagers this side of Riverdale help the local sheriff investigate a missing persons case. The main character is an aspiring singer and he has a little sister in leg braces. One nice piece of homespun wisdom: "Buying a car is like getting married or going to New York city. Everyone should do it once, but no one should do it twice." Very "B."

Re-watched An American Werewolf in LondonAmazon Women on the Moon and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Re-watched  Warning from Space (1956), the first Japanese sci-fi movie to be shot in color. Alien starfish come to warn humanity of a rogue planet planet on a collision coruse with Earth. Not too bad. I enjoyed it.

THE FATAL HOUR: This movie does not belong on Tracy's DVD set. Yes, it's a B-movie and yes, it stars Boris Karloff, but that doesn't mean it's a horror movie per se. It's actually a murder mystery/detective story based on Hugh Wiley's character James Lee Wong (a sort of poor man's Charlie Chan) from Collier's magazine. I'd like to be able to tell you this movie is a hidden gem, but I can't; it's really quite pedestrian (with some forced "snappy patter" throughout). An Karloff plays the most unconvincing Chinaman I have ever seen. 

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

I saw this when it was originally in theaters, and liked it. Then I saw Purple Noon a few months ago, and liked *that*...and figured a re-watch of this would show it couldn't hold a candle to the earlier version.

I was wrong. This is terrific on almost every level. Matt Damon is amazing; His Tom Ripley is so different than when he's pretending to be Dickie Greenleaf. And when he's in Jude Law's presence, he has this smile, as he's just soaking him in. He's in love. Not just with the lifestyle, but with the man.

Law, Gwynneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and especially Phillip Seymour Hoffman are all great. The setting is so well realized--who knows how much needed to be re-dressed to fit the time period. 

I think my favorite image is after Tom bludgeons Hoffman's Freddy with a bust. After the tension of the scene -- Freddy accusing him from every angle -- Tom just lets loose, using a bust that he thought was high-class, but Freddy ridicules as gauche. Smash, smash, smashing it down on his head and the letting it roll away. We never get a good look at Freddy's wound, but we see that bust, blood all over one corner of its head, so we can imagine. A great image by director Anthony Minghella.

No Time To Die. Finally after a year and a half, Daniel Craig's final 007 adventure makes it to theatres. Unlike his predecessors, many of whom didn't realize they were making their final appearance as Bond, Craig who is listed as one of the executive producers is able to bring his run to an official close.

It is an epic adventure with some unexpected twists. I'd rank it up there with Casino Royale and Skyfall as one of the better films in Craig's run. I think Randy Jackson hit the nail on the head with his observation that "Connery was Bond for the 20th century and Daniel Craig is Bond for the 21st".

This was the first trip to a movie theater for my wife and I since March 2020. I made her sit through the credits because I wanted to see if "James Bond Will Return" would appear and indeed it did.

Jeff, on another thread you complained about something being anachronistic. Since that wasn't a movie thread I decided to make my comment here.

The first sequel to Alien was Aliens (1986). I greatly enjoyed these two movies except for one thing in the second one. One of the colonial marines was the Latina character Private Vasquez. When the marines were kidding each other in a group one of them kids Private Vasquez as also being an alien, "An illegal alien." This annoyed me in 1986 and I have never seen anyone call this out. The movie Aliens is supposedly set in 2179. I'd like to think that this pejorative term (and status) would be in the distant past by then.

I gather that line was an in-joke of sorts.  It's said that when Jenette Goldstein auditioned for the part, she was under the impression that the film was about immigration.

Doesn't make the joke any more tolerable, of course.

The beef most people have with the character now is that she's played by a non-Latina in "brownface".

Richard Willis said:

Jeff, on another thread you complained about something being anachronistic. Since that wasn't a movie thread I decided to make my comment here.

The first sequel to Alien was Aliens (1986). I greatly enjoyed these two movies except for one thing in the second one. One of the colonial marines was the Latina character Private Vasquez. When the marines were kidding each other in a group one of them kids Private Vasquez as also being an alien, "An illegal alien." This annoyed me in 1986 and I have never seen anyone call this out. The movie Aliens is supposedly set in 2179. I'd like to think that this pejorative term (and status) would be in the distant past by then.

The Baron said:

The beef most people have with the character now is that she's played by a non-Latina in "brownface".

I was also thinking along the same lines. If an actual Latina had been cast I'd like to think she would have objected to the line.

"I'd like to think that this pejorative term (and status) would be in the distant past by then."

Do you watch the TV show Supergirl? A couple of weeks ago one of the characters asked Brainiac 5 if things were any better in the 30th century. To mu surprise (and disappointment), his answer was basically, not really, no.

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