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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George Poague said:

I still remember my disappointment when I saw Doc Savage in a theater in 1975 (not 1976).

Maybe that's why I missed it!

Doc Beechler:

"It's funny how something can hit you just right and bounce off others.  I went with some college friends to Joe vs the Volcano when it was in theaters and came out saying..."Man, that was pretty much my perfect movie." and receiving blank stares from everyone else.  They all disliked to outright hated it."

Sure. That's why it's called "personal taste". Like, When I still had cable (and TCM), I'd often delight in watching movies I KNEW were NOT "my" kinda movie. I got a kick out of watching some things, out of curiosity, opr to be able to say finally, yes, I saw it... and I'd often have a smile on my face the whole length of film, as I thought to myself, "I'll NEVER have to sit thru this THING again!!"  Among those were films with Shirley Temple, Doris Day, and OUT OF THE PAST. Sometimes I'd even watch a film I had seen before, but not for decades, because I really did not like it, or even hated it, but I figured, "If I was ever gonna sit thru this piece of junk again, THIS is the best way to do it."  In other words, uncut, uninterrupted, in widescreen, with the best available print. The only thing that could be better, would be seeing it on a big screen. And I even did that a couple of times.  I took my Dad to see the restoration of GONE WITH THE WIND, even though I hated it... and wound up enjoying it much more, BECAUSE it was on a big screen... and, to an extent, because it made Dad happy, and, because I knew I would NEVER, EVER sit thru that awful story again.  On my own, I went to see the restoration of THX-1138. Seeing that on a big screen was a big improvement, as was the added visuals during part of the car chase.

On the other hand, I never know what my next NEW favorite might be... so it's good to keep my eyes open. That's how I caught THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE, with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Olivier.  Going in, I had no idea it was about the American Revolution-- or, that it was a comedy!  (It's directed by Guy Hamilton, who did GOLDFINGER, as well as 3 of the stupidest "007" films in a row-- DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE, and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN-- and also did both THE MIRROR CRACK'D with Angela Landsbury as Miss Marple, and, EVIL UNDER THE SUN with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot. So he's kinda hit-and-miss.)

PowerBookPete:

"Sorry, I meant The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. As Henry said, it's a tribute to Doc Savage, and I think it's a good one."

I love Ron Ely as Doc, I think he is by far the best thing about it. In my early 20's, I didn't think it was too bad... but then I watched it again 20 years later, and could not believe HOW AWFUL it was!!!  Good grief.  And it gets worse the longer it goes on.  How is it even possible to make a movie THAT bad??? And yet... Ron Ely is STILL damned good in it.  Such a waste.

The crazy thing is, watching Ely's TARZAN right now, a couple of times it strikes me that Peter Weller does look like him a bit. BUCKAROO BANZAI is a film I feel it takes at least 2 full viewings to really "get". This is because the first time out, there is SO MUCH back-story of the "world" in which the story takes place in, you can hardly focus on the story itself.  Once that's all out of the way, on a 2nd view, you can focus on the actual story being told.  At least, that's how it struck me.  In the long run, BB is a much BETTER film that DOC SAVAGE

Sadly, there were a number of old, classic characters or series that had HORRIBLE movies made about them in the late 70's-early 80's... including Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, Maxwell Smart, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Star Trek...hee hee.  Of those, the 1980 FLASH GORDON-- somehow-- against all odds or common sense-- turned out to be very entertaining. If you can get in the right frame of mind. The others?  Ehh...

Years later, the 2nd STAR TREK movie and the 2nd GET SMART movie were huge improvements over the first (and in the case of GET SMART, the 2nd one totally ignores the 1st, pretending it "never happened"-- I know some people would like to treat the 1st ST movie the same way).

A week ago, I saw the remake of Sparkle. I saw the original many moons ago, so long ago that I barely remember it and thus could look at this version purely on its own merit.

The knock against it is that it's a ripoff of Dreamgirls, even though the original version of Sparkle hit theaters in 1976, and Dreamgirls the play was on Broadway in 1981 and Dreamgirls the movie was out in 2006. Still, this Sparkle remake didn't help matter by opening the exact same way the Dreamgirls the movie did: in a smoky Detroit nightclub, where our heroines are trying to perform and get noticed when there's a big headliner around -- and slip out and get back home before their mama notices they're gone.

Once you get past that, it's okay. It's the screen debut of American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who is charming, plucky, and quite lovely, with a dazzling smile. I swear, every dentist in America must have her picture on the wall, because she's got fabulously perfect teeth. 

But can she act? I confess I went into this unsure that Sparks was strong enough to be the lead, and I still am, but she was good enough. She was up against Whitney Houston, making her comeback after 15 years (1997's TV movie Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella), playing the stern, no-nonsense matriarch. Knowing, of course, what's happened to Houston since the movie wrapped made watching her more than a little sad; you could see that her weary, tired, somewhat-beaten-down-by-life aura wasn't just acting. 

The story goes exactly where you expect it will go, especially with the developments with the lead singer, Sparkle's older sister, Sister. She indulges her inner gold digger and dumps the humble, broke boyfriend Levi for the slick up-and-coming TV comedian Satin, played with oily menace by Mike Epps, usually known for 'hood comedies like Next Friday and Friday After Next. This soon leads to a few cinematic choruses of "He Done Her Wrong," leading to a brutal demise for one of them.

No great shakes, but a fine way to spend a couple hours.

...Henry , I am interested that you so dislike OUT OF THE PAST , big crime/detective/noir fan that you obviously are .

  When I saw it in a theatrical revival in the 90s , I thought it was okay/nice - a " landmark " example of the noir genre , it tends to be thought of now .

  By " 2nd GET SMART movie " , do you mean that 2008 one with an entirely new cast ???

  IIRC , Don Adams , etc. made a theatrical?? movie , THE NAKED BOMB , then a made-for-TV movie...which ignored Max and 99s marriage...then , years later , a six-episode Fox 1/2 hour series , which did take in the marriage storyline .

Henry R. Kujawa said:

Doc Beechler:

"It's funny how something can hit you just right and bounce off others.  I went with some college friends to Joe vs the Volcano when it was in theaters and came out saying..."Man, that was pretty much my perfect movie." and receiving blank stares from everyone else.  They all disliked to outright hated it."

Sure. That's why it's called "personal taste". Like, When I still had cable (and TCM), I'd often delight in watching movies I KNEW were NOT "my" kinda movie. I got a kick out of watching some things, out of curiosity, opr to be able to say finally, yes, I saw it... and I'd often have a smile on my face the whole length of film, as I thought to myself, "I'll NEVER have to sit thru this THING again!!"  Among those were films with Shirley Temple, Doris Day, and OUT OF THE PAST. Sometimes I'd even watch a film I had seen before, but not for decades, because I really did not like it, or even hated it, but I figured, "If I was ever gonna sit thru this piece of junk again, THIS is the best way to do it."  In other words, uncut, uninterrupted, in widescreen, with the best available print. The only thing that could be better, would be seeing it on a big screen. And I even did that a couple of times.  I took my Dad to see the restoration of GONE WITH THE WIND, even though I hated it... and wound up enjoying it much more, BECAUSE it was on a big screen... and, to an extent, because it made Dad happy, and, because I knew I would NEVER, EVER sit thru that awful story again.  On my own, I went to see the restoration of THX-1138. Seeing that on a big screen was a big improvement, as was the added visuals during part of the car chase.

On the other hand, I never know what my next NEW favorite might be... so it's good to keep my eyes open. That's how I caught THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE, with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Olivier.  Going in, I had no idea it was about the American Revolution-- or, that it was a comedy!  (It's directed by Guy Hamilton, who did GOLDFINGER, as well as 3 of the stupidest "007" films in a row-- DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE, and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN-- and also did both THE MIRROR CRACK'D with Angela Landsbury as Miss Marple, and, EVIL UNDER THE SUN with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot. So he's kinda hit-and-miss.)

PowerBookPete:

"Sorry, I meant The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. As Henry said, it's a tribute to Doc Savage, and I think it's a good one."

I love Ron Ely as Doc, I think he is by far the best thing about it. In my early 20's, I didn't think it was too bad... but then I watched it again 20 years later, and could not believe HOW AWFUL it was!!!  Good grief.  And it gets worse the longer it goes on.  How is it even possible to make a movie THAT bad??? And yet... Ron Ely is STILL damned good in it.  Such a waste.

The crazy thing is, watching Ely's TARZAN right now, a couple of times it strikes me that Peter Weller does look like him a bit. BUCKAROO BANZAI is a film I feel it takes at least 2 full viewings to really "get". This is because the first time out, there is SO MUCH back-story of the "world" in which the story takes place in, you can hardly focus on the story itself.  Once that's all out of the way, on a 2nd view, you can focus on the actual story being told.  At least, that's how it struck me.  In the long run, BB is a much BETTER film that DOC SAVAGE

Sadly, there were a number of old, classic characters or series that had HORRIBLE movies made about them in the late 70's-early 80's... including Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, Maxwell Smart, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Star Trek...hee hee.  Of those, the 1980 FLASH GORDON-- somehow-- against all odds or common sense-- turned out to be very entertaining. If you can get in the right frame of mind. The others?  Ehh...

Years later, the 2nd STAR TREK movie and the 2nd GET SMART movie were huge improvements over the first (and in the case of GET SMART, the 2nd one totally ignores the 1st, pretending it "never happened"-- I know some people would like to treat the 1st ST movie the same way).

Just finished Drive Angry starring Nicholas Cage. It arrived in the mail via Netflix. My sister-in-law had added it because it popped up as a recommendation. Man, it was horrible. It's about a guy who escapes hell to avenge his daughters death by a satanic cult and rescue his granddaughter for being a sacrifice by the cult. There's a lot of death and mayhem that follows and tedious boredom for the viewer.

A couple nights ago, my wife and I went to see Tootsie. It's one of her favorites, and I like it too, but she likes it more than I do.

It still mostly holds up, with the whole battle-of-the-sexes theme -- the notion that in pretending to be a woman, a jerk becomes a better person -- although the notion that the man pretending to be a woman inspires other women to be better women is a bit problematic. After all, our lead character Michael did treat his old friend Sandy pretty shabbily throughout, and his enlightenment didn't come with any apology to her. But then, the whole obnoxious, unreasonable jerk who never listens to people thing fits Dustin Hoffman to a T; he didn't have to act that.

What makes the movie work so well is its structure, where all the pieces are introduced and then fall neatly into place. Like Michael's wild night: As Dorothy, he babysits for Julie because she has just fired her domineering nanny and is about to break up with condescending boyfriend Ron; the baby cries, tosses food and cries even more; he comes on to a despondent Julie, who freaks; Julie's dad takes him out dancing and proposes(!); he goes home, and the ham actor from the show invites himself in and tries to force himself on Dorothy, stopping only because roommate Jeff comes home; then Sandy comes over to have it out with Michael for always blowing her off and lying to her. 

This leads to my favorite part of the movie: When Michael then goes to his agent's office at 2 in the morning, pleading for him to find a way out of this! And Sidney Pollack is just great:

Michael Dorsey: "She thinks I'm gay, I told her about Julie and she thinks I'm gay!" 

George Fields: "Julie thinks you're gay?" 

Michael: "No, my friend Sandy." 

George: "So sleep with her, and she'll --"

Michael: "I slept with her once and she's still thinks I'm gay!" 

George: "Oh ... that's not good, Michael."

When we arrived at the theater to see Tootsie, we saw that Stop Making Sense was playing the next two nights. It's one of my favorites, and, as for my wife ... well, it's one of my favorites, and I like it more than she does. I'm not the biggest Talking Heads fan that ever was, but I do like what they do. It's been years since I've seen Stop Making Sense, and I had forgotten that fully half the songs are not on the soundtrack album!

 

But the first thought I had when I caught the first sight of David Bryne on stage was -- it's Sheldon Cooper! And then I thought -- what if there was a remake of Stop Making Sense with The Big Bang Theorycast? I worked it out: 

Sheldon as David Byrne

Leonard as guitarist Jerry Hairston

Penny as bass guitarist Tina Weymouth

Howard as drummer Chris Frantz

Raj as guitarist Alex Weir

Stuart as percussionist Steve Scales

Kripke as keyboard player Bernie Worrell

Bernadette as backup singer/dancer Lynn Mabry

Amy Farrah Fowler as backup singer/dancer Edna Holt

 

I would pay good, cash money to see that!

Decided to pull out MANHATTAN again, independant of the rest of my Woody Allen films.

I still think "Tracy" is the ONLY likable character in it. Spooky enough, Diane Keaton in this reminds me of all the WORST apects of an old friend of mine I'm not really talking to anymore. I adored Keaton in PLAY IT AGAIN SAM but in this film she makes me wanna scream and run away into the night.

EmerkeithDavyjack:

"By " 2nd GET SMART movie " , do you mean that 2008 one with an entirely new cast ???"

Oh, no no no... I copmpletely forgot there was even a remake feature film at all.

There were 3 GET SMART revivals...

THE RETURN OF MAXWELL SMART, made-for-TV movie (just like THE WILD WILD WEST REVISITED, THE RETURN OF THE MOD SQUAD, RESCUE FROM GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and the much-later THE RETURN OF THE MAN FROM UNCLE: THE FIFTEEN-YEARS-LATER AFFAIR), which was instead released theatrically as THE NUDE BOMB, lived up to its name... it was awful, like one of the worst of the TV stories. Almost nobody from the TV show was in it, and, worse, they indicated that Max & 99 had gotten DIVORCED!!!  Total crap.  Incredibly, the climax of the film spoofs MOONRAKER. I think that says it all...

GET SMART AGAIN, made about 8 years later, had damn near everybody who was important to the TV show come back, including Larraby, Heimie the Robot, 99, Siegfried & Shtarker. It followed the trend of the MOD SQUAD, WWW, UNCLE and STAR TREK reunions by having everyone having moved on, and half the film is getting everyone back together. Larraby was found in the old Control offices, wondering why he hadn't been paid in all these years. Max & 99 had been happily married for 20 years, and the twins were in college!! In the days of 1980';s cynicism, where no relationship on TV (or in comics) was allowed to survive, this was a slap in the face in the name of true love. In fact, this wound up strengthening my love for the original show all the more, since the developments of the 4th & 5th seasons (Max & 99 getting engaged, married, having kids) had originally been done mostly as ratings gimmicks, but now, all 5 years could be looked at as one of the most wonderful and natural "love stories" of 60's TV.   And it pretty much wrote off the previous movie as "never happened". (Which is how I feel about those Tom Cruise "M:I" movies.  CRAP!!!!)

GET SMART was then revived as a weekly a few years later, with Max as the new Chief, and his son as the lead character. This could have worked... except they cast the worst-possible person in all of Hollywood as his son, and it really made the damned thing tough to watch. I did like the girl they teamed him up with, she was HOT. My favorite episode was the one that featured Siegfried-- and his daughter. At one point, she says, "My whole life my father lied to me. He told me he was a doctor on a cruise ship!"

Don Adams, shortly before he passed away, said he thought all 3 revivals were "terrible". I disagree. I loved the 2nd one. The 3rd one isn't as bad as I thought at first... but Andy Dick tried his best to make it unwatchable. Really. He didn't want to be there, and was hapy when it got canned.  (He was doing NEWSRADIO at the same time, I think.)

Clark Kent_DC:

"the whole obnoxious, unreasonable jerk who never listens to people thing fits Dustin Hoffman to a T; he didn't have to act that."

HAH!!!

I saw the movie once. Many years after it came out. It was interesting to see, once, but despite the large number of actors I knew and liked in it (including Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr), I don't think I could ever bring myself to sit thru it again.

"What makes the movie work so well is its structure, where all the pieces are introduced and then fall neatly into place."

Some of my favorite comedy over the years could be described that way. Certain episodes of WKRP, NIGHT COURT, 8 SIMPLE RULES, where it would take like 5 miniutes just to describe the situation leading up to the punch line, because it's so complicated.

Crazy but true: I actually rented TOOTSIE because I found out Ellen Foley was in it. As usual with her, a VERY SMALL part. (Dabney Coleman's assistant.)  But she acts her heart out, even with almost no lines at all. I have to wonder about her film career... she was in all these well-known, high-profile, highly-successful movies, and she has these tiny cameos. I mean... if I'd been a director, I'd have cast her in a starring role at SOME point!

The French film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies struck me as very much like a good Get Smart film. I didn't like the sequel OSS 117: Lost in Rio as much, and it's less family-friendly. (Not that there aren't sex scenes in the first film.)

Henry R. Kujawa said:

 

Crazy but true: I actually rented TOOTSIE because I found out Ellen Foley was in it. As usual with her, a VERY SMALL part. (Dabney Coleman's assistant.)  But she acts her heart out, even with almost no lines at all. I have to wonder about her film career... she was in all these well-known, high-profile, highly-successful movies, and she has these tiny cameos. I mean... if I'd been a director, I'd have cast her in a starring role at SOME point!

 

Tootsie also was the debut of Christine Ebersole and Geena Davis. Christine Ebersole I didn't spot, but there's no missing Geena Davis, as her very first scene is when Michael as Dorothy enters their shared dressing room and she's in there in her underwear!

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