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 Star of Midnight (1935), starring William Powell and Ginger Rogers. I've still never seen The Thin Man, but this film was pretty obviously modelled after it, as Halliwell's Film Guide says. It came out before the first Thin Man sequel, and is from a different studio (RKO). I suspect William Powell was basically repeating his performance: his character is suave and intelligent, drinks all the time, and banters with Rogers's. Powell's and Rogers's characters aren't married, and they're not memorable as a romantic couple. But I thought the film might interest you, Commander, if you haven't seen it.
Dolores and I saw Sherlock Holmes last night and I loved it. It hit all the right notes to appeal to modern audiences while retaining the flavor of the original stories. Holmes was a tad different, but he gave me the impression of how Doyle might have portrayed him had he been writing with modern sensibilities. I was also particularly fond of how rationality was played up not only in Holmes's character but in the sense that there was always a rational explanation for everything that occurred in the story.

I'm looking forward to the sequel with Moriarty.
Last night I watched East Meets Watts, an old 70's movie that's a cross between kung-fu flick and blacksploitation films, and it's as bad as it sounds.

"Now Dagwan," you may be thinking, "If you have so little time to watch movies, why did you waste 2 hours on this one?"

I'm glad you brought that up. This was the latest (although first for me) release from Cinematic Titanic, the latest movie-mocking group, featuring the creator and original cast of MST3K.

It's as funny as anything Joel and the gang ever did on Mystery Science Theater 3000, if not funnier. One word of warning, this film is uncut, and there is foul language on both the part of the actors in the movie and the Cinematic crew.

There were a few times that I had to back up ("rewind" seems wrong for something that isn't wound.) the DVD so I could catch a gag that I missed because I was still laughing too hard at the previous gag to hear it.

2 grasshopper thumbs up, my brothers!

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Check out the Secret Headquarters (my store) website! It's a pretty lame website, but I did it myself, so tough noogies

Listen to, it's the future of rock-n-roll!

I watched two movies this weekend.

(500) Days of Summer, this was a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre. I liked it.

Surrogates, this was mildly entertaining and had a decent conncept. Overall though, I thought it could have been better.
Last night I watched the classic short film "The Red Balloon" with Baby Bean, on DVD. It's the first time I've seen it since I was 7-ish, and the first time for Baby Bean.

Baby Bean thought it was funny that it made me cry.

The film has been digitally restored, and for a mostly dialog-free film, it's quite deep, much deeper than I remember it being.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Check out the Secret Headquarters (my store) website! It's a pretty lame website, but I did it myself, so tough noogies

Listen to, it's the future of rock-n-roll!

Wow, she's starting early - I was much older before I started finding my old man laughable... ;)
I saw "The Red Balloon" on DVD at B&N the other day and almost bought it, but didn't. I haven't seen it since elementary school, but I'll bet I saw the 16mm film every one of those years. (That, and "Please put me back in the water -- I am 'Paddle-to-the-Sea'.")
I've never seen it at all, to be honest.
Alan M. said:
Oh, I never mentioned that I saw Up In the Air the other week. Lovely film: well-written, well-acted, well-directed. The main complaint I hear against it is that it's predictable, and I guess it kind of is, but that seems to miss the point — this movie is very much a character study, so seeing who these characters are, and how the actors bring them to life, is much more important (in my mind) than their surprising us.

I'm still debating how many stars out of five it gets, but it's at least four (and quite possibly all five).

I saw Up in the Air the other day and liked it just as much. George Clooney was just as good as he was in Michael Clayton, although this is a different kind of role. I found it interesting how this character -- who works for a consulting firm specializing in HR who travels around the country just to fire people -- could turn on his empathy at will. That is, he'd zoom to one place without the slightest care in the world about the people he was going to meet, and forget about them the moment he left the premises, but during that painful five minutes when he lowers the boom, he could care enough to make the poor schmoe losing his job believe that there was a silver lining in the dark cloud.

I also appreciated how he didn't think his life was empty until, because of various events in the story, he decided it was -- but when he did, he was doomed. I also thought the bit where he had to talk to his prospective brother-in-law was wonderfully awkward; I can just imagine that he would forever after think it was his fault if things went wrong.

I'd definitely give it four stars.
I re-watched The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms - there's some good extras on that - a "making-of" with input from Ray Harryhausen, and a conversation with Harryhausen and Bradbury.
Watched Yasujiro Ozu's 1934 silent film Ukigusa Monogatari (A Story of Floating Weeds). Supposedly inspired by the 1928 American film, The Barker, A Story of Floating Weeds tells the story of a troupe of traveling actors that comes to a small town. Kihachi, the troupe's leader, visits a bar run by an old girl friend who has an adult son, Shinkichi. Shinkachi is Kihachi's son, but his parents have kept this secret from him. Shinkichi believes that his father is dead, and that Kihachi is merely an uncle. Otaka, an actress and Kihachi's current mistress, discovers the secret, and, in a fit of jealousy, bribes a younger actress, Otoki, to seduce Shinkichi. Otoki succeeds, but, as often happens in these melodramas, falls in love with Shinkichi for real...

This is actually quite a good picture. It's only 86 minutes long, so it doesn't drag the way some silent movies seem to. It didn't have a soundtrack - back in the day, there would've been live musical accompaniment in the cinema - but the producers of the DVD commissioned a composer to create a soundtrack, based on what is known about Ozu's musical preferences.

It's quite well acted. The actress who plays Otaka particularly manages to convey rage and jealousy with very subtle facial expressions.
I saw The Wolfman on Sunday. It sucked. Boring, cliched, and it was like watching movie making 101.

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