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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On the other hand, before the movie started, I of course watched the trailers -- and there were promos for THREE Kevin Hart movies. Good Lord, why? How can he be so popular -- or, at least, so busy? He's not funny! He's the new Sinbad; loud and brash, but definitely NOT funny! 

Commander Benson's Thanksgiving post reminded me that I had only recently seen The Best Years of Our Lives. I was very impressed with the way this 1946 movie presented the problems of returning servicemen with physical and psychological challenges. That close to WW2 the convention was if you weren't killed you were OK.

I've just been watching the serial The Green Hornet Strikes Again. It wasn't bad as serials go, although not free of the usual padding and lack of sufficient forward movement or interesting plotting. Warren Hull does a good job as Britt Reid/the Hornet, and I liked the film's version of his mask. Keye Luke plays Kato and stays comparatively in the background.


The plot has the Hornet busting the various rackets of a criminal gang. Until the last episode the Hornet can't finally close down the gang as he doesn't know who its head is, but his identity is never hidden from the audience. I appreciated the serial's use of the Hornet's pretence that he's a crook.


The serial's comic relief is provided by Mike Axford, an Irishman and former cop who seems to be both one of Reid's reporters and his bodyguard. Although he's a comic Irishman, he's not portrayed as a complete doofus. His sparring with Reid's secretary, Miss Case, reminded me of the early depiction of Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan. Axford's dress sense resembles that of Jack Kirby's Dan Turpin from New Gods.


The serial is full of scenes where the Hornet threatens members of the gang with his gas gun and they're intimidated. I kept thinking they should know it's a gas gun and not be so frightened. To be fair, he has a bad reputation, and several members of the gang are killed in the course of the story. The Hornet doesn't kill them deliberately, but the other members of the gang wouldn't always know that. The special effect used when the Hornet uses his gun on people works well. There's one sequence where he exchanges regular gunfire with his opponents.


A number of the episodes also have scenes where people don't know who he is, despite his mask, until he shows them one of the badges he uses as calling-cards. There are several cases where he's overtaken by a disaster of some kind at the conclusion of an episode, and in the next he's fortunately not seriously hurt and able to hobble away with Kato's help. In arguably the worst of these he survives being on an upper level of a building undergoing construction when it's blown up.


The upshot is I finished watching the serial with increased appreciation for the character. The Harvey Green Hornet story I've read didn't use him as effectively - it didn't use Kato or the gas gun - and that makes me want to nominate him for Randy's Coulda Been a Contender thread. But its Al Avison art was decent and its plot wasn't bad; mainly it relied too much on fisticuffs and didn't exploit his gimmicks enough. I supposed this version of the feature was produced within the Simon and Kirby studio, but according to this post on Avison at the Simon and Kirby blog, if I follow it correctly, this is not so. Kirby did one or two of the Harvey version's covers.(1)


I thought there was also a Green Hornet newspaper strip, but according to this page, with samples, it was never published. I haven't read any of the Helnit Green Hornet stories, which appeared before Harvey's.(2) The Hornet also appeared in a Dell one-shot and a short-lived series from Gold Key, which latter was a tie-in to the TV series.


If anyone out there has an opinion about the recent movie they'd like to share, I'd like to hear it.


(1) The Simon and Kirby blog has an image of the original art of the cover of Harvey's Green Hornet #9 here. That looks like Kirby's work, but I'm less sure that he had a hand in that of #7, which the blog assigns partly to Simon and partly to Kirby. It assigns #8 to Simon by himself. The proprietor of the blog was given access to unpublished material, and so asked that images not be reproduced from his site.

(2) I originally wrote Holyoke, but according to this page at the GCD that's not correct. Wikipedia's page on the Hornet gets this right but I misread it.


(corrected, and corrected again and yet again)

I've seen Hunger Games II.... very good..extremely faithful to the book...

and "Ender's Game".... also very good, but not likely to be a hit...too depressing.  Fans who have read the book say it compresses four years of "battle school" into a 2 hour movie.  But I really, really liked it.

I saw Black Nativity this weekend. Based on the Langston Hughes play (which I haven't seen), it's a glorious affirmation of faith, with a lot to say about forgiveness and reconciliation as well. Four stars.  


I saw The Green Hornet and The Green Hornet Strikes Again serials earlier this year, and quite liked them both. 

As for the Seth Rogen movie -- I'd rather gouge out my eyes with a dull butter knife than sit through that again.  But that's just me.


The Green Hornet had some great fight scenes and high tech gadgets that any fan would want. But Seth Rogen's Britt Reid was basically unlikeable and doing things for the wrong reasons until he realized what the right reasons were. He reminded me of a more immature version  of Ryan Reynolds' Hal Jordan and that's not good! The villain was laughable and the humor was forced.

I would give it a "C" if you like the car and for Kato's moves.

Thanks, guys.

Saw Back To The Future Part III last night again. It's my favorite of the trilogy!

I guess that the Doctor wasn't the first time traveler to have a companion named Clara who escaped death!

I still haven't seen the third one. Maybe I will try to see if it is on Amazon this weekend.

Philip Portelli said:

Saw Back To The Future Part III last night again. It's my favorite of the trilogy!

I guess that the Doctor wasn't the first time traveler to have a companion named Clara who escaped death!

I got mine from Target for $5, with extras!

In Back to the Future III, Christopher Lloyd's Doc Brown goes into the past and woos Mary Steenburgen's Clara; in Time After Time, a young Malcolm McDowell's H.G. Wells* goes into the future and woos Mary Steenburgen's Amy. She's the poster child for time travel romance.

* a rare heroic role for him

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