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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PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

Today, I saw Misery for the first time. Annie reminded me of a couple of people I know. Chilling.

I saw Misery back when it was out, and I'm still scared. Much, much later, I read screenwriter William Goldman's Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade -- which I highly recommend, along with the first book, Adventures in the Screen Trade -- and he describes that famous scene. You know the one. 

Suffice to say that reading that famous scene in the book inspired him to write the movie. But what's in the movie isn't exactly what was in the book -- to the movie's benefit, he later came to realize, although he didn't agree at the time. See here, if you're interested.

Another movie I just saw that I missed when it was out: Obsessed, starring Idris Elba as, Derek, an up-and-coming executive who has it all -- a great career, gorgeous wife Sharon (Beyonce), an adorable son ... and a stalker (Ali Larter).

Lisa is a temp at his company; they meet on her first day when she drops some files while they're in the elevator. In short order, she's throwing herself at Derek at the office Christmas party, flashing lacy underwear at him in his car, suddenly showing up at a company retreat claiming to be his wife ... doping his drink and raping him ... swallowing a bottle of pills while naked in his hotel bed ... 

Her story is this is a torrid affair, and it's too convincing for Beyonce (I can't call her "Sharon"), who throws Derek out. On the night they try to reconcile, six months later, Lisa cajoles the babysitter to let her in. The panicked parents return to find their child missing -- and the police now finally believe Lisa's off her nut. 

The story builds to a showdown between Lisa and Beyonce, and Bey gives her an EPIC beatdown! 

We watched The Inside Man, a heist movie from, of all people, Spike Lee. Clive Owen was the leader of a crew that hit a Wall Street bank, but the robbery quickly turned into a hostage situation. Denzel Washington and Chiwitel Ejiofor were NYPD hostage negotiators called to the scene, and Willem Dafoe was the ESU (Emergency Services Unit) commander.

As it happens the crew wasn't after money, but a McGuffin that was in one particular safety deposit box. The bank's chairman of the board, Christopher Plummer, was deathly afraid of losing that McGuffin, and brings in mysterious fixer Jodie Foster to make sure it either doesn't get stolen or gets destroyed before anyone sees it.

It was a compelling movie, because it left you wondering at every moment What is really going on here? I couldn't predict how the story was going to shake out, couldn't tell what these guys were really after, couldn't figure how they were going to get away with it, really couldn't figure what Jodie Foster's deal was. Two thumbs up.

You had me at "mysterious fixer Jodie Foster." What th-?!

Assuming my powers of persuasion are working, my wife and I are going to re-watch Reindeer Games, a sort-of-Christmas-movie which starts out with several dead men dressed like Santa Claus. It has a great cast, a lot of twists and turns and was directed by the late great John Frankenheimer.

ClarkKent_DC said:

We watched The Inside Man, a heist movie from, of all people, Spike Lee. Clive Owen was the leader of a crew that hit a Wall Street bank, but the robbery quickly turned into a hostage situation. Denzel Washington and Chiwitel Ejiofor were NYPD hostage negotiators called to the scene, and Willem Dafoe was the ESU (Emergency Services Unit) commander.

As it happens the crew wasn't after money, but a McGuffin that was in one particular safety deposit box. The bank's chairman of the board, Christopher Plummer, was deathly afraid of losing that McGuffin, and brings in mysterious fixer Jodie Foster to make sure it either doesn't get stolen or gets destroyed before anyone sees it.

It was a compelling movie, because it left you wondering at every moment What is really going on here? I couldn't predict how the story was going to shake out, couldn't tell what these guys were really after, couldn't figure how they were going to get away with it, really couldn't figure what Jodie Foster's deal was. Two thumbs up.



Captain Comics said:

You had me at "mysterious fixer Jodie Foster." What th-?!

That's what we were saying throughout the whole movie. Jodie Foster had the mayor at her beck and call. She was somebody behind the scenes who could pull strings to get things done. She knew where all the bodies were buried -- and is probably someone you could call to help you bury them.

The Inside Man is a great movie for someone like me who's seen every story trope a thousand thousand times, because I've seen them a thousand thousand times and could not figure out what was going on and was compelled to watch to find out.

Last night on TCM, I saw Silent Movie probably my favorite Mel Brooks movie that starred Mel Brooks. Great to see him young and at his peak as well as Marty Feldman, Dom Deluise and Bernadette Peters and all those cameos!

Today I saw The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, the weakest of Jackson's six Middle Earth movies. It's one thing to add new characters, it's another thing to give so much tie to them in the ending when you already had FIFTEEN protagonists! Bu he changed the ending and not for the better.

Never change the ending. That's the one part people are going to remember years later wasn't like the book.

I saw Night of the Museum 2: The Battle of the Smithsonian. I saw it without benefit of having seen the first Night of the Museum, so somebody had to tell me all about the magic that makes the museum figures come to life, because it isn't well explained in this sequel.

A contrivance causes the action to take place in Washington at several of the Smithsonian museums -- mostly the Castle, the Air and Space Museum, and another one that seemed to represent the Museum of Natural History in D.C., although it didn't look like it, inside or out. Also, the White House and Lincoln Memorial are part of the story.

It was entertaining, but oddly creative and annoying in equal measure. It felt like the script needed a couple more rewrites.

I've been meaning to google The Hobbit and see what was changed, as it's been more than 40 years since I read the book. These are things I don't remember from The Hobbit:

* Tauriel

* Legolas

* Tauriel's thwarted romance with Kili

* The battle Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman had with the Nazghul and Sauron's eye

* Elrond, Galadriel, Saruman

* The Nazghul and Sauron's eye

* Bard Dragonslayer (and family)

* Ratagast the Brown (and his part in the finale)

* Alfrid

* Stephen Fry's Master of Laketown

Can someone check me on these?

Also, what about Bolg and Azog? Were they even named in the book? I'm sure if they were those never-ending battle scenes weren't in there. (It took Legolas, Kili AND Tauriel to kill Azog, yet otherwise Orcs went down pretty easily.) Was Thorin Oakenshield killed by an Orc in the book? How did Smaug die?

I really should re-read the thing, but I'm hoping you guys will save me the time!



Philip Portelli said:

Last night on TCM, I saw Silent Movie probably my favorite Mel Brooks movie that starred Mel Brooks. Great to see him young and at his peak as well as Marty Feldman, Dom Deluise and Bernadette Peters and all those cameos!

Today I saw The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, the weakest of Jackson's six Middle Earth movies. It's one thing to add new characters, it's another thing to give so much tie to them in the ending when you already had FIFTEEN protagonists! Bu he changed the ending and not for the better.

I saw part of that the other night. I usually like Amy Adams, but I thought she was really stiff and unconvincing as the love interest, Amelia Earhart.

I can't help you with the magic bits, because I never saw the first (or third) Night at the Museum movie. All I've seen is what I said above, roughly the last 30 minutes of the second movie.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I saw Night of the Museum 2: The Battle of the Smithsonian. I saw it without benefit of having seen the first Night of the Museum, so somebody had to tell me all about the magic that makes the museum figures come to life, because it isn't well explained in this sequel.

Captain Comics said:

I saw part of that the other night. I usually like Amy Adams, but I thought she was really stiff and unconvincing as the love interest, Amelia Earhart.

I can't help you with the magic bits, because I never saw the first (or third) Night at the Museum movie. All I've seen is what I said above, roughly the last 30 minutes of the second movie.

Yeah, that romance, or weak attempt at same, was quite unpersuasive.

Also, a while back I read one of those articles that points out bloopers and plot holes in movies, and it cited Night of the Museum 2: The Battle of the Smithsonian, in that Amelia Earhart flew off to "die" at the end. Certainly, if she didn't make it back to Washington before the sun came up, she would, but it wasn't clear just how close to sunrise it was ...

... but as I write this, I realize that she would have flown out of the range of the magic tablet and would revert to a museum figure and the plane would have crashed somewhere between New York and D.C. 

That script DID need another rewrite or two. 

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