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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Everything has to be bigger now. First villains just wanted to get rich. Then they wanted to rule the world. Then the universe. Now one universe isn't enough, they want the whole multiverse. What next, multiple multiverses? 

Something important suddenly becoming a cover for something else in a rewrite dates back pretty far. In the first Nancy Drew book in 1930, "The Secret of the Old Clock", the lost will she was looking for was in the title clock. In the 50s rewrite the clock just contained a clue on where to find the lost will.

Ron M. said:

Everything has to be bigger now. First villains just wanted to get rich. Then they wanted to rule the world. Then the universe. Now one universe isn't enough, they want the whole multiverse. What next, multiple multiverses? 

I definitely got that sense from this latest remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. The very fact of having big stars like Denzel Washington and John Travola in it changed the story. 

the 1974 version, Walter Mathau was a detective with the New York Transit Police investigating the case; in the 1998 TV movie version, Edward James Olmos served the same purpose for the NYPD (in the intervening years, the Transit Police and for that matter, the Housing Authority Police had been folded into the main NYPD). But in the third version, the Denzel character wasn't even a cop; he was a Transit Authority executive who just happened to be the dispatcher the day the crime went down. 

And having Denzel and John in the movie meant changing the ending, with the two of them in an armed standoff. The original ending in the book and first two movies I thought was more interesting and more amusing.

 photo spoiler-1.gif

In the book and first two movies, three of the four train robbers, including the mastermind, get killed. In the book, the mastermind is shot by police; in the two movies, he electrocutes himself on the third rail rather than go back to prison. The one who gets away is the motorman, an ex-Transit Authority worker, the one who figures out how to run a driverless train to cover the getaway.

After it's over, the detectives check on the whereabouts of all Transit Authority workers who had been fired in the previous five years. Most are working other jobs. One is in a wheelchair. One has been working in a toll booth and hadn't heard anything about the heist all day! 

So they come to the motorman, alone in his lonely apartment. He's sad that his partners have been killed, afraid he'll be caught, and excited that he got away with a chunk of the money! (In the book and first movie, they stole $1 million; they split the money four ways and each guy wore a vest with lots of pockets to carry the cash; in the second movie, they stole $5 million and carried it in duffel bags. In the third movie, they demanded $10 million -- but again, that was just a cover for a bigger heist -- and carried it off in wheeled suitcases.)

Anyway, the detectives came by and the motorman -- who had been playing with the cash, tossing it into the air -- panicked. With them knocking on the door, he scooped it up and threw it into the oven! Then he has a nervous conversation with the detectives about where he's been all day. At one point, one of the wants to light a cigarette using the stove(!) and he quickly intervenes so they don't look inside the oven. Then the detectives leave ... and he sneezes loudly, which makes them come back; they knew one of the guys in the train robbery crew had a cold.

All of that was lost in the third version because the motorman character was killed halfway in, just so Denzel Washington could be the one to hand off the money to the thieves, and just so they could hold him hostage during the getaway, just so he could escape from them and commandeer a truck and have a chase across town to catch them -- because if you've got a big star like Denzel Washington, you've got to do things like that. 

That's why I knew as soon as I heard Johnny Depp was going to pay Tonto and somebody I never heard of was going to be the Lone Ranger, that it was going to be Tonto's movie and the Ranger would pretty much end up his sidekick. To watch it I had to picture it as a parody, like Scary Movie.

I saw The Wizard of Oz last night at the theater. One of my all-time favorite movies, and it was a great to finally see it on the big screen.

This is a very informative thread, useful to a guy like me who often says "I'll wait for it to be on Netflix/HBO" and then forget to ever watch it.

So I'm reminded here to watch Tropic Thunder. And evidently I should watch at least one Pelham 1-2-3, but not the latest one.

Captain Comics said:

This is a very informative thread, useful to a guy like me who often says "I'll wait for it to be on Netflix/HBO" and then forget to ever watch it.
So I'm reminded here to watch Tropic Thunder. And evidently I should watch at least one Pelham 1-2-3, but not the latest one.

In my case I have both the DVD and streaming services on Netflix. On the Netflix DVD service you can search for a title even if it is just coming out in the theaters. If it finds it you can ask to save it for the future. When it's available they will add it to your list.

I really liked the first (Walter Matthau) version of Pelham 1-2-3. Didn't see the others.

...I have the (West Coast) 2nd run of the Whitney Houston/Bobby Brown story TV movie on in the background ~ haing watched it the first time !

  Will anyone else even ADMIT to this'n ? And I'm not even married...

  The interview with Bobby afterwards:

  Lifetime Interviewer: " When did you first know that Whitney was using cocaine ? "

  B.B.: " When she turned and used it right next to me " !

...One problem:

  Wasn't Walter Matthau at

least

as

biga star in his heyday than Denzel was/is ?

Captain Comics said:

This is a very informative thread, useful to a guy like me who often says "I'll wait for it to be on Netflix/HBO" and then forget to ever watch it.
So I'm reminded here to watch Tropic Thunder. And evidently I should watch at least one Pelham 1-2-3, but not the latest one.

In my case I have both the DVD and streaming services on Netflix. On the Netflix DVD service you can search for a title even if it is just coming out in the theaters. If it finds it you can ask to save it for the future. When it's available they will add it to your list.

I really liked the first (Walter Matthau) version of Pelham 1-2-3. Didn't see the others.

I saw American Sniper last night. I figured I'd like it but it was really terrific. It's a well made film and Beadley Cooper does an excellent job as the lead.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...One problem:
Wasn't Walter Matthau at
least
as
biga star in his heyday than Denzel was/is ?

Matthau was very popular but I don't think he was a big-time star like Washington, who usually does high-profile parts.

Matthau was always in understated roles and character parts.

They are both terrific in their owns ways.

Captain Comics said:

This is a very informative thread, useful to a guy like me who often says "I'll wait for it to be on Netflix/HBO" and then forget to ever watch it.

So I'm reminded here to watch Tropic Thunder. And evidently I should watch at least one Pelham 1-2-3, but not the latest one.

Well, the third version of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is on TV all the time, like Office Space used to be. But yeah, I guess the first one is the best. It's certainly closest to the book, although it adds a moment that wasn't in the book that all movies include. I'll just say it has to do with delivering the money after the mayor approves.

The second version is a TV movie made in Toronto, so expectations ought to be scaled down accordingly. I bet the entire budget for that one didn't equal Denzel Washington's salary for the third one. But Vincent d'Onofrio as the villainous mastermind and Richard Schiff as the motorman are okay. 

I saw two old movies that shared a boxing theme, changed premises and familiar faces.

First there was Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951) which began as a straight Invisible Man story but the success of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein had them rewrite it to include Bud and Lou.

They talk about the first Invisible Man and even show a picture of Claude Rains!

It included William Frawley, AKA Fred Mertz from I Love Lucy.

Then there was Mister Moto's Gamble (1938), the first time I ever saw a Mister Moto film. One of the characters was Keye Luke as Lee Chan, Charlie Chan's #1 Son because it was originally supposed to be a Charlie Chan movie but Swiss Warren Orland was ill so it was given to Mister Moto .

Peter Lorre who was German or Austrian played the Japanese Mister Moto until Pearl Harbor caused the character to be dropped. Ironically Lorre was a Japanese envoy in Universal's Invisible Agent during the war.

John Hamilton, later The Adventures of Superman's Perry White costarred as well as Lon Chaney, Jr in a small role three years before The Wolf Man.

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