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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I've seen better Bond movies, but I've also seen far worse.  It delivered the basics I expect from Bond, so I was satisfied.

Been watching the Fellini movies TCM has been showing as their late Sunday night imports this month. Caught La Strada and Nights of Cabiria for the first time. The next two on the docket are Juliet of the Spirits and Satyricon, both of which I've seen.

La Strada was good, and more iconic, but of the two, I'd recommend Nights of Cabiria, in which Giulietta Masina plays a feisty prostitute that leads with her heart a little too much. Massina has a real Lucille Ball-like quality to her performance (which is worlds apart from her innocent waif in La Strada).

I saw most of Nights of Cabiria in a cinema in the 90s. The bits I remember vividly are the sequence where she's bored hiding in the bathroom and the film's sad final act. The movie was the basis of the musical Sweet Charity.

The scene that really stuck out for me was the hypnotist show that kicks off the last act. That loss of control,  and her worry about what she said, really moved me.

This was "Bad Movie Weekend" for me. My Elvis and Steve Martin projects have hit the skids, but on Saturday we wathced Howard the Duck and on Sunday we watched Supergirl.

Last week I saw Spectre (we really wanted to see Spotlight, but it was sold out) and The Peanuts Movie.

For Spectre, I'd say if you like James Bond, it's exactly what you expect. If you like Daniel Craig's James Bond, likewise. And if you don't like one or both of those things, you won't like them here. 

Every time there's a new James Bond movie, somebody will write a piece on the theme "Is James Bond Still Relevant in the Post-Cold War Era?" (like this one). This time, the movie itself argues that question, as the plot is about some bean-counting bureaucrat who wants to shut down MI-6 in favor of perpetual global surveillance. Naturally, there are hidden agendas and shadowy puppetmasters at work, and it's no surprise that the movie forcefully argues that yes, we do need a James Bond -- and a Moneypenny and a Q and an M, who all get out of the office and pulled into the action. 

As for The Peanuts Movie, what's not to like? Not to spoil anything, but it hit all the bases. The color 3-D animation works because they were smart enough not to add too much detail or make the characters fully round. There are lots of scenes that harken back to the various TV specials that inspired the movies, plus the comic strip. It brought back several characters who totally disappeared from the strip in its later years (like the mean girls, Violet, Patty, and Frieda -- but then, they all were as nasty as Lucy, so who needed four of them?). 

Regarding the plot, again, I don't want to give anything away, but it does put lovable loser Charlie Brown in situation after situation where you think, "Okay, how will he screw things up this time?" But among Charlie Brown's qualities is that he is selfless to the point of self-sacrificing, and that was brought out well here. And much of the movie runs parallel stories of Charlie Brown and Snoopy and their attraction to/difficulty with the opposite sex.

By the way, Snoopy was a much better friend to Charlie Brown here than he has been in most stories, where he barely tolerates him. Here, Snoopy actually, sincerely helps him.

I have to say that The Peanuts Movie still falls into my usual belief of most movies I see: that it could have been a half-hour shorter. But when you hear it begin with Vince Guaraldi's "Skating," you can't help but smile.

(Speaking of the music, of course it has "Linus and Lucy," albeit in a different arrangement, but not much else. It doesn't even use "The Charlie Brown Theme.")

We saw Spectre today, and enjoyed it..

This site has a run-down on all the easter eggs in Spectre, about half of which I caught:

 photo spoiler-1.gif

http://screenrant.com/spectre-james-bond-movie-easter-eggs/?view=all

Monday night I saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2 (it was a library staff association outing, I doubt I would have gone out of the way otherwise). Having not read the books I had no idea what to expect. I did predict the big shock near the end just before it happened, but I thought they did a great job building up to it. Basically it was a big action movie that delivered what was promised.

I remember when Supergirl came out I was very hopeful, because Helen Slater really looked the part (and didn't look awful in the suit, which not many women could pull off). But they saddled her with campy villains and a dopey love interest and it turned out so, so bad. Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyy?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

This was "Bad Movie Weekend" for me. My Elvis and Steve Martin projects have hit the skids, but on Saturday we wathced Howard the Duck and on Sunday we watched Supergirl.



ClarkKent_DC said:

I'd say if you like James Bond, it's exactly what you expect. If you like Daniel Craig's James Bond, likewise.

You hit the nail on the head. I like those things, so I liked this movie.

I recently watched the newest iteration of Vacation, which I really enjoyed. It matches the tone of the original source material. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it was exactly what you'd want out of this kind of movie.

I also watched The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This movie was just pure fun. It was just what you'd want out of a Cold War spy movie. It was far lighter than The Constant Gardener or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but still serious enough that you were concerned for the parties involved.

Loved them both!

Saw Creed recently; saw Spectre over the weekend.

Had low expectations for Spectre due to a less-than-enthusiastic review I accidentally read in the paper, but came away pleasantly surprised (emphasis on "surprised"). In that respect, it reminds me of the second installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise.

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