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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SON OF KONG: Not as well-regarded as the original (rightly so), but entertaining enough in its own right. Denham, the Skipper and Charlie are all back, with a new “Beauty” and a new baddie. I don’t think of this ape as Kong’s son, but rather a smaller, weaker male rival who lived on the far side of the island out of fear. Kong’s capture was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG: Tracy really did not like this film. She doesn’t like seeing any movie in which animals are abused, and this one features horses being ill-treated early on, and a pride of lions being put down later on. Overall she liked it, she admitted, but not enough to overturn the animal abuse. I never saw this movie while growing up, although my best friend did. I guess I just didn’t realize what it was.

FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND: A Frankenstein movie involving time travel. I had completey forgotten I’d seen this movie until I saw the DVD packaging. I remember the same person who showed this movie to me also showed me The Bride, but I have no memory of who that person was. Like The Bride, Frankenstein Unbound treats the creation of Frankenstein’s first creature as “read” and picks up with the creation of a mate for the creature.

This time around, the late great John Hurt plays a scientist from the year 2031, thrust back in time due to an unforeseen side-effect of a weapon he created. In the past, Victor Frankenstein and Mary Shelley are contemporaries. John Hurt’s War Doctor would definitely not approve of his character’s action in this film. Definitely a divergent timeline! An interesting and unique twist on the legend.

I don't remember the animal abuse in MJY, I'll have to give that another look.

It wasn't abuse by the characters, per se, but whatever they were doing behind the scenes to get the horses to react to willis O'Brein's animation... particularly the horse which was tied to the tree. Also, Joe beats one of the lions to death.

We just finished watching Hacksaw Ridge* and, earlier in the week, Loving.** Both are excellent movies.

*starring Andrew Garfield, of Amazing Spider-Man. He was nominated for a best actor Oscar for Hacksaw Ridge

**starring Ruth Negga of Preacher and Agents of SHIELD. She was nominated for a best actress Oscar for Loving

Jeff of Earth-J said:

particularly the horse which was tied to the tree

Apparently new guidelines against mistreatment of animals were put in place coming into the 40s, but I would think standards are stricter today. To my eye it looks like the bits with the tied horse have been sped up as a comic effect, and that makes the horse seem more frantic.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND: A Frankenstein movie involving time travel. I had completey forgotten I’d seen this movie until I saw the DVD packaging.

The film was based on a Brian Aldiss novel, but I haven't read/seen them. I would think the title was a play on Prometheus Unbound. Mary Shelley's novel was sub-titled The Modern Prometheus, of course. 

Frankenstein: The True Story was co-written by Christopher Isherwood, who wrote the stories Cabaret was based on.

"I would think the title was a play on Prometheus Unbound."


I forwarded that"Hollywood Horses" article to Tracy. Then I read it. Then I sent her another e-mail advising her not to read it. (That's the kind of thing that will put her off for the entire day.)

KING KONG (1976): I was 12 years old when this movie came out. (The perfect age.) I was already familiar with the original, and I went to see this remake with my brother & sister-in-law, and my sister and brother-in-law at the theatre. (The perfect conditions.) (In subsequent years, the five of us would see The Deep and Star Trek: The Motion Picture together. I thought Jessica Lange was hot. I wasn’t wrong. This movie still holds up for me. I think they did a good job updating it. I thought it was really cool that Kong climbed the World Trade Center rather than the Empire State Building this time. I remember discussing this movie with my peers at the time (who also thought Jessica Lange was hot). We were all in agreement that what set this movie apart from the original was Beauty’s attitude toward the Beast.

KING KONG LIVES!: I don’t remember when this movie was shown in theatres; I completely missed it. I bought it on full-screen VHS in the nineties. Sometime after we were married, Tracy and I worked our way through the “King Kong” movies as we are doing again now, but she put her foot down when it came to King Kong Lives! (which would ave been our last one), saying, “I’ve had enough monkey movies!” Consequently, she has never seen it, and last night was only my second time.

It’s pretty bad, but it wasn’t bad in quite the way I remember it being bad. The movie picks up two years after the end of the previous one. Scientists managed to get Kong’s heart started again, but he has remained in a coma ever since. They are ready to transplant an artificial heart, but he needs a transfusion to survive the surgery. Enter Lady Kong. I think what I objected to the first time was I didn’t like the thought of Kong lying comatose for two years. Now I just think of it as a bad movie in the way Godzilla: 1985 is a bad movie: it’s just not very entertaining. Nor is it so bad it’s good. I really can’t recommend anyone wasting his time watching this one.

I don't always link to my movie reviews here, but since I liked this one so much I want to draw your attention to the darkly comic slasher film Prevenge, now screening in NYC and LA and available streaming on Shudder. If it sounds like it's up your alley, check it out.

I'd say the same about Godzilla vs. Destroyer, the film that killed Godzilla off in Japan for the American film they since made fun of. Not entertaining unless you've always wanted to watch Godzilla die in one of his movies. (In which case the original is much better, if you can get past Raymond Burr saying his name is Steve Martin.)

A giant ape also briefly appears in the Abbott and Costello film Africa Screams.

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