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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We just watched Split (2016), written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Anyone who loved Unbreakable (2000) will want to see this and the 2019 movie Glass.

I watched The Lego Batman Movie this evening. What a great film. Sure, it was nothing earth-shattering, but it had a great message and a fun story. I didn't expect all of the "out of DCU" characters to show up, so that was fun. I love how expressive they manage to make characters who are made out of Legos.

Watched "It Follows" and enjoyed it. My wife thought it was stupid.

I think the non-ending turned her off. And even I noticed that they took every opportunity to show the lead actress in underwear/swimsuit. Not that I minded, but still.

But as I said, I rather enjoyed it. Some thoughts:

* Where were the parents? Mentioned occasionally, but evidently these kids are entirely on their own. Even when kids of at least three families take off together without explanation overnight.

* I guessed it was set in Detroit before they mentioned the Eight Mile. All those abandoned buildings. I wondered if that was a metaphor for something, but I couldn't make use of it. Maybe it was just for atmosphere.

* Yes, some (including my wife) think the whole movie is a metaphor for AIDS. I don't get that vibe. You can't get rid of AIDS by passing it on. AIDS doesn't disguise itself as your grandmother or strangers who have met violent deaths. I think this may be another reason my wife didn't like it -- she thought it was a metaphor for AIDS, but one that was badly done. I don't think it was a metaphor for anything.

* I think most of us probably don't watch slasher movies because halfway in we've figured out the rules and a way to survive, but the idiots on screen are too stupid to do so and we lose interest in them. But this movie ... well, there's no way out. Ever. When they shot the damn thing in the head and It got up, I knew they had exhausted their options.

* I actually didn't expect physical force to work. I also didn't expect the thing to be physical. I was surprised to discover it was just invisible, amd not intangible, and that force did work, at least temporarily. What kind of monster is both physical AND psychological? Well, aside from one it's hard to beat.

* On at least two occasions Jay knew she was essentially murdering someone by having sex with them. (In the case of the three on the boat, I really don't want to know how she picked her victim, even if she did all three of them. Only the first would die. Did she pick the dumbest? The most aggressive? What an ugly lottery.) At least she had the courtesy to feel bad about it.

* Sex happened a lot in this movie, but it wasn't emphasized. Jay didn't even seem to enjoy it. It was mechanical, it was joyless, it was soul-dead. I'm pretty sure the boyhood pal passed it on temporarily to a prostitute, but we weren't even shown the deed. The boat sex was implied. Other sex was mostly clothed. Yes, there is sex. No, it is not titillating. I appreciate that -- I don't want kids to be punished for having fun, and I'm sick of the sex=death trope of slasher movies. Here, sex was almost a physical function, liked eating, not morally good or bad. "It" didn't seem to be passing judgment, it was just following its nature.

* Jay sure liked to stare at nature blankly. Trees. Clouds. Grass. She was a bit moody. Or maybe dreamy. I think they were going for a nightmare feeling. In a nightmare, of course, you can't escape.

* The music, I thought, played fair. When it got scary, that damned thing showed up.

* The shot of the naked man on Jay's roof could have been a laugh cue. But I wasn't laughing. That was downright creepy.

* The monster "isn't dumb," Hugh said. It figured out the swimming pool right away. And it had a good throwing arm, too -- I don't think it missed Jay once with all those thrown objects.

* Nobody ever ran out of gas or bullets in this movie. That's actually pretty common, but I was reminded during all the driving scenes.

* I haven't seen any of the actors in this movie in anything else. That's rare enough to mention.

* I liked the cinematography. Lots of slow 360 shots, which is what the lead character would have to do her whole life. It felt threatening.

* Speaking of which, I don't understand how anyone lives long enough to figure out the rules of this thing. Hugh gave Jay a heads up (in perhaps the cruelest way possible), but who helped him stay alive long enough to figure it out? I can't imagine anyone surviving his or her first encounter. Maybe one, but certainly not two.

* How could Hugh (I don't remember his real name) continue to live at home with that thing stalking him? In fact, why WAS he still living at home? Everybody seems to in this movie, but the parents are never on camera. It certainly solves the dilemma of "I have to go to work and be in one place for eight hours for the thing to find me."

* Everyone in this movie is also white. Detroit is mostly black, but these were suburban kids. The Eight Mile is both a race and class divide. It would make sense that they were a bit more upscale (although not very upscale) and therefore white. It just made me wonder suddenly why scary movies aren't ever aimed at black kids. Maybe real life is already scary enough.

* When the thing killed Greg, it seemed to be an almost grotesque parody of sex. And since it looked like his Mom, extra yuch. Maybe the thing is sex-driven, but it doesn't know how to do it without killing you.

* Speaking of Greg, they played fair with him -- he was off somewhere whenever there was definite proof the thing existed. So he wasn't dumb; he just hadn't seen any proof, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So I knew he was doomed.

* Jay seems to be in college or junior college. According to Wikipedia, though, her sister is older (although she looks younger). She's apparently working at a fast-food place. I guess Jay is the smart one or the favored child. Just observations.

* The lead actress was 19 when this was filmed in 2014. If they made a sequel, she'd probably look different -- she'd lose baby fat in her face, gain weight in her hips, etc. Of course, the character would be different, too -- if she's still alive three years later, she's probably more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer than the dreamy, passive teen we saw in the movie.

* A sequel was planned, according to Wiki, that hasn't happened yet. This would involve the victims tracking the monster back through its victims to its origin. That would be interesting. I had an inkling of that at the end, where I thought that the best way for all the victims to protect themselves is to gang up (since they can see it) and protect the latest victim in perpetuity. About the only way you could survive this thing is to have independent financing (so you could run perpetually) and have a lot of people around you who could see it and keep watch while you sleep.

* This raises another question. What happens when the monster runs out of victims? The oldest possible victim would be under 100 (and I doubt any make it that far), as people don't live forever. It seems to me that this thing could easily kill itself off, or at least stop being a problem, by running out of victims in a single generation. Of course, we don't really know how it works. It could self-regenerate under whatever circumstances spawn it.

That's enough for now. I thought it was a decent horror movie -- more suspense and dread than horror. Very tightly directed, and it kept me engaged. The lead actress was likable, and I was rooting for her to survive, although I couldn't figure out how she would. So I'd recommend it.

I recently watched It Follows also. The lead actress, Maika Monroe, was well-cast.

As for "how does anybody live long enough to figure this out," I guess this is a case of suspension of disbelief. If nobody figures it out then everyone affected is blind-sided and dies without a clue, which means no coherent movie.

It is a well-done movie, with a lot of truly creepy bits.

I liked It Follows a lot. I think I may have posted something about it earlier in this thread. Horror is a genre where every idea is instantly copied over and over again until all of the life has been bled out of it, so it’s always nice to come across something that feels fresh.

It seems like there is a bit of a metaphor for STDs there, but as Cap says it does break down upon close inspection.  More accurately it’s tapping in to the archetypal story about the curse that is passed on through deception.  What moral or ethical boundary is someone willing to cross in order to rid themselves of the curse? It allows us to view the true darker nature that people would normally conceal but are forced to confront when faced with something horrific. In this case an invisible entity that stalks them.   

Another aspect of It Follows was that it made me subtly nostalgic for my own (pre-Internet) youth. The sets were kind of a mish-mash, with '80s vehicles and '70s interior designs and '90s clothes and so forth. It felt pretty familiar. 

As did the absolute boredom of the "kids." I remember pre-Internet life, when some summer days you had absolutely exhausted any way to amuse yourself, and there was just nothing to do. Days when your isolation was pretty complete, when you sit and watch the sun go down (or, as our heroine does, just watch clouds or trees) because there's just nothing else to do.

In the movie, only one character stares at her smartphone all the time, while the rest all sit around watching old B&W movies or playing cards or just being young and bored. Now, of course, everyone's got their face glued to a screen every moment they are awake, and there's always something to do -- if you run out of tasks, you check your mail or your Facebook feed or whatever.

I'm not sure "nostalgic" is the word for how I feel about those pre-Internet days. Sure, I miss having the time to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty. But I don't miss the boredom, which alternated with rootless impatience for my life to begin. I also don't miss the lack of stimuli -- there was nothing in those days to provoke the mind except the dirt and trees and cars and grass right in front of you. TV was just three channels and often terrible, most movies were fantasy-free and while there were books, you either had to go to the library to get them or *choke* spend your precious lawn-mowing money buying them. That was one of the reasons I loved comics -- it was a cheap escape from the pedestrian and mundane nature of real life for an active and imaginative tweenager for whom the miracle of life was stultifying boring.

But this movie reflected that almost forgotten reality, and was enhanced by the dreaminess of the direction. Whether that was on purpose or not I don't know, but I did find myself vaguely reminiscing about the long summer days where watching a bug crawl up the stairs was the height of entertainment. Where doing nothing was what you did because it was too hot to get up and besides, there was nowhere interesting to go. So you just watch the bug ...

On another note, could It Follows be a meditation on the dangers of meaningless sex? The ending seems to suggest that the way to deal with the Follower is to build a relationship before or with a sexual relationship, instead of the bored, mechanical version we saw through most of the movie. When Jay and Paul finally hook up, they are seen holding hands, and looking forward, not backward (where that person in the background may or may not be the Follower). The suggestion is that meaningless hook-ups is what attracts it, whereas genuine relationships hold it at bay.

Or maybe I'm overthinking it!



Captain Comics said:


On another note, could It Follows be a meditation on the dangers of meaningless sex? The ending seems to suggest that the way to deal with the Follower is to build a relationship before or with a sexual relationship, instead of the bored, mechanical version we saw through most of the movie. When Jay and Paul finally hook up, they are seen holding hands, and looking forward, not backward (where that person in the background may or may not be the Follower). The suggestion is that meaningless hook-ups is what attracts it, whereas genuine relationships hold it at bay.

Or maybe I'm overthinking it!


I don't think you're overthinking it Cap. The best types of horror movies, IMO, are the ones that get us thinking along those lines and coming up with various interpretations. I like your train of thought there. As a slight variation, maybe we could even say that the entity is a manifestation of guilt or shame associated with meaningless sex and that passing it along to the next person is a way of trying to alleviate or exorcise those feelings of guilt and regret. Even if the filmmaker wasn't consciously thinking about that it could have been in the back of his mind when he came up with the ideas for the movie.

We just watched Get Out (2017). It's a very entertaining suspense movie. Nothing supernatural but a touch of Robin Cook. Several excellent actors turning in very good performances.

Saw Centurion, a Romans-in-Scotland movie from the UK, starring Michael Fassbender. It was pretty good, if a bit predictable. Decent acting, gorgeous scenery.

To my surprise, it turned out to be a prequel of sorts to The Eagle, a Romans-in-Germany movie I didn't enjoy quite as much. Evidently the Fassbender character is the father of the lead character in The Eagle. I'm not sure that's even mentioned anywhere, so the connection is pretty tangential.

Hmm. Come to think of it, both movies might involve the Roman Ninth Legion. So that may be a connection.

John Wick 2

If you saw the first John Wick film and thought, "Gee, this is good but I wish there was even more violence and even less story," then John Wick 2 is for you. 

Ninja Assasin (2009)

At first glance, I assumed this was probably some kind of pedestrian uninspired video game adaptation or something but it was actually much better than that. Made by the same team that did the V for Vendetta adaptation (The Wachowskis and James McTiegue) it features a script/story by J Michael Straczynski and comes off as a sort of simplified version Marvel's Master of Kung Fu comic from the 70s.

I just watched Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place, with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. Fascinating movie, really tense and dark and emotionally brutal. There's a murder at the center of it, but it's unclear if Bogart, suspected of it, actually did the deed. At first you don't think so... but then, as the movie goes on, you begin to doubt...

It's a movie I'd intended to watch for a while, since I first heard it described on Filmspotting. 

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