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 enjoyed Hateful Eight. It has such a great cast and I always enjoy Tarantino movies.

Speaking of Get Out, director Jordan Peele and studios Blumhouse and Universal have submitted it for Golden Globes consideration ...  in the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category.

Why? I figure they're gaming the system. Although Get Out has its humorous moments, it is not a comedy -- but horror movies have almost no shot at winning awards outside of the special-effects, sound and costuming categories. The last one to win Best Picture at the Oscars was Silence of the Lambs back in 1991.

Jordan Peele explains his reasoning at Deadline Hollywood Daily: "‘Get Out’s Jordan Peele Responds to Golden Globes Category"

Since the Golden Globes has multiple (actually two) best picture categories, I'd like to see them create a "Best Science Fiction, Horror or Fantasy Film" category, since it is so hard for quality work in these genres to be recognized. There was a stink made in the 2016 awards when The Martian won as best comedy or musical. Like Get Out, it deserved an award and should not have had to be shoehorned in as a comedy when it wasn't. Too bad the Oscars can't create more than one best picture award. They finally broke out the animated films, but they should have more.

Didn't the Oscars break out the animated films category because they didn't want the embarrassment that would come with having "one of those" actually winning Best Picture? I think the segregation cheapens the award.

The Oscars created the animated films category after Disney's Beauty and The Beast was nominated for Best Picture. It lost to Silence of the Lambs -- which, as noted above, was the last horror movie to win Best Picture.

More here: "How 'Beauty and the Beast' Changed Oscar's Best Picture Race Forever"

I finally watched Suicide Squad last night (on HBO). I was able to enjoy it by pretty much turning off my critical faculties. Like, the preposterous premise of them defending humanity from an ancient inter-dimensional spirit. The actors all seemed to be having a good time, so I did, too.

Suicide Squad, which I saw on rental disk, was pretty enjoyable to me, also. Like some other movies and shows, I let it wash over me with little critical attention. I believe they took pains to add lighter scenes before it was released. I think test screenings led them to do this after many comments about it being too dark. 

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

I finally watched Suicide Squad last night (on HBO). I was able to enjoy it by pretty much turning off my critical faculties. Like, the preposterous premise of them defending humanity from an ancient inter-dimensional spirit. The actors all seemed to be having a good time, so I did, too.

Watched Kong: Skull Island. Really enjoyed it.

Tom Hiddleston seemed largely wasted, just standing around looking buff and grim. Ditto Brie Larson, who was pretty but also pretty bland. (I'll give an Oscar to whoever designed her bra, however.)

I don't blame the actors much -- they simply weren't given a lot of acting to do. Running and yelling, sure, but not acting.

But Sam Jackson, who never seems to age, gave a typically outsize Jackson performance and was easy to hate. John C. Reilly gave a typically outsize Reilly performance and was easy to love. Loved the credits sequence.

Kong was CGI via motion-capture, which could have been awful, but this movie was released on IMAX so obviously they had to make the effect flawless, which they did. The action sequences were genuinely exciting, those involving both humans and monsters.

Spoiler -- Kong doesn't die in the end, like in the 1933 version. (And the later ones, come to think of it.) Presumably that's so he can fight Godzilla later, which Reilly sets up by noting that Kong, who is big but not Godzilla big, is "still growing." 

Still, there's an air of poignancy about the film, as we are all now environmentally aware enough to feel bad that Kong is the last of his kind, and that Skull Island -- now that the world is aware of it -- will be explored, exploited and come to an end as a unique place.

I have seen Kong twice now - in the theatre and on DVD -  enjoyed it the second time around as much I did the first. There were some great song choices for the soundtrack.

I have trief to watch Kong three times now. I keep falling asleep.

Watched The French Connection for the first time on Sunday night. It definitely has that gritty, cynical feel that was popular in film during the early Seventies prior to Lucas and Spielberg turning the industry to a more upbeat approach.

Central Intelligence is one of those movies I saw in bits and pieces because it's always on when I'm visiting someone else. The other day, I sat down and watched the whole thing. 

It's a buddy comedy featuring Kevin Hart and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, subverting his image as a strong tough guy. It begins with a flashback set 20 years in the past, when both were high school seniors. Hart is the big man on campus -- star athlete, top scholar, most likely to succeed, etc., etc. -- and The Rock is a schlubby kid who suffers a monstrous act of bullying that embarrasses him before the entire school. 

Flash forward to today, and Hart is an accountant, bored with life and uninterested in attending his 20-year high school reunion. Out of the blue, he gets a Facebook friend request from a "Bob Stone," who turns out to be "The Rock"; the schlubby kid spent the past 20 years pumping iron six hours a day every day. 

He also is a CIA agent, chasing after a McGuffin: nuclear codes being sold via a mysterious online auction. The Rock needs Hart, because somehow his accounting skills will discern where and when the sale will take place. Then the two of them are pursued by a team of CIA agents; they tell Hart that The Rock is a renegade who killed his partner and plans to buy the codes himself. Naturally, The Rock's explanation is that he's honest and the team of CIA agents are the renegades. And hilarity ensues.

The Rock plays his character as a man who has changed on the outside but not the inside; he's still the doofus nerd he was in high school, still carries the scars from bullying, and looks up to Hart as the one guy who was ever nice to him. Kevin Hart is, well, Kevin Hart. Also along for the ride is Danielle Nicolette as the prettiest girl in school, now married to Hart. We know her as District Attorney Cecile on The Flash -- and she is, of course, lovely, and also is about the only actress in Hollywood who is shorter than Kevin Hart. 

It's good dumb fun if you don't think about it too hard. 

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