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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Eighth Grade (2018): the film festival crowd may have set up unrealistically high expectations for this movie, but it's worth seeing. Someone captured some of the more difficult aspects of adolescence, contextualized them in the present, and found a really gifted actress on which to hang the film.

Knights of the Round Table (1953): a rather doofy adaptation (more than once, we found ourselves thinking of Monty Python) of the Arthurian story via Mallory. Its narrator says the story takes place in "the old days," which I assume accounts for the blend of everywhen between the fall of Rome and the High Renaissance (with 1950s hair and make-up). One extra even gets one of those horned Opera Viking helmets.

Then again, Mallory's history is pretty blended, too.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018).  A lot of spectacle and set-up.  If you've enjoyed the other Harry Potter movies, there's no reason why you wouldn't enjoy this.  

As I was watching I thought of Frank Sinatra.  What a weird thing to think about, you say.  Frank Sinatra, when he sang, had wonderful diction and annunciation, which is the opposite of this movie.  So many of these characters mumble (not just Newt) that I'm sure I missed some important dialogue.  It's not just a dialect thing.  It must be a creative choice, but I don't understand its purpose.  

Kind of a SPOILER ALERT:

Grindelwald has a Magneto vibe going.  Like Magneto he's not entirely wrong.  I'm thinking specifically of the images he "creates" of the future (from the perspective of 1927).  He does evil things, make no mistake, but it has some nuance.

END of "kind of a SPOILER ALERT"

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).  That was a a fun way to kill two hours. I didn't see the first Ralph movie, but I didn't feel lost.

Finally saw Solo: A Star Wars Story. Alden Ehrenreich did a good job playing a young Han Solo and there was nothing wrong with the casting and storytelling.

If it didn't do well at the box office, I think it's because many people refused to give it a chance. They refused to see anyone but Harrison Ford play the character.

I agree. I also agree with another post here that said something to the effect of, "Han Solo isn't interesting. Harrison Ford is. Without Harrison Ford, there's nothing to watch."

The two ideas aren't mutually exclusive.

When Harrison Ford stares at something/someone blankly you can see the wheels turning in his head. Not so with most actors.

I hadn't thought of it that way, Richard, but now I do. That's a good way to phrase it.

In the various Indiana Jones movies, I could see him trying to work things out on his face. He wasn't a Superman. He was flying by the seat of his pants, and he had no idea what to do next, but made it up on the fly -- and was generally competent enough that his ad hoc efforts tended to work out. (Plus, the writers made sure it did.) Anyway, I was working it out right along with him, because Ford made me feel that way.

Or a quicker way to say all that is, "When Harrison Ford stares at something/someone blankly you can see the wheels turning in his head."

ROOTS, Pt 3:

With part three we say goodbye to Levar Burton and hello to John Amos as Kunta Kinte. I’ve been a fan of John Amos in everything I’ve seen him in from Good Times to The West Wing, but Roots had such an impression on me that I had a hard time seeing Levar Burton as anyone other than Kunta Kinte. When Star Trek: The Next Generation began, I thought “Toby” rather than “Geordi.” By the time he had appeared in several Star Trek movies and on The Big Bang Theory I had gotten over that notion, and I knew, if I ever saw Roots again, I would be struck by how young he looks.

Last week I mentioned the music; this week, the casting. I think that there was an effective disconnect concerning how many “good guy” TV dads were cast as Ben Cartwright, Mike Brady, John Walton, Lucas McCain.

12 YEARS A SLAVE: Inspired by watching Roots, Tracy wanted to see 12 years a slave. Neither one of us had seen it before. I wanted to wait until we finished Roots, but Tracy wanted to watch it now. 12 Years a Slave makes Roots look like Gone with the Wind.

Being old, I first encountered John Amos on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where he played the weatherman.

IMO, Good Times was only good when John Amos was in it. I could relate to his father character because he reminded me of my father, working hard in a not-great job. 

Well, we knew how that conversation was going to end.  ;)



Jeff of Earth-J said:

Inspired by watching Roots, Tracy wanted to see 12 years a slave. Neither one of us had seen it before. I wanted to wait until we finished Roots, but Tracy wanted to watch it now. 

Yeah, Good Times went downhill fast when it became "The J.J. Show".

Richard Willis said:

Being old, I first encountered John Amos on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where he played the weatherman.

IMO, Good Times was only good when John Amos was in it. I could relate to his father character because he reminded me of my father, working hard in a not-great job. 

I left a word or two out of my most recent post above. I meant to say: "I think that there was an effective disconnect concerning how many “good guy” TV dads were cast as slave owners."

Yeah, my brain kind of filled that in.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I left a word or two out of my most recent post above. I meant to say: "I think that there was an effective disconnect concerning how many “good guy” TV dads were cast as slave owners."

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