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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Easy Rider opened in Cannes in May 1969, followed by staggered releases in many countries that year. Its US debut was apparently in New York City on July 14, 1969, fifty years ago yesterday.

I think I saw it in early 1970, after getting out of the Army. The ending, now well known, was not generally known at that time. I remember how angry it made the audience, including me. We erupted from the theater as almost an angry mob. I realized shortly that the movie was intentionally pushing our buttons. A good illustration of film as political propaganda. We were siding with lovable smugglers of heroin, just because murderous KKK-types were worse.

Rob and Richard, you two guys need to watch Electra Glide in Blue (if you haven't seen it) in comparison.

I watched Electra Glide in Blue when it first came out. It didn't impress me. I've rewatched Easy Rider a few times over the years and have (somewhere) the vinyl LP of the songs.

I saw Easy Rider for the first time a year or two ago, and was underwhelmed. I felt the same way I did with Last Tango in Paris and Pulp Fiction: I didn't see it when it was out, and seeing it all these years later, I didn't get what the big deal was.

Just scratched Zombieland off my to-do list, a movie that's about to have a sequel (somehow). One reason it got on my list is that sometime in the past, I noticed that a lot of people who were or would become famous were in it. And I got fooled.

Yes, Woody Harrelson (playing Woody Harrelson). Yes, Bill Murray (yes, playing Bill Murray, literally). Yes, John Cera, when he was making a living playing hapless nerds. And then this girl, who was made up to look like Mila Kunis, and I kept saying to my wife, "look, they're trying to make her look like Mila Kunis!" And she rolled her eyes, thinking I had some sort of thing for Mila Kunis.

But that wasn't it at all. It was Emma Stone! She was a lot taller than Cera, which threw me off (she is not)\. and they did, I swear, do what they could to make her look like Mila Kunis (whom I've only seen, actually, in whiskey commercials, but am somehow familiar with). Her black wig, her eye makeup -- aside from the wandering eye, sometimes she looked exactly like Kunis.

But I should have realized that my Peter Tingle about this actress meant that I DID know her, but placed the info somewhere else. I got fooled. and I have no excuses -- just regrets.

Zombieland sound like a lot of fun. I've added it to my streaming list. Amazingly, they're in post-production on a sequel (Zombieland: Double Tap) ten years later, with the same cast!

Emma Stone had dark hair in Easy A*, the first thing I saw her in, which was released a year after Zombieland. She was so good in that that I was sure she had a big future.

* A high school take off on The Scarlet Letter. She becomes popular by pretending to be, as they say, easy. 

I remember wanting to see Easy A, both because of Tina Fry's involvement, and the fact that it's such a clever title.

This movie is just pure fun. I own it, but I don't think I've watched it in probably ten years. I need to remedy that.

Captain Comics said:

Just scratched Zombieland off my to-do list, a movie that's about to have a sequel (somehow). 

I watched Shazam this evening. I loved it! It was absolutely fun, and the perfect representation of a boy who suddenly has the powers granted by a mysterious wizard. I really liked the way he granted his powers to his brothers and sisters, and the lessons he learned were perfect for an origin story.

  • Sivana was the perfect representation of evil from a young age into adulthood.
  • I loved it when Freddy carried the bullies by the underwear at the end.
  • The girl who played Debra was perfect.
  • I thought the Shazam actor did a great job of a boy in a man's body (which makes much more sense to me than the schizo "boy and wise man" duplicity that made the character unnecessarily confusing, IMO).
  • I also liked how the kid could be pure of heart while still being a criminal at the beginning. It shows that sometimes good kids can act out in ways they don't understand when they are so hardened from their lot with life. As a teacher for 18 years, I can assure you that this is much of the reason that there are so many kids with behavioral issues in the world today. I'm so happy to see it addressed in such a positive way instead of the "bad kid is always wrong in the heart" way of the world.
  • The way the foster parents meant so well and were so kind-hearted was so beautifully shown.

I know a bunch of people probably complained about this, but haters gonna hate.

*I might add that my one nitpick with the movie has nothing to do with the story, the acting, or the writing. It's the fact that someone in production saw Spider-Man Homecoming's closing credits, which was a Ramones song played over notebook-scribbled pictures, and thought, "Hey, that's cool! Let's COPY THAT EXACTLY."

That's just plain embarrassing. And there's no "it came out too late for them to change it" excuse, either.

Another note on Shazam!: John Glover has now played the father of Lex Luthor and the father of Sivana.

And the role was essentially identical. Do all supervillains have cruel, rich masters of the universe fathers?

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

Another note on Shazam!: John Glover has now played the father of Lex Luthor and the father of Sivana.

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