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 don't remember if I've already mentioned this, but we watched the first two Bourne movies recently. (The third you have to pay $3.99 for, and we aren't going to, on principle.) They were mildly entertaining. Evidently these movies were structured around car chases, because every excuse was made to get Matt Damon, a vehicle, and pursuers into dramatic, vehicle-unfriendly scenarios. There were a lot of foot chases, too, but the car things really stood out. Much effort was made.

I'm well trained to be sympathetic to the lead character no matter what, but something about Damon's face or haircut or acting or something occasionally made me think, "He looks like a thug." Then I'd remember he was the protagonist and shove that thought aside.

It was kinda weird. Maybe as a lifelong nerd I'm also trained to be suspicious of athletic, buzzcut guys who don't seem very smart. They were the bullies of my childhood.

I have seen recently movie is harry potter and This is my favorite movie.


I watched Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese last night. It's streaming on Netflix, and full of great Dylan performances from the tours in 1975 and 1976, plus ones from Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell and more -- back when songs like "Isis" and "Hurricane" and "Coyotes" were fresh and new. It's a really neat movie... but don't take everything in it at face value. In true Trickster Bob fashion, some bits of it are a put-on. 

Finally saw Spider-man: Far From Home. We enjoyed it, but we were both a little disappointed. Maybe it's superhero movie fatigue. And the epilogue... But that's another thread.

Once Upon a Time in America: a brilliantly-made, well-acted movie marred somewhat by a dubious take on Bruce Lee and an ending that leans to Tarantino being unable to stop being Tarantino, even when the movie calls for something else.

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation: Good as a sort of History 101 of Woodstock.

My Generation: Michael Caine looks back on the 60s as he and England experienced them. Curious note: Caine emphasizes the shift in class expectations, so that guys like him, from the working class, could become famous. This is true of the men giving present-day interviews. The famous women giving present-day interviews were middle-to-upper class.

More (1969): an old drug culture movie set on Ibiza that works well for what it is.

Mid90s (2018): well-made skate kid film with an ending that doesn't quite stick.

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999): The second straight-to-video in the turn-of-the-millennium Scooby revival: the first two acts are basically an ep of The New Scooby-Doo Movies with Not-Stephen-King as special guest. The final act goes in its own direction, and has one truly hilarious moment between Shaggy and genuinely evil villain.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960): We finally saw the influential kitchen sink movie that made Albert Finney's career. I recommend it. Not so much a black-and-white film as a grey one.

JD, we know your meant Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

I did indeed... Although Once Upon a Time in America is also an interesting view.

At least I didn't confuse Crash (1996) and Crash (2004)!

Richard Willis said:

JD, we know your meant Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

One time Tracy and I went to Blockbuster with the intention of renting Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. We asked the clerk if they carried it, and she suggested, "We have The Man Who Knew Too Little."

Yeah, thanks... that's close enough.

For years now we've used that as a catch phrase for whenever we can't find exactly what we're looking for.

A while back we saw Diana Ross Live in Central Park, a documentary about the concerts she gave there in 1983. "Concerts" because, unfortunately, on the designated day, July 21, there was a massive rain storm full of thunder and lightning. 30 minutes in, she called it off, afraid someone might get electrocuted. Ross declared she'd do the concert the next day, and lo and behold, she did.

The movie shows most of the aborted concert and the fuller reprise. On the plus side, it puts the event in the context of the time, showing news coverage of the big stories of the year. On the minus side, it also had interviews with every one of Diana Ross's children, each gushing about how wonderful and fabulous and outstanding she is. 

The full concert, amazingly, took place on a clear, sunny day. Kudos to New York City's parks department, which somehow cleaned up the site within 24 hours and made sure it wasn't a field of mud. 

Ross performed alone on a bare stage, with the orchestra out of sight underneath. She did only one number, "Maniac," with a dancer, famed choreographer Michael Peters. Otherwise, it's all her, commanding the crowd with sheer stage presence.

Ha, Jeff, that's hilarious! And CK, I love the electric performances that get captured in concert films -- sounds worth checking out (and maybe fast-forwarding a little through the interviews). 

I started watching The Glass Key last night, with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake... and halfway through it, I started thinking, "Hey, isn't this my favorite movie?" And yeah, it pretty much is.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I started watching The Glass Key last night, with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake... and halfway through it, I started thinking, "Hey, isn't this my favorite movie?" And yeah, it pretty much is.

Somehow I haven't seen The Glass Key. I looked it up on IMDB, which helpfully told me it's on TCM this Tuesday, as part of a Brian Donlevy film festival, including his first appearance as Professor Quatermass.

Yeah, I think it was TCM's previous screening that's been sitting on my Tivo for months. But I went through and set a bunch of TCM movies to record the other day, saw The Glass Key was coming up again, and decided I really should get to it!

Last night we saw Pavarotti, a documentary from Ron Howard about the life and loves of Luciano Pavarotti, the superstar tenor. Howard pulls together footage of Pavarotti from various sources, augmented with interviews from his wife, daughters, and a couple of his mistresses -- one of whom became his second wife after news broke about a tryst they had in Jamaica. 

I found the movie informative, but reviewers at NPR ("Pavarotti Documentary Misses All the Right Notes") and The Washington Post ("Even Opera Lovers Should Grit Their Teeth and Watch This Mediocre Pavarotti Film") were underwhelmed.

Although the movie covers Pavarotti's trajectory from humble teacher who sang on the side to fledgling tenor to opera singer to celebrity to international megastar, both critics think it failed to dig very deeply into how he went wrong. He definitely put fame and riches above his art, but the movie doesn't condemn him for that, although it seems the opera community would.

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