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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By a strange coincidence and out of the blue, I watched KING KONG VS GODZILLA and while it is campy and ridiculous in places, it has not aged well. Japanese people wearing blackface to portray presumably African natives (since it is a King Kong film) despite the island being in the Pacific Ocean! The characters are very broad and silly. 

And, of course, that Kong suit was just terrible, combined with unconvincing puppet work!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

GODZILLA 2000: After those two "dark" ones, I had to cleanse my visual palate with one in which I could at least discern the action. I will always have a soft spot for Godzilla 2000, it being the first Godzilla movie I saw on the big screen. Plus, itthe first of a new series... AND Godzilla appears within the first four minutes of the film! 

On the old board, our resident Godzilla expert (Hi, Bob!) identified six different Godzilla continuities (plus three distict off-shoots). On that scale, Godzilla 2000 is Earth-4; Shin Godzilla would be Earth-7 and Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters would both be Earth-8. 

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

I had wanted to see this for some time and finally was able to see it on HBO Max. Samuel L. Jackson is usually the badass in his movies but here he is competent but almost a damsel in distress. It's an interesting reversal. Geena Davis, being six feet tall, is usually impressive but seldom gets to be anything but loveable. Here she gets to be two characters inhabiting one body. The way she relates to her daughter before and after regaining her memory of being an ultra-competent government agent is jarring. A very good movie.

Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

This begins in the distant future (2031) in New Los Angeles. Joseph Buchanan (John Hurt) is trying to sell what is supposed to be a disintegrating beam to the military. It is actually a beam that sends the target to another time. It's interesting that his car sounds like Alexa and will come to him when summoned by a device (which in the real world came on the market this year). Of course, messing with time has severe consequences. He finds himself (and his car!) in early 19th century Switzerland and interacting with Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Mary not-yet-Shelley and a real-life Victor Frankenstein, his monster and other characters from the book. The design of the monster is the only thing I didn't like because It doesn't look like it was made from human parts.

Ran across the Jason Momoa "Conan" and out of morbid curiosity watched it.

Yes, it sank without a ripple because it's not a good movie. There's a lot wrong with it, like Momoa failing to act AT ALL and mumbling all his lines. And many, many bits lifted from lots better movies and TV shows. (For example, the main plot is lifted almost entirely from Lord of the Rings, but instead of ancient, powerful rings the bad guy is seeking to become all-powerful, it's pieces of an ancient, powerful mask that will make him all-powerful.)

But the main problem from my POV is that it made the same mistake the Schwarzenegger movies made, which is to toss out REH's Conan personality for a generic stoic warrior.

Here's what the movies leave out:

1. Conan has gigantic mirths

2. Conan has deep melancholies

3. Conan loathes slavery

4. Conan treats women better than anyone else in his stories

5. Conan exemplifies the clean honor of the wild, as opposed to the conniving, lying, perversions of "civilization," for which he has contempt

6. Conan is, without question, the most honorable person in any story he's in

7. Conan generally won't kill you unless you first try to kill him

8. Conan won't own anybody, especially women, whom he routinely tells can stay or go, as he has no claim on them. (This generally results in them falling in love with him, but hey, it is a fantasy series aimed at boys.)

9. Conan is extremely intelligent, picking up languages just by traveling

And so on. Conan is NOT stoic. Conan does NOT push women around. Conan does NOT own slaves. And so on. He has a personal code of honor, which is invariably head and shoulders above those who claim to be honorable, like royalty.

Also, Conan does NOT take magic in stride, instead having an atavistic reaction to it, as it's not part of the natural world. The movie makes all these mistakes.

It makes others, too, like renaming Shadizar the Wicked for no reason, and using a generic sorcerer villain instead of the several already existing in the books. (Thoth-Amon, Kulan Gath, etc.) Also, this story takes place in Conan's sell-sword period, meaning he's already been a thief (the Tower of the Elephant is mentioned as having already happened) and a pirate. He should be in his mid-thirties, but Momoa looks pretty young to have had all those adventures.

Also, weirdly, Momoa is not as buff as he is in Aquaman. I mean, he's already a beast, but evidently he got BIGGER for Aquaman. He really should have been a great Conan, only starting at the beginning. He could do a great "Song of Belit" right now.

Introduced to Conan with the Barry Smith adaptation of Tower of the Elephant, I'd be really interested to see it adapted (correctly).  When he drew Conan, the guy wasn't from Muscle Beach.

Thinking about it, a real-life "Conan" wouldn't look like a body-builder.

Richard Willis said:

Introduced to Conan with the Barry Smith adaptation of Tower of the Elephant, I'd be really interested to see it adapted (correctly).  When he drew Conan, the guy wasn't from Muscle Beach.

You articulated a lot better than I ever did the problems with the Mamoa "Conan" movie. I just told my friends, "That's not a 'Conan' movie, its just a generic fantasy movie, and they could have called it anything."

Ok, so, I really hate to break a thread; but, I watched "Annie Hall" for the first time in, likely twenty years.

I loved this film, way back when, because on some level, I could relate to it. Today, not so much. It seemed dated, at points, and frankly, distant (as opposed to relatable). However, if you think I'm being critical, I'm not. I laughed just as hard, at different moments, for different reasons. Therein lies Woody Allen's genius. He presents life, not on a simple level, but, in all of its complexities. And, I mean all.

If you haven't seen it, Annie Hall chronicals a seemingly complicated (i.e. difficult) relationship between the neurotic, intellectual ( some would argue "psuedo" intellctual) Alby Singer and his mis matched paramore, Annie. Simple, yet far more complex ( you have to watch it) than that.

I've only seen the Schartzeneeger Conan; so, I can't really add other than to say I didn't like it.

It's years since I saw The Long Kiss Goodnight. I remember it as a much more likeable movie than its predecessor, Cutthroat Island, which I only watched recently. The central characters have more personality and the plot is more interesting.

I've not seen Frankenstein Unbound. If it's not apparent, it's based on a novel by Brian Aldiss. The title is a play on that of Percy Shelly's Prometheus Unbound. Mary Shelly's novel, of course, was sub-titled The Modern Prometheus.

I've been watching some movies while I've been without internet...


CREED (up next, Creed II)

KING KONG ESCAPES (the one with "Dr. Who" in it)

FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (a.k.a. Frankenstein vs. Baragon)

We watched The Midnight Sky, the new made-for-theaters-but-released-on-Netflix movie starring (and directed by) George Clooney. When I read the movie's premise, I wondered how they could make this movie anything but depressing. Surprise! They didn't. It's really depressing.

The premise is that George Clooney is quite likely the only person left on Earth, after some unexplained accident that is irradiating the world. Clooney is alive because he stayed at an observatory in the Arctic Cirlce when everyone else evacuated. Later in the movie we learn that the evacuees were taken underground, but that that's a stopgap and the radiation will reach them eventually.

Clooney's character, who has the unlikely name Augustine Lofthouse, can monitor this with some sort of device that shows the hot spots as growing red circles. The red is approaching his position, and he doesn't have much time left. Not that it matters, because he is dying of something -- cancer presumably -- which he is forestalling with blood transfusions. But again, the movie makes sure we know this is a stopgap, and Clooney's going to die pretty soon.

Anybody having fun yet? Don't worry, it gets worse.

Augustine discovers there is still one active space mission, which is returning after exploring a newly discovered moon of Jupiter that is in the Goldilocks zone. They were sent to discover if it could support ife, and joy of joys, it can. But they are out of communications range and don't know what's happened to Earth. It has a five-person crew, including a pregnant Felicity Jones.

Augustine tries to warn them, but his radio isn't strong enough. He has to travel to another station deeper in the Arctic, which has a stronger radio. Or antenna. Or signal. Something like that.

There's also a little girl that supposedly missed the evacuation, so the two of them must go. On the trek, everything you can think of, and probably a few more things, go wrong. Including wolves, most of their equipment falling through the ice into the Arctic Ocean, Clooney himself in the water but somehow not getting hypothermia, and so on.

Meanwhile on the returning space ship, everything goes wrong there, too. Honestly, by the beginning of the third act, my wife and I were joking about what further mishaps could occur. Miscarriage! Alien invasion! Earthquakes! Somebody forgot to pay the light bill! The heartbreak of psoriasis! We also correctly guessed the sad twist at the end, ID'd a redshirt before their death and guessed two preposterous coincidences before they were revealed.

I won't spoil the end, but you'll probably guess it anyway. Because not only is the movie depressing, it's predictable. There's also a long, single take during the credits that provides zero information and/or emotional resonance. Very film school-y, and pretty dopey. We kept waiting for something to happen to justify this scene, and nothing ever did.

You may read some positive reviews of this movie. Don't believe them. Those are written by film school dropouts who like to discuss Clooney's scene choices and camera movement. If you're there for a story, which most of us are, you'll be tempted to shoot yourself just to cheer up.

I watched Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964). This is a strong character study Western starring Yul Brunner, set just after the Civil War. George Segal plays a returned rebel. Pat Hingle, who I think of as the judge in Hang 'Em High, plays the villain. Janice Rule is the female lead. The film has a good score by David Raskin.

The movie has town meeting scenes that reminded me of the one from Blazing Saddles. It may have been one of that film's inspirations. (Spoiler - Brunner's character, from New Orleans, is the son of a slave.) It also has a nice score by David Raskin. Brunner moves in a robotic way, as in Westworld later.

I finally watched Hamilton on Disney+

They got everything right and at least twice I cried like a baby.

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