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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Recently re-watched Godzilla (1954) and Godzilla Raids Again.

Japanese original, or the one with the Burr stuck in it?

(I mean, they're both good, but one is better, and far more horrifying)

The Baron said:

Recently re-watched Godzilla (1954) and Godzilla Raids Again.

I watched the Japanese and English language versions of both!

JD DeLuzio said:

Japanese original, or the one with the Burr stuck in it?

(I mean, they're both good, but one is better, and far more horrifying)

The Baron said:

Recently re-watched Godzilla (1954) and Godzilla Raids Again.

Re-watched King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), both versions.

We'll probably be watching Big Ape vs Large Lizard tomorrow.

We recently watched Ammonite (2020) with Kate Winslet as Victorian female paleontologist Mary Anning. Well-acted, strong production. We did not expect the sex scenes to be as explicit as they were. To be honest, having read almost nothing about it, we did not expect sex scenes.

Paired with The Night Watch (2013): based on the novel by Sarah Waters, another British historical film with queer content, this one deals with young people during and after World War II. Jodie Whittaker, current (and, apparently, outgoing) Doctor Who plays a key role. Interesting use of time-structure. 

I saw the award-winning documentary Forbidden City, USA for the first time since 1989, when it was released. They restored and rereleased it a few years ago. A fascinating look at the long-gone San Francisco nightclub, owned by Chinese-Americans and featuring Asian-American entertainers, but catering to a Caucasian audience seeking "exotic" entertainment, it examines layers of cultural complexities.

Paired with:  Phantom of Chinatown (1940) the final "James Lee Wong" movie, made as a kind of prequel/reboot with Keye Luke replacing Boris Karloff in the title role, and showing the start of his mystery-solving career. Luke plays the character with restraint and conviction (Wong was never as over-the-top or stereotypical as the more famous Charlie Chan), but certain aspects of the script remain cringeworthy, and there's no escaping that we're watching a quickly filmed b-pic.

Re-watched Mothra vs. Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. The Thing) and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, both from 1964.

Last night I watched Detour, a 1945 noir starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. And man, is it a crazy fever dream of a movie, especially once the hitchhiking starts. Super-low budget: At one point Ulmer fills an outdoor street set with fog because he wanted to show a walk, and only had a set for one corner. So he kept on intercutting to a close-up of the street sign with different cross-streets, to make it look like the characters were making progress.
But once Al (Neal) starts hitchhiking, the fun -- desperate, murderous fun -- sets in. You can't tell if the main character's telling us the truth, when the film presents him as an innocent guy with the bad luck to have the wrong guy die when he was the only one around. But then he hooks up with Vera (Savage) and it goes off the rails. Noir Alley's Eddie Muller calls Vera "the meanest woman in film noir" and he just might be right. She's acerbic and blunt and 100 percent ruthless. Just a joy to watch, every second she's onscreen.

Re-watched Invasion of the Astro-Monster (a.k.a. Monster Zero) (1965)  and Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966).

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Last night I watched Detour, a 1945 noir starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. And man, is it a crazy fever dream of a movie, especially once the hitchhiking starts.

I've not seen this one. Martin Scorsese featured scenes in A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies that have stuck with me. Edgar Ulmer has a bit of a cult following.

I saw Detour a couple of years ago. It reminded me less of noir than a noir-influenced Crime Comic, if that makes sense. Haunting on a minimal budget.

We watched the Big Ape and the Large Lizard duke it out last night. The visuals are spectacular, and I suppose that's what we see kaiju films for. It needed less clutter and just a little time for relationships-- the decreepified Kong Girl element, for example. The actress outshone a lot of her adult co-stars, and the Kong CGI acting made him quite relatable.

Allusion to slight, if entirely predictable, spoiler:

And then there was the too-quick turn in a certain pair of characters' attitude towards each other. No giant lepidoptera appears, but I immediately felt the significance of the internet meme: "Mothra? Why did you say that name?"

Mothra! Perfect! I'd been thinking about a joke along those same lines, but holy cow, that never occurred to me. 

And Detour as a crime comic is perfect! It feels super heightened, and super compressed, just like an EC 6-pager. 

I'm planning to track down some more Ulmer movies. Eddie Muller in his intro mentioned that he did really good work with super-low budgets (a studio he was confined to because he'd had an affair with the married niece of one of the studio heads, IIRC).

JD DeLuzio said:

....the decreepified Kong Girl element, for example. The actress outshone a lot of her adult co-stars....

xxxx I just rewatched the movie King Kong (1976). This is only the second time I've seen it. I saw it in its original theatrical release and have a soft spot for it.

This is the movie that introduced Jessica Lange. She did such a good job of playing an airhead actress that I thought she was an actual airhead. Her understated-but-scary performance as the Angel of Death in All That Jazz (1979) showed me that she was a hell of an actress. For those of you who are musical-haters, this is not a musical. I highly recommend it.

I believe this was the first version since the original 1933 movie. It's not a bad version, especially since they had no CGI at the time.

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