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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Five Star Final (1931)

I just watched this movie which stars Edward G. Robinson as the editor of an unscrupulous tabloid newspaper. It could easily be produced today with few changes. There are a lot of scummy characters in it. One of the slimiest is played by a pre-Frankenstein Boris Karloff. He does a great job of portraying this character and seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself. Here’s an IMDB trivia item about his character:

Prior to its release, the film was attacked by censors as "exceedingly dangerous" due to its negative depiction of the press. The censors also objected to the character of Isopod (Boris Karloff). In the earlier drafts of the script, the character of Isopod is a defrocked Catholic priest who betrays his ministerial oath, frequents saloons, and sexually assaults a female reporter in a taxi cab. His role in the film was significantly revised to be less villainous.

The things that his character did were all mentioned, just not seen. This is pre-Code, but it still raised a lot of protests, particularly from the newspaper industry.

All of the performances are good. Some are better than good. The main focus is on the destructive effect on a family that is no longer in the public eye. It was one of eight movies nominated for a best picture Oscar that year. It will be available on TCM.com until December 19. It’s also available for rental on Amazon Prime.

DOGMA: This is the last Kevin Smith  movie I will be watching until the release of Clerks III on DVD. I think I was more open-minded, about certain things, in 1999 than I am today. Either that or I'm more intolerant... about certain things. As with other Kevin Smith movies, I have long felt that one scene in particular encapsulated the theme but, with the rise in Christian Nationalism, that scene no longer rings true for me. 

Way back in the day when the IFC channel (which I don't think exists any more), they showed Clerks with commentary as well as the alternative ending in which Dante gets shot. I thought that was great.

I haven't seen Dogma in years, but I do remember enjoying it at the time. I will say this though, this was the last Kevin Smith movie I thought was any good at all.

GONE GIRL: Tracy and I both read the book when it was still a bestseller. It was as suspenseful as it was disturbing, and we both liked it. Tracy went on to read Gillian Flynn's Dark Places and Sharp Objects, but I did not. We bought the Gone Girl DVD when it was released but for some reason never watched it until last night. I remembered the broad strokes from the novel but had forgotten some of the details. It's a good adaptation, every bit as suspenseful and disturbing as the book. 

CASINO ROYALE: No Time to Die was, I think, the last movie Tracy and I saw in theater before lockdown. My main takeaway was that I should have paid closer attention to the previous four. Now, inspired by Cap's James Bond thread, I thought I'd re-watch all the Craigs in order. Casino Royale, being the earliest, is the one I've seen the most often. what a great reboot to the franchise! The best Bond since Connery. It hues pretty close to the plot of the novel... once they finally get to it. Lots of action; makes me sore just watching it. It's a long one, though: two and a half hours. 

QUANTUM OF SOLACE picks up immediately after Casino Royale ends; it is in many ways a sequel. I have watched these two movies back-to-back before but I had forgotten how closely they are linked. Every time I watch them the ties are strengthened. By the time I am finished, I hope the ties between all the Craigs are similarly strengthened. After two 2 1/2 hour movies in a row, it was a relief to watch one only 1:46. 

SKYFALL: Only three movies in and this installment presents a new beginning. It introduces the terrorist organization SPECTRE (although it's not called that yet and little is known about it) as well Moneypenny, a new Q and, eventually, a new M. Nothing is safe in this franchise anymore, and things happen that affect movies going forward. It is an original story, yet it harkens to the classic Bond novels. For example, James Bond was presumed killed in action after the events of You Only Live Twice (the book) and his obituary was published; he had to redeem himself in The Man with the Golden Gun. At the beginning of this movie, Bond is presumed killed in action, his obituary is published, and he spends the rest of the movie redeeming himself. 

I honestly, do not remember much of anything about Quantum of Solace, I do know I watched it though.

Skyfall was the last Bond movie I have seen. It had some good parts, but as whole I didn't think it was very good.

Now, Casino Royale, I thought was great. I re-watched it a couple of years ago, and I had forgotten how long it was.

SPECTRE: This movie reveals that a group known as Spectre (not an acronym this time, but updated for the 2Ks) was behind all three of the previous movies and introduces Blofeld. (By the end, he has even acquired the the "Donald Pleasence" scar.) Quantum of Solace was the odd one out in that it was only 1:46 long; all the others have been 2 1/2 hours. By the end of this movie, it looks as if James Bond is set to retire from Her Majesty's Secret Service. 

Over in Cap's thread we have been discussing the "Blofeld/SPECTRE trilogy" in print (Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice). On film it would be Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but Blofeld also appeared in Diamonds Are Forever and (briefly) in For Your Eyes Only

The classic James Bond trilogy (of movies) is Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, in that order. they get progressively better as they go along, and if you are going to see only three James Bond movies, those are the three. A second trilogy is as I mentioned above, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but that's Connery, Connery, Lazenby and it ends on a bit of a downer. 

Another trilogy option, spotlighting the different Bonds, is to start with On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Lazenby). OHMSS was intended to be a reboot of the franchise, bringing it back to its roots. Unfortunately, George Lazenby did not have the onscreen charisma of Sean Connery (who does?), so they brought Connery back for the next film in the series, Diamonds Are Forever (which begins with the classiv line, "You were expecting someone else?"). In print, Bond's revenge against Blofeld was resolved in You Only Live Twice, but because the books were filmed out of order, that was relegated to Diamonds Are Forever (Connery), which begins with Bond on a revenge spree seeking Blofeld for the death of his wife. Although Bond thinks Blofeld is killed early on, actually he is not, however Blofeld's final fate is inconclusive.

Blofeld turns up again, unnamed, ten years later in the teaser sequence of For Your Eyes Only. Bond is visiting his wife's grave when Blofeld makes his final bid for revenge. FYEO is not really a Blofeld movie other than that, but the "trilogy" of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and For Your Eyes Only (one of the better Moore Bonds) spotlights each of the three (at the time) actors to have played Bond in turn, and the presence of Blofeld ties them all together. 

Or you could just watch Spectre

So how does Jim Corrigan fit into all this?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SPECTRE: This movie reveals that a group known as Spectre (not an acronym this time, but updated for the 2Ks) was behind all three of the previous movies and introduces Blofeld. (By the end, he has even acquired the the "Donald Pleasence" scar.) Quantum of Solace was the odd one out in that it was only 1:46 long; all the others have been 2 1/2 hours. By the end of this movie, it looks as if James Bond is set to retire from Her Majesty's Secret Service. 

Over in Cap's thread we have been discussing the "Blofeld/SPECTRE trilogy" in print (Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice). On film it would be Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but Blofeld also appeared in Diamonds Are Forever and (briefly) in For Your Eyes Only

The classic James Bond trilogy (of movies) is Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, in that order. they get progressively better as they go along, and if you are going to see only three James Bond movies, those are the three. A second trilogy is as I mentioned above, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but that's Connery, Connery, Lazenby and it ends on a bit of a downer. 

Another trilogy option, spotlighting the different Bonds, is to start with On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Lazenby). OHMSS was intended to be a reboot of the franchise, bringing it back to its roots. Unfortunately, George Lazenby did not have the onscreen charisma of Sean Connery (who does?), so they brought Connery back for the next film in the series, Diamonds Are Forever (which begins with the classiv line, "You were expecting someone else?"). In print, Bond's revenge against Blofeld was resolved in You Only Live Twice, but because the books were filmed out of order, that was relegated to Diamonds Are Forever (Connery), which begins with Bond on a revenge spree seeking Blofeld for the death of his wife. Although Bond thinks Blofeld is killed early on, actually he is not, however Blofeld's final fate is inconclusive.

Blofeld turns up again, unnamed, ten years later in the teaser sequence of For Your Eyes Only. Bond is visiting his wife's grave when Blofeld makes his final bid for revenge. FYEO is not really a Blofeld movie other than that, but the "trilogy" of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and For Your Eyes Only (one of the better Moore Bonds) spotlights each of the three (at the time) actors to have played Bond in turn, and the presence of Blofeld ties them all together. 

Or you could just watch Spectre

On its original release, the annoying/confusing thing to me in the movie Diamonds are Forever is that they had Charles Gray, who played the character Henderson in You Only Live Twice, just show up in the opening sequence. Even I remembered his face from the earlier movie. Other than his wardrobe. he looked nothing like Donald Pleasence. He wasn’t bald and I don’t think he had even a tiny facial scar, yet we were supposed to somehow know he was supposed to be Blofeld.

"...yet we were supposed to somehow know he was supposed to be Blofeld."

Didn't they show a succession of sculpted heads, from Pleasance to Gray, indicating that Blofeld had undergone a series of plastic surgeries altering his face? (Why they cast Gray in the first place remains a mystery, however.) 

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