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've been meaing to post here for the past week but I kept forgetting.
Last weekend I watched:
Halloween, the 2007 remake by Rob Zombie. Ok not a bad movie. Kind of dull and yet still overly violent. It was well shot and Zombie had a few good scenes that matched up well with the soundtrack. This is not my thing, however, so I give it a C. I watched a few minutes of the original, and honestly there was no need for a remake.

Godfather part III. Finally got around to watching this. Overall it's a decent movie, but nowhere near as great as part I and II. It felt like the story had run out of steam at the point. I also got the feeling from Pacino's performance that he was phoning it in. Andy Garcia, however, is the high point of the movie.

The Matrix. It had been a while since I've seen this one. The action and special effects are still great. But honestly after 10 years this doesn't hold up as well. The story feels forced in parts and the acting is suspect. I never picked up on it before but the scene where Neo meets Morpheus for the first time there is a thunderstorm. Everytime there is something major said in that scene thunder crashes. This happened more than once in that 5 minute scene. It was cheesy. I was disapointed that I didn't enjoy this as much as I did when it first came out.

This weekend I saw:
A Clockwork Orange. This was my first time. What a good movie. It's messed up too. There were a lot of things going on in this that I won't waist your time with. I was impressed with the filming technique. And the music was great too. Malcolm McDowell gives one of the best perfomances as Alex. His facial expressions alone sell the character. He is menacing one moment and the next he looks as innocent as a lamb.

Darkman. This was OnDemand saw I thought I'd give it a shot. For those of you not familiar, it's a superhero flick from 1990 directed by Sam Raimi starring Liam Neeson. I have a feeling this was trying to cash in on the Batman craze. This film just doesn't work for me. What was interesting is that there were a lot of things in this that were similiar Spider-man which Raimi made 10 years later. This even has a Danny Elfman score that sounds somewhere inbetween Batman & Spider-man. I won't go into detail of the similiarities but Spider-man turned out as the better product. During it I kept thinking he should have gone for more of a dark superhero comedy starring Bruce Campbell than a dark superhero movie starring Liam Neeson. Of course at the end we see Darkman in one last disguise, Bruce Campbell.
Saw Monsters Vs. Aliens last night. I found that to be quite an enjoyable picture.
I watched Reefer Madness for the first time ever on Showtime Beyond tonight. Of course, I'd heard a lot about this famous movie that was made back in 1936. It was meant to be a cautionary tale for parents, because apparently back then law enforcement thought that marijuana was more dangerous than heroin. The bizarre behaviors the characters exhibit while "under the influence" of marijuana have little to do with the things I've seen mellowed-out stoners do in reality. They did laugh inappropriately a lot, which come to think of it, really is an affect of the drug.


Weirdly, the drug dealers in this movie didn't just sell drugs on the streets. They kept a big nice-looking apartment where they would have "parties," and smoke marijuana, play the piano and dance. They invited their young friends to these parties, and would turn them on to marijuana... but there never seemed to be any exchange of money, which seemed strange to me.

The drug dealers lured the straight-laced high school nerd "Bill" into going to their parties. Until he started indulging in "reefer madness," Bill had a crush on the innocent and squeaky-clean "Mary." They were polite and reverent; well-behaved and studious. Their parents approved of them. But then Bill went to the "smoking den" and Mary followed him there. While Bill was getting it on in the bedroom with an older "cougar," an older guy got Mary to smoke some marihoochie and then attempted to rape her. The marijuana must have been extremely strong, because Mary was apparently too incapacitated to fight back much at all. Then Bill came out and saw what was happening...a struggle ensued...and someone produced a gun. The gun goes off during the struggle, and to everyone's horror, it's the innocent Mary who is shot. The camera shows a close up of the bullet hole in her back, but strangely there's no blood at all. Bill was so high on marijuana, that the evil drug dealer was able to convince him that he was the one who shot the girl. It's hard to imagine that anyone could be ever be that high on marijuana. So, Bill is dragged off to jail and put on trial for murder.

At first it looks like the drug dealers will get away with it, but justice wins out in the end. The drug dealers all turned on each other and the cops bring down the whole gang. Bill is exonerated in the murder of Mary. "May" the woman who hosted the parties in her apartment pleads guilty to a charge of "fostering moral delinquency," which sounds like a misdemeanor to me. But she was apparently so tormented by what she had done that she threw herself out of a window, thereby giving herself the death penalty. Another one of their cohorts was declared "hopelessly and incurably insane" and sentenced to be hospitalized in a mental institution for the rest of his life.

Aside from the much-commented upon ridiculousness of the film's commentary on marijuana, the movie is silly and melodramatic in so many other ways. The writing and dialog seemed very stilted and the acting was really, really lame. Americans of all ages apparently said "swell" a lot, and I think the way they danced back then looked rather odd--or maybe the directors were just trying to make the characters look crazy because they were under the influence. What I think makes the movie worth watching--in addition to its historical significance--are the clothes and cars. It seems so strange that apparently men wore 3-piece suits and hats all the time back then. It must have been really hot and uncomfortable in the summertime, especially in the South. The women apparently never wore slacks or pants. Of course, the cars looked really cool. While intellectually I know the movie was set in America, it seemed very alien to me, like it was set in another country. It was also hard to identify with any of the characters, I guess because they were all so one-dimensional.

And that's all I have to say about Reefer Madness. Just say "No," boys and girls!
And that's all I have to say about Reefer Madness. Just say "No," boys and girls!

That's a lot. I enjoyed your summary of it.

Another one of their cohorts was declared "hopelessly and incurably insane"

That psychiatrist just wanted to leave early to go golfing. Writing just those 4 words saved him a lot of time.
I saw the new Taking of Pelham 123 on Friday. For the most part it was an enjoyable action thriller. The performances were good all around. What hurt this film, I think, was director Tony Scott putting his flashy touches on the film. There are scenes that suddenly go in slow motion or speed up. It hurts the progression of the film. Overall it's worth seeing.

Wednesday I saw State of Play. It was enteraining enough but mostly a standard thriller. I had a hard time buying Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe as old college roommates. Crowe is about 8 years older than Affleck and it shows. I also had a hard time buying Robin Wright-Penn as Affleck's wife/former college sweetheart. She's got about 6 or 7 years on him and while she is a very attractive woman she looks more like his big sister. That's minor but it sort of took me out of the movie. I did enjoy the performance of Helen Mirren as Crowe's no-nonsense editor, though.
Joan Carr said:
I watched Reefer Madness for the first time ever on Showtime Beyond tonight.

Did they follow it up with Reefer Madness: The Musical? That's a fun movie (even though it's nowhere near the most well-written musical out there) — entertaining performances from Alan Cumming, Kristen Bell, and...um...other people. And when you get a number performed by Jesus with lyrics like "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy / Just say no to the marijuana / This comes straight from the Madonna! / I'm the face on the Shroud of Turin / Do I need to test your urine?"...well, you know it's gotta be something out of the ordinary.
"I'm the face on the Shroud of Turin / Do I need to test your urine?"

That's made my day...
I have a copy of Reefer Madness that, for some reason, has a commentary track by Michael J. Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I'm a big fan of Mike's, but he's nowhere near as funny all by himself.
Decided to watch Conan the Destroyer the other night. I haven't seen it since I saw it in the theaters because I remember it as being a really bad movie, especially after the first Conan.
It wasn't as bad as I remembered. It was worse.
Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, should stick to writing comics. Essentially, this movie was a moving comic book. It was almost like they took the best parts from comics they had written and thrown them together into one movie.
Everything seemed rushed. Even the music. The only reason I have the DVD is that it was in a two-pack with the first Conan for about 5 bucks. Can't beat that!

A few days later I watched Son of Hercules vs. the Mole Men, a low budget Italian job. I actually enjoyed this movie more than Conan the Destroyer. The sets were suprisingly pretty good. They must have spent their whole budget on sets! Terrible acting, though.
I did get a kick that the movie was dubbed by the English Language Dubbing Association (E.L.D.A.)....based in Rome. ;-)
Two years later, I finally saw Iron Man.
GOOD movie. I'm impressed with Robert Downey Jr. and find it such a shame that he wasted his best years in jail and being a drug addict.
Thinking about the forthcoming Avengers movie I'm wondering exactly what threat could arise that would cause these heroes to band together. It would have to be pretty big. I'm expecting a Thor, Iron Man, Cap vs. Hulk battle at some point. I don't know. They're the professionals. I'm just hoping it'll be good!
Last night I watched Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, in which well-past-his-prime New Wave rocker Sting a knight returning from the Crusades challenges Dwight Eisenhower dressed as "Brain Guy" from Mystery Science Theater 3000 Death to a chess match. I had had a preconception of this picture as ponderous, "art-House" stuff, but it turned out to be quite quick-moving and watchable. I kept looking for a "message" in this picture, mostly because of a residual feeling I always had that "important foreign movies always have deep messages", but if there's a message deeper than "We're all gonna die someday and it's gonna suck and no one knows whether God and/or the Devil are real or not, but they proabably aren't", I don't know what it would be. It's well worth a watch, though, plus it's been "quoted" a million different times in a million different ways, so you may as well see what started it all.
The Baron said:
Last night I watched Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, in which well-past-his-prime New Wave rocker Sting a knight returning from the Crusades challenges Dwight Eisenhower dressed as "Brain Guy" from Mystery Science Theater 3000 Death to a chess match. I had had a preconception of this picture as ponderous, "art-House" stuff, but it turned out to be quite quick-moving and watchable. I kept looking for a "message" in this picture, mostly because of a residual feeling I always had that "important foreign movies always have deep messages", but if there's a message deeper than "We're all gonna die someday and it's gonna suck and no one knows whether God and/or the Devil are real or not, but they proabably aren't", I don't know what it would be. It's well worth a watch, though, plus it's been "quoted" a million different times in a million different ways, so you may as well see what started it all.

Is that the one were they play Twister later?

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