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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Giant is one of my mother's favorite movies! She's a big Rock Hudson fan.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"But it's way too long to enjoy!"

Tracy and I watched The Alamo for the first (and only) time shortly after moving to Texas and visiting the Alamo. We watched a "director's cut" which was even longer than the theatrical release. "Way too long to enjoy" is about the best, most succinct way to sum up this movie that I can think of. If you want to watch a long movie about Texas, I recommend Giant

SPACEBALLS: We were flipping through the guide the other day and Tracy said, "I've never seen that." So we recorded it and watched it together.

WESTWORLD: We are both fans of the televisions series (which I believe takes place in the same "universe"). Although I have seen it before it's been decades. I knew Tracy hadn't, so I recorded it as a surprise. She liked it. The TV show will be returning with a new season soon.

ALIEN ZONE (a.k.a. "THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD") (1978): "A man in town for a convention gets lost while trying to return to his hotel room, after seeing a woman, and ends up being taken in by a mortician to wait out a storm. To pass the time, the mortician shows the man four recently deceased people and begins to tell him how each person ended up as an occupant of one of his coffins."

A guy cheats on his wife while out of town at a convention. He returns to his hotel in the middle of a thunderstorm because the woman's husband is expected back. His cab drops him off about a block away from his hotel. He tries in vain to find it, and eventually stumbles into a mortuary. This takes up the first 15 minutes or so of the film. Then, "to pass the time" (as one does, "the mortician shows the man four recently deceased people and begins to tell him how each person ended up as an occupant of one of his coffins."

There's the story of the elementary school teacher terrorized by her students on Hallowe'en night; the story of a man who lures (frankly, stupid) women back to his apartment then kills them on tape; the story of rival detectives, one American and one British, competing to see which is better; and the story of a man trapped after hours in some sort of torture chamber in the basement of a shopping mall. The mortician finally shown the man a fifth, empty, coffin and tells it it is his. the man runs out into the alley where the jealous husband catches up to him and kills him.

This movie has a real Night Gallery feel to it, but it's titled Alien Zone... to evoke The Twilight Zone, I guess? Otherwise, the title doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Apparently the movie is a.k.a. The House of the Dead, which makes a whole lot more sense. The lighting is bad and the sound is bad, but the acting is worse. 

ANNIE: Another one we chose while flipping through the guide. When I was in high school we played a medley of Annie tunes; our bassoon player (also in in choir) sang. Although I've been familiar with the songs since high school, I didn't see the movie until Tracy and I read the strips in the early 2Ks. We also saw it live at Bass Hall in Ft. Worth around that same time. Little Orphan Annie is one of those strips Tracy and I read together although, at this point, she has read far more than I. My reading stilled in 1940, but she continued through 1953, at which point the reprints stopped. We searched and searched for a widescreen DVD in the early 2Ks but couldn't find one. Last night we watched it in widescreen for the first time. 

Hmmm.... Maybe I should have posted my "what are you watching?" post here.

Most of the way through Licorice Pizza. It's well-acted and well-made, but... okay. We're just not feeling the love this thing received from so many. And the in-period anti-Japanese racism that upset some people feels, in the context of this film, unnecessary and completely tone-deaf.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ANNIE: Another one we chose while flipping through the guide. When I was in high school we played a medley of Annie tunes; our bassoon player (also in in choir) sang. Although I've been familiar with the songs since high school, I didn't see the movie until Tracy and I read the strips in the early 2Ks. We also saw it live at Bass Hall in Ft. Worth around that same time. Little Orphan Annie is one of those strips Tracy and I read together although, at this point, she has read far more than I. My reading stilled in 1940, but she continued through 1953, at which point the reprints stopped. We searched and searched for a widescreen DVD in the early 2Ks but couldn't find one. Last night we watched it in widescreen for the first time. 

Which version of Annie? The original 1982 movie of the Broadway show, featuring Carol Burnett? The 1999 TV movie? The 2014 modernized remake

There was also Annie Live!, in NBC's series of live televised Broadway musicals, which we noted while it was pending but somehow failed to actually talk about when it aired. 

"Which version of Annie?"

I think I mentioned this when Annie Live was going to be on TV, but what disappointed me about the musical is that Annie is a victim who has to be rescued. What I have read of the comic strip has her on adventures and solving mysteries. That is Annie to me. I wish they had written that into the musical (or a musical sequel). Featuring Daddy Warbucks' henchmen would have been cool, too.

There's a whole sequence in the first Annie movie, that all other Annie movies copied, with an elaborate chase and rescue by helicopter. That stuff is not in the original theater production. 

Since we failed to discuss Annie Live! when it aired, I dropped in a comment, here.

THE WIZ: I will always associate The Wiz with Annie for two reasons: 1) We played a medley of both in concert band, and 2) I didn't see the actual movies for the first time until some 20-25 years ex post facto. (Today I can't get "Ease on Down the Road" out of my head.) 

I was watching the 1976 movie (below) when it came to my attention that Bill Finger (yes, that Bill Finger) was the co-screenwriter of it and two other movies.

Snow Devils (1967)
The Green Slime (1968)
Track of the Moon Beast (1976)

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