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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And that should be "isn't perfect" on David and Lisa, not "isn't not perfect," but, yeah, nobody's perfetc.

Family Plot was the first Alfred Hitchcock movie I ever saw, and I saw it at the theater. I had heard of Alfred Hitchcock (from Mad magazine), and it was at this point I started to make it a point to watch Hitchcock films on TV. I remember very little about Family Plot and have never seen it since. I’ve always meant to, though. One of these days…

WIZARDS OF THE LOST KINGDOM II (MST3K): I was a bit surprised (and, yes, disappointed) to discover that the “sequel” has virtually nothing to do with the first, apart from being set in the same magical realm. The entire cast is different. The boy wizard reminds me of Doctor Who’s Adric. The swordfighter is David Carradine (it was Bo Svenson in the first.) One of the evil wizards was the same guy who played “Texas” on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I soon overcame my disappointment when I realized the sequel was of equal quality in comparison to the original.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
I think I mentioned earlier in this thread that I liked the 2004 King Arthur movie but I would have liked it more if it included some the mythic/fantasy elements that make the story interesting to me.  Legend of the Sword attempts to weave a lot of those elements together into a coherent sword and sorcery type tale more along the lines of Excalibur and I think it does a pretty good job. I liked this enough that I’ll probably watch it again.  When I heard that Guy Ritchie was directing this I had some doubts, but he surprised me for the most part.  There are a couple of jarring sequences where he does his trademark time lapse schtick al la Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch and they don’t work at all in this type of story. But outside of that, I thought he did a nice job.  Overall, it comes off like a cross between Game of Thrones and Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood movie.

Colossal (2017)
This is just a totally bizarre genre defying train wreck. Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis star in this movie that is part dramatic chick flick, part kaiju monster movie.  I think the creators were going for a satiric dark comedy kind of sensibility but it’s tough to tell for sure.  Somehow it all kind of works and never really goes where you would expect.

I was off last week, and due to forces beyond my control I was out of the house killing time, and watching some movies at the theater. 

My rankings from worst to first of the 4 I saw.

4. Wonder Woman - I really wanted to like this movie, as someone who has become a fan of the character since Brian Azzarello's run, but I didn't. I just thought it drug on and on. I should never have to be tapping my foot and looking at my phone wondering what is taking so long in a movie like this. The story was okay, but there were too many characters, and about 3500 (hyperbole warning!) too many close ups of the characters. Needed to shave off about 30 minutes from the movie to tighten it up.

3. Dunkirk - Well, it looked nice. Its worth watching in the theater I guess, but it seemed to be a series of events that were presented as a movie. I wasn't really invested in any of the characters, and it was just kind of there. I don't see a reason why I would need to watch it again.

2. Baby Driver - I really liked this. Not quite sure if it is worthy of all the hype it has received, but it was pretty damn good. 

1. Spider-man: Homecoming - I thought this was pretty great. Really funny, lots of action, and it genuinely surprised me a few times.Not much I can ask for in a movie. 

I'm sorry Wonder Woman didn't do it for you. Looking back, I can think of two things that make it different from other movies (superhero and otherwise): 1) sincerity -- and no post-ironic embarrasment about showing it, and 2) no cheesecake. There's something to be said for a female director, in that I never once thought of WW as a sex object.

Then, there's that other thing, that is was a very good movie that focused on people (and not always white males) instead of F/X. Well, except for the inevitable third-act CGI orgy. Getting tired of those.

On another front, saw Viral tonight. (We thought about going to see Atomic Blonde, but ... naw, too cynical. Wonder Woman is still too fresh in my mind to sink back into that sewer.)

It's The Strain-lite, but was very watchable. The leads were attractive -- and I don't just mean "pretty" -- because, yes, it was very sincere. Nobody was doing "teen horror movie." The actors seemed committed, and it was easy to root for them. (Obviously, my wife and I have been married too long, because we both said almost simultaneously that the lead chick vaguely looks like the girl who plays Veronica, and the sister reminded us of Aubrey Plaza.) It's no brain-sploder -- just a small horror movie that keeps you engaged long enough to not regret the time spent.

Although you might. Who am I to judge?

CARNIVAL MAGIC (MST3K): Almost like a missing “Planet of the Apes” movie between Conquest and Battle. (Okay, not really.)

THE CHRISTMAS THAT ALMOST WASN’T (MST3K): If I’m going to binge-watch something on Christmas Day, it will either be Doctor Who Christmas specials or MST3K Christmas-themed movies. Now I have another to add to my queue. In a running sub-plot, Kinga wants to marry Jonah. I wonder how they’ll resolve that…?

 

Imagine The Love Boat crossed with Psycho, filmed by a cut-rate writer/director whose script was inspired by a William Castle-ated gimmick. That's pretty much Wicked, Wicked, a 1973 feature film with the acting and production values of a contemporaneous made for TV movie and a level of violence period television would never have permitted, outside of the evening news. It probably shouldn't exist. It's certainly not a great example of film. And yet it's strangely watchable….

…The plot, while moderately interesting, isn't why anyone would watch the film in the twenty-first century. The identity of the killer, for example, will surprise no one, save for those convinced that anyone so obviously guilty must be a red herring.

No, what sets Wicked, Wicked apart is its gimmick. Bare shot the film in Thrilling Duo-Vision: split-screen.

That’s the gist. For fans of this sort of thing (whatever this sort of thing is) he rest of my review is here.

Saw Train to Busan on Netflix last night, and loved it.

It's essentially a Chinese zombie movie, or more specifically, the Chinese version of 28 Days Later. An infection escapes a lab and turns people into crazy (and crazy fast/strong) cannibals whose bite passes on the infection (as quickly as it happens in World War Z, except when the plot/dialogue calls for someone to take a little longer to transform). A father and his daughter are on a train to Busan as the infection peaks. There are infected on the train, which has to make various stops for various reasons, where the infected are in the train stations. So, lots of daring battles and escapes.

The zombie acting and makeup are great. The fight scenes are believable. (Especially since the infected are given a weakness -- they have poor eyesight, and become essentially placid if they don't see anything to attack. So in darkness they are easy to escape, as long as you don't make noise. Which makes for some nail-biting scenes in tunnels!) You really grow to know the 10-12 main characters and become invested in them, which makes any loss heart-breaking. The lead-up to what's happening is ominous (distant fires, emergency vehicles, "riots" in faraway cities), especially to zombie movie vets, and very well done -- chilling. Oh, and the government is constantly lying, which everyone pretty much shrugs about. There are two authority figures on the train (who survive long enough for us to know then), a ticket guy who always make the cowardly decision and the train conductor, who always acts in the best interests of his passengers. (Amusingly, when he addresses the survivors on the loudspeaker, he still talks in official pilot-ese, as if normal service will return any minute.) 

Speaking of train personnel, there are lots. In fact, there are lots of people doing minor jobs like greeting passengers, and one wishes for such a thing to return to America. And the trains and train stations -- oh, will you ever get infrastructure envy. Even the cities are sleek, clean and attractive.

There's some moralizing that gets tedious in the hit-you-over-the-head kinda way. Basically there are two morals: 1) Looking out for No. One is bad, while collective action is good, and 2) you shouldn't sacrifice family time for work. The lead character is a work-obsessed hedge-fund manager with his semi-estranged, elementary-aged daughter, so he is the recipient of both lessons.

Oh, and in our viewing sometimes the subtitles dropped out. Dunno what was said in those scenes, but I can live without it. Amusingly, when the little girl says "Papa," the subtitles helpfully translate that to "Dad."

But other than that, it's a well-done nail-biter.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I was off last week, and due to forces beyond my control I was out of the house killing time, and watching some movies at the theater. 

My rankings from worst to first of the 4 I saw.

4. Wonder Woman - I really wanted to like this movie, as someone who has become a fan of the character since Brian Azzarello's run, but I didn't. I just thought it drug on and on. I should never have to be tapping my foot and looking at my phone wondering what is taking so long in a movie like this. The story was okay, but there were too many characters, and about 3500 (hyperbole warning!) too many close ups of the characters. Needed to shave off about 30 minutes from the movie to tighten it up.

Hey, I'm the one who often says most movies could stand to be a half-hour shorter

But, since you didn't like Wonder Woman, you should know there's a support group ... 



Captain Comics said:

Saw Train to Busan on Netflix last night, and loved it.

It's essentially a Chinese zombie movie, or more specifically, the Chinese version of 28 Days Later.

Actually, it's a South Korean picture, Skipper. "Busan" is the city formerly known as "Pusan".

Whoops! Thanks, Bob!

Saw Baby Driver last night. Pure kinetic fun -- with a soundtrack I wanted to order right there in the theater.

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