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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It's the holiday season, so I get to watch more movies than TV shows.

Saw Suicide Squad. I'm probably the last on this board to see it.

I was pleasantly surprised. I expected a lot of flaws from the stories (not reviews) I'd read about it:

* I had read stories saying it was incoherent, but I found it very linear narrative that built appropriately.It certainly hung together better than Batman v Superman.

* I saw stories that said Harley Quinn was the breakout character, but I found Will Smith's Deadshot more compelling. (Although I'll admit that as a breathing heterosexual male, I certainly noticed Harley Quinn a lot.) I found it annoying that Harley's Brooklyn (Bronx?) accent was come and go.

* I read stories that said the appearances of Joker and Batman were both truncated (essentially cameos) and stunt casting. But both were necessary to explain various characters (there is no Harley without Joker; there is no Deadshot without Batman) and their appearances were exciting and compelling, IMHO.

* I read stories that complained that Joker was pimping out Harley. That is an almost purposeful misunderstanding of that scene. Joker and Harley used that fiction as an excuse -- a joke, really -- to murder a rival in his own house. It was unsettling both in the violence and in the duo's vile sense of humor, which was the point.

Viola Davis was perfect as The Wall -- and the true villain of the movie.

I noticed that Sheriff Hopper of Stranger Things had a role.

I thought Killer Croc was unimpressive, in that his jaw didn't move much when he talked, and muffled his voice. IOW, the makeup looked good but wasn't functional, which was distracting instead of impressive. The makeup on Enchantress' "army" was similarly uninspired.

Speaking of Enchantress, I though Cara Delvingne did a great job with body language as the evil side of her role. She was creepy, even when writhing sexily. I haven't seen anyone mention that. Maybe it was too subtle.

There are probably more things I should mention, but this is probably old news to most of you.

Saw the LEGO Batman movie. People here said they enjoyed it, but wondered if I would. It's not something I'd watch a second time, but yeah, it was cute. Some of the dialogue was very clever and funny.

The one thing that really cracked me up is when Batgirl asked the villains what their special abilities were, some of the answers were:

"I irritate people!"

"I have a sack for a face!"

"I make questionable decisions!"

I also enjoyed the use of non-DC characters as the Phantom Zone villains: King Kong, Daleks, Voldemort, the shark from Jaws, etc. I don't follow the decision-making process, but it was amusing.

And it was a nice trick referencing previous Batman movies. I doubt many kids got it, but old geeks like me do.

Earlier I noted having fallen asleep several times during Kong Skull Island. Well, I must have been legitimately tired, because having finally seen the whole thing, I really enjoyed it. Admittedly, I have to say that I'm past the point in life where giant monsters are amusing to me, but Kong had a personality that gave me cause to cheer him on. John C Reilly did seem too much like a modern guy playing WWII dress up; but even so, he added more than he took away (a lot more). I was glad to see his happy ending. John Goodman's role as the secret government. Monster hunter provided a nice set up for the next film. Sam Jackson was equally simpathetic, as a defeated Vietnam vet leaving his element, and dislikeable, as a victory obsessed commander. I questioned weather he was truly concerned about his men or just using them as an excuse to wage war against Kong. If not Kong, something, anything, somebody or anybody. To sum it up, my belief that giant monsters can be fun has been restored, thanks to Kong. I'm still gonna root for Godzilla in the sequel though. Old habits die hard.
I didn't, until right this second, make the obvious connection. Kong = Cong.

Doctor Hmmm? said:

I didn't, until right this second, make the obvious connection. Kong = Cong.

Aw, fer....

Shin Godzilla (2016) is clearly the best Godzilla since the original. I approached it with a bit of skepticism, but it won me over.

And even better than Knee Godzilla!

In other genres, Novitiate may be slow-moving, but it features brilliant acting and an unsettling take on the Vatican II-era Catholicism that (to a significant degree) shaped my childhood.

The tallest nun is nearly 2m!

On Sunday I read Skipping Chrismas by John Grisham, so yesterday I watchecd Christmas with the Cranks, the movie based on it. I'll probably read the book again, but I doubt I'll ever rewatch the movie.

On my own for Christmas, so I had a movie marathon of various adaptations of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, including:
A Christmas Carol (1938) Reginald Owen
Scrooge (1970) Albert Finney
A Christmas Carol (1984) George C.Scott
Scrooged (1988) Bill Murray
A Christmas Carol (1999) Patrick Stewart
Shin Godzilla (2016) Hiroki Hasegawa
.
.
They were all good, but the 2016 version kind of strayed pretty far from the source material.  Also, I don't usually like to comment on personal appearances, but the kid playing Tiny Tim in that one was kind of weird-looking.


"God(zilla) blast us, everyone!"

Had me going with that Godzilla film. There really should be a Christmas Godzilla film, even if its only set during the season (like Die Hard).

The Babysitter (mild spoilers): This Netflix movie is a real kick. A pubescent boy who is bullied has a gorgeous 17-to-18 year old babysitter (played by Hugo Weaving's 25-year-old niece) who likes all the geeky things he likes and helps him deal with bullies. It's not an exploitation flick. There are things that the boy is afraid of and people he sees that pop up later in what is either a really complex dream or an invasion by a coven from Hell. It keeps you guessing all the way and is a real roller coaster ride. I enjoyed it immensely.

Lilo and Stitch: The movie Alien if Disney produced it. Another Disney cartoon (from 2002) that is set in Hawaii. Somebody there really likes Hawaii. A mad alien scientist is charged by the galactic council to capture the virtually unstoppable monster he created, which stole a spacecraft and headed for Earth. Since the monster manages to hide his antennae and two extra limbs, it passes itself off as a dog and becomes the pet of a little girl. Hijinks ensue.

I took my kids to ser Jumanji. The movie produced surprisingly solid performances from the cast as teenagers with juxtaposed personalaties, excepting Jack Black, who came across as...Jack Black. Speaking of Black, the high school princess charactor in middle aged man's body and persona, there were a few nongraphic "discoveries" that made the moment uncomforatable for me. As noted, I brought my kids who are both girls. My oldest likely understood these jokes. Thankfully, my youngest didn't enquire. The plot was predictable. I couldn't help but to be reminded of the Breakfast Club (Which may seem odd, but, trust me). All in all, it was a medocre film. It did allow me time well spent with my kids though. That was well worth the price of admission (and popcorn).

The gorgeous redhead in Jumanji is almost unrecognizable as Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

We watched Get Out a few days ago. I was mildly entertained, but my wife thought it was really suspenseful. For my part, I half-guessed where it was going, which took some of the fun out. Also, if there was some subtle commentary on race relations -- as I've read in various articles -- it went right over my head. The obvious ones were, well, obvious, so I'm not counting those.

As I said, though, my wife really enjoyed it. She's probably not as jaded as me.

I think that one of the things that would happen if a character found herself in a man's body would be a zipper accident.

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