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 haven't seen it yet, but wanted to say that Awkwafina steals every scene in everything she does.

A mid-credit and post-credit sequence! With big-name MCU guests!

We enjoyed it, but when it came up at a con panel yesterday, I had to note that the tie-ins with the greater MCU seemed a bit forced. The movie (though clearly diverging from the old comic-book) worked fine on its own. It pulled me out a minute to hear them recall that time half the world disappeared (even though, yeah, people would). Even TS's special guest appearance felt a little off. My wife had to ask who that was (we were at a drive-in, so no disruption of the audience), because she'd forgotten about his character.

I ended up looking up Awkwafina's history. Interesting to see a case of someone fired from their job because of their online activities, who then gets her big break for the same reason.

"...if, like me, you've never seen Hellcats of the Navy, which you might've, for aught I know."

I have not.

"I hadn't watched it in a while, and when I saw the bit at the start with the monkey, I was like, 'Oh, Christ Almighty, if there's vivisection in this, Tracy will shoot me!'"

She didn't say anything about that, but i noticed that, when Nancy took the money out of its cage in the back seat, it bit her on the hand. 

"It never made Shang-Chi more 'relatable' to me"

Heh.

"Another welcome surprise: Michelle Yeoh!"

She's great.

ONE BODY TOO MANY: Don't you hate it when there's one body too many? this is another of tracy's B-movies starring Bala Lugosi, but it's not so much a "Bela Lugosi movies" as it is a "movie with Bela Lugosi in it." It's a dark comedy about the reading of a will and the bizarre circumstances it sets up. there are about a dozen beneficiaries, with inheritances ranging from the hundreds of thousands of dollars down to $1.50. The deceased followed the stars, and wanted his glass-top coffin to be placed in his observatory so they could shine on him throughout eternity. The will stipulated that all of the beneficiaries were to stay on his estate until his wishes were completed, then the will would be read and everyone would find out who got what. In order to keep them all there (it was pretty certain who was getting only $1.50), there was a stipulation that if the conditions of his will weren't met within a certain amount of time, the inheritances would be reversed. Complicating the matter is an insurance salesman who crashed the proceedings in order to sell a life insurance policy to the deceased (not knowing he was dead).

First, the corpse vanishes. Then one after another of the beneficiaries turns up dead. The estate has secret passages within the walls leading to every bedroom. Bela plays the butler who, along with the maid, both keep trying to offer the beneficiaries poisoned coffee (which they never drink for one reason or another). the funniest scene is the lawyer reading the conditions of the will at the beginning, in which the deceased insults each of the beneficiaries by turn. (I'd do that myself if I had that many beneficiaries.) By the time the murdered is revealed, the will is never even read. 

I haven't seen this movie in a while, but I like (spoiler, I guess) the scene where after some discussion about affecting the time stream and altering the future, the captain, Kirk Douglas, simply says, in essence, as I remember it, I'm sworn to protect the US, I know of a threat and I have the ability to stop it, and orders his forces to stop the Japanese attack.  No more dithering.  

It is interesting to think about the advances in technology from 1941 to 1980.  The USS Nimitz (from 1980) could have easily stopped the attack on Pearl Harbor and then destroyed the entire Japanese fleet.  The fact that it is the Nimitz does lead  to a funny exchange concerning the Senator and then, seemingly, Rear Admiral Nimitz's chutzpah.

doc photo said:

The Final Countdown - a modern day aircraft carrier patrolling the Pacific enters a time vortex and is transported to Pearl Harbor one day before the Japanese attack. There is no dithering about affecting the time line as the ships captain decides he is duty bound to utilize all the fire power at his command to make a preemptive strike against the Japanese fleet. 

I was reminded of the Star Trek episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" as the ship rescues a man and woman whose yacht has been sunk by Japanese Zeros. The crew unsuccessfully tries to hide the fact that they are from the future. The surprise ending was a bit predictable but a fun movie overall.

I've enjoyed Awkwafina in Nora from Queens, so I'm definitely looking forward to her in Shang-Chi. (And also The Farewell, on my list from a couple years ago.)

Today, though, I finally watched John Wick. I had a blast with it. Here are my two favorite kills (spoilers for style only; I don't think "John Wick kills a lot of guys" can be considered a spoiler at this point).

1) At the Red Circle club, he's got another gunman on the other side of the same pillar. Wick reaches down, shoots the man's foot -- the only part of him peeking out -- and then as he doubles over, finishes the job. Loved that foot shot!

2) Toward the end, he backs into one of the goons, and as he flies up and rolls over Wick's car, Wick doesn't take changes and fires bullets directly up, through the roof of his car and into the henchman, finishing him off for sure.

I'm looking forward to the next two installments -- this one was a blast!

WHITE ZOMBIES: Another of "Tracy's" Bela Lugosi's movies. I'd never seen this movie before last night, but it wasn't for lack of opportunity; I guess it's in the public domain because it's readily available on a variety of knock-off DVDs. It's pretty much exactly what I expected, very much a product of the early "talkie" era (1932) with many silent movie tropes on display. We thought Sunday (because of The Walking Dead) was a good day to watch it. 

I've heard of that, but never seen it.  Apparently, it's considered to be the first feature-length zombie film.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

WHITE ZOMBIES: Another of "Tracy's" Bela Lugosi's movies. I'd never seen this movie before last night, but it wasn't for lack of opportunity; I guess it's in the public domain because it's readily available on a variety of knock-off DVDs. It's pretty much exactly what I expected, very much a product of the early "talkie" era (1932) with many silent movie tropes on display. We thought Sunday (because of The Walking Dead) was a good day to watch it. 

I watched Shang-chi a couple of weeks ago at the theater. My first one there since Knives Out. I liked it a lot. One of my favorite super-hero movies in a while.

  • As I've said a time or two before, I believe movies are movies and comics are comics, so Iget why this version of the Shang-Chi story doesn't include a lot of what's in Master of Kung Fu. I've got the original run and have read it many times over, so I fully recognize there's a lot in there that's problematic -- and not just the Fu Manchu/Yellow Peril stuff. But the movie just takes the barest germ of the concept -- son of Chinese warlord bent on world domination rebels -- and spins a wholly new tale. Fine as far as it goes and enjoyable in its own right, but I would have liked to have seen a movie of the stuff in the comics series that got us all excited, the James Bond-esque stuff with MI-6 and spycraft and "the games of deceit and death."
  • But there's a lof of baggage with that, too: Black Jack Tarr's way of calling Shang-Chi "Chinaman," Leiko Wu as the femme fatale, the whole notion of Shang-Chi essentially turning his back on his Chinese heritage in favor of British imperialists.

To be fair, the original series ended back in 1983. I just can't imagine there are that many fans with a connection to the original material. I've read very little of it, so I didn't really think about that portion. I thought it was a really good movie, and that is what I am looking for.

  • Simu Liu was fine as Shang-Chi, but, as ever, Awkwafina stole the show as his best friend Katy.

I thought Simu Lie was great myself. The friend I saw the movie with really stoked about Awkwafina. I had never heard of her. I thought she was good.

  • Best friend, not "love interest." Very good.

Agreed

  • Which proved to be too much of a good thing. As I also often say, most movies I see could stand to be a half-hour shorter, and this one certainly qualifies.

I'm right there with you. I bet I've been saying that for over 20 years. You can probably find me repeating the same thing earlier in this thread.

I thought Shang-chi's father at least had a semi-sympathetic reason for doing what he did. I thought he really emoted well. So, often carrying the weariness on his face of everything he has lived through.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

To be fair, the original series ended back in 1983. I just can't imagine there are that many fans with a connection to the original material. I've read very little of it, so I didn't really think about that portion. I thought it was a really good movie, and that is what I am looking for.

Sure. Movies are made for moviegoers, not comics fans, and I understand that. A lot of comics fans don't. I ran across a post on Facebook with a guy just foaming at the mouth about how the movie was "disrespectful" because it wasn't exactly like the comics, joined in by several others who also chimed in singing the same chorus.

But there's a reason -- actually, several reasons -- this movie is not Master of Kung Fu. One is, being a Marvel movie, it had to be more than your average chop-socky flick, although it provided plenty of that kind of action with the bus scene and the hordes of assassins crawling on the scaffolding. That said, sometimes turning a simple comic into a superhero flick yields terrible results. (Exhibit A, Jonah Hex.)

Still, I do wish we had gotten Master of Kung Fu, but I know we won't. But Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings was a decent movie.

Tony Leung is a hell of an actor. He's in a lot of Wong Kar-wai's films -- I haven't seen In the Mood for Love, but he's wonderful in Chunking Express. And I've also seen him in Hero (god, what a gorgeous flick!) and the John Woo movie Hard Boiled. He was also in Infernal Affairs, the movie The Departed was based on. 

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I thought Shang-chi's father at least had a semi-sympathetic reason for doing what he did. I thought he really emoted well. So, often carrying the weariness on his face of everything he has lived through.

The only thing I really missed was the scale. I feel like Shang-Chi's stakes shouldn't be at the "fate of the universe/earth" level.

GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA: These late showa era G-movies don't really hold up, and I'm losing steam as I approach the end. It doesn't help that my factory VHS is of worse quality than a dub. At least this one's not a "kiddie" film. It does have King Seesar as well as Mechagodzilla, and some ape-like aliens who look as if they might be related to the Ogrons. 

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