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 saw a trailer for that in front of something, and it looked excellent! I had no idea it was a German production. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Captain Comics said:

Watched the new All Quiet on the Western Front. I've never read the book or seen the 1930 adaptation that won a couple of Oscars, but I was somehow familiar with the outline of the plot. Anyway, this version was made by Germans, and we watched it in German with English subtitles. (Otherwise the mismatch between lips and words gets distracting for us. YMMV)

And boy howdy, was it ever good. Like with 1917, the production standards were so good that I felt like I was immersed in 1) 1917 and 2) The Great War. Which is not a happy thing, nor is it a happy movie. But it's verdammten gut.

I've read All Quiet on the Western Front and have seen the 1930 movie.

To give you an idea of how young I was when I read the book, two things that stuck in my mind were:

1) that almost every soldier in the unit dies

2) that all of the German soldiers didn't have German names (migration between countries)

John Carpenter interviewed about his love for Godzilla


I am now determined to see the 1930 version. I can't be young again, but I can catch up with you in seeing it, Richard, and hopefully with young eyes.

Also, I learned something new with this version, now seeing the title with some knowledge of German. The title is Im Westen nichts Neues, which translates specifically to "Nothing new from (or 'happening in') the West." The title itself is bitter irony, which I did not know as a lad.

And yet, despite this book and other literature and journalism in Germany after the Great War, it was not that sentiment that prevailed. It was instead the commander who ordered the last, stupid attack in the book, and Adolf Hitler and his cronies, that carried the day ... into the next World War.

I have been aware since I was a boy that what we should fear are the young men who put Confederate flags on their truck. The ignorant savages that rule with bumper-sticker wisdom and cannot be reasoned with that are the worst, but the most common, examples of humanity. Like the poor, they will always be with us, and they usually win.

Richard Willis said:

I've read All Quiet on the Western Front and have seen the 1930 movie.

To give you an idea of how young I was when I read the book, two things that stuck in my mind were:

1) that almost every soldier in the unit dies

2) that all of the German soldiers didn't have German names (migration between countries)

THE LOST WORLD (1925, silent): Tracy has been wanting to get back to our 100 movie pack for some time now. We left off with a 1935 movie-made-from-a-serial The Lost City (part one) that was so bad we were both reluctant to watch part two. We finally decided to just skip it. I never saw this version of The Lost world before, but it is really quite good, very much like the original King Kong but silent. 

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK: I'm gearing up for the release of Clerks III on DVD and thought I'd start here. 

Finally saw this one. You know, I am okay with the MCU's comedic take on Thor, and Hemsworth carries it well. I just found this one too jokey and too cluttered by far, so that its more human character moments get lost. I didn't dislike it entirely, but too much of it felt like recent Doctor Who crossed with the 60s Batman series, but with a really, really big budget.

I remain interested in seeing where they go, but I've long passed the level of interest where I see the movies shortly after they come out.

ClarkKent_DC said:

We caught Thor: Love and Thunder over the weekend. I understand the critics didn't like it much because of its jokey tone, but that's what I loved most about it. DC movies are way too grimdark, and I like that Marvel leavens the violence with humor.

Plus, Chris Hemsworth is a fine leading man; handsome, very charming, and the Australian accent really sells the notion of Thor being an otherworldly being. There's also the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster who has been out of the Marvel movies for a long. long time (Thor notes it's been eight years, which includes five years of being a victim of the Thanos snap). There were some surprise cameos, a death that was heavily foreshadowed, another that was foreshadowed that didn't happen (which made me feel better). 

Here's to Thor being around for the next Avengers movie!

CLERKS II: Still gearing up for Clerks III

Not planning to watch Clerks III. Not sure I watched Clerks II. But I'll read your reaction!

Netflix suggested something called The Forgotten Battle because we watched All Quiet on the Western Front, so we watched it. (We are nothing but pawns in Big Tech algorithms!). It's a Dutch production filmed mostly in Latvia.

It concerns the 1944 Battle of the Schelde, which probably isn't really forgotten, but isn't one of the more memorable battles of WWII. It concerns the efforts of the Canadian army to free the Schelde estuary in Nazi-occupied Zeeland, Netherlands, so the Allies can use Antwerp, Belgium, which they need as a deepwater port for supplies and reinforcements. 

It was OK, but not 1917 or All Quiet on the Western Front good. Where it failed to grab me was the story, which the film says is based on actual events. Actual events (especially in war) are kinda random, so it could have used a little less history and more screenwriting. As it was, several story threads are followed through the movie where the characters don't link up until the end, and when they do, it's random or tangential.

To give you an idea, we follow:

A group of British paratroopers who are shot down over Dutch marshes;

A Dutch girl in Walcheren whose father is a collaborator and whose brother is in the Resistance; and

A Dutch volunteer in the Waffen-SS in Estonia, who begins to have second thoughts.

It should also noted that there's a lot of failure in this movie. Most of the heroic efforts here come to naught. That's probably accurate, and thematically consistent, but can be pretty disheartening.

The good news is that the production values are Hollywood awesome. The Walcheren scenes immerse the viewer in 1940s Netherlands, while the battle scenes are 1917 good. (It would be hard to watch all these modern war movies and fail to understand how random, and usually pointless, death is in war. Which I appreciate.) Dutch, English and German are  spoken by their respective characters, with subtitles.

The only actor I recognized was Tom Felton, who played obnoxious Englishman Julian Albert Desmond in the first couple seasons of Flash. Well, that's where I know him from. He's also, I'm told, Draco Malfoy in most of the Harry Potter movies and Dodge in one of the Planet of the Apes movies. I haven't seen any of those, so I wouldn't know if it weren't for IMDb.

There is also a cameo by Richard Dillane, who plays Davo Sculdun on Andor.

MENACE FROM OUTER SPACE (1956): From the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger television show. I'm sure I've seen this before on MST3K, but not recently enough that I remember any of the jokes. Besides, Tracy hadn't seen it. what I didn't realize the last time I saw it was that Winky is played by Scotty Beckett, one of Hal Roach's former Our Gang rascals. Originally he was Spanky's partner (before Alfalfa), then he left the series for a while and came back as Cousin Wilbur. 

A Rocky Jones feature appeared in Charlton's Space Adventures (1952 series)  #15-#18.

Those stories have been reprinted by PS Artbooks in Space Adventures Vols. 3-4, but I don't know if those have shipped yet. If they have, I might actually be able to read those Rocky Jones stories, Luke!

I recently watched Vengeance (2022), and I will say this is one of the rare time that the movie matched the hype. I loved it. I'll tackle the one issue I had up front. I've lived in Texas for nearly 50 years, and I have still never seen a priest wear a cowboy hat, ever. Forget about wearing one during mass.

One of the things I absolutely loved, is that they didn't portray people in west Texas as being technologically illiterate. I have a lot of relatives out there, and they know how mobile phones work, how social media works, etc. In some ways I think they appreciate these advances more than us in the city do.

Anyway, BJ Novak plays Ben Manalowitz,  a writer from NYC in which a casual hook-up dies in west Texas. Her family thinks he is her serious boyfriend, and invites him to the funeral. Her brother believes she was murdered and wants Ben's help in killing her murderer. Ben thinks this would be a great premise for a podcast of people who see a crime that isn't there. Like I said I thought this was great, and highly recommended. 

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