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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There are three eBay sellers who have the DVD for sale between $40-45 plus shipping.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

TEXASVILLE: Finished the book so I re-watched the movie. It's not as good as The Last Picture Show, but it's a good adaptation of the book. My VHS copy is okay (except for a soft, high-pitched whine throughout), but I'd buy a cleaner copy if I could find one for less than 70 bucks.

"I'd buy a cleaner copy if I could find one for less than 70 20 bucks."

MOTHRA: I'm gearing up to re-watch some Toho films and this is where I decided to start. 

GODZILLA vs. BIOLANTE: Watching Gamera the Brave recently put me in the mood to re-watch the life cycle of the replacement Godzilla of Earth 2.1. I decided to start here, firmly on Earth 2, because this movie is a better fit tonally with the next five than the previous two. Besides, this movie introduces my POV character, the jug-eared psychic Miki Saegusa, who will be featured throughout the rest of Godzilla's Earth 2/2.1 continuity. 

INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU: This is the one with Alan Arkin as Clouseau. Arkin is the Roger Moore of Clouseaus in that his performance is not bad (and may have been better remembered if he had been first), but he'll never compare with the guy who originated the role. Speaking of James Bond (as I was, obliquely), this movie is definitely post-Bond craze as it is more of a spy spoof than a comic police procedural.

Ha ha. My wife, who is only a casual Godzilla watcher, once asked me - "is that actress in every Godzilla movie?"

Jeff of Earth-J said:

GODZILLA vs. BIOLANTE: Besides, this movie introduces my POV character, the jug-eared psychic Miki Saegusa, who will be featured throughout the rest of Godzilla's Earth 2/2.1 continuity. 

CASINO ROYALE (1967): I decided to take a break from "Pink Panther/Inspector Clouseau" movies to watch the previous "James Bond" starring two actors from the original Pink Panther, David Niven (The Phantom) as the original James Bond, and Peter Sellers (Clouseau) as his replacement. the movie also stars Orson Welles as Le Chiffre, Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond (Bond's nephew), and Dr. No alum Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd. This version is quite different from the 2006 film starring Danial Craig. I used to hate it, but now I can at least appreciate it. Inspector Clouseau was a bit more sublte (but just a bit). Peter sellers will return to the role he made famous in The Return of the Pink Panther

China Gate (1957)

On TCM, I watched The Blue Gardenia (1953), a darn good film noir with Raymond Burr playing yet another rotten person. (AFAIK, he always played bad guys until he was cast as Perry Mason.) Anyway, Nat King Cole played himself as a lounge singer in this movie. Commentary after the movie mentioned that he seldom got the chance to actually act a part, but that in the movie China Gate (1957) he turned in an impressive performance in a major part.

Of course, this meant that China Gate wouldn’t be easily available. I found it on YouTube. One of the full movie offerings was wide-screen but had no sound at all. The other full movie offering had the sound but only showed a grainy center-of-frame picture. I decided to try something. I started the cropped movie for sound on my TV using Roku and watched the wide screen soundless one on my computer (the wide screen wouldn’t display correctly on the Roku). This worked as well as could be expected.

The three billed stars were Gene Barry, Angie Dickinson and Nat King Cole. I’m not sorry I watched it, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. It’s set in Vietnam during the time after the Japanese surrender when the French Foreign Legion was trying to reassert French control of Indochina. Oddly (and annoyingly) everyone who is probably Vietnamese is referred to as Chinese and the three mixed-race characters (Angie Dickinson, her son - also Gene Barry’s son - and a young Lee Van Cleef) are referred to by the archaic term “half-caste.” Mercifully, Dickinson and Van Cleef are not made up to look Asian. The young boy is definitely Asian, which stokes his father’s racism. The Legionnaires are a mixed bag of former WWII and Korean War vets. Barry and Cole are American vets. One of the men was a former German soldier (apparently there were a lot of them in the Legion) who doesn’t seem to hold Nazi beliefs. He just hates communists, as does everyone else, possibly including Lee Van Cleef’s character, who nevertheless is working towards a big job in Moscow. Nobody gives bad performances, IMO, but I would recommend it only to the curious.

THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER: This is the first "Pink Panther" movie I ever saw in the theater. It is also the first "Pink Panther" movie I saw ever. Back then, I loved sequels and I didn't care if I saw them out of order (as if I had a choice). If I saw one and liked it, I figured I could always watch the previous one(s) sometime in the future. This one is a bit more overtly slapstick than the previous ones, but it appealed to me at the time. 

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (2018) tells the story of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, the first person (in 1956) to study giraffes in the wild and who went on, literally, to write the book on giraffes. She later became an activist, in part because she kept getting passed over for positions and tenure despite having amassed qualifications considerably greater than those of her male colleagues. She took a lot of colour film in 1956, which appears in this documentary, along with readings of her notes and letters by Tatiana Maslany (of Orphan Black fame) and coverage of her recent return to Africa with her daughter.

Despite her own struggles and the current threat to giraffe survival, the documentary maintains an overall joyful and uplifting tone that reflects Dagg's personality.

THE TOHO GODZILLA COLLECTION, VOL. 1: Tracy bought this odd little collection a while ago ("6 Great Movies, 1 Great Price"), but I'm getting around to watching it only now. It includes Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Godzillah vs. Destroyag, Rebirth of Mothra, and Rebirth of Mothra II. what makes it "odd" (in my estimation) is, not only are the latter two not Godzilla movies, they're not even in the same continuity as the other movies in the set. Odder, still, If they would gave included Godzilla vs. Biolante and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II instead of the two Rebirth of Mothra movies, the set not only would have been truly a "Godzilla" collection, but also the complete "Miki Saegusa, Jug-Eared Psychic" Hexology.

GODZILLA vs. KING GHIDORAH: According to our resident Godzilla expert, this film marks the transition from the Big G's "Earth 2" to "Earth 2.1" continuity. I've seen this movie before (not for a while), but I remember the differentiation between timelines as being more distinct than it actually is. Three time-travelers from the 23rd century come back to 1992 to supposedly save Japan by destroying Godzilla. Their actual goal is to bring about Japan's destruction by replacing Godzilla with King Ghidorah. 

This movie introduces the continuity implant of a dinosaur in 1944 which mutated into Godzilla after being exposed to atomic radiation, then it proceeds to immediately ret-con it out of existence. The plan is to  kill the dinosaur and transport it away from the site of the atomic blast, and replace it with three cute little "dorats" which will in the be mutated and fused into a single monster under their control, King Ghidorah. 

Their plan goes off pretty much as intended, producing some real Dark Shadows-style results. Back in 1992, Godzilla is immediately replaced by King Ghidora, yet not only does everyone remember Godzilla, the film doesn't account for King Ghidora's whereabouts from 1944 to 1992. In order to defeat King Ghidora, the authorities bombard the dinosaur's corpse with radiation from an atomic submarine, creating an even larger and more powerful Godzilla than before. 

Their plan works only too well. Godzilla handily defeats King Ghidora, but then becomes an even bigger menace to Japan. One of the time-travelers switched sides, reprogrammed their android, and returned to the future in order to use 23rd century technology to revive King Ghidora (as Mecha-King Ghidora) and return him to 1992 in order to defeat Godzilla. To cut to the chase, their plan succeeds and Godzilla's "Earth 2.1" continuity is under way. 

I'm not entirely sure that I have made perfect sense out of the mess that GvKG made of Heisei continuity.

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