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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"Tonight I will leave it up to Tracy whether to watch the American version or move on to Godzilla Raids Again."

And the winner is (drumroll, please)...

GODZILLA: Actually, Tracy made the decision solely on whether or not they were dubbed or subtitled; she just wasn't in the mood to "read" a movie. Godzilla, I remember, was the last of the Shōwa era films I saw prior to the launch of the Heisei films, and I didn't see the original Gojira until the early 2Ks. I've watched a number of "director's cuts" over the years (most recently The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone), and I found most of them to be not all that different from the originally released version. Godzilla is almost like a "director's cut" of Gojira (or vice versa, rather); at least the two are significantly different from each other. 

Godzilla plays well after Gojira, especially a day after; it's almost like a "second" movie. Someone should have won an Oscar for editing the American version. Not until the "Trials & Tribble-ations" episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would an entirely new plot and characters again be layered atop existing footage. the other day I classified The Creature from the Black Lagoon as a transition from one type of monster movie to another; Godzilla represents another such transition. I would say the the Creature is to Frankenstein's Monster as Godzilla is to King Kong. The original Gojira is an elegant metaphor for nuclear warfare. Here's another analogy: Gojira is to the rest of the franchise as Love Me Tender is to all other Elvis movies. 

Two additional observations: 1) They shouldn't have given the word "phenomenon" the the guy who dubbed the Japanese scientist's dialogue (and certainly not three times), and 2) Godzilla's height was give as both 50 meters and 400 feet. (400 feet is more than twice 50 meters.) 

You say Phenomenon. I say Mahna Mahna. 

Is this Godzilla '84/'85?

No, 1954.

LOVE ME TENDER: A Confederate soldier (Richard Egan) who had been reported killed in action returns home to find that his brother (Elvis Presley) has married his girlfriend (Debra Paget). Complicating matters is that he and his men stole the U.S. Army payroll the day after the Civil War had ended (although they weren't aware of it at the time).

SONGS: "We're Gonna Move," "Let Me," "Poor Boy" and the title track.

TRIVIA: The only movie in which Elvis plays a death scene.

This is Elvis' first movie, the only one I have on DVD.. His third (Jailhouse Rock) and his fourth (King Creole) are both pretty good, too; I have never seen his second (Lovin' You). /his post-Army films were mostly crap. 

Over the last week, I watched Wim Wenders's Until the End of the World, and I have the feeling this is already one of my favorite movies. I can't stop thinking about it.

It starts out as a road movie, set in the near future of 1999 (the film was made in '91). There's an Indian nuclear satellite that might crash into the earth, causing destruction -- basically a sword of Damocles hanging over the whole plot, which isn't about what to do about the satellite at all... just what people are doing while possible death looms overhead. Also wonderful window dressing are all the futuristic touches Wenders extrapolates, and how close they get to what actually exists now. (He scores pretty high on computer tech, but isn't quite as successful with, say, hats.) 

Claire (Solveig Dommartin) gets into a car accident with some bank robbers, and they enlist her to launder their money. But along the way, some of the money gets stolen from her by an engaging stranger, played by William Hurt. So Claire goes trekking across Europe to track him down, sometimes followed by, and sometimes in partnership with, a private detective, her ex-boyfriend (Sam Neill), a bounty hunter, and one of the bank robbers, an aspiring drummer. 

This movie goes everywhere, taking one left turn after another... until it suddenly stops and stays in one place for a while, and the characters start to interact in an environment when they're not on the run. The 5-hour director's cut is incredibly generous & patient with its characters, and if you approach it with the same spirit of patience and curiosity, you'll be rewarded with something special. 

Don't feel like you have to watch this all at once. Break it up, over 2 or 3 sittings. Live in this world for a while.

GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (a.k.a. "Gigantis the Fire Monster"): I misspoke the other day when I indicated that, byt the time of Godzilla: 1985, I had seen all of the Shōwa era "Godzilla" movies except the original; what I should have said was every one except two. By the time of Godzilla: 2000 I had seen every one of the Shōwa and Heisei eras  except Godzilla Raids Again, I fact I mentioned on this board and, within a week, I had a copy of both Japanese and America versions on VHS. (Thanks, Bob!) Last night I gave Tracy the choice of which version she wanted to watch and (I should have known), she picked the dubbed version. (she's a voracious reader of books, but I've never known her to "read a movie" if given a choice.) I had forgotten that "The Big G." went through the entire movie under an assumed name; it really should have been titled "The Fire Monster, Starring Godzilla as 'Gigantis'" (or maybe "Gigantis the Buck-Toothed Monster). It's been a while since I've seen the Japanese and English versions back-to-back, but I recall they are quite different; perhaps I should make time to watch the original version on my own. 

I saw Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008) an ultra-low-budget indie comedy about gamers (the same people have made a number of even lower-budget short films on the same basic subject). I found it quite entertaining (you have to be able to get past the budget limitations). Most of the humour comes from the interplay between the characters' real lives and their ongoing campaign. It can be found on Amazon Prime and at YouTube.

VIVA LAS VEGAS: Elvis plays a racecar driver who loses his money and is forced to take a waiter job at a hotel. He's trying to earn enough money to compete in the Las Vegas Grand Prix.


SONGS: "The Lady Loves Me," "What'd I Say," "C'mon everybody" and the title track. 

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVE (THIS ISLAND EARTH): The bigger movie budget makes the host sections more palatable. And "This Island Earth" is a classic in its own right.

GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN: I watched the Japanese version by myself. It wasn't as different from the dubbed version as I had remembered, except for some of the translations, which is probably what I was thinking of. For future reference, I have decided there are two possible directions to take from the original, Japanese, Godzilla: 1) the American version of Godzilla or 2) the Japanese version of Raids Again. Similarly, I have determined that there are two possible directions to take from the American version of the original Godzilla: 1) the American version of Raids Again or 2) Godzilla: 1985

Saturday August 7, TCM is showing a ton of Abbott and Costello movies, including but not limited to their meetings with the classic monsters.

The temperature is in the (low) triple digits and the delta variant is running rampant, so we decided to stay in the A/C and watch some movies. 

THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN (MST3K): In addition to The Movie, I have three other MST3Ks on prerecorded VHS (as opposed to dubbed tapes or DVDs). This is one of them.

ROUSTABOUT: This is another still-shrink-wrapped VHS tape I bought in the '90s and never watched. Elvis plays a karate-chopping biker who's hired as as carnival roustabout. His guitar playing may be what the carnival owner (Barbara Stanwyck) needs to save the show from bankruptcy. Soon-to-be-famous Raquel Welch appears (uncredited) in a brief scene. SONGS include "One track Heart," "It's a Wonderful World," ""Little Egypt" and the title track. 

MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA: Next up should have been King Kong vs. Godzilla but, as I tend to watch that one when I'm in a "King Kong" mood and when I'm in a "Godzilla" mood, I decided to give it a pass at this time. Mothra vs. Godzilla was one of those I saw on the Sunday afternoon "Super Movie" when I was a kid, and for many years I thought it was the first appearance of Mothra. It wasn't until the late '80s or early '90s (I think) when I saw the original Mothra in my LVS (local video store). I re-watched it just a few weeks ago (see above), but I kind of wish now I had watched them back-to-back.

For all intents and purposes, this really is the first "Mothra" movie (Mothra's "Earth 2" continuity) as the first one is not mentioned at all. Mothra vs. Godzilla is quite a bit better than Mothra. for one thing, it's got Godzilla in it (duh), but the movie is really well-paced. For the first full 30 minutes, it's Mothra's movie. Then, after Godzilla is introduced, the plot flips back and forth from one to the other. An hour in they meet, and the battle progresses in stages as Godzilla faces off against, first the old Mothra, then the two newly-hatched larvae. 

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