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 creepy.  I think that it's just as well that I didn't see it when I was eight.  It also makes me think about how badly most modern houses would fare against an attack like that.  It was an interesting choice to have  Pleshette's character killed off-camera.  It's also interesting that both this and Romero's picture have the female lead reduced to speechless incoherence. I note that even in a Hitchcock picture, people periodically do the Stupidest Thing Imaginable, although, to be fair, I might too, if I was freaking out.

Captain Comics said:

The Birds left my young self pretty disturbed because of all the unanswered questions. I was also upset because they killed Suzanne Pleshette, who made me feel funny inside! What was your feeling as an adult watching it for the first time?

Tracy had never seen it, either... until we moved to Texas and discovered Grackles. Every year they mass in trees and on wires like... well, like in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, actually. She never paid them much attention until I showed her the movie. After that she freaked out! (Ain't I a stinker?) 

Cathy Brenner is played by Veronica Cartwright, who was also in Alien. Her sister is Angela Cartwright from Lost in Space. When I was little, I thought they were the same person. 

Angela was in Lost in Space, and Veronica was in Leave It to Beaver and Daniel Boone, so they were always separate for me.

Captain Comics said:

We watched Mission: Impossible (1996) for the first time the other night. (Neither of us a Tom Cruse fan.) It was very James Bond-ian, and at least two of the stunts were jaw-dropping. Now I know why this series has lasted so long (and where a million social media memes came from).

Tom Cruise's first "Mission Impossible" movie was out during one of the old board's incarnations, and the consensus was uniformly negative -- but then, that view came from people who actually remember the TV series, including some of the actors who were in the show, like Peter Graves and Greg Morris. Graves declined to participate in the movie; given the way it portrayed Jim Phelps, I can't imagine he would have agreed. 

When Antony Hopkins takes over giving Ethan his orders in MI 2, I wanted him to say "I"m Jim Phelps." "No you're not." "I am the new Jim Phelps."

Having watched the entire series over the past year one thing that drives me nuts is how often the opening taped directive turns out to be a lie or a trap. That makes it ridiculous they're still sticking with it. The MISSION IMPOSSIBLE SOURCE BOOK says The Tape Is A Lie was a common pitch from new writers and they always turned it down because it invalidated the series.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Captain Comics said:

We watched Mission: Impossible (1996) for the first time the other night. (Neither of us a Tom Cruse fan.) It was very James Bond-ian, and at least two of the stunts were jaw-dropping. Now I know why this series has lasted so long (and where a million social media memes came from).

Tom Cruise's first "Mission Impossible" movie was out during one of the old board's incarnations, and the consensus was uniformly negative -- but then, that view came from people who actually remember the TV series, including some of the actors who were in the show, like Peter Graves and Greg Morris. Graves declined to participate in the movie; given the way it portrayed Jim Phelps, I can't imagine he would have agreed. 

I watched Mission:Impossible installments 4 - 6 first. I enjoyed them well enough to then go back and watch the first three. I didn't really care for them. If I had started to watch them in order I may not have ever made past the first film.

I (re)watched the whole series this past year. Vanessa Redgrave makes the first film worth it. The third film is the first one that's really good (Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn't hurt).

doc photo said:

I watched Mission:Impossible installments 4 - 6 first. I enjoyed them well enough to then go back and watch the first three. I didn't really care for them. If I had started to watch them in order I may not have ever made past the first film.

ALIEN CONTANINATION: "A cargo ship from South America drifts into New York City harbor and the police board the vessel to discover what happened to the crew. Finding the crew dead, apparently from their internal organs bursting out of their torso, the police discover the reason for the crews's deaths were some mysterious eggs in the cargo bay. Hoping to find the source of the eggs, the police officer heading the investigation tracks down a former astronaut, who was poart of a Mars mission that went horribly wrong.'

WIKIPEDIA: "Contamination (a.k.a. Alien ContaminationToxic Spawn or Larvae) is a 1980 science fiction-horror film... The film is about an alien cyclops creature that uses human agents to place eggs all over Earth. The eggs release a gelatinous goo that causes people to explode when they come into physical contact with the substance. The tagline on the Italian one-sheet ("...e ora tocca a voi!") translates as '...and now it's your turn!'."

It's unusual to see a film set in NYC dubbed into English. It starts as "The Mystery of the Marie Celeste" and segues into Alien (1979), oddly presaging Aliens (1986) along the way. However bad you think this movie sounds, its worse

THE ALPHA INCIDENT (1977): "A Mars space probe returns to Earth and brings with it a microorganism from the red planet. While transporting the microscopic alien life form by train, the is an accident and the microorganism is unleashed. Exposure to the alien virus forces four strangers into quarantine while government scientists rush to find a cure."

Change one word in the last sentence of that summary ("Exposure to an alien virus forces four strangers into quarantine while government scientists rush to find a cure") and that's pretty much all you need to know. But JEE-bitz they take a long time to get there. This is possibly the slowest moving film I have ever seen. The producers must have though they were making a tense thriller, but it doesn't really start to get "interesting" (to use the term loosely) until the four are quarantined, about an hour in. The stock characters are the competent government agent, the slob, the pretty girl and an old guy who is kind of a cypher. The pretty girl makes it with the slob (not the hero-type) which is about the only surprising thing about this movie, which seems to be build around one special effect which occurs about 10 minutes from the end. SPOILER: The government agent is the only one to live through the night. He is not infected after all but, in a blatant rip-off of Night of the Living Dead, he is shot dead by... I was about to say his "rescuers" but the government betrayed their trust when they couldn't find a cure. In order to contain the virus, they sent an "antidote" which was actually cyanide. They sent five capsules, but by that time there were only two left alive. END SPOILER. If you ever have the opportunity to watch this, just watch the last 15 minutes or so. 

EDIT: I probably should point out that the virus causes one's brain to expand until it explodes out of the skull if the infected patient falls asleep. 

Watched Mission: Impossible III last night. Impressive stunts back to back to back, to the point where my wife said, “This movie is going to give me a heart attack!” Philip Seymour Hoffman impressed as the anti-Bond villain, who never gave the hero an out, never monologued, was absolutely merciless and had no respect whatsoever for his opponent. The plot held up even after the adrenaline rush, although I did guess who the IMF traitor was long before the reveal.

Also, I’m gaining respect for Tom Cruse, who manages to subtly show fear before some of the big set pieces.

Captain Comics said:

Also, I’m gaining respect for Tom Cruse, who manages to subtly show fear before some of the big set pieces.

He may not have to fake it. He used to do all of his own stunts. Now that he's gotten older* he doesn't do all of them, but he still does as much as he can.

* either that or the movie's insurance company won't let him.

So... Tracy and I were making our way through our 100 Movie Pack last week when we started watching Atomic Rulers of the World, which we immediately recognized as Evil Brain from Outer Space so, figuring it was simply the same movie released under a different name, we moved on. Then last night, we started watching Attack from Space (three or four movies along in the same set) and discovered it was the same. A quick internet search reveals the following...

Atomic Rulers of the World (parts 1-2)

Invaders from Space (parts 3-4)

Attack from Space (parts 5-6)

Evil Brain from Outer Space (parts 7-9)

Unless we're crazy (always a possibility), the beginnings of the three "movies" we have are not only similar, but identical. This new bit of information means we'll have to go back and watch Atomic Rulers of the World and Attack from Space. It also means we're missing parts 3-4 of the overall Starman saga (although Tracy is confident we'll be able to follow the plot). 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

EVIL BRAIN FROM OUTER SPACE: This movie was every bit as awesome as you made it sound. It played very much like a '40s era movie serial or a '50s era TV show, but Japanese. Before I was even two minutes in I knew I was going to love it. One of my favorite comics of the '90s was Starman, but this movie is like the missing Starman, even more than "the Starman of 1950." 

The Baron said:

Watched Evil Brain From Outer Space (1964), a no-budget Japanese sci-fi epic in which the Space Council sends the heroic Starman (known in Japan as "Super-Giant")  to Earth to defend it from invasion by the evil space brain Balazar.  Starman is very similar to Prince of Space and Space Chief from "Invasion of the Neptune Men".  As in those films, the heels are simultaneously the greatest threat in the universe and goofy and utterly incompetent.

I'm given to understand that this movie was an amalgam of four movies from a series, which might explain why the plot makes no sense.

In the meantime, we moved on to...

BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT (1971): "A man is saved from certain death by selling his soul to the Devil, who charges him with recruiting others to his evil cause. As part of his trems for relinquishing control of his soul to Satan, the man is cursed to endure transformation into a hideous creature and stalk his victims by night. The local autorities want to find and destroy this murderous creature before it can take another victim, while the man looks to find a way to end his cursed existence."

Sounds more interesting than it is, trust me. The love scenes are a bit more explicit than is usually shown in this type of movie (although not that type of movie, if you know what I mean). Avoid this one, even for laughs. 

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