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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The Fuller Brush Girl (1950)
Apparently, this is the last movie Lucille Ball made under her studio contract immediately before beginning her iconic TV show. The movie is in black and white, but she had already been transformed into a redhead by husband Desi Arnaz. We know this because her hair color is referenced in dialogue multiple times. She and her movie fiancé (Eddie Albert) are trying to afford a house. She loses her job in a spectacular way and then wants to sell door-to-door cosmetics for the Fuller Brush Company. Apparently, if you had a Y chromosome you sold brushes; if not, cosmetics. The character she plays in this might as well be called Lucy Ricardo. The movie takes an unexpected turn when two people are murdered. When she's suspected of the murders and runs, her red hair makes her easy to spot. There are scenes that have physical gags reminding me of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons. In keeping with these antics, Mel Blanc voices the world's fastest-learning parrot in a few scenes. I didn't know what to expect, but the movie was a ton of fun. I watched it on Crackle.

Prey - Man, I was looking forward to this based on all of the positive things I've heard about it.Plus, I'm a huge fan of the franchise. I thought it was okay. As CK says so many times, there is that one element, out of 10 that you just can't accept. I had a few of those. Since its a new film, I don't want to get into spoilers, so while I can't really recommend it, I also can't tell you to avoid it.

Finally saw Nope (2022). While it's not as effective or creepy, IMO, as Us, it's an interesting take on a  genre we haven't seen much of lately, and certainly not handled like this. Well made, well acted, and really odd.

"Do you know the name of the new Jordan Peele movie...?"

Oops, and since I didn't say, Prey is the new entry in the Predator franchise, which I'm a fan of. This movie mixes it up in that it takes place in 1719 in Comanche Territory.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

Prey - Man, I was looking forward to this based on all of the positive things I've heard about it.Plus, I'm a huge fan of the franchise. I thought it was okay. As CK says so many times, there is that one element, out of 10 that you just can't accept. I had a few of those. Since its a new film, I don't want to get into spoilers, so while I can't really recommend it, I also can't tell you to avoid it.

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!

On a long airplane ride, I caught a movie I somehow failed to make it to the theaters to see on the big screen, Ambulance. The title is stylized as "AMBULANCE," as this is very much a Los Angeles story, although I understand it is an American remake of a Danish film, Ambulancen. It's nominally a heist movie, but as the trailers freely reveal, it's more a heist-gone-wrong movie.

Anyhoo, the story begins with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as an Afghanistan war veteran appealing to his brother, Jake Gyllenhaal, because he needs $230,000 to pay for experimental surgery for his wife that insurance won't cover. Jake is still in the family business -- robbing banks -- and it just so happens he needs a wheelman for a $32 million job he's about to pull that day. (How lucky can you get, hey?)

Things go wrong almost immediately, because  a rookie cop comes by to ask a cute teller out on a date. (What are the odds, hey?) This blows the bank robbers' cover, and in the confusion, SWAT comes and shoots the crew full of holes, save for Yahya and Jake. Yahya accidentally shoots the rookie cop, and he and Jake steal an ambulance to try to slip away from the bank. It works for a little while, but the rookie cop's partner figures out the rookie cop is in the ambulance, and what follows is a day-long chase all over the city. 

There's a hot EMT in the ambulance, too, and she has to take heroic measures to keep the rookie cop alive. (I don't want to spoil that, but let's just say she had to do more than give him Ringer's lactate like the guys on Emergency! would do.) She has to do this in between efforts to escape, having to referee fights between Yahya and Jake, and trying to stop an increasingly unhinged Jake from doing harm to her, the rookie cop, Yahya, or the police on their tail. 

There are moments of intense grimness and moments of intense goofiness, and if you like heist movies, or heist-gone-wrong movies, you could do worse, although I understand AmbuLAnce was a box-office flop.

Let No Man Write My Epitaph  (1960)

I just saw this on TCM.com. It leaves on August 25.

I can't say it better than this IMDB reviewer:

Burl Ives with his acting lifts this film to greatness by making a character that you will never forget - an old judge emeritus fallen to alcoholism as a pathetic bum, but with his integrity and pathos for justice intact. The main character though ís a young pianist (James Darren) who struggles to get out of his sordid circumstances in the slum with an alcoholic mother (Shelley Winters) getting into worse trouble, and a picturesque gallery of friends, one of them being Ella Fitzgerald fallen to drug addiction. The film is heart-rending for its extremely delicate story of hardship struggling against hopeless conditions not to get worse, while everything only gets the worse for that. Jean Seberg arrives on the scene as an unexpected and positive surprise, and it does not after all end as a total tragedy, although there certainly are casualties on the way, one of them fortunately being the worst crook. This is a film to love more than to enjoy, because the trials of all these victims of unfortunate circumstances will be experienced by you as a spectator as well.

Ricardo Montalban plays the worst scumbag you've ever seen. All of the actors give terrific performances.

Paramount+ just reminded me that Courage Under Fire is leaving their streaming service soon. I think it may be going to a different streaming service (Hulu or HBOmax) at that time, but I'm not sure. It's a fantastic film that is more about character and differing versions told (like Rashomon) than about war. Great performances by Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips and Matt Damon.

Here's the trailer

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964): In a clear case of video redundancy (because I already own it on disc), I recorded it from TV recently. We lost our internet yesterday, so I put it one while we (and by "we" I mean Tracy) tried to get it back. 

SWING PARADE (1946): A feature-length film with The Three Stooges. The musical numbers weren't all that great, the story was barely interesting, and the Stooges' bits weren't all that funny. I didn't realize until I had watched it that there was a commentary track by Michael J. Nelson. If I'd've know that to begin with, I would've listened to it, but I'm not going back and wathc it again any time soon. 

MEAD (2022)

I found out about this crowd-funded movie on Jan Strnad’s facebook page. Jan co-wrote the screenplay, adapting his and Richard Corben’s underground comix story -- from Fever Dreams #1 (1972) – - about a talking, illusion-producing spaceship called M.E.A.D. and its lone passenger. It’s extremely well done. Too bad Richard Corben didn't get to see it.

They are fleeing an Ahab-like admiral played by Robert Picardo (of Star Trek). MEAD is voiced by Patton Oswalt, who I think has the most lines in the movie. The CGI visuals were based on Corben’s artwork. IMO, the two actresses look like they were drawn by him. (Don't miss the post credits scene)

I rented it for $3.99 from Amazon Prime.

MEAD (2022) - IMDb

Jeff of Earth-J said:

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964): In a clear case of video redundancy (because I already own it on disc), I recorded it from TV recently. We lost our internet yesterday, so I put it one while we (and by "we" I mean Tracy) tried to get it back. 

This movie permeated my brain at such a fundamental level that I'd be hard-pressed to explain it. I mean,  I watched The  Monkees because of it.

I suppose you watch Peter Jackson's restoration of Let It Be recently...? In a scene not in the original release, John, Paul and Ringo enter the studio and see a Hare Krishna guy sitting there. 

Paul: Who's that?

Ringo: It's one of George's friends.

John: But isn't he clean?

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