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 (2017)

I've never read the book, but I really enjoyed the TV mini-series that was done back in the 80s. The movie version, of course, has much better production values and effects (and even has one of the kids from Stranger Things) but it's nowhere near as good as the mini-series.  The much longer TV version allowed for a slow build and space to explore some of the creepier aspects of childhood trauma. Also the flashback style of storytelling in the TV show was more effective in achieving that goal.  The movie saves all of the adult portion of the story for a sequel and tries to make up for the lack of suspense with excessive gore and special effects.  I'd say this is worth a look if you're horror fan and you need some time to kill but nothing special.

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

A british zombie film based on Mike Carey's novel of the same name. I'd definitely recommend this to fans of the Zombie sub-genre.  With so many of these movies and TV shows around these days, I'm always looking for a new take on the subject and this movie definitely injects some fresh ideas into the mix while delivering a pretty compelling story and some good performances 

I haven't yet seen the movie version of It, but the TV miniseries is one of my favorites. It does the book justice. Similarly, the miniseries version of The Shining is far superior to the Jack Nicholson movie. The movie played fast and loose with the story while the miniseries was a true adaptation. They probably will never try to remake The Stand, but the miniseries got it right the first time.

 Interesting. I would take a different view. The It miniseries has a better Pennywise, but the acting and handling of the story in the movie generally work better for me. I could have watched a non-horror movie just about these kids doofing around and being kids. The acting in the miniseries was uneven, to say the least, and Richard Thomas never has overcome the ghost of John-Boy Walton, at least for me. Of course, the timing of the miniseries meant they could put the "past" events into an era closer to the book's "past."

Oh, yeah. Production values. As I wrote in a review some time ago, it appears, in the fortune cookie scene, that the characters are being attacked by a novelty prize company. However, we must accept poorer production values in early 90s television.

I look forward to the sequel, which will handle the "present" storyline.

I've read It twice, once at the time, and once in preparation for the movie. Both adaptations miss out on the complex backstory, fragmented time-structure, and developed setting, which to me, are the novel's strengths. On the positive side, both adaptations avoid a certain scene (readers will know immediately which one I mean), which no amount of explanation by King (who was using cocaine quite heavily at the time. He says he doesn't even recall writing Cujo) can ever explain or excuse. It is a monumental horror novel that desperately needed an editor.

Detective 445 said:

It (2017)

I've never read the book, but I really enjoyed the TV mini-series that was done back in the 80s. The movie version, of course, has much better production values and effects (and even has one of the kids from Stranger Things) but it's nowhere near as good as the mini-series.  The much longer TV version allowed for a slow build and space to explore some of the creepier aspects of childhood trauma. Also the flashback style of storytelling in the TV show was more effective in achieving that goal.  The movie saves all of the adult portion of the story for a sequel and tries to make up for the lack of suspense with excessive gore and special effects.  I'd say this is worth a look if you're horror fan and you need some time to kill but nothing special.

Anyone who watched him in the Americans on FX wouldn't confuse Richard Thomas with John Boy anymore.



JD DeLuzio said:

 Of course, the timing of the miniseries meant they could put the "past" events into an era closer to the book's "past."


Ah yes...I meant to comment on the era change as well. I get why the movie takes place in a more recent time period. It's easier for a younger generation of viewers to relate to. But at the same time, I thought the era depicted in the TV series (50s? early 60s?) was more appropriate for the story.

Since children had less of a societal voice, the further back in time you go, it seems more credible that they would go missing or disappear in that earlier era and it wouldn't cause much of a stir. And it made them more susceptible to the various forms of abuse and trauma that "It" (the story) seeks to tap into. The creature relies on people's fears to prey on them but it also takes advantage of the fact that children were marginalized back then a lot more than they are today.

Babel is a complex 2006 film that I somehow overlooked before now (saw it on Amazon Prime). The interlocking story lines take place in Morocco, Japan and Mexico, so there's a large international cast. It's largely about Things Going Very Badly in all of the plot lines, but it does manage a happy ending of sorts.

Also watched The Big Sick on Amazon. It's about Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his romance with his wife. But the title comes from the fact that she spends most of the film in a medically induced coma, while he copes with his feelings and meeting her parents under strange circumstances.

Watched Zoombies, which may be in the top five of terrible movies I have seen. Direction, dialogue, acting, special effects -- it was all really, really awful. Some of it was so bad it was entertaining, but mostly it was just painful. Avoid at all costs!

Being the news junkie that I am, there are some movies I don't care to watch that are "based on a true story" or "inspired by actual events" or "ripped from the headlines" because I was so thoroughly immersed in the news coverage when the event happened that a movie about it simply holds no appeal. For example, I told my son the entirety of Straight Outta Compton before he went to see it, and he reported back that I had it right.

It's not an absolute thing, which is why I saw -- and highly recommend -- The Post, which tells the story of the Pentagon Papers case. Going in, I did wonder why the movie wasn't called The Pentagon Papers, or The Times, since it was The New York Times that did the heavy lifting.

The Pentagon Papers -- a massive study of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam, going back to the Truman administration -- was leaked to the Times by Daniel Ellsberg, one of the Rand Corp. researchers who worked on it. The Times knew this stuff was juicy and needed special treatment, so it put together a team who prepared a series away from the Times building.

Where the Washington Post comes in is after the Times story broke; it played catch-up. Initially, the Post stories were just rewrites of Times stories ("... the New York Times reported today ...") until they got their hands on their own set of the Pentagon Papers. With those, the Post could do original reporting.

... until the federal government got an injunction against the Times, and also the Post, which took it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The movie makes the story about Post publisher Katherine Graham and editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee. Graham was a society doyenne who fully expected to spend her life hosting dinner parties for her friends in return for going to their dinner parties, with no thought about the family business, because that was her place in life ... so much so that her father willed the family business not to her, but to her her husband. Unfortunately, she got the family business in a rather painful way; her husband blew his brains out with a shotgun. (She found the body.)

Now the leader of The Washington Post -- which, back then, was a sleepy regional newspaper, not one with an international reputation -- Katherine Graham found herself a rookie mogul. She now spent her time in boardrooms as the only woman in sight who wasn't a secretary ... ignored, if not dismissed, for being a woman. Her upbringing didn't help; she herself often felt unready and out of place.

The Post makes the story about Katherine Graham's developing realization that she has power and she has to find the guts to use it. Especially as the whole Pentagon Papers situation happens the week after the paper makes an initial public offering. This means continuing to publish the Pentagon Papers stories brings the financial risk that the bankers will pull out of the IPO, along with the legal risk of the paper being found in contempt of court -- not to mention that she might get a prison term on possible charges of treason.

So who else can you get to convey the weight of this dilemma but Meryl Streep? 

Yes, she's good. She's excellent. She shows you how Katherine Graham finds the steel in her backbone.

Tom Hanks, as Ben Bradlee, is the angel on her shoulder. At the time, Bradlee had been brought in to shake things up. He had ambitions of making the Post into a national player -- remember, at the time, it wasn't -- and seized the opportunity the Pentagon Papers case presented. He does better capturing Ben Bradlee here than he did playing Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. affecting a Boston accent (or attempt at same) and trying hard to make you forget Jason Robards in All the President's Men. He almost does, too.

The movie is obviously an allegory for today's times, and it works well on that level, too. Definitely four stars.

I've recently seen both Lady Bird and I, Tonya. Both films advertised as comedy-dramas. They both got the drama part right, but I didn't find either one of them particularly funny. I didn't hate either film, but I also didn't think they were that good. They were both okay I guess. 

My main problem with Lady Bird was that I thought the 2 main leads were jerks.

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962): John Ford directed this western about a senator (Jimmy Stewart) who rose to fame after killing a famous outlaw (Lee Marvin). When Stewart returns to the town where it happened for the funeral a his ally, Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), the details of the shooting are told in flashback. Vera Miles plays Hallie Stoddard, the woman they both loved.

THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB (1970): Light-hearted in tone, this movie about a man (Jimmy Stewart), who inherits a “house of ill repute,” and his best friend (Henry Fonda), makes a good double feature with The Man Who shot Liberty Valance.

SWAMP THING (1982): I never saw this movie until this weekend, inspired by my Saga of the Swamp Thing reading project. It’s directed by Wes Craven, but is laughably low budget. Some changes were made from the Wein/Wrightson series upon which it is based. For example, Linda Holland is Alec Holland’s sister (not his wife), and the characters of Matt Cable and Abigail Arcane have been combined into Alice Cable, played by Adrienne Barbeau. This is the kind of comic book movie that gives comic books a bad name. Watch it only if you are in the mood to watch a truly awful movie.

THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING (1989): The sequel was made with a much higher budget, but with a higher degree of camp as well. It’s just as well the first movie featured Alice Cable, because this one introduces Heather Locklear as Abigail Arcane. This watered down adaptation was made after Alan Moore’s famous run, but pales in comparison. When I asked my wife to put these in our Amazon shopping cart, she threw in the TV series as well, so we’ll likely be watching that in the days to come.

I consider Swamp Thing an adorable catastophe.  Adrienne Barbeau was ... lovely.

Wikipedia says the comic was revived because of the movie. So if there had been no movie, Alan Moore might never have written it.

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