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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I've been watching A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die (1972). This is an Italian Western set during the Civil War and modelled after The Dirty Dozen.

James Coburn plays a disgraced officer who leads a small group of men, mostly taken from the scaffold, on a mission to retake the fort he surrendered. Bud Spencer plays his one friend among the eight. Telly Savalas plays the villainous Confederate officer who now commands the fort.

The film opens strongly, with a flash-forward showing the aftermath of the violent climax. It follows the lines you'd expect, but it has good touches, and I thought Coburn did a particularly good job bringing personality to his part. Savalas only appears in the second half of the film.

There's a lot of use of Gatling guns at the climax. The IMDB notes they were only marginally used in the Civil War.

Today I watched Raid On Rommel (1971), which stars Richard Burton and was directed by Henry Hathaway.

In the film the British scheme to infiltrate commandos into Tobruk via the seizure of a German prisoner of war convoy so they can wreck the port's seaward guns and permit an attack from the sea.

A number of the reviews at the IMDB are scathing, but I like it: I see it as another, cheaper film in the vein of Where Eagles Dare. Much of the film's action footage was taken from other movies, primarily Tobruk (1967). The joins show, but that doesn't ruin it for me.

The film is set in 1943. Tobruk was actually retaken during the Second Battle of El Alamein in the latter part of 1942.

My feelings are pretty much the same, Captain.  I was about 15 when the first Star Wars flick came out, and I collected the comics regularly for the first year or so.  I enjoyed the films but was never inclined to see them multiple times and when the original trilogy came out on video years later I didn't bother to get them.  They were fun, escapist fare and all but I never got fanatical about them.  The Godfather or Monty Python and the Holy Grail I enjoy watching multiple times, but generally one viewing of a Star Wars film is enough for me.

Captain Comics said:

Watched Solo: A Star Wars Story. I don't see a thread on it anywhere, so I'll mention it here.

I'm not a Star Wars fanatic, I'll say up front. Well, not any more. I've watched all the movies on the big screen since the first one, and I read all the "expanded universe" books until there were too many, and I read most of the Dark Horse comics and all of the Marvel books the first time around. I have read none of the current Marvel titles, and don't intend to. The prequels kinda tamped my enthusiasm, I guess, so I just watch the movies now.

I enjoyed Last Jedi, if that colors your opinion of my opinion. I didn't see what the problem was. Some people said it wasn't consistent with canon, or something, which I found a silly argument -- this is the movie series that had future siblings Luke and Leia share a kiss. I have never found it a terribly consistent, plausible or well-thought-out series. (Convince me that "midi-choloridians" were in the back of Lucas' mind all along. I dare you.) The space ships still bank and scream in space, there is still no explanation for why Obi-Wan thought hiding Luke with his only remaining relatives was a clever move, or a host of other nonsensical story problems with the series. And, of course, there's Jar-Jar.

But I do enjoy the movies. I don't expect them to make sense. I'm there for the spectacle, for the familiar tropes. Yes, most of them are terribly repetitive, but then, there's really only one Star Wars plot, so they kinda have to re-hash it over and over. Hey, it's familiar in a good way. And it sure looks purty.

And so it is with Solo. I enjoyed seeing all that money up on the screen.The acting wasn't great, but again, that's par for the course in a Star Wars movie. I only spent $5 at a matinee, and it was a pleasant afternoon spent. Mission accomplished.

My wife, also an old-school (i.e., pre-prequel) fan, described it best: "It was a fun movie, but I've already forgotten it."

A Man Called Ove (2015)

The Swedish film, about a cantankerous late middle-aged man who is really bad at dying, is (some obvious tropes notwithstanding) one of the most  enjoyable and touching films I have seen this year.

I have not read the novel, and I do anticipate with too much hope a proposed American adaptation. The novel's probably quite good. I fear the proposed Tom Hanks version will veer too far into schmaltz and sentimentality.

The space ships still bank and scream in space…

The explanation I have heard for that is that it’s not the actual ships we’re hearing, but rather the targeting computer playing through a speaker in the gun turret to help the gunner manually track the targets.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The space ships still bank and scream in space…

The explanation I have heard for that is that it’s not the actual ships we’re hearing, but rather the targeting computer playing through a speaker in the gun turret to help the gunner manually track the targets.

I don't get that complaint. Would people really enjoy these movies better if they were silent?

I think they acknowledged back in the day that sound effects in space are inaccurate but needed for audience excitement. Huge things blowing up silently would turn off the viewers.

Richard Willis said:

I think they acknowledged back in the day that sound effects in space are inaccurate but needed for audience excitement. Huge things blowing up silently would turn off the viewers.

Right. People are watching movies set in the future, featuring aliens, spaceships, faster-than-light travel ... and noise in space is that 11th impossible thing? 

Not immeasurably, no, but I wouldn't have that little voice saying, "why do they have to aggressively ignore physics?" Would anyone enjoy the movie less if the ships functioned like they were in space?

That said, I pretty much ignore it in Star Wars, since the series started as a tribute to cheesy adventure movies and serials, and the rules of cheesy adventure movies and serials apply.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I don't get that complaint. Would people really enjoy these movies better if they were silent?

I have read the book! One of the best things I read last year. Haven't seen the movie, as I didn't know it was a thing at the time. Normally, I like to read the book after I've seen the movie (that way I get more out of the story the second time around, instead of vice versa).

JD DeLuzio said:

A Man Called Ove (2015)

The Swedish film, about a cantankerous late middle-aged man who is really bad at dying, is (some obvious tropes notwithstanding) one of the most  enjoyable and touching films I have seen this year.

I have not read the novel, and I do anticipate with too much hope a proposed American adaptation. The novel's probably quite good. I fear the proposed Tom Hanks version will veer too far into schmaltz and sentimentality.

Too true, just like for kung fu or other action movies they enhance the sound of flesh hitting flesh to an unrealistic degree just as comics use sound effects lettering for the same effect, just dialing up the volume to 11. 

Richard Willis said:

I think they acknowledged back in the day that sound effects in space are inaccurate but needed for audience excitement. Huge things blowing up silently would turn off the viewers.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I don't get that complaint. Would people really enjoy these movies better if they were silent?

JD DeLuzio said:

Not immeasurably, no, but I wouldn't have that little voice saying, "why do they have to aggressively ignore physics?" Would anyone enjoy the movie less if the ships functioned like they were in space?

That said, I pretty much ignore it in Star Wars, since the series started as a tribute to cheesy adventure movies and serials, and the rules of cheesy adventure movies and serials apply.

Does that little voice saying "why do they have to aggressively ignore physics?" pipe up when you watch such physical impossibilities as light sabers, "subspace radios," teleporters, photon torpedos -- or, for that matter, spaceships that can reach escape velocity and get from over here to over there before the crew gets too old to remember why they even made the trip? 

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