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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Watched Valley of the Gwangi for the first time. Like the Baron, I'm trying to check off boxes of famous stuff I've never seen or read before it doesn't matter any more.

It was more interesting than I expected. I thought it would be crude and stupid -- and it was. But it was made during the time when cowboy crap was a big deal, so it was basically a cowboy move ... where they fought dinosaurs!

Sadly, it was stop-motion dinosaurs, which haven't aged well. And there was lot of "men on horses racing around" scenes, like old '40s cowboy movie-serial stuff, which was boring.(But it saved money!) And the "heroism" thing was kinda muddied. The guy who had run off to get rich and broke the lead actress' heart really doesn't have an answer for that behavior, but does become the hero, sorta, when he tries to steer the heroine away from the false glamor of money to a ranch in Montana, so I guess he's ... not a dick? I can't really tell.

The real mensch in the show is a guy named Carlos, who throws himself into every dangerous situation to save the girl, and nobody gives a shit, because he's Hispanic. He ends up dying to save her, and nobody even notices. What?!??

And another thing: James Franciscus as the romantic male lead. This deserves a rant.

I will tell you here and now that I was baffled as a young boy about what to do with girls because movies kept giving me false signals. You know, boys and girls would show no interest in each other, only to fall in love in the end. Or they'd hate each other, only to fall in love in the end. You get the idea.

But there was also the "this is what passion/sex looks like" scenes, where (out of the blue) our hero and heroine would bang their faces against each other. No actual kissing, of course, just sort of a "let's push out clenched teeth against each other and then pretend this is orgasmic" sort of scene, which left the young Captain going, "huh?"

But all of this was compounded by the many lead Hollywood men -- men I looked to for signals about how to grow up and be a man, a heterosexual man-- who were gay. And really didn't like kissing girls.

That was a real problem! I was already being told by the immature members of my gender that girls had cooties and whatnot. And that we were supposed to like them. Or .. want them, in some undefined way. Which I KNEW was wrong .... but nothing in the pop culture landscape helped me. Especially homosexual men in lead roles pretending to be heterosexual men.

Valley of the Gwangi is a case in point. The lead man -- the heterosexual lead man -- is played by James Franciscus. Who was FABULOUSLY gay. In fact, he had a fabulous gay tan in this movie. His face was darker than his teeth. His face was darker than the Hispanics in the movie, which was much of the other men.

Anyway, my point is: He was supposed to be painfully in love with the female lead. She was supposed to be painfully in love with him. And it would serve the movie if they could convince us of this.

But they couldn't. Franciscus was always more interested in everything else BUT the girl throughout the movie. Often she would have her (big) tits on display, and he never even glanced at them. (The other actors did.)

And as a grown-up, heterosexual male, I know which camp I'D be in! That lady was HOT!

But back in the day, I was wastching movies where Rock Hudson and James Franciscus and other gay actors were the male leads, and I"D BE SO CONFUSED!

I mean, there were really sexy girls all around, and they weren't the slightest bit interested! They never gawked at a pretty girl, which I was already doing. They behaved as if women were invisible, and for God's sake, that wasn't remotely true. Pretty girls were everywhere in my young life! Was I supposed to never look at them, talk to then, be interested in them? That's what James Franciscus was telling me.

Valley of the Gwangi is a case in point. Franciscus is the hero, but it's Carlos who showed the only normal heterosexual reaction to the female lead. He was also the actual hero, although Franciscus gets the credit.

So those are my thoughts on this movie on my bucket list.

I watched "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" on Netflix recently. It's not so much a movie as it is a series of short stories, none of which are interconnected; however, they do share a common theme that doesn't take a lot to figure out. Each story is well acted (if you're a Tom Waits fan, he puts on a nearly one man show as a gold prospector) and evenly paced. The stories are peppered with dark humor that at times fades leaving the viewer genuinely shocked. If you find yourself in a somewhat serious mood, that would be the time to watch this film; otherwise, you could end up amused but depressed.   

I'm a Coen Brothers fan, and True Grit was one of my favorites of theirs. So this was a no-brainer for me. I was kind of surprised that the most light-hearted story came at the beginning of the film instead of embedded somewhere else. I thought it was extremely well done, and you're right, the group of actors they assembled is just incredible.

Captain Marvel (2019), which I liked. I'd put it in the middle tier of Marvel superhero moves, above the first two Thors but below Black Panther, Winter Soldier, and the Avengers. but that's probably a discussion elsewhere at the site. Seeing it increased my eye-rolls at the in-advance controversy over the film's politics.  It's about as radical as an after-school special.

Blackkklansman (2018): good, though no more strictly faithful to the facts than most Hollywood films based on a true story.

The Hate U Give (2018): a strong adaptation of the novel. The family/friends sequences, in many ways, work better than the large-scale public drama, and the film necessarily makes a number of changes, including the ending. Nevertheless, it respects its source material, and is worth seeing,

Monster Club (1981): an unimpressive cult horror anthology film featuring Vincent Price and John Carradine. Three stories, interrupted by the framing device and some generally bad pop music. The final third is the best, and the "stripper" sequence is at least creative.

My St. Patrick's Day night viewing: Bloody Sunday, 2002, directed by Paul Greengrass.

This felt so much like a documentary. It was acted, though, but incredibly well-done. When I say it feels like a documentary, I should add that there is no narrator, no confessionals, or anything like that. The cameras are hand-held and there is no lighting as they take you through the harrowing events of that day in 1973 in Derry, Ireland.

This is a movie every movie fan should see.

I think a lot of people on this site will appreciate this:

A Look Behind The Scenes Of Blazing Saddles

I saw Black Panther again a week ago. More than ever, I think Danai Gurrira's Okoye can take Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. 

Someone who saw it with me wondered what it means when the garden of Heart-shaped Herbs was burned. I suppose it means T'Challa will be the last Black Panther, or at least the last one who has any powers. 

At times, Captain felt more like a well done prequel than a better than good, but not quite great, stand alone film. Brie Larson delivers a Carol Danvers that I can only describe as confident without cool. She has the power and is not afraid to use it; but, she lacks the full knowledge and skill typically associated with a warrior. In short, she's not Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. A good illustration of her character is seen in flashback scene that depicts a young Carol standing angry and defiant. I got the sense that the child may have grown older, but never fully became an adult. I got the impression that if at any point she asked "did I do that?" it would have been a sincere question. Also being portrayed younger is Sam Jackson's Nick Fury. Gone is the hard nosed no nonsense Fury that he will become. Present is a somewhat idealistic, trusting character, who has far to great an affinity for Goose the "cat". I found myself trying to rationalize this portrayal as Fury being under the "cat's" influence in some way.

There is a plot twist involving the Skrulls that is valid only for those who didn't pay attention to Guardians of the Galaxy or have not been introduced to the comic book story history. 

All in all, this was not a bad way to spend an afternoon. And, just to tie into JD's commentary, for me there were no politics involved (After School Special or otherwise). Although, if I were watching this film during the period in which it was set, I might have felt differently.


 
JD DeLuzio said:

Captain Marvel (2019), which I liked. I'd put it in the middle tier of Marvel superhero moves, above the first two Thors but below Black Panther, Winter Soldier, and the Avengers. but that's probably a discussion elsewhere at the site. Seeing it increased my eye-rolls at the in-advance controversy over the film's politics.  It's about as radical as an after-school special.

Blackkklansman (2018): good, though no more strictly faithful to the facts than most Hollywood films based on a true story.

The Hate U Give (2018): a strong adaptation of the novel. The family/friends sequences, in many ways, work better than the large-scale public drama, and the film necessarily makes a number of changes, including the ending. Nevertheless, it respects its source material, and is worth seeing,

Monster Club (1981): an unimpressive cult horror anthology film featuring Vincent Price and John Carradine. Three stories, interrupted by the framing device and some generally bad pop music. The final third is the best, and the "stripper" sequence is at least creative.

Us.

I encourage people to see this, at least, if they're even remotely fans of the horror genre.

You know what was creepier than seeing this movie, though?

Leaving this movie, which involves doppelgängers, and immediately walking past a pair of smiling twin little girls.

Ok. In spite of having received a good scolding from my college student comic book purist, eldest daughter, I watched Teen Titans Go to the Movies (quote my eldest "That is not Teen Titans! Why do you want to watch that garbage!!!???!!!).

I thought it was funny. I don't like that fact; but, I did. Sorry Abby. As a fellow comic book purist, I know I've let you down. (but, I'm sure you'll get over it.) LOL. 

JohnD said:

Ok. In spite of having received a good scolding from my college student comic book purist, eldest daughter, I watched Teen Titans Go to the Movies (quote my eldest "That is not Teen Titans! Why do you want to watch that garbage!!!???!!!).

I thought it was funny. I don't like that fact; but, I did. Sorry Abby. As a fellow comic book purist, I know I've let you down. (but, I'm sure you'll get over it.) LOL. 

A long time ago, I decided the movies and TV shows are just alternate universe versions of the comics. So of course they aren't exactly to canon. 

And my wife and I had a great time at Teen Titans Go! I almost wanted to watch it a second time, just to catch more of the Easter eggs. This from a guy who started reading Teen Titans in the Silver Age.

JohnD said:

Ok. In spite of having received a good scolding from my college student comic book purist, eldest daughter, I watched Teen Titans Go to the Movies (quote my eldest "That is not Teen Titans! Why do you want to watch that garbage!!!???!!!).

I thought it was funny. I don't like that fact; but, I did. Sorry Abby. As a fellow comic book purist, I know I've let you down. (but, I'm sure you'll get over it.) LOL. 

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