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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Yesterday I watched the new Suicide Squad flick. It was good not great. There were a few lines I actually laughed out loud to. I just think that there have been so many superhero movies now, that they rarely surprise me any more. Some of the scenes here we've seen so many times now. IE the group doing the slow walk with some kind of special effects going off in the background.

I also think James Gunn is trying too hard to out Guardians of the Galaxy himself. I will definitely give it credit for living up to the name, and I loved the John Ostrander cameo.

METROPOLIS: I have had this movie on VHS since I was in college, but I watched the 2010 restoration of the 1927 classic silent film on DVD. I tend to forget how good it is... also how long it is: two and a half hours! 

I find it's a little too long for me.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

METROPOLIS: I have had this movie on VHS since I was in college, but I watched the 2010 restoration of the 1927 classic silent film on DVD. I tend to forget how good it is... also how long it is: two and a half hours! 

"I find it's a little too long for me."

It's divided into three parts. Next time I might break it up over two or three nights. 

The only time I've seen it was in high school in my German class, so that would have '88 or '89. I remember liking it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

METROPOLIS: I have had this movie on VHS since I was in college, but I watched the 2010 restoration of the 1927 classic silent film on DVD. I tend to forget how good it is... also how long it is: two and a half hours! 

THE FACE OF MARBLE: This is another one of Tracy's picks.

"Engrossed in his mission to bring the dead back to life, Dr. Randolph fails to notice his wife Elaine's in his young lab associate, Dr. Cochran. However, their old housekeeper Maria does take note and will do anything, including using her voodoo powers, to see to it that Elaine is happy."

That summary doesn't even begin to to capture the nuances of this movie.

First, Dr. Randolph (John Carradine) and Dr. Cochran find a drowned sailor washed up on the beach. They attempt to revive him, but the experiment fails, briefly turning him into a raving madman before he collapses. (While undergoing the process, his face assumes the look of a marble statue, which is where the tile comes from.) The doctors conclude that the sailor must have suffered a blow to the head, which is why the experiment failed.

In addition to the two doctors, Elaine and Maria is a racist stereotype butler named Shadrach (who ends up being the hero of the film) and Elaine's beloved Great Dane Brutus. Dr. Randolph and Elaine's is a May/December marriage (she was grateful to him for saving her life), and Maria "ships" Elaine with the young and handsome Dr. Cochran. Maria creates a fetish which causes him to become attracted to her (or her to him, I'm not sure which). Unfortunately, Dr. Cochran is engaged to Linda, who comes for a visit on his birthday.

Meanwhile, the doctors have dumped the corpse of their test subject back on the beach. An autopsy reveals that his body was subjected to a great electric shock and, indeed, their main framistat blew a cylinder during the process. Randolph sends Cochran to town to buy a new one, which bring them to the attention of the homicide detective, Inspector Norton. Norton and Randolph are old friends, but that's not going to stop Norton from doing his duty.

Next, Randolph decides that he needs a different test subject and, since Brutus is the largest non-human mammal in the house, kills him so that he may bring him back to life. The experiment works, but turns the dog mad. Randolph fires several bullets into the dog to no effect. Apparently losing interest, the dog becomes intangible and leaps through the outside wall! (It's not clear whether the dog is invulnerable or the bullets simply passed through it.) The next day, Randolph tells Elaine that Brutus developed distemper and he took him to the vet early that morning.

By this time, Linda is there. That night, they hear a dog howl. Elaine recognizes it as Brutus, but Randolph and Cochran pretend not to have heard. Later, for some reason, Brutus goes into Linda's room, slipping through the wall to get there. She screams and the dog slips back out, and Elaine invites Linda to sleep the rest of the night with her in her bed. 

Later in the day, Norton arrives investigating several complaints from local farmers that their livestock has been attacked and drained of blood. The farmers recognized Elaine's dog Brutus. Randolph gives Norton the same story about Brutus being at the vet that he told to Elaine, the the inspector believes him apparently without checking it out. 

That night, Linda goes into the guest room only to find Elaine in her bed. Elaine explains that Linda seemed to draw so much comfort from sleeping in her bed last night, that she thought Linda might like to switch rooms. (I'm not sure it was the room that comforted her, but whatever.) Linda agrees and goes into Elaine's room. This is where Maria comes back into the story. In order to facilitate a relationship between Elaine and Cochran, Maria decides to kill Linda, not knowing that the two women have switched rooms.

To make a long story short, Maria ends up accidentally killing Elaine instead of Linda! Now it's up to Randolph and Cochran to use their process to revive Elaine (because it worked so well on Brutus and the sailor). The process works this time, but not only can Elaine make herself intangible, she is also uner the mental control of Maria! So now we have an intangible zombie woman roaming the halls with her intangible (and possibly invulnerable) zombie vampire dog. 

By this time, Randolph has discovered Maria's treachery and decides to kill her with a dagger. Cochran wrests the dagger from him, transferring his fingerprints to the hilt. That night, Maria mentally  directs Elaine to kill her husband with the dagger, after handing it to her in a handkerchief to preserve Cochran's fingerprints. The entire scene is witnessed by Shadrach, the butler.

The next morning, Elaine (with no memory of the events of the night before), discovers her husband's body, with a dagger in his back. Maria testifies that Cochran threatened Randolph when Randolph discovered Cochran was in love with his wife. The police find the Cochran's fingerprints on the dagger and  he is arrested. Things are looking pretty bad for Cochran until Shadrach comes forward with his story, absolving Cochran.

The footprints of Elaine and Brutus lead off into the sea.

THE END

Not finding a thread for Black Widow,* but I saw it last night. I enjoyed it. Less superhero movie and more spy movie, as is befitting Natasha's skill set.

And it filled in some things not explained in past Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, like one thing that always nagged at me: Why does the Russian Natalia Romanov sound like an American? (It's because she grew up in whitest, brightest Ohio.) And we finally are told (but not shown) the story of Hawkeye and the Widow in Budapest.

I was hoping, if not expecting, we'd see Hawkeye, but we didn't, nor any of the others. But then, this story falls immediately after Captain America: Civil War, which ended with Hawkeye, Ant-Man and the Falcon in the Raft prison for siding with the good Captain, and it implied he'd come back to bust them out. Funnily enough, Black Widow ended with her implying she'd be busting them out. But then, it also ended with her taking ownership of a cool VTOL jet, so maybe she provided the getaway vehicle.

Of course, the real ending is in the post-credits scene, which would mean nothing if you aren't cognizant of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, or the upcoming Hawkeye solo series, both on Disney+. 

One thing about that post-credits scene that confused me was that it was captioned "TWO WEEKS LATER," after all that transpired in the main body of the film. I thought far more time should have passed by then.

*We seem to have fallen off on creating new thread for superhero movies. 

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN: I've seen this movie once before and Tracy has seen it twice, but neither one of us remembered much about it. Once you buy into the screwy premise, it's a suspenseful little yarn in the Hitchcock vein, but the concept of two switching murder victims ("Criss-cross!") is deeply flawed in the first place. Not only would it not work, but one of the two men is not even vested in the scheme. But therein lies the crux of the conflict. Honestly, he should have gone to the police right away, but if everyone in movies made smart decisions, that would make for some very short, and unentertaining, movies.

Cameo: Hitch appears near the beginning as a man bording the train and carrying a string bass. His daughter Pat (who died this week at 93) plays a large role. 

I've seen this a few times. I think if Guy had gone to the police before Bruno acted, Bruno would have just denied it or turned it around one him. Trying to divorce his vindictive wife, who was busy swimming after troopships, was also screwing with his head. Police being police, Bruno had no obvious motive so they would have suspected Guy. The criss-cross murder concept was very flawed because Bruno was f$%&ing insane.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN: I've seen this movie once before and Tracy has seen it twice, but neither one of us remembered much about it. Once you buy into the screwy premise, it's a suspenseful little yarn in the Hitchcock vein, but the concept of two switching murder victims ("Criss-cross!") is deeply flawed in the first place. Not only would it not work, but one of the two men is not even vested in the scheme. But therein lies the crux of the conflict. Honestly, he should have gone to the police right away, but if everyone in movies made smart decisions, that would make for some very short, and unentertaining, movies.

Cameo: Hitch appears near the beginning as a man bording the train and carrying a string bass. His daughter Pat (who died this week at 93) plays a large role. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE FACE OF MARBLE:

I had to stop reading your review halfway through to avoid some spoilers. I had decided to seek out the movie. I wound up with what I suspect you were working with, a DVD* having it and three other movies, including The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake. Of the four, I've only seen Four Skulls. I saw it in a disintegrating movie palace in downtown L.A. I saw a lot of old movies downtown when I used to work nearby.

* On its way from eBay.

Richard Willis said:.

I saw a lot of old movies downtown when I used to work nearby.

I would also buy my comics there at a classic newsstand.

"I wound up with what I suspect you were working with.."

That's it! I hope you enjoy it. (Let us know.) I'll be watching the other two soon, as well, in rotation with Hitchcock, Elvis and Godzilla. Speaking of which...

GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER: Godzilla + Mothra, introducing Ebirah. Seems to me there are some interstitial Mothra scenes missing from the movies, for example, the larvae fighting for dominance and the winner transforming to "moth" form. There are also some good Infant Island songs from this and other movie not available on CD. Speaking of Elvis, he would have been right at home in the first half of this movie, and perhaps James Bond in the second. 

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