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 have arbitrarily decreed it to be a Christmas movie, said degree backed by all of the authority I possess. (i.e., none)

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SHIN GODZILLA: That's not a Christmas movie (not by my definition). I guess if you watch it on Christmas, any movie if a Christmas movie. I've seen it before (in the theater), but I thought maybe I missed something. Anyway, if nothing else, I understood the ending better the second time though.

I guess it's a Christmas movie, then.

I can't fight an arbitrary decree backed by no authority (lest I be labeled a hypocrite). 

I saw several Tim Burton/Johnny Depp films:

  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory--never saw it before. Visually stunning but lacks the charm of the original. Hated the Willy Wonka backstory! The new "Mike Teevee" was a hoot, though! Plus roles for Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Lee! 
  • Corpse Bride--saw it years ago. Appreciate it a lot more now. Perhaps Depp's most innocent role. I agree with most people that Victor picked the wrong girl! IMHO, better than Nightmare Before Christmas. Of course, Carter voiced Emily, the Corpse Bride and made her very appealing and Lee voiced the hateful priest!
  • Sleepy Hollow--can't recall ever seeing it. Practically nothing to do with Washington Irving's story. Christina Ricci is a Tim Burton fantasy girl brought to life! On the whole, I enjoyed it! The screwiest way to use Christopher Walken though! Dumbledore, Vernon Dursley and Alfred are part of the cast! Lee has a small role while Carter is absent since the only part for her was the stepmother and I doubt that she would have taken it at that time! It really was a tribute to Hammer Horror films!

KING KONG (2005): Just finished watching this movie for the third time. I don't think this version gets the credit it deserves. The only thing I've really heard people say about it is "it's too long." Nonsense. It's just as long as it has to be. 



Jeff of Earth-J said:

KING KONG (2005): Just finished watching this movie for the third time. I don't think this version gets the credit it deserves. The only thing I've really heard people say about it is "it's too long." Nonsense. It's just as long as it has to be. 

Counterargument: The Kong on Ice scene. I'm inclined to believe the movie would have been improved if that had been left on the cutting-room floor. Doubtless you will disagree. But yes, an interesting take on the big ape. I enjoyed it.

We've watched an odd lot since Christmas, what with lockdowns and The Expanse being our only current show:

One Night in Miami (2021): I mentioned this in another thread. Interesting and well-acted. It's based on a stage-play and it shows, but it's a play I'd really like to see.

Êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines (2020): short documentary about a cross-racial lesbian couple’s decision to have a child.

Parasite (2019): New Year's day, we finally saw the dark, brilliant, twisted, frequently funny, often thoughtful best film of 2019.

Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist (2008): amusing, indiesque YA flick with charming leads (Michael Cera and Kat Dennings) roaming around NYC trying to find a drunk friend and a secret concert.

Smoke Signals (1998): Recommended to me back when it came out. Sheesh, I didn't exactly rush on that recommendation. Great little film, and one of the top ten road movies, IMO. Two young guys head out from the Rez after they learn the estranged father of one has died in Arizona. Tragedy, comedy, and “John Wayne’s Teeth.”

Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964): Atmospheric, well-acted, slowly-paced British film about a disturbed “medium” and her husband who kidnap a child as part of a bizarre plot.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955): I finally saw this infamous, intriguing, violent, and occasionally ridiculous (or, at least, occasionally very badly dated) noir which has cast significant shadows. See Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pulp Fiction for influence.

Re. Kiss Me Deadly (which I haven't seen), for a long time the versions of the film available had a truncated ending. The IMDB's page has a section "Alternate Versions", which describes this.

Saw Jonah Hex the other night.

Honestly, it was more entertaining than I expected. (Which is not to say good.)

For some reason, I find Eli Whitney's city-destroying death-cannon even less plausible than Hex's ability to talk to the dead. And Hex's supernatural abilities are more plausible than his firing exploding crossbow bolts from modified pistols. Basically, anytime you see an explosion in this movie, you know B.S. is happening.

But you've got Josh Brolin facing off against John Malkovich, and ridiculousness aside, it's fun the see them go at it. The pity is that they're facing off in a big, loud, stupid action movie instead of a clever, suspenseful western.

"The Kong on Ice scene... Doubtless you will disagree."

Not necessarily. I almost mentioned it as an exception when I posted last night, but the scene doesn't really go on as long as it seems, and the big ape should have one last moment of happiness. Maybe it's a little too incongruous with the aftermath of the carnage a few blocks away. I'll accept that cut.

I remember seeing Sleepy Hollow in the theater. Kathy and I decided the town was misnamed, and it should have been called Cleavage Junction.

Luke Blanchard said:

Re. Kiss Me Deadly (which I haven't seen), for a long time the versions of the film available had a truncated ending. The IMDB's page has a section "Alternate Versions", which describes this.

I finally saw this 1955 movie a year ago. (There is a 2008 movie by the same name which has nothing to do with this Mike Hammer movie.) We are apparently dealing with a radioactive substance that starts fires. Interestingly, the doomed woman running on the road at the beginning was Cloris Leachman in her first movie.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND: This was my first time watching this since seeing it in the theater in 2017. It's the Shin Godzilla of King Kong movies in that it's an entirely new reboot. As far as bringin it into the present, however, even the Dino de Laurentis version (1977) is more recent. Skull Island is in some ways like those DC comics which pit soldiers against monsters, but instead of WWII-era soldiers against dinosaurs, it's Viet Nam era soldiers (the movie takes place in 1973) against a giant ape. And I mean a giant ape, like 150 feet tall. I, personally, think that's too big, but they were thinking "Kong vs. Godzilla" before it was even released.

The thing I remember most about the movie was its soundtrack. I looked for it in my LRS (local record store) at the time, but they didn't have it. I ended up ordering it online and was disappointed to discover I had ordered the score. (I've listened to it once.) The movie is okay (I'm tempted to describe it as "awesome" but won't for fear I'll be misunderstood), but frankly I liked the 2005 version much more. At least Skull Island had a happy ending, though (unusual for a King Kong movie). 

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Saw Jonah Hex the other night.

Honestly, it was more entertaining than I expected. (Which is not to say good.)

My own take is here, with a response by Clark. I had read a web comment that compared its story to Wild, Wild West and wanted to quote that, but felt I shouldn't as I hadn't watched that movie. (I have now. Wild, Wild West is much the worse film, just fantastically unlikeable .) One might call the genre the steampunk Western. A comics example is Zagor.

I think I wouldn't call something clichéd today. It seems to me an unfair hit, too hard to pin down. We don't think "Spider-Man" as introduced clichéd because the hero was a superhero with a secret identity.

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