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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DOGORA (1964, color): We finally got around to this Toho movie, our last for a while, I think. This one has no previews for movies we have not seen, so the cycle is broken. I must say, this is less a kaiju movie than it is a diamond heist movie with a kaiju in it. Dogora doesn't make a full-on appearance until 52 minutes in, then it  pretty much disappears for the rest of the picture. 

There are a lot of familiar faces in Toho movies, and some familiar dubbed voices, too. Some voice actors, I think, are tasked with providing voices for other minor characters as well as their own main one, but not everyone can do multiple voices. There is one one guy, however, who does a Cary Grant impression (albeit not very well). Last night at a certain point both Tracy and I commented simultaneously, "There's Cary Grant again." 

The few scenes of Dogora in action were pretty well-done (like a giant jellyfish floating in the sky), but honestly, Dogora was the most boring of all the Toho movies we have seen recently. 

Yesterday I saw Youtube channel, Outsidexbox watch Plan 9 From Outer Space. It's always interesting to see younger people watch older movies. Of course, they said nothing "new" about this So-Bad-It's-Barely-Tolerable film but they had some good jokes. And they clearly researched it before they saw it which I appreciated, though they seemed more impressed by Tor Johnson than Bela Lugosi!

I subscribe to Roku TV channels "B-Movie TV" and "The B-Zone", which explains (but does not excuse) the movies I watch.  For example, yesterday I watched "Night Of 1000 Cats"(1972), "Psychotronic Man"(1979) and "Don't Look In The Basement"1973.

Currently watching The Mysterians (1957).  The giant Cyberchicken  Mogera was later updated and re-used in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994).

There's also several familiar faces in this, including Kenjoiio Sahara, Momoko Kochi and Takashi Shimura.

The Baron said:

Currently watching The Mysterians (1957).  The giant Cyberchicken  Mogera was later updated and re-used in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994).

Dune (2021) isn't perfect, but it moves effortlessly through the first half of Herbert's novel. Despite the deliberate pacing of the opening, it never feels like two+ hours. I look forward to the second half.

Villeneuve found ways to take a complex story with a developed historical and cultural context and present it visually. Yes, we lose some details along the way, but he eschews excessive exposition and makes the intricate narrative comprehensible even to people unfamiliar with Herbert’s Dune.

Even in a nearly three-hour (two hours and 35 minutes) adaptation of half of the novel, a lot goes missing, necessarily. In this case, we get told, briefly, why the spice matters, and we never see a Guild Navigator. That strikes me as a significant omission. However, the filmmakers have said they were concerned about front-loading too much, and the Guild’s role in Part One’s events may yet be explored– a sort of twist for those unfamiliar with the source material.

I have no real issues with most of the changes, however.

The usual suspects have complained online about the casting of Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes. However, she does an excellent job as one of the few characters in the novel for whom the sex is not really relevant. A female Kynes and the expansion of Chani’s role in the first half also provide a balance for contemporary audiences, given that the film needs must maintain the source novel’s overall handling of gender. It’s complex, nuanced, and fascinating, and necessary to how Herbert’s story unfolds, but it is also problematic and dated.

The film accepts Herbert’s world on its own terms, making some allowances for the differences in genre and era. A lot has happened since 1965. I’m struck especially by Herbert’s understanding of imperialism, colonialism, religion, and environmentalism. His analyses may be far from perfect, but they’re certainly prescient.

Amusingly, the story seems less original than it is, because (1) it uses tropes and cultural references more familiar to current viewers than to the novel’s original readers and (2) the source has had a strong influence on the SF-minded. I’m sure that somewhere out there, some clueless audience member is walking out a theatre door and complaining how much this Dune thing rips off Star Wars.

The previous adaptations include one that was visually staggering but incoherent (1984) and another that stuck to the script but featured production and performances that were not consistently stellar (2000). This one works.

And it was good to be in a movie theatre again, watching a film that really benefits from the big screen. Epic desert vistas, ships in space, and sandworms.

That's "Kenji"  Sahara.

The Baron said:

There's also several familiar faces in this, including Kenjoiio Sahara, Momoko Kochi and Takashi Shimura.

The Baron said:

Currently watching The Mysterians (1957).  The giant Cyberchicken  Mogera was later updated and re-used in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994).

"The previous adaptations include one that was visually staggering but incoherent (1984)"

I have heard good things about the new movie but i am reluctant to see it in the theater simply because David Lynch's version was so bad. I had read all of Frank Herbert's novels. At the time, Frank Herbert himself was the only person who contributed to the mythos. Chapterhouse: Dune, his last before he died, came out right around that time. 

It took years for me to suppress that movie ion my mind, and believe me, I made an actual effort. By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation came to TV and I learned that Patrick Stewart was the guy who played Gurney Halleck, I wondered how bad this film I had seen in the theater yet totally suppressed really was, so I rented in and watched it again. that time it took even longer to scrub it from my mind, the only memory I have being that I never, ever want to see it again. 

I know I'm not being fair to the new movie, but I am content to wait until I can see it in my own home.

"I’m sure that somewhere out there, some clueless audience member is walking out a theatre door and complaining how much this Dune thing rips off Star Wars."

No doubt. I definitely heard that in 1984. 

THE MAD MONSTER

It's been a while since we last watched on of Tracy's B-flicks, and the next one up is this 1942 werewolf picture from Producers Releasing Corporation, a.k.a. "Poverty Row" productions. It stars George Zucco as the mad scientist, Dr. Lorenzo, and Glenn Strange as his slow-witted assistant, Petro. Lorenzo has a pretty daughter and the daughter has a reporter boyfriend. The movie has a standard plot which manages to tick off all of the expected boxes yet fails to generate any kind of interest or excitement.

Lorenzo transfuses wolf blood into his hapless servant in order to bring about the transformation so that he can exact revenge from the four scientific colleagues who ridiculed him. Strange's werewolf looks more like Bela Lugosi's Igor that he does Lon Chaney's Wolfman. The werewolf's first victim is a little girl, and the villagers form the obligatory mob. One by one, Lorenzo sends his werewolf against his former colleagues until the werewolf comes home to roost (so to speak). The movie isn't necessarily bad, but it's not very good, either. It's just boring. 

The Mad Monster was featured on Show 103 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, being the third show of their first season.  

When I first started watching MST3K, Comedy Central, the network re-ran old episodes of the program every weeknight.  However, at the time, the network never re-ran episodes from the program's first season. At the time, I wondered why, but eventually, The Mystery Science Theater Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, written by the people who made the program, addressed the question of why the first season episodes were not in re-run rotation thusly:   

"Because they weren't all that good." (p. 157)

I have subsequently seen all of the first season episodes, and, by and large, they weren't all that good.

That said, while I've never seen an un-MST'ed version of  The Mad Monster, I can well imagine that it would make for tedious viewing.

"The Mad Monster was featured on Show 103 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, being the third show of their first season."

If I don't mention one of these B-movies has been spoofed on MST3K it's because I'm unaware of it, so by all means, keep pointing that out if I fail to mention it because I'd like to know. I have that book and I do remember it pointing out that the first season episodes "weren't all that good," but if I haven't seen the MST3K version of a particular movie (as in this case) I'm less likely to remember that it was spoofed. 

"While I've never seen an un-MST'ed version of The Mad Monster, I can well imagine that it would make for tedious viewing."

Most of these B-movies are right around an hour long, and I usually check the running time as we begin. Last night I kept saying, "I can't believe this movie still has a half an hour left to go," "I can't believe this movie still has 20 minutes left to go," etc

One of the open secrets about MST3K  is that truly terrible movies tend to make for bad episodes for them.  Often their best episodes involve films that, while they may not be Citizen Kane by any means, still have a certain level of quality.

I've also heard the guys who picked movies for the show say that the real "worst movies ever made" are so bad that they would be useless for the program's purposes.

Yes, I agree with both of those assessments. 

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