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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Re-watched Space Monster Dogora (1964)  Better than I remember it being.

Watched It! The Terroir from Beyond Space (1958), one of the inspirations for Alien.

Just re-watched The Monster That Challenged The World (1957), about giant molluscs that actually only really "challenge" the Salton Sea.  Still, not a bad little picture.

I just watched Roger Corman's 1994 epic Fantastic Four.  Cheap special effects aside, it is truer to the actual origin story of the FF than any of the other bloated productions that came later.  The acting didn't make me cringe, and their version of Doctor Doom really reminded me of the comic I grew up with.

Dune is a go for Part Two, so we'll at least have an adaptation of the first book.

Re-watched The Monolith Monsters  (1957), an OK little sci-fi epic in which giant space rocks menace a small town.

Re-watched Tarantula! (1955), with John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Raymond Bailey and an uncredited Clint Eastwood.  How this movie escaped MST3K is beyond me.

This must have been after Eastwood's appearance in Revenge of the Creature, which is credited as his first screen role. [EDIT: A quick check of IMDB reveals Tarantula! to be his fourth appearance, three of them uncredited.]

Reminds me of the Doctor Who audio I listened to this morning, which featured albino rat-spiders. (Of course, it's British so they pronounced it "al-BEE-no.) 

Double feature last night- "Fist Of Jesus", and "Shock Treatment".

MANIAC (1934): I have a new favorite film. It is truly so bad it's good. Let's start with Wikipedia and go from there: "Don Maxwell is a former vaudeville impersonator who's working as the lab assistant to Dr. Meirschultz, a mad scientist attempting to bring the dead back to life. When Don kills Meirschultz, he attempts to hide his crime by 'becoming' the doctor, taking over his work, and copying his appearance/mannerisms. In the process, he slowly goes insane. The 'doctor' treats a mental patient, Buckley, but accidentally injects him with adrenaline, which causes the man to go into violent fits. In one of these fits, Buckley kidnaps a woman, tears her clothes off, and rapes her. Buckley's wife discovers the body of the real doctor and blackmails Don for turning her husband into a zombie. The ersatz doctor turns the tables on her by manipulating the woman into fighting with his estranged wife, Alice Maxwell, a former showgirl. When the cat-breeding neighbor, Goof, sees what's going on, he calls the police, who stop the fight and, following the sound of Satan the cat, find the body of the real doctor hidden behind a brick wall."

That's a start, but it doesn't mention that the assistant killed the mad scientist in the first place because  the doctor expected the assistant to kill himself in order to be brought back to life; it doesn't mention the gratuitous nudity or sex scenes; it doesn't mention the neighbor who breeds cats for cat-skin coats, feeds the carcasses to rats, which in turn are eaten by the cats. Each scene is preceded by a title card which describes one psychological syndrome or another (and I'll be damned if it doesn't go a long way to diagnosing today's conspiracy theorists). Oh, and when the 'doctor' attempted to treat the mental patient, he at first tries to inject him with water but, unnoticed by him, the hypo rolls off the table and he injects him, not with simply adrenaline as it says above, but "super adrenaline"!

Did you ever see a silent movie in which the actors go on and on reciting their lines and you wonder what they are saying? This is like that, except its a talkie. I can't believe I've never heard of this before. Highly recommended. (Even if you don't like it as much as I do, it's only 50 minutes long.) I refer you to the Wiki article for further information.

I found Maniac on DVD as a Rifftrax version. Should be watching it soon.

Well, after several delays. we finally saw the long-awaited No Time to Die. I'll try not to drop any spoilers, but just to be safe ... 

  • When they say this is Daniel Craig's last James Bond movie, they aren't kidding.
  • This has the longest running time of any James Bond film, but it doesn't drag. I never felt, as I often do, that it needed to be shorter.
  • I saw one reviewer claim that this film is Oscar worthy, that Daniel Craig in particular gives a strong, nuanced performance that isn't just about going from one stunt and setpiece to another but conveys Bond's emotions over the predicaments the tale puts him in. I agree.
  • I loved Ana de Armas as the rookie CIA agent Paloma: I would watch her in her own movie. (Too bad they don't do spinoffs from the James Bond series. They've been talking about it for decades but somehow can't make it happen.)
  • I didn't enjoy Lashana Lynch as Nomi quite as much, though.
  • I did enjoy the mainstays -- Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Ralph Finnes as M. (There's a nod to two of his predecessors; keep an eye out for it.)

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