Friday, January 19, 2024

High School Movie Watch: Bottoms (2023)

Watched:  01/19/2024
Format:  Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Emma Seligman
Selection:  Me

Pal AmyC had rec'd this one broadly to facebook over the summer, and I'd been curious.  And since, I'd heard in drips and drabs that this movie was really funny, but I didn't know anything about it other than "it's a high school comedy, but not like that".  And, honestly, I'm gonna pause you here and say:

go in cold on this one, because if you know anything ahead of time, you're doing yourself a disservice.  Just go check it out

I'll also throw in:  I want to re-watch this almost immediately, because (a) it was really solid, and (b) I know I missed about 1/4th of the jokes because there's weird little visual things all over the place and throw-away lines left and right that are hysterical.  

So, what is it?

Goji Watch: Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002)

Watched:  01/18/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Masaaki Tezuka
Selection:  definitely me

Mostly, I watched this movie because, for Christmas, my brother gave me a MechaGodzilla which has been staring at me all day, every day, from below my work monitor since Jan. 2.

also, his lil' friend Gad gave me, and the Super 7 Shogun G

Anyway, somehow, inexplicably, I'd had MechaGodzilla on the brain of late.  

At the start of the COVID lockdown, Jamie and I settled into watching Godzilla movies on a regular basis.  We blasted through them in no particular order, and with minimal context.  Back in May of 2020, we checked out Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002).  My memory, without re-reading the post first, was that we'd liked it a lot.  And, upon a revisit, that was still true.

There's an oddly mournful tone to the movie.  As part of the Millennium series, it ignored the prior films except Gojira from 1954, an events that had taken place decades prior and was remembered well in Japan, especially as Mothra and other films were in continuity - the Japanese privately feeling that perhaps Japan was cursed.  

Our focal characters are a member of the military who is being held responsible for the deaths of multiple people during a Godzilla's first re-appearance in 45 years despite the fact she is actually not responsible anymore than she's responsible for Godzilla at all - oh, and she's a friendless orphan.  The other two are a widowed scientist and his charming, precocious daughter who lugs around a houseplant she thinks carries her mother's spirit.  

Thursday, January 18, 2024

G-Watch: Monarch TV Series (2023-2024)

I did not expect my viewing of a show about Godzilla and Kurt and Wyatt Russell to turn into a hate-watch, but here we are.

My understanding is that there are enthusiastic viewers of this show, and, if I'm being honest, one of the things I've enjoyed about being a somewhat sideline Godzilla fan over the years is that the fanbase is pretty chipper about all forms and takes on Godzilla. There's no shock it would extend to this show. Maybe they're not as critical about film as they could be, but I was not going to be the guy to point out that maybe Destroy All Monsters is not going to double-bill with Citizen Kane.*

And it is a great time to have a general fondness for Godzilla. The movie in 2021 from Legendary was super fun, Minus One and Shin Godzilla are actual think-pieces, the shorts Toho put out are perfectly recreating what I like about pre-2000 Godzilla. I keep finding funny Japanese shorts aimed at kids with the monsters in-character and adorable and insane. And if I'm being candid, there's a hurricane of affordable (and less-affordable) Godzilla merch out there right now.

When Apple+ and Legendary announced Monarch, I was ambivalent. To me, the track record of the Monsterverse is not amazing, and I am decidedly less enthused about the existence of Monarch in those films than other fans. It's my opinion that the execution has, overall, been inconsistent and sloppy across the few movies they've put out. And, after several episodes, it seems the raison d'être for Monarch as a show was to paper over the bad continuity. Which, as every DC Comics fan should know, is actually just going to make things worse.

And, indeed, it did!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

90's Watch: Quiz Show (1994)

Watched:  01/15/2024
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Robert Redford
Selection:  Jamie

It's been 30 years since Quiz Show (1994) was released, and probably 29 since I've last seen it.  I'm now much older than Ralph Fiennes and Rob Morrow as our leads, and in the intervening years, the real Charles Von Doren, Richard Goodwin and Herb Stemple have passed (oddly with little in the way of news or media mention).

Sometimes watching younger film reviewers on YouTube or reading the film discussion of younger film enthusiasts, it's interesting to note the tilt to genre pictures of prior eras, and it's easy to forget that genre was largely in the margins thirty years ago.  At the time, something like Quiz Show was happily released by Disney when they had multiple outlets for producing movies for general and adult audiences - this one released through Hollywood Pictures (see also Touchstone and whatever their deal was with Miramax).  And we had name directors doing prestige pictures that were a thing to go see.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Goji Watch: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Watched:  01/14/2024
Format:  MAX
Viewing:  Second
Selection:  Me, sort of

This one is a lot of fun.

It takes place in the near-ish future, when (a) the world is mostly at peace and (b) all of the monsters have been caught and put on "Monster Island" where they live out their days, lightly fighting and unable to escape their idyllic ocean-view home.

The goal of the movie is to get as many monsters on screen as possible, and that they do.

l-r:  Gorosaurus, Mothra (larvae), Rodan, Kumonga (spider), Anguirus, Minilla, King Ghidorah, Godzilla, Varan?, Manda (snake), Baragon 

Aliens realize this makes Earth a great target, do some mind-control on the monsters and get them to rampage across Earth so they can have it.  

There's a story about the Earthers fighting the aliens, because humans have to do something in this movie.

The aliens are young ladies wearing silver, sparkly pajamas, which makes them seem like not-a-threat, but they are!

Eventually the monsters bust free and the aliens send in (who else?) King Ghidorah, who is a proper dick until the monsters dog pile him.

It is a mostly silly movie, and if there's subtext, I think I ignored it.  But it's lightyears more watchable than the following movie All Monsters Attack.

Dug was Here Selections: The Skydivers (1963), Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967), Pumaman (1980)

Watched between:  01/12 - 10/14/2024
Viewing:  First on All (I think)
Director:  No
Selection:  Consensus - us, MST3K live feed

My father-in-law had some outpatient surgery and, thus, Dug, my brother-in-law, was here for a couple of weeks.  He capped off his visit with a stay with us.  Dug is the foremost MST3K/ Rifftrax fan in my life - and while I've been a fan since I was 14, he's the guy who remembers stuff about episodes from the show that I haven't seen since high school.

I won't be writing these movies up, but I can say I finally ticked Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) off my list, which had been there since discovering Joi Lansing about 20 years ago via The Adventures of Superman.  But I also knew, for 20 years, this was going to be a rough ride.  The movie is a weird, all-star bash, including Lon Chaney, Basil Rathbone, John Carradine and a bunch of Nashville musicians, for whom it was intended to be a showcase.

you get two big guesses as to why Joi Lansing was included

There's also some yellow-peril as there's a spy story going on, also a gorilla and ghosts.  

this movie has everything

The Skydivers (1963) is a movie made by sky divers about sky divers, and it's like they knew one day MST3K would exist, and would need content.

The Pumaman (1980) is an Italian produced, British-shot movie about a superhero with alien-gifted powers of a puma.  Like flying, and walking through walls.  It makes no sense, and has Donald Pleasance as the villain, wearing a sort of leatherette jumpsuit.  Cannot recommend enough.

Anyway, a good time was had by all.