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Recently watched movies! • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan - Archive Only

Recently watched movies!

Talk about anything on your mind!

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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby DannyBeane » Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:24 am

I did it. I pre-orderee Sampo!
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:15 pm

During that especially rough first pandemic year of 2020 I got a bunch of new box sets and those movies (along with plenty of Ultraman) were my buddies.

Started off with Criterion's set of movies by Czechoslovakian filmaker/animator/effects artist Karel Zeman. Was happy to finally see Journey to the Beginning of Time, one of the all-time great dinosaur movies and totally unlike any American take on the genre, and was totally gobsmacked by Invention For Destruction, perhaps the best film as vehicle for special effects in history. In this Jules Verne adaptation styled like old book illustrations it is often impossible to tell where flat animation, miniatures, and live action elements begin and end. Astounding.

The Shinya Tsukamoto set from Arrow came next and this was such a revelation. Had loved Tetsuo for a few years. Was amazing to fill out my understanding of his broader career. I like... pretty much every film I've seen. A Snake of June, Bullet Ballet, Vital, and Gemini have all become favorites. I admire not just the films, but the way he operates outside the major studios and creates personal projects that are so unique. Also, I very much enjoy his earlier film Hiruko The Goblin, which points to an alternate version of his career where he became a more mainstream horror director in the vein of Sam Rami and Joe Dante. He would've thrived on that path as well!

Then Criterion released their Bruce Lee set and I rewatched his cycle of films. Gotta say, Fists of Fury has become my favorite Bruce. Didn't used to rank it such. Spent like a month just watching Arrow's Gamera set, so much stuff there (must've watched the trilogy 3 times apiece!). Then I bought a set with all the Mission: Impossible movies, which I hadn't seen except for the most recent installment which I had loved in the theater. Really dug these, especially Rogue Nation and the aforementioned Fallout.

In early 2021 I decided to fill out my Hammer Films Blu-ray collection. A lot of rewatches here, but I had never seen Plague of the Zombies before. Post vaccination, my first trip back to the theater was seeing Godzilla vs. Kong and the re-release of Scott Pilgrim on the same day! From then on, I resumed watching a lot of new movies. I decided to watch all of the Fast and Furious films before the latest installment came out. Had never seen any of these before, and I hold Fast Five and Tokyo Drift up as the best.

Did anyone else love Matrix Resurrections? I thought it was hilarious and sweet, and quite scary (it certainly more pointedly dissects our relationship to the internet now -the new Matrix is like being stuck in Instagram!). It retroactively made me like the entire series more. 2 and 3 had interesting ideas, but didn't entirely work for me. First one is a perfect movie, of course - oh, and I saw the original Matrix on theaters around the same time!.

Top movies of 2021? Malignant ("It's time to cut out the cancer!") and Titane.

For the last half year I've just been really getting into Hong Kong kung fu movies. Several different boutique labels have been releasing mostly Shaw Brothers titles, but now they're even getting into other studio libraries. I've got so many pre-orders going I ain't sure what I've bought! Executioners from Shaolin, Legendary Weapons of China, Five Shaolin Masters, and Crippled Avengers have been my favorites and I can't wait to see as many more of these movies as I can!

Top movies of 2022, so far: Crimes of the Future (for a supposedly disgusting body horror showcase this sure was sweet and funny) and Petite Maman (which I think is technically a 2021 release, but didn't play in my area until this spring). It's just been a great year for movies; going to the theater in 2022 I've seen Licorice Pizza, The Worst Person in the World, RRR, Everything Everywhere All at Once, a few others and (not to mention) my two aforementioned favorites. Need to see Top Gun and Elvis, and Nope opens this weekend!
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Fri Jul 29, 2022 9:37 pm

... oh, forgot my fav movie of 2020: the incredible '50s set UFO movie The Vast of Night. Super-low budget, but high on creativity and skill. It cost less than a million but there's a sequence that made me think "surely this one shot cost over a million?" Talent, man. You have talent and a little time you can do miracles.

This incredible film was dumped on Amazon Prime with little press. I hope we'll get a physical release someday!
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:47 am

^ I'd never heard of those Czechoslovakian SFX movies before but now I'm interested. Unfortunately they aren't among the Criterion titles that are currently available to stream on HBO Max.

The martial arts film genre is one that I've never delved into very much. Its vastness seems to rival the tokusatsu genre. My favorite martial arts film that I've seen is Drunken Master (1978) with Jackie Chan.

Mission: Impossible and Fast & Furious are both film series for which I haven't seen past their respective second entries from around 20 years ago. I'd like to catch up on them eventually. I haven't seen The Matrix Resurrections, nor do I intend to. The original film is a sci-fi masterpiece, and while the second and third flicks are certainly inferior, they were an indelible part of my teenage years and I could never hate them. A fourth Matrix movie is not something I have ever wanted, and the new Matrix being like Instagram sounds like torture.

The last movie I saw in a theater was Birds of Prey back in February 2020. My lady and I are both vaccinated and boosted against covid but she is immunocompromised so I'm just not taking the chance, although there isn't even a theater operating in this town anymore.

Malignant is awesome! Spoiler alert for the following observation but I love how it's basically a horror movie rendition of what Dr. Venture goes through during the first season of The Venture Bros.

Guns Akimbo is a memorable movie that I watched in 2020 on Prime Video. It's the second feature from New Zealand director Jason Lei Howden, who previously helmed the 2015 death-metal horror comedy Deathgasm. That movie wasn't very good but Guns Akimbo lives up to its premise. It takes place in a near-future in which a criminal organization called Skizm sets up elaborate deathmatches between people and then livestreams the action over the web to depraved viewers. Daniel Radcliffe plays a programmer named Miles who spends his time on the internet "trolling the trolls" only to become a target of Skizm. The next thing he knows, he's got a pair of guns bolted into both of his hands and he's in the midst of a game against the current deathmatch champion, Nix (Samara Weaving, Ready or Not). Guns Akimbo is an over-the-top, chaotic, bullet-filled action movie and it's a little sloppy but it delivers.

Tenet is another mind-blowing film from Christopher Nolan. It's a really fresh take on the concept of time travel which makes for a very tense movie with riveting action sequences. The cast is stellar and it's one of those movies that benefits from knowing as little as possible going in, although I was pleased to find that the trailer didn't spoil things.

The Suicide Squad (2021) is terrific! James Gunn actually made a great sequel to Suicide Squad (2016) and it is absolutely a sequel. Viola Davis returns as Amanda Waller, Joel Kinnaman returns as Rick Flag, and Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn. The story here is compelling and ambitious, with top-rate action and a strong ensemble cast. This movie was totally worth waiting a few extra years for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

I'm pretty behind on Marvel movies right now. I've seen Black Widow and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and I just watched Spider-Man: No Way Home earlier this month, but I haven't yet seen Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, or Thor: Love & Thunder. Of Marvel's limited series on Disney+, I've seen all of WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, and Hawkeye but I haven't yet started Moon Knight or Ms. Marvel. I'm even further behind on DC Comics adaptations. I still haven't seen Aquaman, Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984, The Batman, either cut of Justice League, or the HBO Max series Peacemaker.

In general I'm just way behind on new movies. That's always been the case for me every year but even moreso since the pandemic hit. Maybe I've been hitting the Japanese sci-fi TV shows a little too hard.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jul 30, 2022 12:15 pm

[quote="Benjamin Haines"]I haven't seen The Matrix Resurrections, nor do I intend to. The original film is a sci-fi masterpiece, and while the second and third flicks are certainly inferior, they were an indelible part of my teenage years and I could never hate them. A fourth Matrix movie is not something I have ever wanted, and the new Matrix being like Instagram sounds like torture.[/quote]

I forgot to mention: Resurrections is also a bit of a parody of The Matrix. It's in the Gremlins 2/Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 school of sequels. I love it, but I can see how (as with those two) alot of folks just wouldn't be down with this direction - it's not even much of a martial arts movie! It's got more romance and satire elements than kung fu, so naturally many were a bit miffed by it.

[quote]The martial arts film genre is one that I've never delved into very much. Its vastness seems to rival the tokusatsu genre. [/quote]

It's even more so. It's so vast it's difficult to grasp the scope of the genre.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Sep 04, 2022 8:45 pm

Man, really let my pile of unwatched blu-rays stack up to ungodly proportions. I vow to get through the pile before Christmas (when I start a new pile)!

Had covid a few weeks ago. Watched the first two Once Upon a Time in China movies twice each during this time. I really dug 'em.

Anyway, Nope was good. Three Thousand Years of Longing was good. Great year for movies.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Sep 05, 2022 2:47 pm

^ Glad you recovered from it.

Yesterday I watched Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie (1995) for the first time in about 25 years via the Shout Factory BRD. Unlike Saban's Power Rangers TV shows, this movie consists entirely of original footage and no stock footage from any of Toei's Sentai series, although they did still use their own versions of various suits and mechs from Zyuranger, Dairanger and Kakuranger. I never realized just how terrible the dialogue in this movie is, with endless corny one-liners straight out of a mid-'90s schoolyard. It also has a lot of extremely rudimentary CGI, probably the worst ever put to film. It really takes me back.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Mon Sep 05, 2022 5:54 pm

Production on that original PR movie was a nightmare. It would've been interesting if the original plan of having Steve Wang (Guyver 2, Drive, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight) make it had panned out.

[quote="Benjamin Haines"]^ Glad you recovered from it.[/quote]

Thanks!

Saw the new Dragon Ball movie. It's essentially a Piccolo solo vehicle, so naturally I liked it.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Tue Sep 20, 2022 5:49 pm

Saw Barbarian. Great horror movie in an already great year for horror!
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Oct 08, 2022 1:24 pm

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) - Freaking awesome! One of Marvel's freshest movies in style and content. Simu Liu and Awkwafina carry the film with a down-to-Earth, relatable vibe and the whole cast is fantastic. The action and music are top-notch.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby DannyBeane » Wed Nov 02, 2022 4:45 pm

For Halloween this year I did 31 days of Classic Universal Horror. It was a fantastic experience watching films be early sound stories of classic Gothic horror evolve into campy monster on the lose films of the 40s and 50s. Watching them all back to back with some of Universal's lesser known films allow you to really watch a studio evolve over 20 years.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Wed Nov 02, 2022 9:07 pm

Watched a pitiful amount of horror this season: just The Thing (Carpenter's), Mad Love, Cat People (original), Burn Witch Burn, and Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.

Did have a great Halloween, though. Hit several awesome home haunts around town.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:57 pm

I've seen a trio of excellent horror movies in recent weeks.

Antlers (2021) - A slow-burn creature feature produced by Guillermo del Toro, led by strong performances from Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons and child actor Jeremy Thomas.

Prey (2022) - Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane), this prequel to Predator takes place in 1719 and stars Amber Midthunder as a Comanche woman who finds herself going toe to toe with the ultimate hunter. I was born between the releases of the original Predator and its direct sequel, and this seventh entry is the most satisfying Predator movie that's come out in my lifetime. Prey is exactly what this franchise needed.

Last Night in Soho (2021) - Edgar Wright's latest film, which blends psychological horror with an old-fashioned ghost story very creatively. It's as captivating as Wright's prior movies and his directorial skill has only sharpened. Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and the entire supporting cast are terrific.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Dec 18, 2022 8:54 pm

^ Need to see Prey, and need to rewatch Soho!

Been watching all the Once Upon a Time in China movies over the past few months, an entry here and there. Kind of a case of diminishing returns after the first two (which are excellent), but they're all worth watching because there's always some incredible setpiece and the characters (despite frequent recasting) are so likeable. Those first two, though? Unimpeachably awesome. Iconic martial arts/historical fiction/comedy of manners epics. The first fight with the umbrella? The ladder fight? The cult adding horror elements to Part II? Donnie Yen as Jet Li's opponent?! Must sees.

Also watched the iconic 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, a late period film for both the Shaw Brothers studio and for director Lau Kar Leung (who never worked as consistently when the studio stopped making movies). It's also the last movie for Fu Sheng (who died during production) which lends to the somber tone of already somber mytho-historic subject matter involving a family of patriotic warriors who are double crossed, all but wiped out, and must seek revenge. Leung invented the kung fu comedy, but there's none of that levity here. There are truly excellent displays of kung fu, including a jaw dropping (and jaw breaking) finale that the film is most famous for. The special features on this disc are fantastic because they elucidate the deep well of history and religious tradition that the film draws on, and would certainly go over my head otherwise!

Also: Ifukube's Majin music is used for a scene at a temple where a golden Buddha ironically looming overhead, Majin-like.

I somehow have not watched Guillermo's Pinocchio yet. Maybe I'll save it for my long Christmas weekend.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jan 07, 2023 8:36 pm

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio was great, but I couldn't help but feel cheated I couldn't see all those gorgeous practical effects on the big screen. A few times during the film I got up from my chair and real close to the TV just to soak up those details.

The new Avatar was an incredible big screen experience. The family dynamic really clicked with me, making for what I feel is a superior sequel. Those three and a half hours just fly by, too!

Samurai Reincarnation feels like if you took a prestige samurai movie and smashed it into all the weirdest bits from John Milius's Conan the Barbarian. Man, Sonny Chiba looks cool in this. As far as mytho-historic samurai go, I think I prefer Jubei Yagyu to Miyamoto Musashi. Jubei has one foot in the establishment and one as this kind of weird outsider, so he's a much more modern feeling character.

Have you ever wondered, while watching Temple of Doom, how cool it would be if there was a kung fu movie set in the Temple of Doom and all the prisoners were Shaolin acolytes? Great news; this movie exists and it's called Burning Paradise. Wild movie.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Jan 08, 2023 8:12 pm

I haven't seen Avatar: The Way of Water yet but it's pretty incredible that James Cameron could take 13 years to release this sequel, during which time big-budget tentpole movies have become even more prevalent and CGI characters & environments have become far more typical to see. And yet, in less than a month, this 13-years-later sequel to Avatar has already topped all but three Marvel movies and all but one Star Wars movie in global theatrical business with $1.7 billion and counting, already putting it at #7 all-time worldwide. Cameron clearly knows what people want to see.
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Re: Recently watched movies!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Jan 08, 2023 8:31 pm

Cameron's just... he's got the juice. He's got this laser focused instinct about how to make every human being on Earth like (or at least enjoy) the things he loves.
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