Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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Maybe I’m just old and jaded, but after watching the 2023 movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, I couldn’t figure out why the film wasn’t in WalMart’s $5 bin rather than on the racks at $15. This is from a fan not only of fantasy novels and movies, but someone who actually played the game back in the ’70s and has played most of the computer knock-offs since. But the film left me cold. It came across as formulaic, predictable, and flat. Worse, a … click below for more ↓

Musings on The Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Cultural Appropriation

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Yes, I get the reason some people might have been outraged that a white guy (Johnny Depp) played an indigenous person in the 2013 movie version of The Lone Ranger. It seemed, at least from the outside at the time — before watching it — to reinforce stereotypes and denigrate native Indians. Cultural appropriation and all that. What was Disney thinking? Facepalm! Whitewashing! But wait… Time magazine had a review with the title, Johnny Depp as Tonto: Is The Lone Ranger Racist? NPR’s reviewer asked … click below for more ↓

Review: The Banshees of Inisherin

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I had expected comedy. Maybe not laugh-aloud, rib-splitting stuff. Not slapstick and pratfalls. But humour of the British sort. Oscar-Wilde-ish witty dialogue. Banter like that from Fry and Laurie. Joycean innuendo and joie-de-vivre. And a resolution that brought an appropriate closure to the end. Instead, what I got was a Greek tragedy of unresolved pathos, violence, poverty, and misery that left the story — and audience —hanging. Not what the trailers of The Banshees of Inisherin had led me to expect. One Guardian review called … click below for more ↓

Accuracy, Licence, and the Death of Stalin

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One of my favourite movies in my collection — seen three times already on DVD or Blu-ray but likely to be seen more — is the 2017 satire, The Death of Stalin, directed by Armando Iannucci. Wikipedia describes it as depicting: “…the internal social and political power struggle among the members of Council of Ministers following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953.” That’s a bit vague; it doesn’t include the antics, the scheming, the occasional slapstick moment, the brutality of those members, … click below for more ↓

Barbie: A Review for Conservatives

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Hey there, conservatives (especially you conservative males!), let’s talk about the Barbie movie. Yes, I know nothing makes you want to take your AR-15 to the local Toys ‘R Us for a well-deserved shoot-up than a film about a girl’s toy (please don’t do it!). I mean, how dare anyone make a movie without guns, car chases, explosions, bullet storms, babes in skimpy outfits, and a beefy male action hero like Jason Statham or Daniel Craig to deal mayhem and death to all and sundry? … click below for more ↓

Review 9: Son of Godzilla

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I‘ve hesitated to write this review because, of all the films in the Godzilla franchise, I dislike the campy-cute, family-friendly Minilla, the so-called “son” of Godzilla. Minilla appears in three films: Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla: Finals Wars, but the most saccharine of them is this one: Son of Godzilla. And it is, by my standards anyway, one of the worst of the franchise in many ways, not least of all in the remade Godzilla suit, but also in the cheapness of … click below for more ↓

Review 8: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep – 1966

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In 1966, the original director of the Godzilla series, Ishiro Honda, left to do other projects and left the next film — Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, aka Godzilla vs the Sea Monster — in the hands of director Jun Fukuda. At the same time, composer Akira Ifukube was replaced by Masuro Sato, and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya was replaced by Sadamasa Arikawa. Names, of course, that mean little or nothing outside aficionados of the franchise or Japanese cinema, but for Godzilla watchers, it … click below for more ↓

65: A Catalogue of Disappointments

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Can a movie featuring aliens, dinosaurs, spaceships, one of the main actors from Star Wars, and a giant asteroid about to crash into the planet be bad? Sadly, yes. The movie 65 manages to take what could a been another Godzilla or Kong: Skull Island. instead, it’s a watered-down Jurassic Park. Severely diluted. I love scifi and fantasy. I’ve been reading it since the mid-1950s when I got my first Tom Swift jr book. I read Jules Verne at age 10, and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ … click below for more ↓

Review 7: Invasion of Astro Monster – 1965

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Godzilla films had already begun to move into the cultural camp mode from the second film, Godzilla Raids Again, and away from the monster-threat-to-Earth and Atomic-bomb-symbol of the first film. It was firmly planted into it by the time 1965’s Invasion of Astro Monster came along (aka Great Monster War). It’s a rollicking, madhouse of a movie. Camp — a term that entered the language in 1909 but remains notoriously difficult to define — was described by Susan Sontag in a 1964 essay as, “the … click below for more ↓

Review 6: Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster – 1964

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Toho didn’t waste any time cashing in on the popularity of the latest Godzilla movie, and released two G films in quick succession that same year (the only year to ever see two Godzilla films released). But this time, they went all-out in a throw-in-the-kitchen-sink manner because they were rushed to get the second film out. By this time, they must have realized Godzilla wasn’t just a character, but was the keystone of a growing franchise and one that could link Toho’s other monster films … click below for more ↓

Review 5: Mothra vs Godzilla – 1964

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Toho was not about to let another seven years slip by without a sequel to a successful Godzilla film, but what to do now? The last two films had all featured Godzilla battling another monster (kaiju), and since that worked for audience approval, why not do it again? But this time there would be several differences. And those differences not only resulted in another popular film, but one that is considered by aficionados as perhaps the best in the Showa series productions: Mothra vs. Godzilla. … click below for more ↓

Review 4: King Kong vs Godzilla – 1962

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What was to prove the most successful of Toho’s Godzilla films is, to me, at times one of the hardest to watch in the edited, Americanized edition, even though it included two of my favourite movie monsters. But even in the Toho version, King Kong is not the Kong of the beloved 1933 film. That Kong had majesty and flair. This one, well… read on. The film was released for Toho’s 30th anniversary, in 1962. Toho paid a huge royalty to RKO to use the … click below for more ↓

Review 3: Godzilla Raids Again – 1955

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The unexpected success of the original Gojira film led Toho to find a quick and cheap way to cash in on the popularity. And within six months, they released the second Godzilla film: Godzilla Raids Again (aka Godzilla’s Counterattack). Since most of the previous film’s crew were already working on other projects, new composers, directors, actors, and most of a new special effects team had to be brought in. And a new Godzilla suit (lighter, and more maneuverable) was made. Despite the rush to get … click below for more ↓

Review 2: Godzilla, King of the Monsters – 1956

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I admit to a nostalgic affection for the American (dubbed) edit of the original Gojira — renamed Godzilla, King of the Monsters — because it was the first film in the franchise I ever saw. It helped give me a love of monster movies I still have, more than 60 years later. At that time, I also saw a lot of other scifi and monster B-films in the ’50s and ’60s on TV, in theatres, and at the drive-in, but Godzilla holds a special place … click below for more ↓

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