Monster Bites - Signal of Distress

GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (2002)
GODZILLA TOKYO S.O.S. (2003)

So this is a weird one, or a weird pairing at least. Of course it's clear that these are the only two films from the Millennium Godzilla series that fit together as one whole story. On the other hand they feel like the same movie being made twice. It's fun that they exist in a world in which the 1954 film events exist alongside various other Toho monsters. But then several characters established in the first story are jettisoned for the second resulting in a weird disconnect, making the goals of this combined narrative feel a little confused. I guess this sort of repeating cycle is to be expected with the studio still using the '60s and '70s for it's inspiration rather than introducing any original monsters.

Horror Bites - Brain Storm

FIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958)

This is certainly another case where the crazy name can't possibly live up to the film it's headlining, but as 1950s B-movies go this isn't too bad overall. Even the title card is super dramatic with exaggerated lighting bolt letters on the screen, desperately trying to sell the electrifying premise. But how to actually describe this? There's more than one fiend for a start, if you can describe them as such. I guess I'll just say it, since for better or worse this one sits under the dubious category of ... killer brain stories. Even within this decade of genre movies where scientific experiments often run amok, it's pretty silly. But that's okay too.


Review Roundup - California Dreamin'

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)

Quentin Tarantino's films generally fall into a few specific categories whether they're crime thrillers or Westerns, but his latest effort feels broader and less self contained. For better or worse this is an everything but the kitchen sink style effort, it's long and meandering, it's part comedy and part fiction meets period recreation. There may be some through-lines about washed up actors and real life celebrities at the end of an era but it's more of a patchwork of vignettes than any sort of lean narrative. Which means while his previous efforts may have felt loose and in need of a more ruthless editor this is by far his most sprawling tale. But how much of this really matters in terms of the overall entertainment factor is debatable.


Scorecard

AUGUST


FILM OF THE MONTH Escape From New York ☆☆☆☆

HCF Review - Warriors of the Wind

DETECTIVE DEE: FOUR HEAVENLY KINGS (2018)

If you like a mixture of Sherlock style detective work and effects fuelled wuxia action, then this is probably the series for you. Despite the ‘young’ part of the title being dropped this is actually a second prequel to the original Detective Dee adventure which means Mark Chao is back in place of the original version of the character portrayed by Andy Lau. But the title isn’t the strongest lead into this tale of magical assassins, a mystical weapons and mind control. The ‘Four Kings’ aren’t really part of the story at all, and feature as a backdrop during one brief action sequence.


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