moving pictures

Blu Notes: MATANGO「マタンゴ」⋅ 2017 ⋅ Toho Visual Entertainment

Blu Notes: MATANGO「マタンゴ」⋅ 2017 ⋅ Toho Visual Entertainment

Eiji Tsuburaya’s lauded effects production takes a backseat in this oddball genre offering from Toho studios, released to critical ambivalence and general audience confusion in the fall of 1963. A standout among Toho’s glitzier sci-fi actioners and giant monster fantasies, if by virtue of its […]

Blu Notes: The Neptune Factor (An Undersea Odyssey) ⋅ 2016 ⋅ Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Blu Notes: The Neptune Factor (An Undersea Odyssey) ⋅ 2016 ⋅ Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Ben Gazzara and a rag-tag crew of scientists and engineers (Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Donnelly Rhodes) fend off the inexplicably gargantuan denizens of a deep-sea trench on their way to rescuing their earthquake-stranded comrades in this oddball Canadian-produced maritime disaster yarn. The ambitious $2 million […]

Blu Notes: BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE「宇宙大戦争」⋅ 2017 ⋅ Anolis Entertainment

Blu Notes: BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE「宇宙大戦争」⋅ 2017 ⋅ Anolis Entertainment

Toho tokusatsu fans can scratch one more title off the list, courtesy of dependable German cult outfit Anolis Entertainment. Shinichi SEKIZAWA penned this action-minded follow up to 1957’s comparatively somber The Mysterians, which finds the newly-unified governments of Earth repelling an invasion from the high-tech bandits of […]

Blu Notes: The Valley of Gwangi ⋅ 2017 ⋅ Warner Archive Collection

Blu Notes: The Valley of Gwangi ⋅ 2017 ⋅ Warner Archive Collection

There are few films with which I am more familiar than 1969’s The Valley of Gwangi, pioneering effects talent Ray Harryhausen’s ode to late friend and mentor Willis O’Brien’s never-made tale of cowboys and dinosaurs. As a kid I owned this on pre-record and still managed […]

Of birds and battleships: Columbia’s essential monster misfire at 60

Of birds and battleships: Columbia’s essential monster misfire at 60

Spendthrift producer Sam Katzman’s Clover Productions struck gold with It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955) and Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), a pair of mid-century science fiction thrillers that punched well above their weight courtesy of ace production from Charles H. Schneer (Hellcats of […]

Haruo Nakajima Remembered: A Few of our Favorite Performances from the Man who was Godzilla

Haruo Nakajima Remembered: A Few of our Favorite Performances from the Man who was Godzilla

For the best part of two decades, from the first Godzilla in 1954 through Godzilla vs. Gigan in 1972, actor Haruo NAKAJIMA served as the literal backbone of Toho Company’s tokusatsu production. A pioneer of the process of special effects suit acting, Nakajima performed the difficult and often […]

John Agar against the INVISIBLE INVADERS: The Most Fantastic Battle Ever Fought!

John Agar against the INVISIBLE INVADERS: The Most Fantastic Battle Ever Fought!

“You would see nothing! We are invisible. We are invisible, Adam Penner! Long ago we learned to change the molecular structure of our bodies. You cannot see us.” It’s difficult to say for certain whether 1959’s Invisible Invaders has an awful lot on its mind, or […]

The Depression-era spectacle of Felix E. Feist’s DELUGE

The Depression-era spectacle of Felix E. Feist’s DELUGE

It’s been nearly 90 years since RKO’s Deluge first raged across the silver screen, leveling the concrete modernity of 1933 to rubble and inviting audiences to ponder the consequences, but its history, beyond those first furtive months of general release, has been a troubled one. Indeed, one could […]

All Brand New! An Important Film of Our Age Starring Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, and… Kipp Hamilton?

All Brand New! An Important Film of Our Age Starring Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, and… Kipp Hamilton?

The artwork shared below comes courtesy of a trade ad Toho placed in the September 14th 1966 issue of the industry publication Motion Picture Herald, in which it serves as the back cover image (which is great, as it means I didn’t have to dismember the […]

Some thoughts on「シン・ゴジラ」Shin Godzilla

It’s been three days now since I caught up to Toho Co.’s big-deal series reboot Shin Godzilla. While my thoughts on the film are still running ramshackle through my brain I felt it pertinent to put them to paper none the less, particularly since I’ll be attending […]

Ici, c’est Pepsi

An animated moment from Daiei Company’s 1970 children’s drama The Little Hero (Boku wa Go-sai / I am Five), a feel-good yarn about a young boy who embarks on a four-hundred kilometer pilgrimage to find his widowed working-class father in Ōsaka. The Pepsi signage is one of the clues the boy […]

「成熟」 The Awakening

Yūko KANŌ (Keiko SEKINE) is the daughter of a comfortably middle class farming family, an ace student, and a prominent member of her agricultural high school’s photo club to boot, but finds herself at odds with her small community’s rigid traditionalism after a minor transgression at a […]

「丑三つの村」Village of Doom

Young Tsugio INUMARU (Masato FURUOYA) is a perennial invalid, and something of a pariah in his rural village. It’s the late 1930s, and at a time when the rest of the village’s young men have been enlisted into the Imperial Army the sickly Tsugio is […]

「暴風圏」 A Storm Zone

After the unexpected death of her father in an automobile accident care-free Misako (Junko KANŌ) is appointed the unlikely president of the family’s prominent shipping company. Despite her inexperience Misako puts forth great effort to learn the business and gradually gains the trust of both […]

Banned  Japan: From Tsuburaya Productions with Love

Banned Japan: From Tsuburaya Productions with Love

Given the very nature of the sort of cinema I gravitate towards its an unavoidable fact that every now and again I stumble onto something that’s banned somewhere, but this may be the first time I’ve ever crossed paths with a banned episode of a […]

Saturday Monster Matinee:「ゴジラ・ミニラ・ガバラ オール怪獣大進撃」All Monsters Attack

Saturday Monster Matinee:「ゴジラ・ミニラ・ガバラ オール怪獣大進撃」All Monsters Attack

My memories of Godzilla’s tenth screen adventure are fonder than usual. It aired on television constantly as I was growing up, being one of the U.P.A. Productions of America properties that TNT broadcast on a regular basis, and thanks to a grandmother sympathetic to my […]

Blu Notes: Contamination ⋅ 2015 ⋅ Arrow Video

Blu Notes: Contamination ⋅ 2015 ⋅ Arrow Video

A love note to the classic science fiction cinema of the past by way of an Alien-derived horror fantasy about Martian eggs that make people explode, Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination isn’t quite like anything else that emerged from the Italian genre film scene of the latter ’70s / early ’80s. The […]

Earth Attack Order: Godzilla vs. Gigan「地球攻撃命令 ゴジラ対ガイガン」

Earth Attack Order: Godzilla vs. Gigan「地球攻撃命令 ゴジラ対ガイガン」

Aliens in orange leisure suits plot world conquest from a theme park, and it’s up to a comic artist and his friends (with an assist from Japan’s preeminent monster star) to stop them in Godzilla vs. Gigan, the twelfth entry in Toho Co.’s iconic monster franchise. […]