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Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School (Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School

Scooby-Doo Ghoul School
1988
Written by Glenn Leopold
Directed by Charles A. Nichols and Ray Patterson (supervising)

Scooby-Doo Ghoul School
I know what you are thinking. What does Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School have to do with Godzilla? Well, stick with me, dear reader, and you shall see that this is a fitting member of March of Godzilla 2019! Before we get to that, we got to get to just what the heck Scooby-Doo mystery we’ve gotten TarsTarkas.NET caught up in! Back in the day (the 1980s), Hannah-Barbera made a series of 10 animated films packaged for syndication starring some of their strongest brands, it was called the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series. Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School is the eighth film in the series and the second of three Scooby-Doo features. All of them feature actual supernatural creatures instead of guys in masks scaring away people from abandoned theme parks to cover their crimes, which paint them closer to the then-current 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series. Further cementing the connection, Shaggy is depicted here in a red shirt like he was in that series, and the entire group is just Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy-Doo.

Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, and Scrappy-Doo are driving on a dark and stormy night. Wait a second…

It was a dark and stormy night. Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, and Scrappy-Doo we driving to their new job as gym teachers at a Girl’s school. Normally I’d guess they don’t do background checks and just hire anyone, but as the school turns out to be full of monsters they must have hired the only applicant.
Scooby-Doo Ghoul School
Miss Grimwood’s Finishing School for Girls, but the “Girls” is perpetually replaced by spray-painted “Ghouls”. Miss Grimwood is a typical fussy boarding school headmistress except for the fact she is a witch and thus does witch stuff. She’s assisted mainly by a floating hand and her small pet dragon Matches. There is also an octopus butler who I don’t think is ever named. Most importantly, there is a two headed shark that lives in the moat outside the school! Scooby-Doo beat The Asylum to the punch by decades! A running gag in the film is all the food at the Ghoul School is gross and spooky (thus Shaggy and Scooby can’t pig out at all in this movie!), and much of it is cooked by Miss Grimwood. We got a whole garden of rotten fruit, fungus fudge, toadstool tea, poison ivy punch, caterpillar cookies, and swamp brownies (made from swamp water and mosquitoes!)
Scooby-Doo Ghoul School
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 14, 2019 at 11:03 am

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Massacre Gun (Review)

Massacre Gun

aka みな殺しの拳銃 aka Minagoroshi no Kenjû aka Slaughter Gun aka Ruthless Gangster
Massacre Gun
1967
Written by Yasuharu Hasebe (as Takashi Fujii) and Ryûzô Nakanishi
Directed by Yasuharu Hasebe

Massacre Gun
A long time ago (2017!) I saw Massacre Gun at the Roxie, but despite it being some good stuff, I was far too busy to get a proper writeup completed. This is TarsTarkas.NET, after all, where the reviews are all made up and the deadlines don’t matter, so we thought we’d just watch it again and give a nice, nuanced review from multiple viewings. So thus bursts the review of Massacre Gun!

At this point the Nikkatsu borderless action films are becoming very well represented on TarsTarkas.NET, thanks in part to a large swatch of them getting wonderful restored and subtitled releases in the West, thus making watches easy. These films have a tone that make them very good watches even though too many at once can lead to bleak feelings due to the tone. Despite that, the films are largely high quality stories crafted with care, and have a clear evolution over time before the entire genre was just dropped in favor of the Roman Pornos. From the early youth/troubled youth films to the increasingly violent and dreary action pieces, the entire genre (and their inspirations and imitators) just create so many things to talk about. There is even the side journey with our slow but study dive through Seijun Suzuki’s filmography. The director here is Yasuharu Hasebe (the amazeballs Black Tight Killers!) and he might be one of the few Nikkatsu directors to give Suzuki a run for his money in regards to interesting shots and techniques (while still showing it straight enough to not anger the bosses enough to get fired!)
Massacre Gun
By now this is 1967, the genre is in full swing, Jo Shishido is owning the screen, and Yasuharu Hasebe is about to drop yet another required viewing film onto an eager audience with Massacre Gun! Three brothers get pushed too far by their Yakuza employers and decided to strike out on their own and strike back against the disrespect, but we all know things aren’t going to end happily for most of them. Ken Sanders crooning gives this film an amazing vibe (backed up by the ever-present boarderless action jazz, which seems to be extra juiced in this film. There are album collections of tracks from these films which are great to study or write movie articles too, trust me!) We also get a lot of gangsters feeling sorry for themselves sitting around smoking while he croons. If that doesn’t hammer the tragic life of the yakuza gangster into your brain then maybe Teletubbies is more your speed, leave the Nikkatsu flicks to us, thanks.
Massacre Gun
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 30, 2019 at 12:14 pm

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War (Review)

War

War
2019
Story by Siddharth Anand and Aditya Chopra
Screenplay by Shridhar Raghavan
Additional Dialogue by Abbas Tyrewala
Directed by Siddharth Anand

War
Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff team up on the big screen for the first time to both fight alongside and against each other in War! What we get is a Mission: Impossible style masala flick that entertains with plenty of action with a ridiculous story stringing it all together. But the story is secondary, the spectacle and attraction is seeing your heroes Hrithik and Tiger run around together and causing trouble, both against villains and against each other. There is plenty of trouble, plenty of trials, and plenty of heart-pounding fighting as the two leads face off in an action movie storm.

It opens with Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) going rogue and killing his contact, so the hammer of the Indian intelligence services are brought in to smash him down. His former mentee Khalid (Tiger Shroff) is not tasked with bringing him down at first (they feel he’s too close) but at Kabir sets his sights on more high-profile targets, it soon becomes apparent that Khalid is the only hope they got.
War
Interspersed with this are several flashback stories where we learn that Khalid’s father was a traitor, that his own family turned him in, and that Kabir was the man who put (several!) bullets in his head. That’s why Kabir doesn’t trust Khalid to be part of his super special forces team at first. Khalid has been spending his whole career trying to escape the shadow of his father, and also spends long minutes gazing longingly at Kabir when he’s doing his cool main character struts that are fairly common in high-profile action films. At this point men fighting as brothers and homoeroticism has smeared together to the point where you’re free to pick your own interpretations. Khalid proves his worth by killing a bunch of ISIS goons and soon Khalid and Kabir are dancing it up in celebration. At least we’ve found one thing war is good for, dance parties!
War
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 14, 2019 at 12:32 pm

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#FollowFriday (Review)

#FollowFriday

Follow Friday
2016
Story by Marie Bertonneau, Anna Rasmussen, and Micho Rutare
Screenplay by Marie Bertonneau
Directed by Micho Rutare

Follow Friday
The Internet once again has come to kill us all, but shockingly this isn’t a Lifetime Network film, nope! This joint from The Asylum debuted on SyFy of all places! There ain’t any spaceships or crazy monsters, heck #FollowFriday (the hashtag is part of the name) could happen in the real world. And judging from how incompetent Twitter is in getting rid of problem accounts (let’s just be honest, Twitter love nazi accounts), Twitter would be powerless to stop a killer form using their service were it to happen in real life.
Follow Friday
#FollowFriday actually uses Twitter, complete with real Twitter accounts (all of which are now suspended, lol, I guess Twitter can ban movie accounts but not nazis) and screenshots of the twitter accounts running amok. The film takes place in a pocket universe where Twitter is the dominant social media tool to the point where all others are ignored or barely mentioned. There is a good sense of the chaos that the non-stop stream of social media opinions brings, as a constant barrage of voiceovers proclaiming their opinion on events as they happen or society in general (and even making lame jokes) plays in the background as characters sit around, type away on their devices, or stare in horror at the Twitter feed. As an active Twitter user, staring in horror at Twitter is a pretty common event.

Many of the characters are introduced by voiceovers of their tweets, which immediately gives you a fix on which archetype their characters are. There is a nerdy Young Republican, the young politician, the computer nerd, the health nut, the alpha male, and the outraged feminist. No need to set them up, we just know what they are and let them interact. And slowly get bumped off, as a killer is a-stalking them, each week whichever one is the biggest on trending, they get #dead.
Follow Friday
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 1, 2019 at 12:12 pm

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Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Subtraction (Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Subtraction

aka すすめ!ゴジランド aka ゴジラと遊ぼう aka Let’s Play With Godzilla
 Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Subtraction
1994
 Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Subtraction
Well, if you gotta learn addition, I guess you gotta learn subtraction. Multiplication and division, sorry you are out of luck! But never give up hope that some random thing will pop up from who knows where! Unproduced scripts, story boards, a new generation of Godzilland merchandise with altered character designs but a budget for more topics. The future is full of endless possibilities, the only subtraction is your limited life span.

This is an episode from the second batch of edutainment Godzilland shorts, thus it has the expanded cast and live action wraparounds with Godzilla and the Big Sister lady. Please make sure you check out the full character breakdown and the other Godzilland episodes in this series.

Now don’t be frakken, watch some Gakken! Sing Godzilland theme song!

Live-action human sized Godzilla has made some cakes, but there isn’t enough strawberries for the amount of cakes. 6 cakes minus 4 strawberries equals two cakes left over with no strawberry adornments. This knowledge impresses the lady, who realizes he learned this on Godzilland and also brings up his girlfriend back then, Gojirin, which is embarrassing for Godzilla. Lady demands more knowledge about Gojirin, so Godzilla shares that she loves fruit.

We cut live to an animated flashback of Godzilland, where cartoon Godzilla is bringing an armload of oranges to share with Gojirin. Gojirin is watering her plants and assumes all the oranges are for her and is so happy, scarfing them all down. Godzilla is a bit shocked that he doesn’t get any oranges, but he’s seriously been a jerk this whole series to its good he’s now forced to be nice even if it is against his will.
 Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Subtraction
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 26, 2019 at 11:02 am

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Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition (Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition

aka すすめ!ゴジランド aka ゴジラと遊ぼう aka Let’s Play With Godzilla
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
1996
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
Gakken is backken and in the meantime they got a new logo! After the two year gap, Godzilland was revamped and retooled. There is a different theme song performed by a lady! But more importantly, the show has more kaiju kid characters! Joining the Godzilland team are Gigan, Moguera, and Mechagodzilla! Mechagodzilla looks like 1970s Mechagodzilla, not the 90s Mechagodzilla, which is a weird aesthetic choice but maybe they didn’t like the new monster being cartoonified so much. Let’s not forget the wholly original character – a female Godzilla! This one is pink with hearts for the spinal ridges, and her name is Gojirin! Gojirin is just adding a female suffix to Gojira, and is equivalent to calling her Godzilly in English, thus that has become her unofficial English name. And the show now has live-action segments where Godzilla tells stories to a human lady, both of them being the same size! We’re really tripping balls here for this new series and it is amazing!

The best part is all of this is canon now, baby! You can’t uncanon this, it exists, Godzilla had a girlfriend and has a human lady friend and couldn’t do math or read due to having no real parents, which is why he’s a good dad to all his adopted kids he’s picked up over the years. This is the truest of truths. Be sure to check out the cast list page for Godzilland!
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
Godzilla is making pancakes for his lady friend, who is impressed that he can use the power of addition to tell how many pancakes he has made. Godzilla enjoys regaling her with tales of his youth, so today he’s gonna tell her (and us!) about how he learned addition. It is not entirely clear what the nature of their relationship is, so I just call her his lady friend while he seems to call her something like “Big Sister”, so I guess she is a friend that is like family? A nanny? A nurse caretaker due to a chronic medical condition that we are not aware of due to the short length of the series? Could it have to due with Godzilla’s propensity to eat all sorts of terrible food? Is Godzilla going to die of a heart attack at an early age because he won’t eat a salad? Damn it, Godzilla, pull yourself together, man! But I digress…

A long long time ago on Godzilland…

Mechagodzilla’s peaceful flight around Godzilland is spoiled when he spies Godzilla and Anguirus having an argument that turns into a physical altercation. These boys do nothing but cause problems! Mechagodzilla marvels that such good friends are good enough friends to fight each other, which sounds like a very mature view until the episode continues and we see it is a very immature view that just lucked into sounding more philosophical than it is.
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 8, 2019 at 12:19 pm

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