Pacific Rim featurettes

In “Oversized Robots,” Guillermo Del Toro discusses his upcoming film, in which giant monsters emerge from a dimensional portal deep in the ocean, and humanity responds by placing warriors in colossal  robots. In particular, the director notes the necessity of including practical effects to convey the physicality of the situation; in PACIFIC RIM, this took the form of a four-story tall set, complete with a rig, for the head of the robot, so that the actors would bounce around as if battling an opponent.
Fans of Japanese kaiju films such should get a kick out of the premise of PACIFIC RIM, which deliberately recalls the GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA films of the 1990s and early 2000s (not to mention Stuart Gordon’s ROBOT JOX). In fact, the monsters in the film are even called by the word “kaiju.”

In “Drift Space,” Del Toro and cast members Charlie Hunnam and Rob Kazinsky elaborate on portraying the men controlling the robots, who must fuse their memories in order to act as one consciousness while directing a machine too large for a single person to operate.

“Con Footage” gives us a more detailed look at the story set-up than presented in the trailers.


Giant Monsters of 1961: Cinefantastique Roundtable Retrospective Podcast 3:16

Clockwise: Gorgo, Mothra, Konga, Reptilicus
Clockwise: Gorgo, Mothra, Konga, Reptilicus

Host Steve Biodrowski is joined by Steve Ryfle, Ted Newsom, and Mark Thomas McGee for a fond look back at box office behemoths GORGO, MOTHRA, KONGA, and REPTILICUS.

It was 50 years ago today! Er, well, 51 years ago. This Cinefantastique Roundtable Retrospective Podcast was originally recorded last year, as part of our 50th anniversary celebration of the horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of 1961. Unfortunately, sound problems forced a delay, but what’s a few months when it comes to resurrecting timeless classics such as GORGO and MOTHRA – or, in the case of KONGA and REPTILICUS, high-camp condemnation?
Five decades ago, giant movie monsters were an entirely different species from today’s computer-generated monstrosities: back then, prehistoric beasties and mythical monsters were brought to life with men-in-suits, marionettes, and miniatures. Yet, these out-dated techniques sometimes produced effective results, and as old-fashioned as these films are, they have bequeathed much to makers of modern mayhem currently plying their trade in Hollywood.
Most particularly, 1961 seems to have been a transitional year. After a decade of nuclear terror and mad science unleashing mutant monsters on the science fiction screen, GORGO and MOTHRA move toward fantasy, with the villains recast as greedy exploiters of nature’s mysteries, and with the incredible creatures earning a measure of overt sympathy that in some cases allows them, surprisingly, to survive past the closing credits.
That’s right: the monsters win! Listen in to a lively conversation from those who cheered this development in real time, and who now offer a fond reappraisal of what these films still have to offer receptive viewers.

X-Mas Stocking Stuffers & Destroy All Monsters: CFQ Laserblast Podcast 2.49.2

destroy all monsters retouch
Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Just in time for Christmas, the Cinefantastique Laserblast crew – that would be Dan Persons, Lawrence French, and Steve Biodrowski – offer up their recommendations for  DVDs and Blu-ray discs that would make perfect stocking stuffers for the horror, fantasy, and science fiction fan in your life. Suggestions range from the 1932 classic ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, now on Criterion Blu-ray disc, to the 1968 Japanese giant monster fest, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, out on Blu-ray from Media Blasters. As a special added bonus feature, this Laserblast podcast includes an interview with Steve Ryfle (author of JAPAN’S FAVORITE MON-STAR), who provided audio commentary for the DAM disc.
Merry Christmas, everyone! And truly, nothing says Christmas like Godzilla!


'Taken" Director to Helm Raimi's 'EDF'?

X_Earth_FlareAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, Pierre Morel (TAKEN) is in talks to direct EDF (EARTH DEFENSE FORCE). 
The project is being produced by Sam Raimi (SPIDER-MAN) and Bill Block, the head of film finance outfit QED International, and the article describes ot as a “giant alien invasion movie.”
Warner Brothers is set to distribute the film, which will feature the contries of Earth assembling a space defense force to combat the alien threat.
Sounds kinda like a jazzed-up Toho sci-fi/monster film.

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda – book review

click to purchase
click to purchase

The late Ishiro Honda has long been considered Japan’s premier fantasy film director, and certainly worthy of a book-length study, which is what author Peter H. Brothers’ Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda provides. Clearly, Brothers is well-read and well-informed on his subject.
Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda is divided into three major sections. In the first, Brooks provides comments and insights on the hallmarks of Honda’s approach to direction and storytelling. In the second, he provides a mini-biography of the director, filling in many background details on his life (such as his extended military service and his long apprenticeship as an assistant director) that I have not previously seen or read. He also makes clear why the preferred spelling of Honda’s first name is Ishiro, despite his early films being credited as Inoshiro.
The final, and longest section of the book, examines each of Honda’s fantasy films in detail. This section is divided into several subsections, charting the rise and fall of Honda’s film career. Brooks does take an unusual approach to titles: he addresses each film by a translation of the Japanese title rather than by the English release title or by the Japanese title rendered in the letters of the Western alphabet. Thus, ATRAGON is referred to as SUBMARINE WARSHIP. While Godzilla and Mothra are referred to by their English names, Rodan is consistently referred to by his Japanese name of Radon.
One strength of Brothers’ work is the emphasis placed on a Honda’s collaborators. He notes the differences between the approaches of his two major screenwriters, Takeshi Kimura (whose work tended to be downbeat and critical) and Shinichi Sekizawa (whose work was more child-like and hopeful). Brothers frequently cites the quality of Eiji Tsuburaya’s work, Honda’s main special effects expert. He carefully comments on the scores of Akira Ifukube, noting the orchestrations used for the various pieces. Additionally, he makes note of actors who make multiple appearances in Honda’s films.
On the downside, however, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda contains no illustrations whatsoever. (Toho Studios, which produced most of Honda’s movies, are notoriously difficult about granting permission to reproduce stills, and there are no pictures of Honda himself, even personal ones). Brothers assumes the reader will already be familiar with each of these films and so doesn’t bother with summaries and other basic information. When commenting on Ifukube’s scores, Brothers seems to mention individual pieces by translations of soundtrack cue titles rather than referring directly back to the films themselves.
Additionally, there are some other difficulties. The copy-editing is poor, for example. There are a couple of references to “eye-pooping” effects rather than “eye-popping.” Brothers uses “mute” when he means “moot.” At one point the word “contretemps” is misspelled, and a few times letters or words are omitted, obscuring meaning.
Another problem that occasionally crops up is unsupported suppositions. For example, Brothers hints that Tsuburaya contemplated suicide if the original GODZILLA had not been a success, also that Honda was never “particularly interested in directing films that stressed creatures over characters” and that he “longed to return to the kind of sweet, sentimental pictures that he was fond of directing that stressed human values.” A quote or source citation would make these claims more convincing.
However, Brothers is certainly correct in his assertions that Honda didn’t make his monster movies with the intention of frightening people. Though the creatures in them are colorful characters of mass destruction, Honda does not create typical suspense or scare scenes, and largely eschew depicting gory demises, though his original GODZILLA gains great power from its depictions of the Japanese detailing with the aftermath of the irradiated lizard’s onslaught in ways that evoke memories of the post-Hiroshima survivors.
Additionally, Brothers correctly notes Honda’s repeated emphasis on the hopes for a United Nations-oriented peaceful solution, showing Japan joining a league of nations in combating alien or monster menaces or other major problems (such as GORATH’s potentially world-destroying planetoid). When the Godzilla series was revived in the ‘80s, the tendency then was to show a more militaristically aggressive Japan (Kimura’s scripts tended to be very critical of the Japanese military establishment).
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)One issue I wish that Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda had delved more into is the differences between the Japanese and American versions of the films. Brothers doesn’t mention how Honda’s ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN was turned into an abomination called HALF HUMAN for its American release (something nicely covered recently on the And You Call Yourself a Scientist website). For the most part, Brothers concentrates on the original Japanese versions, not even mentioning how classic Universal horror themes were added to the soundtrack of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA for its American version (though he does note that the American version of the film lets the Seahawk disaster sequence run without the interruption of scenes from the Pacific Pharmaceuticals bon voyage party, as in the Japanese version).
Though Brothers does at times have a tendency to lay on the superlatives, he doesn’t stint from criticizing what he perceives as Honda’s lackluster later fantasy productions. After box office receipts began falling off on Godzilla films in Japan, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka ordered the budgets slashed, and the Godzilla films became increasingly geared towards children. Under these restrictions, Honda fell far short of his previous proven abilities with such uninspiring fare as GODZILLA’S REVENGE and TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA.
Kumi Mizuno turns into a mushroom person.
Kumi Mizuno turns into a mushroom person.

Nevertheless, Honda made a total of 25 fantasy films, a sizeable and significant body of work worthy of the serious attention Brothers gives them. In addition to the Godzilla movies, these included his science fiction invasion trilogy THE MYSTERIANS, BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE, and GORATH; his science fiction efforts THE H-MAN and THE HUMAN VAPOUR, his submarine movies ATRAGON and LATITUDE ZERO, his Frankenstein duo FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD and WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS, as well as launching MOTHRA and RODAN on their merry careers. There is also the fascinating morality tale that is MATANGO (aka ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE), with its evocation of the Seven Deadly Sins and the beautiful Kumi Mizuno actually becoming more alluring as she transforms into a fungus.
Despite some caveats, for the serious lover of kaiju movies, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda is worthy of your time and attention. This kind of attention focusing on one of the most prolific directors of fantasy films is long overdue.

Son of Godzilla at Spooktacular

Son of Godzilla at SpooktacularGodzilla fans in New Hampshire get a rare chance to see a 35mm print of SON OF GODZILLA on the big screen – as part of the Colonial Theatre’s Fouth Spooktacular, a semi-annual event co-presented by SATURDAY FRIGHT SPECIAL, a local cable-access show. The presentation includes vintage monster movie previews, cartoons, and give-aways. Horror comic artist S.R. Bissette (SWAMP THING) will be donating an original Godzilla sketch.
The Colonial Theatre is located at 95 Main Street in Keene, New Hampshire. Phone: (603) 352-2033 or  (800) 595-4849.
Showtime is 2:00pm on July 31. Tickets are $10.00, available at the door.
Read the press release below:

KEENE, NH – July 1, 2010: Giant monsters once again return to Keene, NH at The Colonial Theatre’s SPOOKTACULAR, Saturday, July 31st 2010 at 2PM. Curated by Saturday Fright Special, New Hampshire’s first home-grown horror host TV show, the event features a rare 35mm screening of the 1967 Japanese monster melee SON OF GODZILLA. In addition to the main feature, vintage monster movie previews, a cartoon, and snack bar ads will precede the film, along with prize giveaways and on-stage appearances by Scarewolf and other Saturday Fright Special characters. The event will be the finale of the Colonial’s annual Family Film Series, and will be an all-ages event, bringing back the feel of an old-time kiddie matinee.
“We’re thrilled to be able to present a Godzilla film to the Colonial audience on a Saturday afternoon, the same way that so many kids in the 70s first saw these films, both in the theater and on TV,” said Mark Nelson, SATURDAY FRIGHT SPECIAL curator for the event. “In fact, we’re giving fans an opportunity they never had back then to see SON OF GODZILLA on the big screen, as the film was released directly to television in the US.”
The film tells the touching tale of the bond between a father and son (who just happen to be 30-story giant lizards), and what happens when giant insects come between them.
The SPOOKTACULAR will also feature prize giveaways including an original Godzilla sketch from renowned artist S.R. Bissette, as well as signed copies of a new Bissette comic that will premiere at the event. The costumed cast from Saturday Fright Special will be on hand to introduce the film and mingle with the public.
This will be the fourth Spooktacular presented by the Colonial Theatre, an event previously held in the evening. “We were looking at our Family Film Series schedule, and realized that the all-ages audience for past Spooktaculars would make it an ideal way to cap off our summer matinee series,” said Jessica Reeves, Director of Audience Services and Marketing for The Colonial Theatre. “We noticed a large number of parents bringing their children to our previous evening Spooktacular events, and realized that a daytime show would better serve those young and old who have a hard time staying up past a certain hour,” she laughed, “It’s hard to compete with the Sandman.”
Tickets are on sale now ($10 general admission). For more information, or to purchase, call The Colonial Theatre Box Office at 603/352-2033, toll free at 800/595-4849 or visit
About SON OF GODZILLA: A scientific team sets up camp on a remote island to conduct weather-controlling experiments, and unwittingly create giant man-eating insects, and only Godzilla and his young Son can save the day. Released in 1967 in Japan, this film marked a turning point for the Godzilla series, steering them away from the harsher elements of earlier films and aiming them directly at children. It is fondly remembered by a generation of Americans who first saw it on local TV as kids, and the sight of the Son of Godzilla attempting to breathe fire but instead blowing smoke rings is an oft-referenced pop-cultural touchstone.
AboutSATURDAY FRIGHT SPECIAL: Saturday Fright Special is New Hampshire’s first home-grown horror-host television program, featuring the best (and worst) public domain horror films from the 1950s to the 1970s. Hosted by Scarewolf, a well dressed werewolf with a good sense of rhythm, Saturday Fright Special evokes the spirit of drive ins and independent TV stations of days gone by, with vintage commercials, snack bar ads, and comedy bits sprinkled throughout the show’s two hour running time. Additional characters lend a hand in presenting the films, including Santoro The Honduran Grappler (a masked wrestler who fights for strong moral character and good nutritional values), Tae Kwon Dunk (a mischievious basketball-headed martial artist), and Morbia Poppatoppolis (a demented domestic diva). Saturday Fright Special airs weekly on public access stations in over 20 states coast to coast.
About The Colonial Theatre: The Colonial Theatre is a non-profit performing arts center serving the greater Monadnock region in fulfilling its vision to be the model regional performing arts center, exciting, educating and challenging audiences of all ages. In its 16th year as a non-profit organization, The Colonial Theatre presents world class live performances, acclaimed film selections, and hosts numerous community events for the benefit of local non-profit organizations. For more information, please visit

Godzillathon in San Francisco

godzilla in san franciscoGodzilla fans in San Francisco have a rare opportunity to view their favorite radioactive reptile on the big screen, courtesy of this week-long celebration of kaiju eiga (that’s “monster movies” to you Occidentals out there). The event kicks off on Friday, May 7, with “TokyoScope Talk – War of the Giant Monsters,” a discussion among Otaku USA Editor-in-Chief Patrick Macias, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author August Ragone, and Japanese film critic Tomohiro Machiyama. There will also be a raffle give-away of a new GAMERA THE GIANT MONSTER DVD from Shout Factory.
The city-stomping fun continues with four of Godzilla’s “most-loved films,” which will screen from May 8 through 13: Godzilla vs. Hedora (1971), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). (“Loved by whom?” is one of the questions you might ask of the discussion panel, as these titles all date from Godzilla’s early ’70s nadir – although Godzilla vs. Hedorah is certainly wild and weird enough to demand interest.)
All screenings and discussion take place at:
VIZ Cinema
1746 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
Telphone: 415-525-8600.
Get directions and schedule information at:
Tickets are $10.00 for General Admission; $8.00 for Matinees, Seniors (62+), and Children (-12).
Read the complete press release for the event below:

San Francisco, CA, April 26, 2010 – NEW PEOPLE and VIZ Cinema welcome the 3rd and latest installment of TokyoScope Talk – War of the Giant Monsters – on Friday, May 7th at 7:00pm. Join Otaku USA Editor-in-Chief Patrick Macias, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author August Ragone, and Japanese film critic Tomohiro Machiyama at the Bay Area’s hottest film venue for a fun and lively discussion on the “kaiju” (monster) movies featuring rare images and clips of Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera and other iconic creatures from classic Japanese sci-fi cinema. General admission tickets are $10.00.
VIZ Cinema invites Bay Area monster fans to a 5-day Kaiju Shakedown: Godzillathon!, running Saturday, May 8th thru Thursday, May 13th. Featured will be rare screenings of the Big G’s 4 most-loved films including Godzilla vs. Hedora (1971), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). Details and screening times at:
Don’t miss a rare chance to see the beauty and enormity of Godzilla in stunning 35mm prints with English subtitles and a premium THX®-certified sound system! These events may sell-out. Ticket prices: General Admission: $10.00; Senior & Child: $8.00. Advance tickets on sale at:
TokyoScope Talk – War of the Giant Monsters will feature a special raffle giveaway of premium monster collectables including the brand new DVD release from Shout! Factory of Gamera: The Giant Monster (1965). The revered classic features the original Japanese version of the film presented with fresh English subtitles and anamorphic widescreen produced from an all-new HD master created from original vault elements.
VIZ Cinema is the nation’s first movie theatre devoted exclusively to Japanese film and anime. The 143-seat subterranean theatre is located in the basement of the NEW PEOPLE building and features plush seating, digital as well as 35mm projection, and a THX®-certified sound system.
NEW PEOPLE offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan and is the creative vision of the J-Pop Center Project and VIZ Pictures, a distributor and producer of Japanese live action film. Located at 1746 Post Street, the 20,000 square foot structure features a striking 3-floor transparent glass façade that frames a fun and exotic new environment to engage the imagination into the 21st Century. A dedicated web site is also now available at:

FULL DISCLOSURE: This event is part of the “100 Years of Monsters” celebration sponsored by Spherewerx, which owns Cinefantastique.

Godzilla as political metaphor

Josh Marshall of the political blog Talking Points Memo compares the current throw-down between RNC Chairman Michael Steele and former Bush’s Brain Karl Rove to a kaiju slug-fest:

Not since Godzilla did battle with Mothra has there been a fight with quite the potential for spectacle as that between Karl Rove and Michael Steele. We haven’t seen much of it yet. I don’t think I even realized it was happening. But behind the scenes, Michael Steele’s allies say that Rove and his minions are the ones fanning the anti-Steele flames.

Submitted without comment or interpretation, for your entertainment value.

Big Man Japan: DVD Review

BIG MAN JAPAN is built around a funny concept, vaguely akin to HANCOCK: its title character is a superhero who is a bit of a loser. Of course, being a Japanese superhero, he periodically grows to enormous size (courtesy of electricity applied to his nipples) and confronts monsters attacking urban areas around the country, often with hilariously deadpan results. Unfortunately, the concept is not enough to sustain the entire film; in fact, the gambit ultimately backfires, the humor at times turning to tedium.
Filmed in a documentary style, BIG MAN JAPAN alternates between computer-generated monster battles and long interview segments in which Daisato (director Hitoshi Matsumoto) comes across as just some guy doing a job, with nothing particularly interesting to say, barely able to formulate answers to the questions he is being asked. This leads to some interminably long stretches of screen-time while viewers eagerly await the next monster to arrive, each one preceded by a narration that matter-of-factly expostulates upon the new foe’s characteristics (“Such are the features of the Strangling Monster).
There is much to enjoy, espeically for fans of Japanese giant monster movies and superhero television shows of an earlier era. BIG MAN JAPAN makes it clear that Daisato is a remnant of a once-proud tradition that has fallen on hard times; the public isn’t proud of him, and his televised exploits are relegated to late-night hours when no one is viewing (until he gets badly beaten – and the ratings jump).
There is also a weird and pretty much inexplicable switcheroo near the conclusion. A title card tells us that we are going to a live broadcast of Big Man Japan’s latest battle, and suddenly the CGI is gone, replaced by live-action miniatures and suit-mation, with deliberately bad fight choreography (described repeatedly by one of the partipants as “crappy”). It’s a fun nod to ULTRAMAN and similar shows (the obvious antecedents for BIG MAN JAPAN), but the sudden stylistic switch comes so far out of left field that it leaves viewers baffled.
Those seeking understanding of the processes that went into this decision are not likely to find it on Magnet Releasing’s DVD. The widescreen transfer and the Japanese audio track (in Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0) are good, and there are options for English or Spanish subtitles, but the bonus features are, frankly, boring and uninformative, consisting of Deleted Scenes and “Making of Big Man Japan.”
Although the title “Making of Big Man Japan” suggests a documentary, what we get is more like a series of B-roll vignettes, spliced together, with the camera sitting in on development meetings or watching the cast and crew take the finished film to Cannes. You can watch the making-of with an additional audio commentary, but this provides little information. For example, BIG MAN JAPAN’s last-minute switch from CGI to live-action is mentioned but not really discussed (we are told there were some discussions or arguments about the decision, but not the substance of those arguments).
The Deleted Scenes are somewhat misnamed; a more appropriate moniker would be “Extended Scenes.” At over an hour in length, they are enough to try the patience of all but the most dedicated kaiju fan, but combined with the “Making of Big Man Japan,” they are informative on one level: we learn that first-time director Hitoshi Matsumoto seemed unwilling to yell “Cut,” resulting in takes that run for twenty minutes of aimless question-and-answer dialogue. Two or three minutes of this stuff was more than enough in the final cut of the film; viewed at full length, the scenes seem merely interminable.
However, there is one brief but memorable shot of an actress in a bizarre prosthetic, suggesting that her breasts have been electrocuted with jumper cables from a car battery. How this would have fit into the film, we cannot say, except to presume she was trying to become Big Woman Japan.

Big Man Japan – Kaiju Film Review

The Stench vs. The Pudge: A Stink Monster (Takayuki Haranishi, left) Makes Acquaintance with Ambivalent Hero Dai Nipponjin in BIG MAN JAPAN
The Stench vs. The Pudge: A Stink Monster (Takayuki Haranishi, left) makes acquaintance with ambivalent hero Dai Nipponjin (Hitoshi Matsumoto, right) in BIG MAN JAPAN

Welcome back to kaiju world: big, honkin’ monster attacks Japan, big, honkin’ hero comes around to kick butt. Only in this case, the hero, Dai Nipponjin (literally “Great Japanese”), is a pudgy, lumbering klutz with an electrified, fright wig hairdo that makes him look like a cross between Jim Belushi and Eraserhead. He’s reviled by the public (one person hilariously grouses that the national savior has “lost his edge”), and, off duty, lives as the hang-dog Daisato, an unmotivated schlub with cross-generational family problems and an insatiable appetite. Where’s Gojira when you really need him?
That Doesn't Look Like a Hunger for Adventure: Matsumoto as the un-embiggened Daisato
That Doesn't Look Like a Hunger for Adventure: Matsumoto as the un-embiggened Daisato

Director Hitoshi Matsumoto — who also stars in the title role and co-wrote with Mitsuyoshi Takasu — alternates BIG MAN JAPAN between mockumentary footage of Daisato’s travails as reluctant hero (the transformation scene, complete with gigantic Speedo, is one for the books), and surreal battle scenes that tease the line between rubber-suit tradition and visionary, cojones-out CG (my favorite adversary: the Strangling Monster (Haruka Unabara), a sort of ambulatory scallion with a comb-over). The feel is appealingly dead-pan, and the structure is loose, at times more resembling sketch comedy (Matsumoto — a self-proclaimed hyoi-geinin, or “spiritual entertainer” — got his start as part of a comedy duo). When that leads to sequences like those where Dai Nipponjin argues with a petulant “stink monster” (Takayuki Haranishi) or consoles an endearing/repulsive child monster (Ryunosuke Kamiki) — with disastrous results — that’s all to the good. It’s pretty damn funny, actually.
All of Japan is defenseless against the attack of a rampaging... uhhhhhh... a voracious... ummmmm... Hmmmm...
All of Japan is defenseless against the attack of a rampaging... uhhhhhh... a voracious... ummmmm... Hmmmm...

But it can also be a trap. When the film eventually devolves into a full-on satire of cheapjack kaiju television, you may be left wishing that Matsumoto had orchestrated a more emotionally satisfying finale for his protagonist, rather than leaving his audience wondering whether the director’s budget, patience, or both had just run out. Stay, in any case, for the closing credits, which answer in perhaps too-painful detail what happens when superhero teams get together for a nice family meal and post-battle analysis. You’ll never again dread Thanksgiving dinner.
BIG MAN JAPAN (Magnet, 2007; 113 mins. In Japanese with English subtitles.) Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto. Cast: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, UA (sic), Ryunosuke Kamiki.