Thursday, April 18, 2024

Hong Kong Voice Actor Q&A Added to Vantage Point Interviews!

Saul Lockhart.

If you're a fan of the old Hong Kong dubs, you'll want to check out my interview with HK-based voice actor Saul Lockhart, whose voice can be heard in such films as: Gamera vs. Barugon (1966), Yog Monster from Space (1970), Battle of Okinawa (1971), Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971), and Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972).

Vantage Point Interviews continues to prove that it is the place where content is king!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Notes on the New 'Gunhed Completion' Compendium by Hobby Japan!


The day before I left Japan, my friend Yasushi gave me a copy of the updated edition of the Gunhed Completion book released by Hobby Japan that had literally just been published, just in time for the movie's 35th anniversary. My 2005 interview with the film's female lead Brenda Bakke was translated into Japanese by Yasushi and included in the book. Suffice it to say, this one's a keeper!

Naturally, I received credit as one of the book's staff members. Not too shabby! Of course, you have to be able to read katakana in order to see the credit, but, if that's not something you're able to do, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

It's a great tome with plenty of illustrations, photos, and lots of other things to hold your interest, even if you can't read a lick of Japanese. It comes highly recommended and not just because I contributed to it, though that certainly doesn't hurt.

Friday, April 12, 2024

'Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire' (2024)

A Godzilla x Kong poster on display at the theater. Photo by Brett Homenick.

"Welcome to my world..."

Last night, I finally was able to catch a screening of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024). To say that my expectations were rock bottom would be the understatement of the year. I didn't enjoy Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) at all and found all the praise it received at the time as a "fun" monster romp completely baffling. Still, I guess I'm obligated to see these things, so that's exactly what I did.

In short, Godzilla x Kong was silly, minor, and ... not terrible? I enjoyed it much more than I did Godzilla vs. Kong, and I'd probably consider it my second-favorite of the MonsterVerse (yes, with the capital "v" -- sorry, Wikizilla) series. (For those keeping score, 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters is still of my favorite.)

Maybe it was the low expectations, but the movie made me smile throughout. There were several fun moments, a couple of funny lines, some interesting action set pieces, and a satisfying ending. On a personal level, it was fun seeing Joker (2019) alum Brian Tyree Henry rattling off a bunch of Toho kaiju names. (I know, not the most objective reason in the world, but that was my genuine reaction.)

A random King Kong (1933) poster on display at the theater. Photo by Brett Homenick.

There were also some amusing needle drops. (I'm starting to sound like Patrick H. Willems over here.) When "Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring started playing, I couldn't believe I was watching a Godzilla movie with that song in it -- in a good way. And that battle in the pyramids? Fun stuff!

Was the movie a total success? Definitely not. There wasn't enough Godzilla to my liking. The fight scenes seemed rush. There wasn't enough of a build to the inevitable team-up between the two titular characters. The non-Toho Titans were too generic and forgettable. I'm also not over the moon about the handling of Godzilla.  

But perhaps the film's biggest triumph was getting me interested in King Kong as a character. This is the first Kong flick since 1967 to get me even slightly invested in the pride of Skull Island. So I'll give director Adam Wingard credit where it's due.

A bit of a mixed bag, but Godzilla x Kong was a big improvement over the previous entry that literally almost put me to sleep. I'll go ahead and say it: Godzilla x Kong is a better time at the movies than Godzilla Minus One (2023). I'd still think so even if the director started bringing a plastic Tiamat toy with him everywhere he went.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

See You Later, Japan!

One last look at the old neighborhood. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Well, folks, my 13-year journey in Japan has officially come to an end. I'm writing this blog post back home in the good ol' USA. It's still hard to believe it's over, but I'm looking forward to new adventures and opportunities. Needless to say, I truly enjoyed my time in Japan, especially my 10 years in Tokyo. 

Of course, I still plan to update the blog whenever I have something relevant to share, but suffice it to say that content will be noticeably different going forward. (I mean, it's not like I can do any more firsthand reporting from Japan.) I'm also guessing that I won't be posting nearly as often as I did in the Land of the Rising Sun, but that remains to be seen. 

However, I do believe some cool things will be in store, so stay tuned for that. In any case, it was an incredible run, and, if you followed the blog during those years, I'd like to thank you for your attention. Glad I could share the fun times with an audience.

As for Japan, don't worry, folks. I'll come back ... someday!

Before I Forget...


March was a very busy month for me -- so busy, in fact, that I missed several details and had very little time to stop and smell the flowers. Without saying too much else, here are some cool photos I just had to share before moving on to new things. I think you can tell just how hectic things were that these items got left out! In some cases, calling a celeb someone who needs no introduction rings quite true, and these cases are no exception. Enjoy!

Viewing the Cherry Blossoms Along Meguro River!

In between Kyoko Ifukube (right) and her friend Akiyo.

On my last full day in Japan (Saturday, March 30), I met with Kyoko Ifukube and her friend Akiyo. We met at a Saizeriya restaurant in Nakameguro and then proceeded to view the cherry blossoms (well, what little there were at the time) along Meguro River. The evening lasted about two hours and was a lot of fun. I hope we can meet again in the near future!