After I finished my recent 1985 movie marathon, I wanted to do another one, but for a year of film that would feel very different. I picked 1967 for the simple reason that it marks a 50 year jump, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit movies of that era that I watched when I was younger, as well as discover some I had never seen.
What I found especially interesting with the selection I ended up making — I figured I was going to go for a dozen or so, and ended up capping it at 10 — was that most of what I wanted to watch was French. I’m not sure if it’s a sign that French cinema was so strong at that time, or if it’s just that I would have watched a lot of these because of my French-Canadian background, and so they were part of my upbringing. Yet, of the 30 movies I watched for 1985, none of them were French, so I do think that French cinema was on a more equal (if not higher) footing with Hollywood at the time, and that it tended to reach a more global audience than we see with French films these days (which I admittedly do not follow at all).
All in all, it was another fun exercise, offering me a satisfying snapshot at the state of film — and culture in general — at that time. Here’s the full list of films I watched — which you’ll also find under the “1967” tag.
- Belle de Jour
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Casino Royale
- Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard
- In Like Flint
- Le Samourai
- Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
- Point Blank
- The Graduate
I mentioned last year really wanting to see the movie Hirune Hime (seems that the official English title is now Ancien and the Magic Tablet), and here’s a review of the film over at Time Out Tokyo. Considering that it’s directed by Kenji Kamiyama, who was behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East, two series I quite like, I’m definitely in for this.
I finally watched Your Name (Kimi no Na wa), the biggest film in Japan last year, and I loved it. When the movie came out and was breaking box office records, I started looking into its director, Makoto Shinkai, and really enjoyed everything I watched. Just like the rest of his work, this movie is a visual treat, with the amazing colorscapes you tend to see in all of his movies, and environments that feel so familiar if you’ve spent time in Japan. It’s a great story too, and more complex than I was expecting — and I’m glad I never got spoiled on most of it before watching it.
I’ll start by saying what I didn’t like about this movie, and that’s the distracting breast animations on the two main female characters. But other than that, I had a blast watching this. The animation is beyond slick, and it makes all of the action incredibly stylish to watch. Definitely some of the best CG animation I’ve seen. I also like that the entire movie feels so self-contained, that it all takes place on one of the Gantz “missions.” But I think my favorite thing about the movie are all of the alien designs — inspired by traditional Japanese yokai, they’re really a joy to watch on the screen. I’m not that familiar with the entire Gantz storyline — I’ve seen the live-action movies, which were fine — and this is making me want to get back to reading the manga (I’ve only read the first couple of volumes).
Looking at the lineup for the Spring 2017 season of anime, I gotta say there’s nothing much that seems to be for me — even less than the winding down Winter 2017 season (the only series that really grabbed me this season was Onihei).
Of all the regular series debuting, the only ones I’m interested in watching are GranBlue Fantasy The Animation, which I though was starting during the Winter season, but they just released the first 2 episodes, with the series proper starting next month, and Atom: The Beginning, a prequel series to Astroboy. I am very happy to see that on the OVA front we’re getting a sequel to the Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt — the first series was really fantastic, with super slick animation, and a jazz-heavy soundtrack. On the movie front, there’s of course Masaaki Yuasa’s Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome and Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta, as well as the Blame movie, and maybe also Biohazard: Vendetta.
“Miyazaki – An Art Show Tribute” was an exhibition held at San Francisco’s Spoke Art gallery this past month, and luckily we can browse through all of the pieces (and even buy them) on the gallery’s site. Pictured, Justin Hillgrove’s “Miyazaki Totems.” Found via Booooooom.
It’s not the first time he “retires,” and who knows if we’ll see the same thing happen again, but it was officially confirmed by Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki that Hayao Miyazaki is working on a new feature film for the studio. To be honest, I’m much more interested in hearing about other future plans for Ghibli, as I would certainly love to see other creators continue to make films for the studio.
So I started the year by watching 30 movies from 1985, over a period of a month and a half. Why? Good question. It sorta happened by accident.
During one of the first days of January, I watched The Goonies with my wife (she had never seen it), and not only did we have a really fun time watching it, but it got us talking about how movies of that era felt so different — with Goonies specifically, it’s the innocence of the kids (which you see depicted in Stranger Things) and the silly adventure. After noticing that it came out in 1985, I was curious and so checked out Box Office Mojo’s list of movies from that year, which got me thinking that it would be fun to revisit a bunch of them, most of them films I hadn’t watched since back then.
There was no method to my madness, I just picked stuff I was in the mood to watch — not necessarily the top grossing movies of the year, but most of them were. I also didn’t really know how many I’d end up watching, but the more I watched, the more I enjoyed this cultural time warp back to 1985, and so I just kept going until I got to 30, which I felt was a good number to stop at. I could have still watched more — I was planning on also watching American Ninja, Missing in Action 2, Out of Africa, and even Cat’s Eye, as well as a few more — but thought it would be good to move on to other things. I did keep track of all the movies I watched in my Debaser diary, and so you’ll find the full alphabetical list below (or just click on my “1985” tag).
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- Back to the Future
- Brewster’s Millions
- Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
- Fright Night
- Invasion U.S.A.
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
- National Lampoon’s European Vacation
- Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment
- Pray for Death
- Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Red Sonja
- Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
- Rocky IV
- Spies Like Us
- St. Elmo’s Fire
- Teen Wolf
- The Black Cauldron
- The Breakfast Club
- The Goonies
- The Jewel of the Nile
- Weird Science
- Young Sherlock Holmes
“Chicano” is a short documentary by Louis Ellison and Jacob Hodgkinson that looks at the similarities and differences between Chicano (Mexican American) culture in America and in Japan. It was shot in Tokyo and Osaka.
This is a beautiful series of illustrations by Bill Mudron inspired by traditional wood-cut prints, depicting characters and scenery from Ghibli films.