Categories
Film

Like it’s 1991

It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a new year-based movie marathon post — since September of last year in fact, for 1981 (joining 1967, 1968, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990) — and it’s one that I ended up aborting earlier than expected, in the sense that there were quite a few more films from 1991 that I had originally planned on watching (at least double what is listed here), but I just somehow lost the drive (maybe partly due to the move to Shanghai happening), and I was starting to really get the itch to head back to the 80s, which I did for my current 1982 viewing marathon (which I’m chronicling in this Twitter thread). But despite bailing out early, I still wanted to share the dozen of films I watched from 1991, with links to my mini reviews on Letterboxd.

  1. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
  2. Cape Fear
  3. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
  4. Lupin the Third: Napoleon’s Dictionary
  5. Omen IV: The Awakening
  6. Once Upon a Time in China
  7. Point Break
  8. Roujin Z
  9. Silent Mobius
  10. The Last Boy Scout
  11. The People Under the Stairs
  12. The Silence of the Lambs

Categories
Film

The Films of Zhang Yimou

In April of last year I wanted to watch Zhang Yimou’s Shadow, one of his newer films that I hadn’t seen et, and at the time I decided that I would start by doing a massive re-watch of his work. During my university years, when I made a switch to studying History, and then veered into Asian Studies, his films had a very strong influence on me. It had been ages since I had revisited his films, and there were a few (more recent ones) that I had missed as well. It took me longer than expected, as I took a long break at some point, but today I finally capped this movie marathon of 17 films with Shadow. The ones I didn’t get to watch I just wasn’t able to find ways to watch them — there are a couple of older (lesser known) ones, as well as a few films from the last decade, including three films he has released since Shadow, which came out in 2018. I hope to be able to watch these as well at some point. But for now, you can read my mini reviews that I posted on Letterboxed via the links below — I also shared them all in this Twitter thread.

  1. Red Sorghum (1988)
  2. Ju Dou (1990)
  3. Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
  4. The Story of Qiu Ju (1992)
  5. To Live (1994)
  6. Shanghai Triad (1995)
  7. Keep Cool (1997)
  8. The Road Home (1999)
  9. Happy Times (2000)
  10. Hero (2002)
  11. House of Flying Daggers (2004)
  12. Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005)
  13. Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)
  14. The Flowers of War (2011)
  15. Coming Home (2014)
  16. The Great Wall (2016)
  17. Shadow (2018)

Categories
Film

Thrillin’ and Chillin’ in October 2021

As I’ve been doing for the past three years (2018, 2019, 2020), I devoted October to a lot of horror watching. The main change this year is that I’ve decided to focus only on films, whereas in past years I’d also include TV series (that said, I still watched some horror-related shows, like Midnight Mass and Brand New Cherry Flavor). The final number is lower than previous years, and I blame video games for that, especially the 30+ hours I spent playing Far Cry 6. So below you’ll find the full list of the 23 films I watched, with links to the mini reviews I wrote up on the Letterboxd website. It was good fun, and I’m sure I’ll be doing it again next year.

  1. A Quiet Place Part II
  2. Candyman (2021)
  3. Carrie
  4. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
  5. Halloween Kills
  6. Malignant
  7. Nightbooks
  8. Old
  9. Omen IV: The Awakening
  10. Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin
  11. Phantasm
  12. Prisoners of the Ghostland
  13. Saint Maud
  14. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
  15. The Forever Purge
  16. The Neon Demon
  17. The Night House
  18. The Nowhere Inn
  19. The People Under the Stairs
  20. The Silence of the Lambs
  21. Titane
  22. Vampires vs. the Bronx
  23. We Summon the Darkness
Categories
Film

Like it’s 1981

It certainly took a while (most of this year), but my latest year-based movie marathon (previously 1967, 1968, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990) is now done. 1981 was certainly an interesting year, and there was a lot more I wanted to watch than in 1980 — in the end I capped it at the 24 films you see listed below, but there were still a few more on my list, but I just felt like it was time to move on. The other thing that happened this year was that I stopped doing my mini write-ups on this blog, and instead started doing them on the Letterboxd site — so all of the films listed below link to those reviews, which have the bonus that I give them a star-rating as well. So if you’re curious to see what I thought of all these films, I invite you to click through the titles, and you can also follow me on Letterboxd for all of the movie reviews I share there (since I started using the site, I now review every film I watch, not just the ones that are part of my movie marathons). And in terms of marathons, what’s next? Well, that would be 1991, which I will kick off soon.

  1. American Pop
  2. Death Hunt
  3. Excalibur
  4. Escape from New York
  5. For Your Eyes Only
  6. Friday the 13th Part 2
  7. Halloween II
  8. Heavy Metal
  9. History of the World Part 1
  10. My Bloody Valentine
  11. Night Hawks
  12. Omen III: The Final Conflict
  13. Outland
  14. Porky’s
  15. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  16. Scanners
  17. Stripes
  18. The Cannonball Run
  19. The Decline of Western Civilization
  20. The Evil Dead
  21. The Funhouse
  22. The Howling
  23. The Road Warrior
  24. Time Bandits
Categories
Books Film Meta

Letterboxd & Goodreads

I’ve decided to change the way I track all of the movies I watch — which I share here mostly in the form of my various movie marathons — and my book reading as well.

For books, I actually did start using Goodreads to track my book reading in 2019 when I decided to increase the number of books I read each year, but it was only at the end of the year that I bothered writing mini-reviews in posts here (2019, 2020). I’ve now copied over all of those mini-reviews to my Goodreads log, and written a few for what I’ve read so far this year (I’ve read 6 of my planned 20). So if you’re curious to follow what I’m reading and my thoughts on those books, I invite you to follow me on Goodreads.

As for the movie stuff, as mentioned, I’ve been writing mini-reviews for the movies that I watch as part of my movie marathons over in the “Debaser” section of this site, which I then sum up in round-up posts for each. In terms of all of the other movies I watch, I usually just write quick thoughts that I share on Twitter — like this thread when I recently started re-watching Wong Kar-wai movies, as well as the films of Zhang Yimou, and Tintin films. I started thinking there might be a better way to share and then track all of this, and remembered Letterboxd (I’ve had an account for years, but never used it). So I’ve gone and added most of my movie watching so far this year there, creating entries for all of the 1981 movies I’ve watched so far, and the other things I’m watching. My intention is to still create round-up posts here when I finish a marathon, like I’ve done in the past. So if you’d like to follow all of my movie viewing — which now include adding a star rating — I invite you to follow me on Letterboxd.

Categories
Debaser Film

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

I definitely remember the VHS box art for this movie, from when I was a kid, but I don’t think I ever got around to watching it — I wasn’t as much of a horror fan back then as I am now. Also, I didn’t know that this is a Canadian film — and after wondering where it was shot because the area and accents felt so familiar, I found out that it was shot in Nova Scotia, not far from where I grew up (in nearby New Brunswick). As for the movie, I thought it was a pretty decent 80s slasher flick — the deaths are pretty gruesome, and the setting (in and around working mines) is actually novel I felt, as is the age of the victims (young adults instead of teens). The setup at the end is also great, and I’m a bit surprised that the reception was apparently pretty negative at the time, and so we never got a sequel (just a remake a couple of decades later). All in all, not a fantastic film or anything, but it was enjoyable to watch.

Categories
Debaser Film

Porky’s

Even before I started watching this I was fully expecting it to be problematic, and oh boy, it sure was. I mean, yes, it’s a product of its time, and rampant sexism and misogyny is pretty much par for the course when it comes to that era’s comedies — especially anything that revolves around teens or college students. At first I was even taken aback by some raw examples of anti-Semitism, although that turns out to be a plot point that becomes surprisingly progressive. Did I laugh? A bit, and of course I was looking forward to that “classic” shower scene. Oh, and what a weird freeze-frame ending.

Categories
Debaser Film

Halloween II (1981)

This was a lot better than I was expecting — it had been so long since I’d last seen it that I really didn’t remember much, other than the fact that it infamously reveals the family connection between Myers and Strode (that has now been eliminated with the new films, that act as direct sequels to the original film only). What I especially like is that it’s a direct continuation of the first film, and basically continues straight from the last scene of that movie, with the action taking place on the same night. The one thing I don’t quite like is that at this point, as far as I can tell, there’s nothing supernatural about Myers, but he gets drilled with so many bullets that it’s really hard to accept that he keeps going. But hey, it’s still a thrilling ride, I love that small town Halloween night setting, and the Carpenter theme song is still one of the best and most effective movie theme songs of all time. Oh, and Carpenter doesn’t direct it, but it’s still written and produced by him.

Categories
Debaser Film

The Final Conflict

I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the Omen movies, and have revisited them a few times over the years. I remember liking the third film as well, even though it takes a bit turn by aging our young Damien, presenting him as an adult — and we also finally veer towards the climax that sees the second coming of Christ, and what our good ol’ son of Satan can do to stop him. It’s still a decent film, with some great sequences throughout, but I find the ending to be a bit too anticlimactic. Seems like Damien is defeated just too quickly and easily, and that scene with the awakening of Christ comes off as a bit cheesy. But I still enjoyed it, and still think that Sam Neill is great as adult Damien.

Categories
Debaser Film

Outland

I didn’t have particularly fond memories of this movie — I’m sure that kid me was probably expecting Bond in space, and that’s definitely not what this is. It’s basically a slow-paced crime drama in space (or more specifically, in a mining colony on the moon of Io), and one that I ended up quite enjoying. Connery plays the role of the marshal well, and I liked the slow build towards the confrontation that we get near the end. I can’t remember if this was generally well reviewed when it originally came out, but I’d say it’s probably underrated, and a decent crime film with the novelty of a sci-fi backdrop.