This morning we woke up to some chilly weather as you can see from the photo above. It feels like Autumn has really arrived, but this is Texas, so a heat wave has a good chance of making itself felt again before the month is out. But it does feel nice! (I’m sure I’ll be wishing for the summer heat as soon as the temperatures hit the 50’s)
This evening I went with a couple friends to see The Transformers: The Movie from 1986. I was never into Transformers and don’t know much about them, but the movie was really fun because of the non-stop robot fighting, 80’s metal music, and voice acting by Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Scatman Crothers, etc. I do admit that my eyelids got a little heavy at the beginning, but then I was fine the rest of the way through. I don’t think this film made a Transformers fan of me, but it was definitely fun to hang out and laugh with friends at the theater.
Well, our trip to China is underway as we began our long flight from Los Angeles to Beijing. Luckily the plane is a Boeing 787 so we have plenty of modern amenities including large overhead bins and a modern entertainment system. The movie selection is huge and varied! If you check out the photo down below, you can see how there are some obscure titles.
I enjoyed all the movies except perhaps the Japanese one, which was a bit boring. I think I may have slept for half an hour through the middle of it. However, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” was excellent, funny, and really sad. After that one, I had to turn off the screen and read my book. 😭
Anyways, we’re almost to China, and the excitement is running high!
こんばんは。Tonight Bay and I went to see my all-time favorite movie in the theater. Diva (1981) was showing at the AFS theater so I just had to see it… in fact, this is my first time to see it on the big screen. The first time I watched Diva was probably around 1985 on VHS, and I was immediately captivated by the beautiful visuals, atmospheric soundtrack, and the coolness of Paris. It really made a huge impression on me. The following year, I traveled to Paris with my dad and we visited some of the same places that were in the movie. It was like a dream! ❤️🇫🇷
Watching Diva on the big screen was just as awesome as I thought it would be. Since I have seen the film many times, I didn’t discover any new details, except the subtitles were different from the version I grew up with so a couple of the nuanced jokes had a new angle. But my favorite scenes (sentimental walk, subway chase, and driving to the castle) were amplified by being in extra-large format. It was surreal.
Tonight’s viewing re-affirmed Diva as being my favorite movie of all-time. It was funny, but I overheard the couple behind us after the movie ended, and the woman asked, “Still good?” and her partner said, “Yes, still in the top five.” 👍
Diva is based on the book of the same name, by author Delacorta. He wrote a series of six books featuring the adventures of Gorodish and Alba. I read the first three, which were super-difficult to find in the pre-Internet age, but I enjoyed them quite a bit. I’m going to have to hunt down the entire series now, so I can finish up reading about the two characters. Something to look forward to!
And lastly, for some reason this particular scene is one of my favorites of any movie. It’s just magical! If you haven’t watched Diva yet, please give it a viewing. 😀
Tonight I went with my friend Mikey to see The Night is Short, Walk On Girl at the theater and I was blown away! The movie is so fun and crazy, I found myself smiling ear-to-ear almost the whole time. The artwork was really bold and simple, and it was very inspiring. I have some new ideas on how I’d like my next drawing to look like. It’s funny how inspiration can come from some kinds of animation, but not from others. For instance, when I watch Ghibli movies, inspiration never comes to me, but with The Night is Short, Walk On Girl, so many ideas pop up in my mind.
This evening I watched Lady Snowblood – 修羅雪姫, a 1973 manga-based movie about a woman named Yuki whose purpose in life is to avenge her mother, who was raped and whose husband was murdered. The mother died shortly after giving birth to Yuki in prison, and the baby was taken by one of the mother’s prison-mates to be raised by a monk. This monk taught her how to be an assassin in order to hunt down and kill the four criminals who were responsible for her mother’s sad fate.
Meiko Kaji (梶 芽衣子) stars as the beautiful Lady Snowblood and is amazing in the role. Not only is she cold and mysterious, but her action sequences are convincing in their straightforward manner. There aren’t any marathon fight scenes, nor over-the-top acrobatics, but rather, quick and deliberate fight scenes.
But what makes the film special is that there are copious amounts of blood. I’m definitely not a fan of horror movies or grotesque imagery, but Lady Snowblood isn’t a typical gore movie. The blood gushes and sprays fountains in such exaggerated ways, that it’s not disturbing at all. The blood is also a bright red color, and thick like tempera paint. Because of this lack of realism, I didn’t mind the gory scenes (of which I am usually easily disturbed). In fact, I found it very entertaining, and I was looking forward to more of it! 🤪
Another special aspect of the movie is that the hairstyles of the 1970s are ever-present throughout (especially for the male actors), even though the time period of the movie is the late 1800s. That crazy juxtaposition makes it all the more fun for watching it in the present day. Coupled with the 1970s music, it’s a unique feeling!
An interesting note is that Lady Snowblood was the inspiration for Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies. It’s easy to see why he would be so taken by the film. The movie, and the assassin character, are very compelling!
Tonight I watched another Yasujirō Ozu film, Tokyo Story (東京物語), which is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. I’ll have to write a review later after I’ve thought about it more and perhaps watched it again, but I’ll just say that I thought it was fantastic.
I started watching it on our big tv in the living room, but was kicked off it by my wife and son and had to finish the movie on the small screen (my computer). So the experience was not optimal… I think this movie deserves to be seen on a larger screen to be appreciated!
But now I’m tired and it’s time to read and sleep. I hope you had a nice day!
This evening I watched the 1957 film Tokyo Twilight (東京暮色), directed by the famous Yasujirō Ozu. Even though the pace of the movie is slow, I was completely engrossed within the first 10 minutes. I guess I am fascinated by what life in 1950s Japan was like, so I was both following the story, and looking at all the details.
It was neat to see that the streets in the movie were all dirt, even though it was Tokyo, and seeing the fashionably-dressed (to my eyes) characters exit a nice café or bar and then walk with their heels on a dirt road surrounded by buildings was odd. In other cases, the technology was pretty advanced. The train system seemed good and everyone used telephones (even though they were rotary). In fact, all of the scenes still have modern counterparts. The bar, neighborhood restaurant, and mahjong parlor could all be used in a modern movie or television show with just a few adjustments. The pachinko parlor and bank would need technological updates, but those places still are relevant in today’s society. I thought that was pretty cool to know that 6o years didn’t change these places too much.
The story revolves around a family of an older father, his two grown daughters, and their mother who abandoned them from a very young age but has reappeared in Tokyo. The most compelling character was the youngest daughter played by Ineko Arima (有馬稲子), who is struggling with an unwanted pregnancy, her relationship with her father (to whom she doubts she is related), and the reappearance of her biological mother. With so much to deal with, her behavior, whichever way it turns, would be understandable. I suppose it’s this plot point and character that kept the story engrossing to me.
I loved the acting from most of the characters, with the exception being from celebrated actor Chishū Ryū (笠 智衆). It was puzzling to me that he seemed like he would be the best actor of the cast, but I found his facial expressions were stiff, unchanging, and unemotional. It was actually really awkward. The other actors, however, were fantastic, especially Setsuko Hara (原 節子). She was one of Japan’s most famous actresses and you can see why. Although the younger daughter had more obvious motivations, Setsuko Hara’s portrayal of the older daughter needed to be more subtle and nuanced, and she excelled in the role. It’s no wonder that Hara was one of the premiere actors of the era.
I enjoyed Tokyo Twilight quite a bit and am looking forward to watching Ozu’s other films, including his most famous work, Tokyo Story (東京物語), which also stars Setsuko Hara and Chishū Ryū.