27 films in 2017

This has become to all intents and purposes a film blog, and even then I can't seem to watch more than a handful of new films in the cinema every year. Most of those are comic book movies, which I continue to like despite the fashion to dismiss them. Marvel Studios in particular are having an enormously impressive run, whilst continuing to innovate within the genre –  Spider-Man and Thor are basically comedies in disguise, the latter quite a subversive one.

I can however be bothered to see old films at the cinema, and several of the below were viewed at the Prince Charles or the BFI Southbank. While I still watch most films at home on DVD, the experience of the cinema is something I have come to appreciate a lot more this year. A small screen and poor sound diminishes the impact of great films – even if it allows you to pause, rewind, and study in greater detail a film as a text.

Two overarching themes appear from the hodgepodge below. The first is a continued interest in Japanese cinema, particularly the slightly underrated workhorse Masumura, which is partly down to me trying to learn more about my partner's language and culture. Interestingly, she's not that interested in watching these old films. But then again, I wouldn't necessarily be that keen on digging out British classics from the 50s and 60s either – which (unfairly I'm sure) appear drab, dull and depressing. A foreign film from the same era, on the other hand, has a certain mystique that renders the same drab, depressing films (Red Angel, The Shape of Night) intriguing.

The second, slightly accidental, one is films with an LGBTQ theme (Funeral Parade of Roses, HandmaidenDuke of Burgundy, BoundLabyrinth of Passion, arguably All About Eve, perhaps Wonder Woman at the margins). Some of that may be greater awareness generally about the influence of LGBTQ culture (Funeral Parade of Roses and Labyrinth of Passion are pretty much straight-up surveys of queer 'underground' subcultures in two different countries). But I'm also struck by how easily the LGBTQ experience lends itself to themes of disguise, role-play, and self-realisation (Handmaiden and Bound are great examples) – all great material for actors and filmmakers.

Below is the list of things I've seen and wrote about, ranked roughly in order of preference and with links to the individual blogs on them.


Park Chan-Wook - The Handmaiden [link]
Anna Biller - The Love Witch [link]
Jon Watts - Spider-Man: Homecoming [link]
Taika Waititi - Thor: Ragnarok [link]
Denis Villeneuve - Blade Runner 2049 [link]
Rupert Sanders - Ghost in the Shell [link]
Patty Jenkins - Wonder Woman [link]


Yasujiro Ozu - Tokyo Story [link]
Alfred Hitchcock - Vertigo [link]
Toshio Matsumoto - Funeral Parade of Roses [link]
Kenneth Lonergan - You Can Count On Me [link]
Yasuo Masumura - The Blue Sky Maiden [link]
Joseph L. Mankiewicz - All About Eve [link]
The Wachowskis - Bound [link]
J.C. Chandor - Margin Call [link]
Noboru Nakamura - The Shape of Night [link]
Yasuo Masumura - Red Angel [link]
Jean Rollin - The Night of the Hunted [link]
Peter Strickland - The Duke of Burgundy [link]
Carol Reed - The Third Man [link]
Pedro Almodóvar - Labyrinth of Passion [link]
Alain Robbe-Grillet - Trans-Europ-Express [link]
Atom Egoyan - Exotica [link]
Yeon Sang-ho - Train to Busan [link]
Dan Gilroy - Nightcrawler [link]
Cameron Crowe - Say Anything… [link]
Shinichirō Watanabe - Cowboy Bebop: The Movie [link]

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