Made in Japan
Directed by John Bishop, Made in Japan is probably one of the most unlikely stories of either Japan or country music I’ve ever seen. The documentary charts both Tomi’s history in the music industry and her contemporary quest: to play on the Grand Ole Opry one last time. The documentary manages to be charming, humorous, and occasionally touching all at once; Tomi Fujiyama is a fascinating person, with the drive of youth and the warmth of a grandmother at the same time. She is a great musician, with a well-honed skill at the guitar and a beautiful voice, whether singing in English or Japanese. The film features numerous performances by Fujiyama, both original recordings from her youth and more contemporary fare; even though she’s 75 years old she still performs frequently. Between the fascinating and unique story and the magnetism of Tomi herself, Made in Japan is a must-see for anyone interested in country music, Japan, or a totally unexpected story.
Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD
Created by Paul Goodwin, Future Shock! charts the history of 2000 AD from its inception on the heels of the post-Star Wars science craze to its stagnation in the 1990s following the departure of many of their best writers to their recent revival. It features interviews with a huge number of the writers and artists who have worked for the title over the decades, but the film as a whole is anchored by the original creator of 2000 AD, Pat Mills. Many of these creators, particularly Mills himself, have very strong personalities, refuse to censure themselves, and don’t like each other very much. Goodwin does a very good job of showing a balanced view of 2000 AD, of both its good parts such as the camaraderie between the founding members, and the less-proud aspects of its history, such as many of the stories that were run in the 1990s. Overall, Future Shock! is a fascinating and entertaining story about a realm of geek culture I knew next to nothing about.