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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)


shootpiano.jpgI have really not been much of a booster of the French New Wave cinema of the 1960s. I tend to become exasperated with their intellectual high-mindedness and roll my eyes at their sentimentality. The one exception I’m finding is the films of Truffaut. Unlike Godard and Roemer, Truffaut actually seems to want to make movies, instead of films (actually, I suspect that the pseudointellectual Godard secretly wanted to write Marxist manifestos, and Roemer — who I actually do grudgingly respect — wanted to write really, really boring novels).

Nowhere is this impulse more apparent than in Shoot the Piano Player, which is damn near Tarantinoesque in its love for cinema. Truffaut gives us wisecracking gangsters, random voiceovers, gunfights, musical numbers, over-the-top melodrama, some beautiful cinematography, and, right in the middle of the film, a long flashback so well-developed that it basically serves as the complete prequel to the movie you’re watching. And no mere exercise in style, it’s all in service of Truffaut’s themes of the tension between art and commercialism, and between family and the individual. And it’s all packed into a lean 82 minutes. I really liked this movie a lot. I may have to add a few more Truffaut films to my Zip List.

Bangkok Dangerous (1999)


bangkokdangerous.jpgI rented this with no idea there was an Nic Cage-starring remake scheduled for release later this year. I actually got it out of my longstanding love for stylish Asian gangster movies and my affection for the big, dirty, too-hot town of Bangkok itself (the phones on the banner of my site are from a shot I took in Siam Square). But it’s a pretty odd choice for a film to remake, even by the original directors. It’s stylish, in an appealingly low-budget way, but it doesn’t fit together particularly well. On the one hand, it’s a by-the-numbers post-John Woo crime flick, about a noble hitman who is double-crossed and out for revenge. On the other, it’s a by-the-numbers character sketch of a lonely deaf guy who falls in love with a sympathetic shop girl. So the result is a movie about a lonely, deaf hitman-with-a-conscience out for revenge and/or love. In the space of great combinations, its not exactly peanut butter and chocolate.

April updates


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First off, I kind of have to admit defeat on the whole guitar thing, one of my New Year’s resolutions. I simply haven’t had the time and energy to set goals and get onto a proper practice schedule, and I probably won’t until mid-summer.

On the plus side, though, I have stayed on track with the weight loss — I’ve lost slightly over a pound a week since the beginning of the year, just by improving my habits a bit. It’s now time to mix it up a little. This month, I’ll be getting back into running regularly, and probably going to the gym just a couple of times a week for weight training. I would ultimately like to be able to run 4 or 5 times a week, which was what I was doing back when I was running regularly, though the only way I think I can pull that off while working is to go in the morning, which has not worked so well for me in the past. But in any case, I like running much more than going to the gym, so let’s just see what happens, shall we?