Monday, December 27th, 2004
And Me I Am Her Dagger
It’s hard to discuss House Of Flying Daggers without making comparisons to the other Zhang Yimou film that came out in North America this year, Hero. It’s a less ambitious film than Hero in scope, symbolism and narrative style, but I found it a little more engaging – probably for those very reasons – and enjoyed the martial arts sequences even more. The battle in the bamboo forest, in particular, is spectacular. It’s not as visually arresting as Hero – with a few exceptions, there isn’t the same elaborate use of colour – but it’s still a treat for the eyes.
The story is fairly simple – soldiers attempting to break open a ring of rebels, the titular House of Flying Daggers, concocts a plan to trick a blind assassin of the house into leading them to their hideout. Kung fu fighting ensues. At around the 2/3-way point that the plot takes a large twist that could have taken the film to another level completely, but I felt that it squandered the opportunity by taking the more formulaic route. Okay, it made perfect sense in the spirit of the film to do what they did, but I would have preferred to go the other way. Either way, with House Of Flying Daggers and Hero, I’m pleased to see that there’s an audience for martial arts movies that actually have some plot and emotional content in addition to the chop-socky fighting.
Largehearted Boy got a site redesign for Christmas!
A quick round-up of my Boxing Day haul from yesterday:
Godspeed You Black Emperor! / Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven!
Manic Street Preachers / Lifeblood
Sigur Ros / Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do EP
Spiritualized / The Complete Works Volume Two
M Ward / Transfiguration Of Vincent
Rachael Yamagata / Happenstance
After about one listen each, here’s my impressions – Godspeed very good, Spiritualized not really necessary, Sigur Ros definitely not necessary but it only cost me $5, Yamagata better than I expected, M Ward very good. There’s still a few more things I’d like to get on sale, and hopefully Soundscapes will scratch that itch today.
It’s been a tough year in Blue Jay land. Besides a dismal season, the departure of franchise cornerstone Carlos Delgado and the health problems of long-time broadcaster Tom Cheek, there were the deaths of former pitcher and broadcaster John Cerutti, former manager Bobby Mattick and just this weekend, former player Doug Ault passed away. Ault is in the record books as the first Blue Jay to hit a home run for the franchise, launching two dingers past the outfield fence in Exhibition Stadium against the Chicago White Sox on a snowy April 7, 1977. Here’s hoping ’05 wears better for the Jays.