Friday, May 12, 2006


Shu Qi in Hou Hsiao-hsien's Three Times

It’s been a remarkably substance-free week here at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, one of those periods of time when it feels like I’ve been doing something, but when I turn around and look back, I realize I’ve only been spinning my wheels and shining the light elsewhere. This week has definitely been one for trading in the creative impulse in exchange for the desire to direct readers to other places where they might find some interesting, challenging reading, the kind of satisfaction they’re not going to get here, not this week anyway. I wrung my hands a bit over all of this the last couple of days, but then I realized that seeking out good writing to pass along on any given subject can be illuminating and satisfying too. Maybe not so much as challenging myself and coming up with (hopefully) good stuff from my own heart and mind, but worthwhile nonetheless, not least because most of what I direct you to is almost always going to be better than what you’ll read here on any given day.

And one of the most exciting things about having existed in this blogosphere for going on two years now is those connections made between other like-minded cinephiles and fellow citizens for whom expressing themselves, about film, pop culture, sports, politics and life is an addiction, a lifestyle, a necessity. A click on any of the following links is guaranteed to take you down lots of wonderful philosophical, humorous, thought-provoking, maddening, delightful roads:

Pullquote (the Cinetrix)
Looker (Lawrence Levi)
Joe Baltake, The Passionate Moviegoer
The Ongoing Cinematic Eductaion of Steven Carlson
I Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing (Josh Friedman)
Dave Kehr
Film Freak Central (Walter Chaw and Bill Chambers)
IFC: The Captain’s Blog
The IFC Blog
Greenbriar Picture Shows (John McElwee)
Tim Lucas’ Video Watchblog
The Exploding Kinetoscope (Chris Stangl)
The Nick Schager Film Project
Culturespace (Michael S. Smith)
The Evening Class (Michael Guillen)
When Canses Were Classeled (Eric)
Self-Styled Siren (Campaspe)
If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats (Tom Sutpen)
(mim-uh-zeen) & other loss leaders (Robert Hubbard)
Edward Copeland on Film
Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee (Peter Nellhaus)
Elusive Lucidity (Zach Campbell)
More Than Meets The Mogwai (Aaron W. Graham)
Quiet Bubble (Walter)
Cinephiliac (Aaron Hillis)
Like Anna Karina’s Sweater (Filmbrain)
Flickhead (Ray Young)
Jim Emerson's Scanners
Girish (Girish Shambu)
Notes from Underdog (Craig Phillips)
Cinebeats: Confessions of a Cinephile… (K. Lindbergs)
A Drinking Song (Mr. Middlebrow)
That Little Round-Headed Boy
Hell on Frisco Bay (Brian Darr)
Risky Biz (Anne Thompson)
and The House Next Door (Matt Zoller Seitz)

Who wouldn’t feel lucky to have made such acquaintances and, in some instances, friends? Is it any wonder why I’d feel like sharing with you what these people have to say?

And in that spirit, one last round of links, these connected to some current reviews for the new film by Hou Hsiao-hsien, revered director of Café Lumiere, The Puppetmaster, Flowers of Shanghai and Millennium Mambo, among many others, none of which have gotten much in the way of U.S. distribution. His new film, Three Times, starring Shu Qi (Millennium Mambo, The Transporter, So Close) and Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Happy Together and 2046), looks to be the exception which, hopefully, will pave the way for even more extensive distribution for Hou’s next film, and generate interest in a whole new group of uninitiated cinephiles and cinemagoers for whom Hou is still only a familiar name, a critic’s darling whose films, especially in theaters, are nearly impossible to see.

I have not yet seen Three Times myself, but plenty of good writers have. (It opens here in Los Angeles today, Friday, May 12, exclusively at the Laemmle Music Hall on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills-- a small venue, so plan ahead.) Here are some insightful reviews to check out that will hopefully convince you to go out of your way, avoid the Poseidon/Mission: Impossible 3 crowds, and find a seat in the Music Hall before Three Times disappears:

Scott Tobias (The Onion AV Club)
Scott Foundas (LA Weekly)
Nick Schager (Slant)
Stephanie Zacharek (Salon)
J. Hoberman (The Village Voice)
Manohla Dargis (The New York Times)
Dag Sodtholt (Senses of Cinema)

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Kiss the ones you love, see a wonderful movie, and say Happy Mother’s Day to everyone you know who deserves it!


p.saga said...

Happy Mother's Day, Thom!

Michael said...

Dennis, thanks very much for the shout-out in this post -- and also for alerting me to a number of other good blogs that I didn't know about (some of which have great titles, e.g. "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger...").

Thanks too for letting us know about Hou's Three Times -- been waiting for that one and (as a Southern Californian) will try to catch it at the Music Hall if my schedule allows.

Hope yave a great weekend as well.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

You're most welcome, Michael! Tom Sutpen's If Charlie Parker... is an amazing showcase for some of the most astounding and unusual photographs you'll see. His site is where the origins of the Angie Dickinson blog-a-thon can be traced.
And there are so many other great places to visit just on that list alone, it's hard for me to believe that just a year ago I was still unaware that there was so much good reading available. It really makes me grateful for the blogging phenomenon.

As for Three Times, the stars must have aligned or something... looks like I'll actually get to go! I bought a ticket for Saturday night at 9:55. When I posted last night I had no reasonable expectation that I'd be able to get over there to see it. It'll be the first time I've set foot in an indoor cinema since March 18. I am so looking forward to getting out and soaking in that movie tomorrow night. To paraphrase a very annoying TV commercial, Hou Hsiao-hsien, take me away!

Michael said...

Oh yeah, there's definitely much to keep me busy based on the list you presented in this post (and I think many of them, including Charlie Parker, will be regular stops for me).

Glad to hear you got a ticket for Three Times. I look forward to reading you thoughts on it if you decide to post something about the film in the near future.


Thanks for the shout-out Dennis! Since my blog is new I really appreciate the vote of confidence.

And if you ever want to chat about under appreciated horror film feel free to drop me an email anytime.

Tom Sutpen said...

Holy cats, Dennis. On behalf of Signor Cooke and meself, thanks for the kind words! I almost can't bring myself to say I ain't worthy.

By the way, much as I'd love to I can't take credit for the title of my alcove in the blogosphere. If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, etc. was the title of a Charles Mingus's composition (later modified to Gunslinging Bird).

Believe it or not, I came this close to calling the thing Nasal Retentive Calliope Music.

Ah, well . . .

(thanks again, Dennis!)

Brian said...

Thanks for the link to my site, and to all the others. I just discovered Cinebeats thanks to this post, for example!

Housing Boom Gone Bust said...

Now that's what I call a blogroll!