Nie yin niang

After I returned home from work, I watched the DVD of “The Assassin,” the movie from Taiwan.  The director was Hsiao-Hsien Hou.  He won an award at Cannes for Best Director for this film.  I did think the film was made very well, although I thought it was rather difficult to care about the characters or the story.  I’ve seen martial arts films before.  I wanted to see one of the actors jump out of the screen with some kind of life.  I liked the quality of the images.  This was a movie that looked better than most of what I’ve seen in the past five years, as my dislike of CGI grows.  Hou is nearly 70 years old.  I’m not sure that he can make a better film than this at this stage of his life.  Well, Akira Kurosawa was about 74 years old at the time of “Ran.”  Yasujiro Ozu died on his 60th birthday.  “The Assassin” struck me as a movie that you don’t really have to see.  You will get pleasure from watching it, but it won’t really last in your memory for too long.  The one very good thing about it is that its running time is only 105 minutes.  This movie didn’t drag on for an unbearable two and a half hours, as many movies do.  Hou knew when to stop it, even if he did shoot a lot of footage.  Today is a birthday for Gloria Estefan (59), Barry Gibb (70), and Lily Tomlin (77).

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