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theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

Cold!

I'm looking forward to my trip to California more and more right now.

Quiet weekend (to make up for all the activity last weekend). Got some much needed exercise in on Friday (and Monday!), and finally saw Curse of the Golden Flower, which is not the feel-good movie of 2006. Amazing costumes and sets, maybe a little thin plot-wise.

Saturday attended a performance of the Crossroad Theatre Project (which a friend is involved with) called A Leap in the Dark a series of stories and vignettes presented by six performers. They were all amusing, but my favourite was the Lebanese guy who talked about how he moved from Lebanon to Texas to attend university, and the resulting culture clash. Like driving, "In Lebanon you only pay attention to the important road signs, like 'Beware of Sniper'"

It was held at a theatre in the Distillery District, but they really need better signage there. The info said Bldg #74, but that place was locked up, and it was absolutely freezing cold that night. My friends were running late so I circled the building, poked my head into an adjacent building just in case and found I was crashing a wedding, and finally got inside when someone appeared to open the doors. Apparently the main entrance is located in another building entirely.

Sunday I stayed close to home and gave the apartment a decent clean-up. Got all the dishes done, picked up all the books and DVDs, got thru the laundry, and filed away all the 2006 papers. Dave dropped by in the evening with the fourth Lone Wolf and Cub movie, Baby Cart in Peril, with all the brooding, sword slashing, and spraying blood we've come to expect from these films.

Also watched Bullet Train, part of a Sonny Chiba collection I picked up a while back. A bomb is planted on a bullet train so if it slows down to 80 km/h, it'll explode. Train conductor Chiba tries to keep people calm while the police trace the bomber (played by the magnificently brooding Ken Takakura). Stop me if you've heard this before, but it was made in 1975.

Calling this a Chiba film is a real stretch, as he's on-screen for maybe ten minutes of the whole thing. But it's a great flick, smartly handled and well-filmed (although the transfer itself wasn't the greatest). And no cardboard villains either, Ken Takakura is way more complicated than Dennis Hopper's character. He wants out from the train wreck (pun intended) of his life and really wants this to turn out as the perfect (no one gets hurt) crime, which is a total pipe dream. And the political characters (designated bad guys in Hollywood films) have points when they ask unaskable questions (i.e. if we can't disarm the bombs wouldn't it be better to try stopping the train in the farmland outside the terminal city rather than right downtown at the station?). The original cut was 150 minutes (against the 115 minute version I have), and I'd like to try and find a complete version.