Tag Archives: Ang Lee

Films We’ve Watched: Life of Pi

15 Jan

Editor’s Note:  Though no outright spoilers, there is some discussion on the end of the film.  If you have yet to see it or read the book, be forewarned.

I remember the first time I read Life of Pi. I think I was in the sixth grade, and as you can imagine much of that novel’s magic was lost on me. And then I had to read it again in seventh grade. And then again the following year. And far from gaining more from each successive reading and from each English class I was forced to discuss it in, I began to despise Yann Martel’s novel. Indeed, it’s entirely possible I read it again my freshman year in high school and have simply scrubbed the memory away. It was hard to appreciate why teachers kept insisting on reading it. That is where my distaste originated at least. What made this book special, that year after year such emphasis was put on it? And now, nine years since I first cracked open its azure cover, and after watching Ang Lee’s new adaptation, I think I finally get it.


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Facial Hair Friday, #73: Dashing Directors

11 Jan

Oscar nominations are out! And while I could use this platform to complain about who I really wanted in the race and how outrageous it is that the score for Cloud Atlas was snubbed, I’m going to just look at one aspect of yesterday’s announcements. The thing that most took me off guard: this year’s contenders for Best Director.

Over the past decade or so, (with the exception of the controversial Ang Lee / Traffic year, as well as Roman Polanski / Chicago) the Best Picture winner has been completely synonymous with the Best Director. This has really hindered the excitement and surprise of the final, most coveted award, “Ok, Tom Hooper won, so The King’s Speech is gonna take Best Picture over The Social Network. Yay.” It’s been pretty formulaic and disappointing, because they DON’T ALWAYS have to go hand in hand. And this year it doesn’t look like they will.

This year the films that have been most talked about for Best Picture winner: Argo, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty don’t even have their head honchos in the running! And those aren’t just first-time filmmakers– each has been nominated or won in the past. For these 85th Academy Awards we have two fresh faces: Benh Zeitlin, who at only 30 years old is up for his first feature film, The Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Michael Haneke, a 70 year old, Austrian veteran who is just getting the Oscars’ attention for Amour. There is also David O. Russell, who is brought back for the second time after The Fighter two years ago, and our wonderful veterans, Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. And let’s face it. Steven has done so much for film, he should be nominated yearly. Whether or not he’s made a new movie. But I digress… Though I’m a bit miffed that Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck didn’t get nods, I still think it’s pretty rad that there’s such an amalgamation of Directors contending this year, and that they aren’t positively going to be taking home the Best Film Oscar.

And here I was going to make a collage of all the competitors, assuming they would be have beards, as all good directors do (with the exception of the lady ones, of course*). But instead only TWO of the fellows are scruffy, and so they are the ones who get to feature on this week’s Facial Hair Friday.


Michael Heneke                                                 /                    Steven Spielberg

Ang Lee, David O. Russell, Benh Zeitlin – GET ON IT.

Glad for something different,


*I must say, as happy as I was to have a female director finally take home the Oscar a few years ago, I’m quite relieved that Kathryn Bigelow isn’t even competing this year. Zero Dark Thirty looks almost exactly the same as The Hurt Locker! I mean, to have someone win for two consecutive modern war films– I couldn’t take it.

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