Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines review

"The Place Beyond the Pines" opens with a long tracking shot, following Luke (Ryan Gosling) across a county fair to the motorcycle stunt show that he stars in, "Luke & The Heartthrobs." From the beginning, Luke lives on the absolute edge, not thinking about tomorrow. For the next two hours and twenty minutes, director Derek Cianfrance takes on a long journey that spans across 15 years where we get to see the consequences of people's actions. Kneejerk decisions that will forever haunt these characters for the rest of their lives.

"Pines" starts its yarn-spinning story with Luke. When he finds out that a fling he had with a former lover (Eva Mendes) has resulted in a baby boy, suddenly Luke begins to think about the future. Not having his own father in his life has haunted him, and now he wants to make sure his son doesn't go through the same thing. But Luke does not have many skills beyond his motorcycle riding. He meets up with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) who gives him a job, not paying him much. Robin used to be a bank robber but has long since quit that racket. Still, when Robin casually brings up his criminal past, Luke immediately wants in. So they start robbing banks together. Luke wants to give his son everything that he can possibly give him, but does not begin to realize the consequence of his actions until it's much too late.

Luke's crimes put him on a collision course with rookie cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). Avery also has to deal with the consequences of his actions. He sees the corruption that goes on in the police force and wants to change things, much to the chagrin of his fellow officers. Avery's bravery in action has lead the town of Schenectady, New York to think of him as a hero. We watch Avery as he rises from rookie cop to Attorney General. But his ambitions is met with obstacles that forever change his fate.

I'm dancing around a lot of key plot details so that's as far as I'll go. But The Place Beyond the Pines does a superb job of telling this story that links multiple characters in this small American town. Once again, Cianfrance gives us incredible insight into these families. He did that with "Blue Valentine" and here it's done to a much more epic scale. Indeed, "Pines" raises the stakes on pretty much every level, compared to "Blue Valentine." I did not give a full review of Blue Valentine, but I admired it greatly. I wasn't completely floored with it, but I knew Cianfrance had the potential to make something even greater. He does so here, absolutely.

Everything from the beautiful cinematography to the unbelievably intense acting from everyone involved, The Place Beyond the Pines makes its mark as one of the best films of 2013 so far. Bradley Cooper showed his potential in "Silver Linings Playbook" but he's way better here. It's also nice to see Ben Mendelsohn in another great role. Every decade always seems to have a ubiquitous character actor who shines in every movie they're in, Mendelsohn is becoming one of those actors.

Is "Pines" perfect? Not exactly. Because of its three-story structure, some aspects of the story feels more rushed than others. But Cianfrance tries something that other directors would never dare to try, with this particular story, this was an incredibly difficult story to pull off. Cianfrance went above and beyond, for sure.

Grade: A-

note: Sorry for the lousy review. This movie deserves much better. But seriously, this is a must-see. That's all that needs to be said.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Admission" review: A "romantic comedy" from hell

There's no excuse for "Admission" to be this terrible. I love Tina Fey and I love Paul Rudd, but their characters are so poorly written here and this movie is so badly made, I can't understand what compelled them to do this. Their characters make decisions that are insensitive, rude, hateful, unforgivable. This movie has the "feel" of a romantic comedy yet is neither romantic or remotely funny. Paul Rudd and Tina Fey's characters eventually have sex and get in a relationship with each other literally because they are the main female and male leads in the movie. There's no other reason. No chemistry is established between them. I came into "Admission" expecting a pleasant enough movie with likable actors, what I got was something way, way different. And way worse.

If you don't want some of the movie spoiled for you, don't read any further. That is, if you care to see this piece of shit. Otherwise, read on. But I warn you, there are some spoilers in this review.

Tina Fey plays Portia Nathan. She's an admissions officer at Princeton University. This is how her character is established: she's great at her job, one of the best. She might be in the running to become Dean of Admissions. She's done the job for 16 years now. So, clearly, she belongs there. Her private life isn't as great though, as her longtime boyfriend (Michael Sheen) is leaving her and she's really got nothing else going for her in that department. Her mother doesn't even care for her that much, for some reason.

Then there's Paul Rudd's character, John Pressman. John is an "amazing" guy. He heads an alternative school where kids learn how to save the environment... or something. He's adopted a child from Uganda who he raises well. He travels all over the world. He, like Portia Nathan, went to Dartmouth. John has a student at his high school who he thinks is very gifted. He also thinks the kid, Jeremiah, might be Portia's biological son. Wait what?

Yes, "Admission" introduces this heavy plot detail so early that it completely sends everything else off balance. John wants very badly for Jeremiah to get into Princeton. Why though? Because he really thinks Jeremiah is gifted or because he wants him to be reunited with Portia? You might think it's the former or you might think John is a manipulative prick. After all, at one point in the movie, Jeremiah is about to go through with an alumni interview. What does John do? He calls the alumnus a prick, completely disrespects him. So, really, how interested is John in getting Jeremiah into Princeton? Not very, apparently. Portia seems to want Jeremiah to get into Princeton too, naturally. She becomes interested in Jeremiah, thinking he's her son. And she wants to do her best to make sure he can get into Princeton, a school that is very tough to get into. Extremely tough. But after being appalled that John would bring up this very difficult moment in her life (giving up a baby for adoption), she quickly does an about-face, goes back to New Hampshire (the location of John's high school), and takes an interest in her supposed biological son. It's not that I don't believe she would never want to be reunited with her son, but that quickly? After just finding out about it? Come on.

John is a manipulative asshole though. Why does he care that this kid goes to Princeton? Jeremiah wasn't all that interested in the idea until after he visited the college. The entire thing is John's doing. He cold calls Portia, forces her to visit the alternative high school, drops this bomb on her... how the hell did he think she'd react? Naturally, she would be freaked out by the whole ordeal because who in their right mind would approach a touchy subject to someone in such an offhand manner?

The movie's tone is that of a romantic comedy and, for that reason, every plot detail that comes off feels completely contrived. Because we're dealing with the subject matter of Portia and her biological son, the actual "romance" between John and Portia feels so ridiculously fake, I don't even know where to begin. Aside from the biological son plot, there's zero reason why the two would be interested in each other. If there was any interest, we get zero reasons. Why do they like each other? Do they ever establish that? And there are so many other annoying tidbits to go with this, like John's adopted son. He, for some reason, thinks Portia is really cool. Why? Because she lives a boring life. He's met her like two or three times and he wants her to be his mom. He even says "why can't you be my mother?" which has to be among the most cringeworthy dialogue I've ever heard. He does add a "just kidding" afterwards, but the damage is done.

If that's not bad enough, the movie takes a complete turn for the worst in the third act. I did a write-up, basically spoiling what happens, but I don't want to be too unprofessional about this. Let's just say the movie goes from merely being bad, to being completely fucking terrible. The characters make decisions that are completely out of line with what's been established. It makes zero sense. What I will tell you is that John and Portia wind up together in the end and it feels completely illegitimate. Everything about this movie is complete bullshit. You can't even call it just a "run of the mill romantic comedy." What's romantic about this movie? And, really, where's the comedy aside from the contrived slapstick circumstances? Anytime I laughed during this movie, it was for the most throwaway, forgettable moments. If anything, I laughed just to try to psyche myself out of hating this movie so much. It didn't work. This movie just doesn't work on any level. Any level. No chemistry between Rudd and Fey, a terrible plot, everything about this movie is a failure. Only Lily Tomlin was somewhat amusing.

They either needed a more competent director for this material or they should've never bothered. Putting this subject matter into an "average rom-com' tone was such a bad move. It would've played out much better as a drama instead of having completely unnecessary scenes like watching Paul Rudd and Tina Fey help a cow give birth. Ugh. Fuck this movie.

There's bad movies out there, movies that are bad but it does what it's supposed to do. Like Transformers. You go into Transformers and you get exactly what the movie sets out to do. It's not a movie for me and that's ok. It's a movie for some. Nothing wrong with that. But "Admission" fails on every level as a romantic comedy, as a drama, as anything it was trying to be. It's insultingly bad. Stay away from this movie. Far, far away.

Grade: F

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Director Watchlist Update

Kenoncinema is all about the directors, really. Sorry other cast and crew, I love you too, but I love great directors. What can I say? Not just great directors, up-and-coming directors with something to prove. Those are fun too. Anyway, here's a necessary update of all my favorite directors and their upcoming projects. This update is a bit more thorough than previous ones.

Paul Thomas Anderson, next film: Inherent Vice
Release date: most likely 2014
Note: Starts filming later this spring

Wes Anderson, next film: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Release date: 2014
Note: Filming almost finished

Sofia Coppola, next film: "The Bling Ring"

Release date: June 14th

Jason Reitman, next film: "Labor Day" 2013
Release date: Fall 2013
Note: in post-production, a Fall festival debut is most likely

Alexander Payne, next film: "Nebraska" 2013
Release date: Fall 2013?
Note: might debut in the fall festival circuit too, though we can't rule out Cannes completely. Payne's no stranger to Cannes, "About Schmidt" premiered there back in 2002.

Darren Aronofsky, next film: "Noah"
Release date: March 28th, 2014
Note: Been in post-production since last November

David O. Russell, next film: "American Bullshit (titled to be changed obviously)"
Release date: Christmas Day 2013
Note: Filming starts this month

Nicolas Winding Refn, next film: "Only God Forgives"
Release Date: May 23rd, 2013
Note: that release date isn't 100% solid, but it's possible. A Cannes debut is also possible for this one.

Lars von Trier, next film: "Nymphomaniac"
Release date: 2014
Note: Rumor has it that since Nymphomaniac is a 2-part film, it won't be ready until next year.

 The Coen Brothers, next film: "Inside Llewelyn Davis"
Release date: Late summer/fall 2013
Note: this movie is 100% finished, has already been screened to some people with great buzz. Cannes debut seems obvious for this one.

Alejando Gonzalez Inarritu, next film: "Birdman"
Release date: 2014
Note: Inarritu's first comedy, still in pre-production

Alfonso Cuaron, next film: "Gravity"
Release date: October 4, 2013

Pedro Almodovar, next film: "I'm So Excited"
Release date: June 2013

Steven Soderbergh, next film: "Behind the Candelabra"
Release date: May 2013 on HBO

Martin Scorsese, next film: "The Wolf of Wall Street
Release date: November 15, 2013

Steven Spielberg, next film: "Robopacolypse"
Release date: late 2014?
Note: Spielberg is reworking the script

Edgar Wright, next film: "The World's End"
Release date: August 2013

Woody Allen, next film: "Blue Jasmine"
Release date: July 26th, 2013

Terrence Malick, next film: "To the Wonder"
Release date: April 12, 2013

Noah Baumbach, next film: "Frances Ha"
Release date: May 17, 2013

Andrew Dominik, next film: "Blonde"
Release date: late 2014
Note: still in pre-production

Ridley Scott, next film: "The Counselor"
Release date: November 15th, 2013

Steve Mcqueen, next film: "12 Years a Slave"
Release date: Fall 2013
Note: Cannes might be possible as this has been in post-production since last August

Guillermo del Toro, next film: "Pacific Rim"
Release date: July 11, 2013

Danny Boyle, next film: "Trance"
Release date: April 5, 2013

Neill Blomkamp, next film: "Elysium"
Release date: August 9th, 2013

Peter Jackson, next film: "The Hobbit part II"
Release date: December 2013

James Cameron, next film: "Avatar 2"
Release date: 2015
Note: Could be pushed back to 2016

Derek Cianfrance, next film: "The Place Beyond the Pines"
Release date: March 29th, 2013

George Clooney, next film: "Monuments Men"
Release date: December 18th, 2013
Note: Starts filming early in the summer

James Gray, next film: "Lowlife"
Release date: Fall 2013
Note: Cannes debut looks like a definite at this point

Spike Jonze, next film: "Her"
Release date: Fall 2013

Richard Linklater, next film: "Before Midnight"
Release date: May 24th, 2013

Robert Rodriguez, next film: "Machete Kills"
Release date: September 13th, 2013

David Fincher, next film: "Gone Girl"
Release date: possibly late 2014
Note: casting discussions have recently started

Christopher Nolan, next film: "Interstellar"
Release date: Summer 2014? (fingers crossed)
Note: think he's still finishing the script on this one, but filming may start later this year

Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Rian Johnson, Duncan Jones, etc... are off the list because they have no announced projects at the moment.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Breakers review: better than you might think, but James Franco is really what makes it worth seeing

"Spring Breakers" opens with shots of crazy young adults getting naked, spraying alcohol everywhere, performing all kinds of hedonistic activities. From the outset, writer/director Harmony Korine blasts us in the face with this overtly sexual imagery and it continues with the constantly scantily dressed main characters. Yes, there's a lot of t & a in this film, it's kind of the point.

When we meet the four female characters (played by Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Benson), they're at college. Aside from Faith (Gomez), the other three's idea of fun is to have fun... by any means necessary. It's all about partying, doing wild stuff. Drinking, having sex, doing drugs, all of it. And what better way to enjoy all of these things but to do so during Spring Break in Miami Beach?

The girls spend the first half of the film doing everything they can to get to Miami. They find themselves short on cash at first so they decide to rob a local fast food joint with hammers and toy guns. They get away with their crime, collecting tons of money, and finally head off to their destination. When they get there, they do exactly what they came there to do: more of what they always do. But this time it's "fun" because they're away from college. They're on Spring Break! Time to get wild, do more drugs, drink, etc. The partying is endless.

But then they wind up partying a little too much and end up in jail, this is when we get to meet Alien. Alien is the white Florida-born rapper/hustler played by James Franco in his best ever role. James Franco dominates his role. Anyone who goes to see this movie knows James Franco is playing a wild character, and at first, it's "oh look it's James Franco pretending to be black, haha." After a minute or so though, you soon realize that Franco is not fucking around here. He's completely committed. His character is both silly and intense at the same time. This guy is for real. And he elevates this movie considerably, turning this into much more than just an exploration in hedonistic lifestyles.

Alien bails the girls out of jail, but for a price, now they're Alien's women now. While Faith and another girl from the pack eventually head home, the remaining two (Hudgens & Benson) stick with the hustler til the end even though it's quite obvious that only bad things will happen as a result of hooking up with a guy like Alien.

The film really picks up in the second half, it's hard not to be entertained by Franco's performance. Still, the film does not go too far beyond its base exploration of vapid women pursuing vapid lifestyles. Korine presents the film in such a way where the "fun" gets repetitive. Alien's repeated mantra of "Spring Break... Spring Break... Forever" is duly noted. Multiple times, the film repeats lines from the movie over and over until they start to lose its meaning. It's a hypnotic, effective effect, but something that didn't really catch up with me until long after I saw the film. I found the repetitiveness to be annoying, but I guess that means the film worked. If Korine intended on making me feel disgusted by these Spring Break activities, he did a good job.

That said, a lot of Korine's tactics were a bit too on the nose, he tried way too hard to make the same point over and over. Because of that, aside from Franco's performance, the film can be a tedious watch at times. Let's face it, we all know this is a lifestyle you shouldn't pursue on a daily basis. You shouldn't commit your life to such hedonistic behavior. As the film shows, it just leads a path towards self-destruction. The film's very effective in conveying this, but is this all that can be said? He could've made the same point and still gave the four main characters more distinctive personalities.

He gave Alien a distinctive personality and that character will stick with me when this film's said and done. The rest? I can take it or leave it. It's all a little too easy to swallow because it's easy to take yourself out of the action by simply saying "well I wouldn't do this." Bad people doing bad things is, of course, bad. In order to really resonate, more needs to be said.

Again though, James Franco is amazing in this film and "Spring Breakers" is worth seeing because of him. You'll have to wait til the mid-way point to see him, but believe me, it's worth it. You have to see this transformation. He's on a completely different level with the rest of the film. His commitment to this character really impressed me. Alien has so many quotable lines. You won't forget it. If only the rest of the film could live up to such a great character...

Grade: C+

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone review

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" is an ok film. For the most part. Ok, not for the most part, but it has quite a few good laughs in it. My colleagues at The Playlist hated it and it's understandable. It's overly predictable, it lags in the second act, and the third act really isn't a showstopper, nor does it try to be. The writing is lazy, the performances are a mixed bag, but I thought the film had a charming enough energy to it that made it enjoyable. It won't go down as a comedy classic, by any means, but for a broad, mainstream comedy, it could be worse. Though saying "it could be worse" won't exactly make you want to see it. The film ultimately amounts to a smile and a shrug. Yes, it's a pretty bad film, but not unforgivably bad.

See, I honestly dug the idea of this film. Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey in a comedy together sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Add Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, and the lovely Olivia Wilde and, really, what could go wrong? It's a comedy that spoofs magicians. Sure the premise is kinda outdated and really offbeat, but should we penalize a film for spoofing performers who haven't been famous in about ten years? Probably. But, I won't. I really dug the premise and have always wanted a comedy like this, especially with such great comedic performers.

The film starts out pretty strongly, as a matter of fact. We get a brief look into how Burt Wonderstone (Carell) meets his partner Anton Marvelton (Buscemi) and watch them as they "mature" into adult magicians performing in Vegas. But we meet the performers when they're already has-beens, facing competition from the Criss Angel/David Blaine-esque street performer, Steve Gray. Inevitably, the pressure to revamp their act leads to a split between the two Vegas performers and Burt Wonderstone looks to get his career back on track thanks to the help of his former helper, Jane (Wilde) and the inspiration of a legendary magician (played by Arkin).

Right up until the split between the performers, the film runs pretty smoothly with quite a few laughs to be had. The on-stage chemistry between Buscemi and Carell is very evident from the start; they work great together, but I thought breaking them up so early was unfortunate. Once the story becomes about Burt Wonderstone, that's where you feel the pace of the film start to drag. He's got the love interest, he gets inspired, he rights his wrongs, we've all seen this before. Luckily, Steve Carell does enough with his role to keep you in the film, but I honestly like him more when he's down-to-earth. He can play silly, but this role just wasn't well-written enough to make you care.

On the other hand, Jim Carrey was great. It was so nice to see him actually care. I wish he would do more ensemble films because he really shines in the limited screen time and showcases the immense talent that he has, without squandering it over and over in bad, formulaic comedies. Steve Buscemi was solid too and Jay Mohr's small role in the film left a memorable, lasting impression, but I was excited to see Jim Carrey really jazz himself up for a performance. You either like him or think he's annoying, whatever, at least he put energy into his role this time around.

And that's really what the film lacks for the most part: energy. The writers of "Burt Wonderstone" also wrote "Horrible Bosses." Horrible Bosses is also incredibly formulaic but had a great setup and energy to it. The premise was a slam dunk, it would've been hard to screw that up. This one, though, needed a bit much punch in order for it to really be funny. Unfortunately, it's too tame and the laughs don't hit very hard, and when you don't have many laughs, the films comes off even more formulaic than usual.

Is Burt Wonderstone a bad film? Kinda, but if you are looking to laugh, and there aren't many good comedies out at the moment, you can't really go wrong with this one. It could've been better, it could've been worse. Overall, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," is merely "ok." Passable entertainment.

Grade: C

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Bling Ring teaser trailer

Sofia Coppola's next film. Hmm... looks interesting. Her last film "Somewhere" had one problem: it didn't really go anywhere. This one looks like it could be fun though.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Frances Ha trailer

Noah Baumbach has always been a favorite of mine and Greta Gerwig is one of the more interesting actresses of the last few years. They came together on "Greenberg" and now they're back with "Frances Ha." Shot on what appears to be a shoestring budget, this little black and white indie marks as a sort of a rebirth for Baumbach whose films of late have had rather unlikable characters in darkly comic settings. This seems much more brighter. It'll be interesting to see what Baumbach and Gerwig pull off here. It already premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September to great buzz. Can't for this one. Comes out in May.

Stoker: an odd, odd movie

Stoker is an entertaining movie. It's far from great, but it's so deliciously odd and strange that it's hard to stop yourself from watching. There are too many legitimate "what the fuck" moments to count. The style is so ridiculously transparent and obvious in its intentions that if you're able to just enjoy it for what it is, you won't recognize the movie for being as horrible as it damn well should be. My guess is that Wentworth Miller wrote a dull script (that somehow got on the Hollywood black list, which means it was dubbed one of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood), so director Park Chan-wook did everything he could to make it interesting. He succeeded. He couldn't save the movie, but he did make it more interesting than perhaps it deserved. Chan-wook is an amazingly talented filmmaker, but "Stoker" is just a calculated exercise in style. There never appears to be a true moment in the film, just an excuse for pretty imagery and "clever" camerawork.

The film follows the Stoker family. Her father just died, so now India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) will be forced to live without someone she loved and bonded with the most throughout her life. Her mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), is also distraught, but they both are thrown for a loop when Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to visit and decides to stay with them. What's Uncle Charlie really about? How come we've never seen him before? Etc. Etc.

Everything is made obvious and deliberate in this movie. From the beginning when Uncle Charlie arrives, you know he's bad news. You know that something is obviously wrong with India too. In fact, it doesn't take too long before you realize that there's something wrong with this movie. It just doesn't feel right, something's off. The tone is so dour and the style is so overwhelming, what kind of movie is this? What is it trying to be? How are we, the audience, supposed to take it? It's just weirdness on top of weirdness.

To delve further into the plot is to spoil things because this film has, as you would expect, some "twists" and "turns." But if you catch on to the style of the movie early on, nothing will really surprise you because, really, the plot is so by-the-numbers that you almost can appreciate that Park Chan-wook tries so hard to keep you guessing.

There were parts where I couldn't help myself from laughing while watching this movie. It's so overdone. But I wouldn't stop you from seeing it. Be my guest. You'll either like it or you'll hate it. There's legitimately nothing in the middle here for you. I thought the movie was completely overdone but I didn't hate it. I was somehow able to enjoy the batshit insanity that goes on during most of the film. Whether or not you will too is all up to you.

Grade: C

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Salute to Ang Lee

I was cool on "Life of Pi." It was the first film I saw in 3D since 2011's "Hugo." I only see 3D films from filmmakers who know how to use it. I learned my lesson from watching Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D, which I thought I'd enjoy more watching in 2D (but I actually liked it less the second time). So now I insist on only seeing a film in 3D if I am convinced it'll enhance my viewing experience. With "Avatar" and "Hugo," it most certainly did. When Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" came out in 3D, it then became the third film in which I willingly subjected myself to the format. The reason? My respect for Ang Lee as a filmmaker.

Ang Lee is willing to take the types of chances that other filmmakers would never dare to try. He's the most eclectic and diverse filmmaker of our time. Look at his filmography. He started out with a couple of good films that he made in his home country of Taiwan (The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman), then came his first Hollywood film, a Jane Austen adaptation (Sense and Sensibility). Not many directors from other countries can seamlessly transition to English-language films, Ang Lee has done it repeatedly without ever losing his own voice.

He's continued on with family dramas (Ice Storm), a revisionist Western (Ride With the Devil) a mind-bending action epic (Crouching Tiger), a cowboy romance (Brokeback) , a sexually charged thriller (Lust, Caution), and a fun little '60s set comedy (Taking Woodstock). Not all of his films worked (though a majority of them did). His big superhero film, Hulk, wound up being one of the most divisive in the superhero genre. But you have to admire his willingness to go there, to take those chances. He's not even 60 yet, and he's done pretty much everything. So to see him collect his 2nd Oscar for a film that I was "cool" on, I couldn't help but feel good for the guy. You want a guy like that to succeed. Besides, Life of Pi does succeed on many levels and the heart is always there. If it had won Best Picture, I wouldn't have cared much. There's so much to admire about the film despite my distaste for the last 20-minutes of it and Ang Lee succeeded in making a 3D film worth watching..

We're in a pretty good age in filmmaking. It's far from a golden age, but we've got a lot of great filmmakers out there. Some of my favorites, like Tarantino, are wonderfully flamboyant and can make showstopping films, but they can also be a victim of their own ego. Tarantino injects himself into the genres he attempts. Ang Lee immerses himself into those genres. That's the difference. That's why it's so fun to watch an Ang Lee film, even if the end product isn't always fully satisfying.

So here's to Ang Lee. The more I think about his Oscar win, the more I can appreciate it. And he's won two now! His first Oscar came from a film that I doubt many other filmmakers would've had the balls to touch (no pun intended). The Academy barely wanted to touch it. They voted Crash over Brokeback Mountain that year, still one of the worst decisions in Oscar history. Just watch Brokeback Mountain again and you'll understand why. 

Sasha Stone of Awards Daily, as well as a few others, have pointed out this cool fact about the filmmaker: he's the only director in history to have "2 DGA awards, 2 Oscars for directing, 2 BAFTAs and 2 Golden Globes for directing, 2 Golden Lions and 2 Golden Bears." Wow. There's no doubt the man deserves every one. Good for him.

Besides isn't this not the greatest picture ever?


Whose first thought, after winning an Oscar, is to go to In N Out Burger? He should be doing commercials for them. But seriously, how can you not love this guy?