BLOGS

<i>Taking Woodstock</i>: How Ang Lee Makes Everything Boring

There is a part of us that is vaguely interested in the movie Taking Woodstock, since we love Demitri Martin on his show Important Things, and the supporting cast (Emile Hirsch, Eugene Levy, Liev Schreiber cross-dressing again -- remember Mixed Nuts?) is impressive. But while the concert at Woodstock was certainly an exciting event, haven't there been enough movies about it? And is Ang Lee really the director to tackle the subject matter? Because when given exciting material, Lee has a tendency to turn it into a snooze-fest.

Case in point: The Incredible Hulk. When handed one of Marvel's flagship superheroes, Lee handed back a two-hour plus yawner about how Bruce Banner was present when his rage-aholic father killed his mother, and has inherited that rage along with his father's mutant DNA. The Hulk doesn't show up until at least 40 minutes into the movie, then he fights a mutant poodle in a dark forest, and when he finally fights another super-powered person at the end, it's his crazy dad Nick Nolte, who's a cloud, then a tree. A convoluted, backstoried mess, the movie spends as much time on feelings as plot, which isn't exactly the ratio you want when dealing with a superhero flick.

And what about Brokeback Mountain? A movie about two gay cowboys should have been a rip-roaring adventure, with stampedes and shootouts. Instead, we get two guys living in a tent, herding sheep. We know it's based on a short story, but Hollywood is famous for adding stuff -- wouldn't some kind of Mexican standoff have livened up the proceedings?

Similarly, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon should have been a non-stop sword-and-sorcery spectacle, but instead we get a lot of moping and brooding, and flitting about on the tips of bamboo trees. You'd think there would have been more excitement over Chow Yun-Fat walking on water or Zhang Ziyi clearing out a bar, but the film's frequent changes in sword ownership and Harlequin romance subplot lulled us into a very real sense of tired.

Other disappointments:
- The Ice Storm is by far the most boring movie about a '70s key party we've ever seen.
- Lust, Caution, should have cautioned us about the boring strategizing and political talk we would have to sit through to get to the lust parts.
- The Hire: Chosen, Lee's short film made for BMW, is a forefather of The Transporter, a knock-off of The Golden Child, and even stars Clive Owen, but the three-point-turn ballet that passes for a car chase makes six minutes seem like an eternity.
- Sense and Sensibility is good and all, but where are the sea monsters?

What do you think -- is Ang Lee boring? Will you see Taking Woodstock?

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