Now presenting Ang Lee's Boat Trip.
Full disclosure: I haven't read the best-selling, Oprah-approved Yann Martel novel that serves as the basis for Ang Lee's new 3D spectacle, Life of Pi, which tells the tale of a shipwrecked boy's journey across the Pacific Ocean on a small lifeboat he shares with an honest-to-God tiger. Now, I don't say this to suggest that you need to rush out and pick up the book in advance of seeing the film. This is just to establish why I was completely unprepared for the ending of the movie, which contains a metaphor-rich twist that took what had been up to that point a visually lovely, but somewhat dramatically inert fantasy-tinged aquatic adventure and made it something far more complex and interesting. Because the final 15 minutes so completely altered my view of what had come before, I can't in good faith discuss my reaction to Life of Pi without mentioning some crucial details about the conclusion. So if you, like me, haven't read the book and want to remain in blissful ignorance, here's a Spoiler Warning.
The New York Film Festival turns 50 this year and is appropriately throwing itself one heck of a birthday bash. The golden anniversary celebration kicks off tonight with the world premiere of Ang Lee's Life of Pi, an adaptation of the best-selling novel that ranks among the fall season's big Oscar hopefuls. Over the next two weeks (the festival runs from September 28 to October 14) a plethora of big-ticket films and events will be unspooling at the festival's headquarters at Lincoln Center on New York's Upper West Side. You can visit the official NYFF website for the full schedule and ticket information. In the meantime, we've gone through the festival line-up (and have even seen a few of the movies) to highlight some of this year's key titles.