Ang Lee

3.4246196403978 (723)
Posted by kaori 03/09/2009 @ 20:13

Tags : ang lee, directors, cinema, entertainment

News headlines
"Woodstock" a solid but minor film from Ang Lee - Reuters
Yet Ang Lee's new film "Taking Woodstock," screening in competition at Cannes, runs counter to any expectations that a world-class director would plumb the meaning of this transforming event. Instead Lee delivers an entertaining light comedy about a...
Nude cyclists distract Cannes Film Festival goers - Oneindia
Movie buffs, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars like Ang Lee and Mariah Carey, found themselves distracted by the naked riders heading down the Riviera seafront. Director Felix can Groeningen spearheaded the exhibitionist ride,...
Cannes Notebook: Bad Food, Bad Movies - E! Online
Saturday night, the mood was a bit more chill at the postpremiere party for Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee's comedy starring Demitri Martin as the motel operator who wound up being a force behind the scenes at the '60s biggest moment....
Like this story? Share it with Yahoo! Buzz - USA Today
The Ang Lee comedy about the mad scramble to put on the 1969 music festival played to mixed reviews at its press screening, but got a felt the love at its gala premiere later Saturday night. The movie starring comedian Demetri Martin as a timid young...
'60s flashback: Ang Lee is 'Taking Woodstock' - Dickinson Press
Although we do not have any obligation to monitor this board, we reserve the right at all times to check this board and to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic,...
Ang Lee at 'Taking Woodstock' 's premiere -
Director Ang Lee (C) and his wife Janice Lin (L2) have a group photo taken with US actors Demetri Martin (R2) and British actress Imelda Staunton (L) on the red carpet as they arrive for the screening of the film "Taking Woodstock" at the 62nd Cannes...
What to watch this week - Kansas City Star
John Woo, Jackie Chan, LL Cool J, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and Ang Lee are among the many interviewees who attest that Bruce Lee's influence went far beyond his single Hollywood film. Also, Eddie Griffin tells a funny story about seeing “Fists of Fury” at...
ROUND UP III: Jane Returns, Ang Gets Burned, and “Thirst” Causes a ... - Indie Wire
by Peter Knegt (Updated 12 hours, 50 minutes ago) “Considering the iconic event at its center, the most surprising aspect of “Taking Woodstock” lies with the decision to make it into a rather flat comedy,” indieWIRE's Eric Kohn wrote of Ang Lee's...
Martin bitter over Twitter - Edmonton Sun
"I am not (on Twitter)," the 35-year-old, freaked-out Martin said in Cannes as Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock made its world premiere. Martin, a standup comedian with his own show on Comedy Central, has a leading role in the movie about the famous 1969...
Subdued Market at Cannes - Wall Street Journal
Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock," another competition film, may face similar challenges straddling demographics when Universal subsidiary Focus Features releases the film on Aug. 14. The film chronicles the happenings surrounding the famous 1969 music...

Ang Lee

Ang Lee (Chinese: 李安; Pinyin: Lǐ Ān) (born October 23, 1954) is an Academy Award-winning Taiwanese American film director.

Lee studied in the National Tainan First Senior High School where his father was the principal. He was expected to pass the annual Joint College/University Entrance Examination, the only route to a university education in Taiwan. But after failing the Exam twice, to the disappointment of his father, he entered a three-year college, National Arts School (now reorganized and expanded as National Taiwan University of Arts) and graduated in 1975. His father had wanted him to become a professor, but he had become interested in drama and the arts at college. This early frustration set his career on the path of performance art. Seeing Ingmar Bergman's film The Virgin Spring (1960) was a formative experience for him.

After finishing the Republic of China's mandatory military service, Lee went to the U.S. in 1979 to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he completed his bachelor's degree in theater in 1980. Thereupon, he enrolled at the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University, where he received his MFA. He was a classmate of Spike Lee and worked on the crew of his thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. During graduate school, Lee finished a 16mm short film, Shades of the Lake (1982), which won the Best Drama Award in Short Film in Taiwan. His own thesis work, a 43-minute drama, Fine Line (1984), won NYU's Wasserman Award for Outstanding Direction and was later selected for the Public Broadcasting Service.

Lee's NYU thesis drew attention from the William Morris Agency, the famous talent and literary agency that later represented Lee. At first, though, WMA found Lee few opportunities, and Lee remained unemployed for six years. During this time, he was a full-time house-husband, while his wife Jane Lin (Chinese: 林惠嘉; pinyin: Lín Huìjiā), a molecular biologist, was the sole breadwinner for the family of four. This arrangement, usually an embarrassment in Taiwanese culture, put enormous pressure on the couple, but with Lin's support and understanding, Lee did not abandon his career in films but continued to generate new ideas from movies and performances. He also wrote several screenplays during this time.

In 1990, Lee submitted two screenplays, Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet, to a competition sponsored by the Republic of China's Government Information Office, and they came in first and second respectively. The winning screenplays brought Lee to the attention of Li-Kong Hsu (Chinese: 徐立功; pinyin: Xú Lìgōng), a recently promoted senior manager in a major studio who had strong interests in Lee's unique style and freshness. Hsu, a first-time producer, invited Lee to direct Pushing Hands, a full-length feature that debuted in 1991.

The director's cut of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon premiered on the Ivy League campus of Dartmouth College in 2000. He received the Dartmouth Film Award in 2001, along with Sean Penn.

Lee's film Brokeback Mountain (2005) won the Golden Lion (best film) award at the Venice International Film Festival and was named 2005's best film by the Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and London film critics. It also won best picture at the 2005 Broadcast Film Critics Association, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America (Adapted Screenplay), Producers Guild of America and the Independent Spirit Awards as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture — Drama, with Lee winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Director. Brokeback also won Best Film and Best Director at the 2006 British Academy Awards (BAFTA). In January 2006, Brokeback scored a leading eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, which Lee won. He is the first Asian and non-Caucasian director to do so.

In 2007, Lee's film Lust, Caution earned him a second Golden Lion, making him one of only two directors to have ever won Venice's Golden Lion twice.

Pushing Hands (1992) was a success in Taiwan both among critics and at the box office. It received eight nominations in the Golden Horse Film Festival, Taiwan's premier film festival. Inspired by the success, Hsu collaborated with Lee in their second film, The Wedding Banquet (1993), which won the Golden Bear in the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated as the Best Foreign Language Film in both the Golden Globe and the Academy Awards. In all, this film collected eleven Taiwanese and international awards and made Lee a rising star.

Lee's first two movies were based on stories of Taiwanese Americans, and both were filmed in the US. In 1995, Hsu invited Lee to return to Taiwan to make Eat Drink Man Woman, a film that depicts traditional values, modern relationships, and family conflicts in Taipei. The film was once again a box office hit and was critically acclaimed. For a second consecutive year, Lee's film received the Best Foreign Language Film nomination in both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards, as well as in the British Academy Award. Eat Drink Man Woman won five awards in Taiwan and internationally, including the Best Director from Independent Spirit. Hollywood optioned the film rights and remade it into Tortilla Soup (2001, dir. María Ripoll). This is one of the rare occasions in which a Taiwanese film was remade outside the country.

Lee's three acclaimed first dramas opened the door to Hollywood for him. In 1995, Lee directed Columbia TriStar's British classic Sense and Sensibility. The switch from Taiwanese to British films did not prevent Lee's work from garnering awards: Sense and Sensibility made Lee a second-time director of the Golden Bear film in the Berlin Film Festival. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, and won Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriter Emma Thompson, who also starred in the movie alongside Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet. Sense and Sensibility also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama.

After this, Lee directed two more Hollywood movies: The Ice Storm (1997), a drama set in 1970s suburban America, and Ride with the Devil, an American Civil War drama (1999). Although the critics still highly praised these latter two films, their box office was not impressive, and for a time this interrupted Lee's unbroken popularity — from both general audiences and arthouse aficionados — since his first full-length movie. However, in the late 1990s and 2000s, The Ice Storm has had high VHS and DVD sales and rentals and repeated screenings on cable television, which has increased the film's popularity among audiences.

In 1999, Li-Kong Hsu, Lee's old partner and supporter, invited him to make a movie based on the traditional Chinese “wuxia” (martial arts and chivalry) genre. Excited about the opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream, Lee assembled a team from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The film was a surprising success worldwide. With Chinese dialogue and English subtitles, the film became the highest grossing foreign film in many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Director at the Academy Awards. It ended up winning Best Foreign Language Film and three technical awards. The success of Crouching Tiger demonstrated that Lee's artistry had a general appeal; it also inspired such established directors as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige to explore wuxia films for Western audience.

In 2003, Lee returned to Hollywood to direct Hulk, his first big-budget movie. Reception from critics and audiences was lukewarm, and the film ultimately failed to meet Universal's financial expectations. After the setback, Lee considered retiring early, but his father encouraged him to continue making movies.

Lee decided to take on a small-budget, low-profile independent film based on Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize-finalist short story, Brokeback Mountain. In a 2005 article by Robert K. Elder, Lee was quoted as saying, "What do I know about gay ranch hands in Wyoming?" In spite of the director's removal from the subject at hand, Brokeback Mountain showcased Lee's skills in probing depths of the human heart. The 2005 movie about the forbidden love between two Wyoming sheepherders immediately caught public attention and became a cultural phenomenon, initiating intense debates and becoming a box office hit.

The film was critically acclaimed at major international film festivals and won Lee numerous Best Director and Best Picture awards worldwide. Brokeback Mountain was the most acclaimed film of 2005, winning 71 awards and an additional 52 nominations. It was declared Best Picture by such organizations as the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Independent Spirit Awards, the 2005 Biennale Venice Film Festival, and the Producers Guild of America. Ang Lee also received his second Best Director award from the Directors Guild of America. Brokeback Mountain was nominated for a leading eight Oscars and was the front runner for Best Picture heading into the March 5 ceremony, but lost out to Crash, a story about race relations in Los Angeles, in a controversial upset. There was wide speculation that Brokeback Mountains's homosexual theme was the reason for that upset. Lee said he was disappointed that his film did not win Best Picture, but was honored to win Best Director, becoming the first person of Asian heritage to ever win the award.

After Brokeback Mountain, Lee returned to a Chinese topic. His next film was Lust, Caution, which was adapted from a short novel by the Chinese author Eileen Chang. The story was written in 1950, and was loosely based on an actual event that took place in 1939-1940 in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, China, during World War II. Similar to Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee adapted and expanded a short, simple story into a featured film in a way that allows individual figures to develop sophisticated layers of reserved emotions, without being sidetracked by complicated plots or overstuffed materials.

Lust, Caution is being distributed by Focus Features and premiered at international film festivals in the summer and early fall of 2007. In the US, the movie received a NC-17 rating (no one 17 and under admitted) from the MPAA mainly due to several strongly explicit sex scenes. This was a challenge to the film's distribution because many theater chains in the United States refuse to show NC-17 films. The director and film studio have decided not to appeal the decision. In order to be permitted to show Lust, Caution in mainland China, however, Lee removed 9 minutes from the film to make the content suitable for minor audiences, according to government restrictions.

Lee has been chosen as president of the jury for the 2009 edition of the Venice Film Festival, set to take place from September 2 to September 12, 2009.

Ang Lee has had a career-long collaboration with producer and screenwriter James Schamus.

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Lee lives in Larchmont, New York with his wife Jane Lin, a microbiologist, whom he married in 1983. They have two sons, Haan Lee (born 1984), and Mason Lee (born 1990).

Lee has been involved in the process of filmmaking in various capacities, though the highlight of his career and legacy is his directorial work. The following are Lee's various credits.

To the top

The Ice Storm (film)

Ice storm poster.jpg

The Ice Storm is a 1997 drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Rick Moody. The film features an ensemble cast of Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, and Sigourney Weaver. Set during Thanksgiving 1973, The Ice Storm is about two dysfunctional suburban Connecticut families who are trying to deal with tumultuous political and social changes of the early 1970s, and their escapism through alcohol, adultery, and sexual experimentation. The title alludes to an actual weather event: a destructive ice storm that blanketed Connecticut and cut electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes for up to a week. Apparently, artistic license was employed because the actual storm hit December 16-17, 1973, not Thanksgiving. The storm was dubbed "Felix" by local weathermen.

Upon the film's opening in the United States on October 31, 1997, its release was limited and it grossed $8 million on a budget of $18 million, making it a box office flop. It has subsequently become a celebrated success due to a subsequent video release in 1998 and to DVD in 2000. A new special two-disc DVD set was released as a part of the Criterion Collection on March 18, 2008.

The film begins at a dinner party at the Carvers' house, as the adults discuss pop culture references that defined the 1970s: the Watergate scandal, swinging parties for married couples, and the pornography film Deep Throat. The Hood family includes Ben (Kevin Kline), Elena (Joan Allen) and their children, 16-year-old Paul (Tobey Maguire) and 14-year-old Wendy (Christina Ricci). Their neighbors, the Carvers, include Jim (Jamey Sheridan), Janey (Sigourney Weaver) and their children: Mikey (Elijah Wood) and Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd).

Both families are depicted as uncommunicative, with the parents having difficulty talking to their own children and to each other. Ben, dissatisfied in his marriage and with the futility of his career, is having an affair with Janey. Elena is bored with her life and is looking to expand her thinking, but is unsure of how to do so. Wendy enjoys sexual games with her school peers. Paul, an occasional drug user, is trying to bed his schoolmate Libbets Casey (Katie Holmes). The Carvers' two sons are lonely and confused, Mikey playing along with Wendy's sexual games while Sandy is obsessed with violence.

Jim Carver travels for his job and is not involved in his kids' lives. In one scene, he returns from a trip to find that his sons hadn't even realized he'd been gone. Janey, who appears to be carrying on with a number of other men in addition to Ben, finds Jim to be largely an annoyance, and would prefer he remain gone all the time. Elena, who is becoming tired and bored with her life, buys spiritual and self-help books and becomes friendly with the hippy-ish minister of a local church. She attempts to shoplift, as does Wendy – both are eventually caught in the act.

During their trysts, Ben obsesses to Janey over his displeasure with his job and his frustrations at continually being bested by his colleague, smarmy George Clair (Henry Czerny). Janey, however, seems to have become bored with the arrangement, for she has now become unfaithful, not only to her husband, but now to Ben as well. She abruptly leaves the room just prior to a planned sexual encounter with Ben, excusing herself to get "birth control pills" but instead flees the house, leaving Ben alone.

Realizing that she is not returning, Ben prepares to leave, but comes upon his daughter Wendy in the Carvers' basement, initiating a sex act with Mikey (the previous day, she had revealed her genitals to Mikey's younger brother Sandy). Ben then has an awkward discussion with Wendy about "the birds and the bees" as he takes her home, though Wendy (who presumably has already obtained this information from other sources) is visibly bored with his discussions. As the evening begins, a storm hits New Canaan, which evolves into a dangerous ice storm. This both serves as a metaphor for the frozen emotions of many of the characters, and also propels much of the remainder of the story.

When Ben reveals to Elena that he found Wendy in the Carvers' basement, she is more concerned with what he was doing there, eventually concluding that he must be having an affair with Janey. They have a brief argument over it, prior to attending a neighborhood party, which turns out to be a swinger's key party, in which all the husbands toss their keys into a bowl. The women, at the end of the evening each pick a set of keys, going home with whomever's keys they've chosen. Elena at first suspects that Ben was aware of the nature of the party, and had plotted to mark his keys so Janey can easily fish them out. However, in her resentment, she decides to participate in the key party.

At the same time as this is occurring, Paul has taken the train into Manhattan. Paul is excited that Libbets Casey invited him to visit her that evening. He tries to keep this a secret from his roommate, Francis (of whom he is not particularly fond), since Francis has the habit of bedding every girl he discovers Paul is attracted to. Paul is disheartened to discover Francis was also invited. The three listen to music and begin drinking and smoking marijuana. It becomes clear that Libbets is more responsive to Francis' direct advances than Paul's. Paul attempts to drug Francis with Libbets's mother sleeping medication so that he will be out of commission for the evening, but Libbets also takes one of the pills. Francis, however, passes out first. Libbets and Paul put him on the couch, and Paul tries to make his move on Libbets. He is visibly disappointed when she tells him that she thinks of him "like a brother" before she passes out.

Wendy decides to make her way to the Carvers' to see Mikey, but he has decided to go out into the ice storm, so she and Sandy climb into bed together and remove their clothes. She and Sandy drink a bottle of vodka, and Wendy tries to seduce him, however they both fall asleep.

Meanwhile, as the key party progresses, Ben gets drunk. When Janey chooses the keys of another man, Ben attempts to protest, but trips and knocks his head on the coffee table. (It is at this point that Jim realizes that his wife and Ben are having an affair.) Ben, in his embarrassment, retreats to the bathroom, where he remains for the rest of the evening. The remaining key party participants are paired off and leave together, with only Jim and Elena remaining. She retrieves Jim's keys from the bowl and returns them to him. After debating the issue, Jim and Elena leave together, engaging in a quick, clumsy sexual encounter in the front seat of Jim's car. Jim, regretting the line he and Elena have just crossed, agrees to drive her home.

Meanwhile, Mikey, out walking in the storm, is enchanted by the beauty of the trees and fields covered in ice. He sits on a guardrail to rest, but a moment later a power line, broken by a fallen tree, connects with the guardrail, and he is electrocuted.

Jim and Elena end up back at the Carvers' house, as dawn is breaking. Elena walks in on her daughter in bed with Sandy, and orders her to get dressed.

Janey has also returned home. She slips in unseen by her husband and friend and curls up on her bed in the fetal position without bothering to take off her party clothes. Although it is not revealed what transpired between Janey and her 'key partner', she is visibly exhausted and sad.

Ben has sobered up by this time, and begins driving home, but discovers Mikey's body on the side of the road. He brings Mikey's body back to the Carvers' house. The two families are drawn together by Mikey's death, and Wendy attempts to comfort Sandy, who appears numb. Jim is devastated while Janey remains asleep and unknowing in her bed. Ben, Elena and Wendy then drive to the train station to pick up Paul, who is returning from Libbets' apartment. Once all four of them are together in the car, Ben breaks down, sobbing uncontrollably at the wheel.

Director Ang Lee was one of the first directors to get his hands on the script, after becoming a fan of Rick Moody's 1994 bestselling novel. To prepare for the film, Ang Lee let the cast members study stacks of magazine cutouts from the early 1970s. Moody was reportedly very pleased with the final version - and reportedly "sobbed" during the end credits. He also expressed his happiness that the success of the film brought more attention to his novel, leading to more book sales.

Despite the film opening to widespread acclaim in the United States on September 27, 1997, its release was limited and it grossed just $7.8 million on a budget of $18 million, making it a box office disappointment. Due to subsequent issues on video and DVD, the film has received noteworthy attention by both critics and audiences that has led to a special Criterion Collection DVD.

The film version of The Ice Storm follows the plot of the book closely, however, the mood of the movie is significantly different than that of the book. There are many explicit sexual descriptions in the book between for example, Wendy and Sandy or Mikey, Janey and Ben, and Libbets and Paul. These scenes are toned down in the movie and hence take away part of the disturbing feel that Rick Moody instills in his novel.

One noteworthy difference is that the Carver family was named Williams in Moody's book.

One of the noticeable features of The Ice Storm is its soundtrack. Most of the professional music featured in the film was independently produced 1970s-type music, as budget values were tight, requiring most of it to be independent music. Lee and James Schamus wanted to have an "actual score"—not a "nostalgic film with radio music of an earlier time". The soundtrack was first released in the United States on October 21, 1997.

Maureen McGovern's 1973 hit single The Morning After also appears in the film as a briefly heard piece of music performed by Wendy's school orchestra.

To the top

Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival Logo.png

The Venice Film Festival (Italian Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia) is the oldest film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. It is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals and is part of the Venice Biennale, a major biennial exhibition and festival for contemporary art.

The festival's principal awards are the Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion), which is awarded to the best film screened at the festival, and the Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup), which is awarded to the best actor and actress. In 2002, the San Marco Award has been introduced, for the best film of the Controcorrente (Against the stream) section.

Taiwanese American director Ang Lee has been chosen as president of the jury for the 66th edition of the festival, se to take place from September 2 to September 12, 2009.

The Golden Lion is the festival's highest award for best film.

Silver Lions are an irregular award presented in some years as a "runners-up" prize to the Golden Lion. In addition, other Silver Lions are sometimes awarded for debut films, short films and direction.

A Special Jury Prize is awarded to one or two films in most years.

The Volpi Cups are awarded to actors. Awards for best actor and best actress have been given since 1935. In the mid-1990s awards were also given to supporting actors and actresses, and in 1993 an award was given to the entire cast of Short Cuts.

The Golden Osellas are awarded to directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, composers, and for outstanding technical contributions.

The Mussolini Cups were the top awards from 1934 to 1942. Named after Italy's then ruler, Benito Mussolini, they were abandoned upon his ousting in 1943, and eventually returned as the Grand International Prize of Venice in 1947 (see Golden Lion).

To the top

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback mountain.jpg

Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American romantic-drama film that depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West from 1963 to 1983.

The film was directed by Taiwanese director Ang Lee from a screenplay by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, which they adapted from the short story Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams.

Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was honored with Best Picture and Best Director accolades from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America, Critics Choice Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among many other organizations and festivals. Brokeback Mountain had the most nominations (eight) for the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. The film was widely considered to be a front runner for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost to Crash. At the end of its theatrical run, Brokeback Mountain ranked eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all time.

Brokeback Mountain is the story of ranch hand Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two young men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. The film documents their complex relationship over the next twenty years.

Ennis and Jack first meet when they are hired by Joe Aguirre (Quaid) to herd his sheep through the summer. During the long months of isolation, a bond begins to develop between the two. One night, after heavy drinking, Jack makes a sexual pass at Ennis, who initially is apprehensive, but then succumbs to Jack's advances. Although he warns Jack it was only a one-time incident, Ennis finds himself becoming involved in both a physical and a powerful emotional relationship with his partner through the rest of their tenure. Shortly after learning their summer together is being cut short unexpectedly, they briefly fight, during which each is bloodied.

After the two part ways, Ennis marries his long-time fiancée Alma Beers (Michelle Williams) and Jack ends up in Texas, where he meets and marries rodeo princess Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). The two men reunite four years later, and Alma accidentally witnesses them passionately kissing. Jack broaches the subject of creating a life together on a small ranch, but Ennis, haunted by a painful childhood memory of the torture and murder of a suspected homosexual in his hometown, fears such an arrangement could only end in tragedy. He also is unwilling to abandon his family. Unable to be open about their relationship, Ennis and Jack end up meeting only for infrequent fishing trips.

As the years pass, the marriages of both men deteriorate. Alma's awareness of the real nature of her husband's "fishing trips" with Jack have created a strain on the couple's relationship, and eventually they divorce. Meanwhile, Lureen has abandoned her fun-loving ways and become a straight-laced businesswoman who expects Jack to settle down and work in sales, a career for which he has talent but no drive. Hearing about Ennis's divorce, Jack drives to Wyoming in hopes they can live together at last, but Ennis refuses to move away from his children and is still fearful of possible repercussions if their relationship becomes public.

At the end of a camping trip, Ennis tells Jack he has to cancel their next outing because of his job, and an argument erupts. Ennis blames Jack for "making me the way I am" and for being the cause of his conflicted emotions, feeling they have trapped him and ruined his life. Jack attempts to hold him and there is a brief struggle, but they end up locked in an embrace.

An unspecified amount of time later, a postcard Ennis sent to Jack is returned stamped "Deceased." In a telephone conversation, Lureen tells Ennis that Jack died while changing a tire that exploded. Her explanation of the incident is overlaid with images of Jack being beaten brutally by three men; it is possible to interpret this as either Ennis's fear of what actually happened (inspired by his experience of the homophobic murder in his childhood) or a portrayal of what Lureen knows to be Jack's real fate, the account she relates being a sanitized version of her husband's demise. Lureen tells Ennis that Jack wished to have his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain, but she didn't know where it was. Ennis travels to see Jack's mother and father (Roberta Maxwell and Peter McRobbie), where he offers to take Jack's ashes, but the father flatly refuses the request. Jack's mother asks Ennis if he would like to see Jack's childhood bedroom before he leaves. There he discovers on a hanger in the closet the old blood-stained shirt he thought he had lost on Brokeback Mountain, learning instead that Jack had stolen it. Here it waits on a hanger, tucked inside the also blood-stained shirt Jack himself had worn in that fight long ago. Ennis holds them up to his face, breathes in their scent, and silently weeps. He carries the shirts downstairs with him, and Jack's mother allows him to keep them, and gives him a bag to carry them in.

In the final scene, 19-year-old Alma Jr. (Kate Mara) arrives at her father's trailer with the news she's engaged. She asks Ennis for his blessings and invites him to the wedding. Ennis, finally aware of the importance of love in a relationship and marriage, asks her if her fiancé really loves her. After Alma's departure, Ennis notices she has forgotten her sweater, which he folds and puts in the closet. Inside, hanging on a nail pounded into the door, are the two shirts with a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked alongside. Now, Jack's shirt is tucked inside of Ennis's. Ennis carefully fastens the top button of Jack's shirt, and with tears in his eyes mutters, "Jack, I swear..." while slowly straightening the postcard.

While the movie is set in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, it was filmed almost entirely in the Canadian Rockies in southern Alberta..

The "Brokeback Mountain" in the movie is so named because the mountain has the same swayback curve as a brokeback horse or mule, which is swaybacked or sagging in the spine, is actually a composite of Mount Lougheed south of the town of Canmore to Fortress and Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country. The campsites were filmed at Goat Creek, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Elbow Falls and Canyon Creek, also in Alberta. Other movie scenes were also filmed in Cowley, Fort Macleod, and Calgary.

The movie was filmed during the summer of 2004.

During filming it was reported Ledger almost broke Gyllenhaal's nose during a kissing scene, as the scene required violent passion.

Brokeback Mountain cost about U.S.$14 million to produce, excluding its advertising budget of (allegedly) $5 million. According to interviews with the filmmakers, Focus Features was able to recoup its production costs early on by selling overseas rights to the film.

The film saw limited release in the United States on December 9, 2005 (in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), taking $547,425 in five theaters its first weekend.

Over the Christmas weekend, it posted the highest per-theater gross of any movie and was considered a box office success not only in urban centers such as New York City and Los Angeles, but also in suburban theaters near Portland, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Atlanta. On January 6, 2006, the movie expanded into 483 theaters, and on January 13, 2006, Focus Features, the movie's distributor, opened Brokeback in nearly 700 North American cinemas as part of its ongoing expansion strategy for the movie. On January 20, the film opened in 1,194 theaters in North America; it opened in 1,652 theaters on January 27 and in 2,089 theaters on February 3, its widest release.

Brokeback Mountain's theatrical run lasted for 133 days and grossed $83,043,761 in North America and $95,000,000 abroad, adding up to a worldwide gross of more than $178 million. It is the top-grossing release of Focus Features, ranks fifth among the highest-grossing westerns (since 1979) and eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas (1980-Present).

The film was released in London, UK, on December 30, 2005, in only one cinema, and was widely released in UK on January 6, 2006. On January 11, Time Out London magazine reported that Brokeback was the number one movie in the city, a position it held for three weeks.

The movie was released in France on January 18, 2006, in 155 cinemas (expanding into 258 cinemas in the second week and into 290 in the third week). In its first week of release, Brokeback Mountain was in third place at the French box office, with 277,000 people viewing the movie, or an average of 1,787 people by cinema per week, the highest such figure for any film in France that week. One month later, it reached more than one million viewers (more than 1,250,000 on March 18), with still 168 cinemas (in the 10th week). Released in Italy on January 20, the film grossed more than 890,000 euros in only three days, and was the fourth highest-grossing film in the country in its first week of release.

Brokeback Mountain was released in Australia on January 26, 2006, where it landed in fourth place at the box office and earned an average per-screen gross three times higher than its nearest competitor during its first weekend despite being released in only 48 cinemas nationwide. Most of the Australian critics praised the film. Brokeback was released in many other countries during the first three months of 2006. The film was released in Peru and in the Netherlands on February 16, and opened in Germany on March 9. It premiered in Brazil on February 3 and quickly topped the charts with more than 100,000 viewers. The movie was released in India on March 10.

During its first week of release, Brokeback was in first place in Hong Kong's box office, with more than US$473,868 ($22,565 per cinema).

Brokeback Mountain was the highest-grossing movie in the U.S. from January 17 through January 19, 2006, perhaps due primarily to its wins at the Golden Globes on January 16. Indeed, the movie was one of the top five highest-grossing films in the U.S. every day from January 17 until January 28, including over the weekend (when more people go to the movies and big-budget films usually crowd out independent films from the top-grossing list) of January 20-22. On January 28, the movie fell out of the top five and into sixth place at the box office during that weekend before entering the top five again on January 30 and remaining there until February 10.

The movie was released on January 20, 2006, in Taiwan, where director Ang Lee was born. It ran until April 20.

The pair of shirts from the film sold on eBay on February 20, 2006, for US$101,100.51 The buyer, film historian and collector Tom Gregory, called the shirts "the ruby slippers of our time," and intends never to separate them. The proceeds will benefit California children's charity Variety, which has long been associated with the movie industry.

Professional film critics have heaped praise on Brokeback Mountain. The film won four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture-Drama, and was nominated for seven, leading all other films in the 2005 awards. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival, as well as the title Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the Utah Film Critics Society, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the BAFTAs).

Brokeback Mountain received an 87% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compiled from 223 reviews, with the consensus that "a beautifully epic Western, Brokeback Mountain's gay love story is embued with heartbreaking universality, helped by the moving performances of Ledger and Gyllenhaal." The film was given a "two thumbs up" rating by Ebert and Roeper, the former granting a four-star review in the Chicago Sun-Times. The film received "circumspect" positive reviews from Christianity Today. Conservative radio host Michael Medved gave the film three and a half stars, stating that while the movie's "agenda" is blatant, it is an artistic work.

Some gay cultural critics, such as David Ehrenstein, believe that the film's cultural impact is being overplayed at the expense of other groundbreaking films and the challenges that openly gay and lesbian actors still face. A few other gay commentators have written disapprovingly about the fact that, in what has been widely hailed as a "breakthrough" film for gay cinema, neither the film's two lead actors, nor its director, nor its screenwriters are gay.

The film's significance has been attributed to its portrayal of a same-sex relationship without any reference to the history of the gay civil rights movement. This emphasizes the tragic love story aspect, which leads many commentators to effectively compare Ennis and Jack's drama to classic and modern romances like Romeo and Juliet or Titanic, often using the term star-crossed lovers. This link to classic romances is no coincidence: the poster for the film was inspired by that of James Cameron's Titanic, after Ang Lee's collaborator James Schamus looked at the posters of "the 50 most romantic movies ever made".

When Ledger and Gyllenhaal were asked about any fear of being cast in such controversial roles, Ledger responded that he was not afraid of the role, but rather he was concerned that he would not be mature enough as an actor to do the story justice. Gyllenhaal has stated that he is extremely proud of the movie and his role, regardless of what the reactions would be. Although he has repeatedly stated that he is heterosexual, he regards rumors of him being bisexual as flattering. Both have stated that the sex scenes in the beginning were difficult to do. Lee found the first scene difficult to film and has stated he has great respect for the two main actors for their "courage".

On January 3, 2006, Universal, the studio of which Focus Features is the specialty division, announced that Brokeback Mountain was the most honored film of 2005. The independent website backed that assertion, reporting that Brokeback Mountain was the most frequently-selected movie on reviewers' year-end Top Ten lists of 2005.

On March 9, 2006, Brokeback Mountain made the news yet again when a press release was sent to more than 400 media outlets announcing that nearly $26,000 had been raised for an ad to be posted in the Daily Variety on March 10, 2006. This $26,000 had been raised by just over 600 fans through an online donations site, affiliated with a non-studio-sponsored online forum which is devoted to the film and the book. The story was quickly picked up by several outlets including Yahoo!, The Advocate, and The New York Times. The ad served as a simple show of fan support despite its losing the Best Picture Oscar.

Although there are minor differences between the original short story and the movie, Proulx stated in an extra essay published in a reprint of her "Brokeback Mountain" short stories compilation that she was positively surprised and impressed how Ang Lee, the scriptwriters and the actors were able to portray the story, calling it even an improvement from her original short story.

The title of Brokeback Mountain has been translated into several other languages. Often the foreign title is literally The Secret(s) of Brokeback Mountain (how the French, Italian, Portuguese and Polish titles translate). In Canadian French, the title was translated to Souvenirs de Brokeback Mountain (Memories of Brokeback Mountain). The Region 1 DVD has English, Spanish (Latin American), French (Canadian), and on some DVDs, German audio tracks.

The film critic for the U.S. morning show The Today Show, Gene Shalit, called Gyllenhaal's character, Jack Twist, a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." This triggered complaints, particularly from gay media watchdog group GLAAD, which argued that Shalit's characterization of the character would be akin to calling Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic a sexual predator for his romantic pursuit of the character played by Kate Winslet. Shalit later apologized.

In a letter to GLAAD, Shalit's son Peter, who is gay, wrote, "He may have had an unpopular opinion of a movie that is important to the gay community, but he defamed no one, and he is not a homophobe." He went on to say that GLAAD had defamed his father by "falsely accusing him of a repellent form of bigotry".

Several Christian fundamentalist groups, such as Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family, lambasted the film heavily even prior to its release. Following wins by Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Transamerica at the 2006 Golden Globes, Janice Crouse, a Concerned Women for America member, cited these films as examples of how "the media elites are proving that their pet projects are more important than profit" and suggested that they were not popular enough to merit so much critical acclaim.

Right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh has referred to the film as "Bareback Mountain" and "Humpback Mountain". Don Imus, another controversial radio personality, had labeled the film "Fudgepack Mountain".

Some commentators have voiced concerns about the coverage of the movie's homosexual theme in the mass media both in advertising and in public events, such as press conferences and award ceremonies. Several journalists, including New York Daily News writer Wayman Wong, Dave Cullen and Daniel Mendelsohn, have complained that the movie's director, lead actors, and publicity team all avoided using the word gay to describe the story and pointed out that while the movie trailer does not show the two male leads kissing each other, it nevertheless includes a clip from a heterosexual love scene.

On March 23, 2006, actor Randy Quaid, who played Joe Aguirre (Ennis and Jack's boss), filed a lawsuit against Focus Features (LLC), Del Mar Productions (LLC), James Schamus, David Linde, and Does 1-10 alleging that they intentionally and negligently misrepresented Brokeback Mountain as "a low-budget, art house film with no prospect of making any money" in order to secure Quaid's professional acting services at below-market rates. The film had grossed more than $160 million as of the date of his lawsuit, which sought $10 million plus punitive damages. On May 5, Quaid dropped his lawsuit. Quaid's publicist said he decided to drop the lawsuit after Focus Features agreed to pay him a bonus. Focus Features denies making such a settlement.

The American Humane Association raised concerns that animals were treated improperly during filming, alleging that sheep were handled roughly and that an elk appeared to have been "shot on cue", suggesting further that the animal was anesthetized for this purpose, violating standard guidelines for animal handling in the movie industry.

Some critics accused the Academy of homophobia for failing to award the Oscar for Best Picture to Brokeback Mountain and instead giving it to a rival nominee, Crash. Michael Jensen notes that prior to the Oscar ceremony, Brokeback Mountain became "the most honored movie in cinematic history", winning more Best Picture and Director awards than previous Oscar winners Schindler's List and Titanic combined, and pointing out that prior to Brokeback, no film that had won the Writer's Guild, Director's Guild, and Producer's Guild awards failed to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and that only four times in the previous twenty-five years had the Best Picture winner not also been the film with the most nominations. He also notes that only once before had a film not even nominated for the Golden Globe's Best Picture (Crash) go on to win the Academy Award.

This film is the first to be released the same day as both a DVD and a downloadable movie available via the Internet.

It was released in the United States on April 4, 2006. The film moved more than 1.4 million copies on its first day of release and was the second biggest seller of the week behind Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Though the ranking fluctuates daily, by late March and early April 2006, Brokeback Mountain had been the top-selling DVD on several days running. The Region 2 (Europe) DVD was released on April 24, 2006, though at first only in the UK. Other release dates are much later: France on July 19, 2006, and Poland in September, a considerable time after the theater release in both countries. The Region 4 (Australia/New Zealand/South America) DVD was released on July 19, 2006. Brokeback Mountain was re-released in a collector's edition on January 23, 2007. On that same day, Brokeback Mountain was also released as a Combo Format HD DVD/DVD. Brokeback Mountain was released on Blu-ray Disc on September 30, 2007, but only in the UK. Brokeback Mountain will be released on Blu-ray Disc in the United States on March 10, 2009.

To the top

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching tiger hidden dragon poster.jpg

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (traditional Chinese: 臥虎藏龍; simplified Chinese: 卧虎藏龙; pinyin: Wòhǔ Cánglóng) is a Chinese-language film in the wuxia (chivalric and martial arts) style, released in 2000. A China-Hong Kong-Taiwan-United States co-production, the film was directed by Ang Lee and featured an international cast of ethnic Chinese actors, including Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen. The movie was based on the fourth novel in a pentalogy, known in China as the Crane-Iron Pentalogy, by wuxia novelist Wang Dulu. The martial arts and action sequences were choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, well known for his work in The Matrix and other films.

Made on a mere US$15 million budget, with dialogue in Mandarin, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became a surprise international success. After its US premier at the Hawaii International Film Festival, it grossed US$128 million in the United States alone, becoming the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history. It has won over 40 awards. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and three other Academy Awards, and was nominated for six other Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film also won three BAFTAs and two Golden Globes, one for "Best Foreign Film" as well as additional nominations for ten BAFTAs including "Best Picture".

The fictional story is set in the historic Qing Dynasty in China, in the 43rd year of Emperor Qianlong's reign (1778).

The story follows two martial arts warriors, Li Mu-bai (Chinese: 李慕白; pinyin: Lǐ Mùbái) (Chow Yun-Fat) and Yu Shu-lien (Chinese: 俞秀蓮; pinyin: Yú Xiùlián) (Michelle Yeoh). The two characters are attracted to each other but have abstained from a relationship. Mu-bai, an accomplished Wudang swordsman, asks Shu-lien to give his valuable sword, the Green Destiny, to his friend Sir Te because he wants to leave his warrior life behind but Sir Te decides to keep it for safekeeping in Beijing. In the meantime, Mu-bai intends to commemorate the death of his master, who was murdered long ago by Jade Fox (Cheng Pei-pei), a woman who sought to learn Wudang. Also searching for Jade Fox is Tsai (Da Ming Wang) an undercover police inspector.

In Beijing, Shu-lien delivers the sword and meets Jen (traditional Chinese: 玉嬌龍; simplified Chinese: 玉娇龙; pinyin: Yù Jiāolóng) (Zhang Ziyi), the daughter of Governor Yu, a Manchu aristocrat. Jen is destined for an arranged marriage, yet yearns for adventure; she becomes fascinated with the warrior Shu-lien.

One night, a masked thief sneaks onto Sir Te's estate and steals the Green Destiny. Tsai, Shu-lien, and others pursue the thief across rooftops, walls, and other obstacles. Shu-lien discovers that the thief is well-versed in the Wudang school of martial arts. The fight is broken off when a mysterious figure shoots a dart at Shu-lien, which she catches just in time.

Mu-bai and Shu-lien trace the theft to Governor Yu's compound and learn that Jade Fox has been posing as Jen's governess for many years to evade the authorities. Jade Fox challenges Inspector Tsai, his daughter May, and Master Bo to a showdown; she easily defeats all 3 of them before Mu-bai arrives and outmaneuvers Jade Fox, but the masked thief reappears and, to Mu-bai's amazement, uses Wudang techniques. After another short confrontation in which Tsai is killed, the thief and Jade Fox escape, and in a confrontation, Jade Fox realizes that Jen (the "thief") has secretly read her Wudang manual and surpassed her in skill. Mu-bai catches the masked Jen attempting to return the Green Destiny, and after defeating her, suggests that she become his apprentice. She refuses and escapes.

The dart that prevented Shu-Lien from capturing Jen came from a man named Lo (Chinese: 羅小虎; pinyin: Luó Xiǎohǔ) (Chang Chen), who returns and asks Jen to leave with him. A flashback reveals that Lo is a desert bandit called Dark Cloud who had raided Jen's caravan and stolen her comb. Jen chased after him to get it back; Lo defeated and kidnapped her. However, they eventually fell in love. Lo convinced Jen to return to her family, though not before telling her a legend of a man who jumped off a cliff but did not die. Instead, his wishes came true.

Lo has come to Beijing to persuade Jen not to go through with her arranged marriage. However, Jen refuses to leave with him. Soon after, she is married in an elaborate ceremony. Mu-bai and Shu-lien find Lo and tell him to wait for Jen at Wudang Mountain. The day after her wedding, Jen runs away. She is at a crossroads: should she be a court official's wife, the lover of a desert bandit, an outlaw under Jade Fox, or a martial artist under Li Mu-bai? Headstrong, she rejects the path of Shu-lien and Mu-bai, and starts a fight in a restaurant.

Jen finds Shu-lien, who tells her that Lo is at Wudang Mountain. Jen is outraged, thinking that Shu-lien is setting her up. Shu-lien is angry at Jen's lack of gratitude, and says that she always knew Jen was the thief, but covered it up for the sake of Jen's family. The two women fight, and it becomes clear that Shu-lien has better technique but Jen has the better sword (the Green Destiny). Mu-bai arrives and pursues Jen into the forest. He again offers to train her and she says that she will accept him as her master if he can take the Green Destiny from her in three moves. To Jen's surprise, Mu-bai snatches the sword from her hand in a single movement. When Jen still refuses to become Mu-bai's pupil, he throws the Green Destiny over a waterfall. Jen chases after the sword, and Mu-bai is too shocked to pursue her.

Jen retrieves the sword and is rescued by Jade Fox. She puts Jen into a drugged sleep and leaves her in a cavern. Mu-bai and Shu-lien find her there. Jade Fox suddenly reappears and attacks the others with poisoned needles. Mu-bai blocks all but one needle with his sword. He avenges his master's death by mortally wounding Jade Fox, only to realize that he has been hit with a poisoned needle. With his last breaths, Mu-bai confesses his love for Shu-lien. Shu-lien is heartbroken at his death, and furious with Jen for spoiling her chance at happiness. However, Shu-lien spares Jen's life and instructs her always to remain true to herself.

Jen goes to Wudang Mountain and spends one last night with Lo, who is waiting for her. The next morning, Lo finds Jen standing on a balcony overlooking the edge of the mountain. In an echo of the legend that they spoke about in the desert, she asks him to make a wish. He complies, wishing them to be together, back in the desert, and Jen leaps into the clouds.

Although its Academy Award was presented to Taiwan, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was in fact an international co-production between companies in four regions: the Chinese company China Film Co-Production Corporation; the American companies Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, Sony Pictures Classics and Good Machine; the Hong Kong company EDKO Film; and the Taiwanese Zoom Hunt International Productions Company, Ltd; as well as the unspecified United China Vision, and Asia Union Film & Entertainment Ltd., created solely for this film.

The film was made in Beijing, with location shooting in the Anhui, Hebei, Jiangsu and Xinjiang provinces of the People's Republic of China.

Unlike most Chinese films, this one was supported by American distributors and therefore received marketing typical of Western films. It opened first in China and made its US premier as the opening film of the 2000 Hawaii International Film Festival.

The movie was also adapted into a video game.

Crouching Tiger was very well received in the Western world, receiving critical acclaim and numerous awards. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 97% of critics gave Crouching Tiger positive reviews, based on 141 reviews, while Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 93 out of 100, based on 31 reviews.

The film also ranks at number 497 on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.

To the top

Hulk (film)

Hulk movie.jpg

Hulk (also known as The Hulk) is a 2003 superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name. Ang Lee directed the film, which stars Eric Bana as Dr. Bruce Banner, as well as Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte and Josh Lucas. The film explores the origins of the Hulk, which is mainly attributed to Banner's father's experiments on himself, and passing these genes on to his son.

Development for the film started as far back as 1990. The film was at one point to be directed by Joe Johnston and then Jonathan Hensleigh. More scripts had been written by Hensleigh, John Turman, Michael France, Zak Penn, J. J. Abrams, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Michael Tolkin and David Hayter before Ang Lee and James Schamus' involvement. Hulk was shot mostly in California, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. The film was released with mixed reviews, and was a box office disappointment. Marvel Studios rebooted it in 2008 with The Incredible Hulk. Hulk earned $61.2 million in DVD sales, bringing its total film gross to $306,560,480.

David Banner is a genetics researcher who experiments on himself, trying to improve human DNA. Once his wife gives birth to their son Bruce, David realizes his mutant DNA has been passed on and attempts to find a cure for his son's condition. The government, represented by Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, shuts down his research after learning of his dangerous experiments. David, in a fit of rage, causes a massive explosion of the facilities' gamma reactor, and accidentally kills his wife. He is then put into a mental hospital, while 4-year-old Bruce is sent into foster care and adopted, taking on the last name of Krenzler, believing his biological parents are deceased. The events surrounding his mother's death leave Bruce unable to recall details of his early childhood.

Years later, Bruce is a brilliant researcher freshly graduated at the University of California, Berkeley. The military-industrial complex, represented by the unscrupulous Major Talbot, becomes interested in the research to build regenerating soldiers. David reappears and begins infiltrating Bruce's life, working as a janitor in the lab building. Ross, now an Army general, also begins to investigate. Ross, the estranged father of Bruce's ex-girlfriend and co-researcher Betty Ross, becomes concerned both for his daughter's safety around Bruce, but also because Bruce is working in the same field as the father he does not remember.

Bruce succumbs to a scientific experiment accident. Afterwards, we see Bruce sitting in a hospital bed telling Betty that he's never felt better, which she can't fathom due to the fact that the nanomeds have killed everything else they've touched. The radiation has intertwined with Bruce's already-altered DNA. That night, his father confronts him, revealing their relationship and hinting at the mutation inside Bruce. Using Bruce's DNA, he begins experimentation on animals. Soon after, the building rage within Bruce stemming from all of the stresses building up around him activates his gamma-radiated DNA, transforming him into the Hulk.

After the destruction at the lab, Bruce is found unconscious and at home by Betty. Bruce barely remembers his transformation, a sensation similar to birth. Ross arrives, suspicious, and places him under house arrest as well as taking over Bruce and Betty's lab. That night, David phones Bruce and tells him he has unleashed three mutant dogs to Betty's house. Enraged and attacked by Talbot, Bruce transforms again and, after seriously injuring Talbot and the guards, fights and kills all three dogs and saves Betty. The next morning, Bruce is tranquilized and taken to an enormous underground base in the desert. Betty tries to convince her father to allow her to attempt to help Bruce control his transformations, but Ross remains extremely skeptical, believing Bruce is "damned" to follow in his father's footsteps. In the meantime, David breaks into the lab and subjects himself to the nanomeds and the gammasphere, gaining the ability to meld with and absorb the properties of anything he can touch.

Talbot, seeing an opportunity to profit from the Hulk's strength and regenerative capability, attacks and taunts Bruce, but fails. Talbot puts him in a sensory deprivation tank and induces a nightmare that triggers his repressed memories and transforms him into the Hulk, eventually leading to the death of Talbot. David confronts Betty and offers to turn himself in. In exchange, he asks to speak to Bruce "one last time." The Hulk escapes the base in the process. He battles the army in the desert, defeating four tanks and two Comanche Helicopters, and leaps all the way to San Francisco to find Betty again. Betty contacts her father and convinces him to take her to meet the Hulk, believing that he needs "a chance to calm down." Bruce's love for her comes through the Hulk, and he transforms back into his human form. David is allowed to visit the base and talk to Bruce. David, having descended into megalomania, fails to convince Bruce to give him his power. David transforms into a powerful electrical being after biting into a wire and absorbing the energy. Bruce then transforms into the Hulk and battles his father. Both are presumed dead after Ross orders a Gamma Charge Bomb to end the fight, leaving no trace of them. A year later there have still been numerous sightings of the Hulk. Bruce finds exile in the Amazon Rainforest as a doctor in a medical camp.

Hulk co-creator/executive producer Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno cameo as security guards. Johnny Kastl and Daniel Dae Kim have small roles as soldiers.

Producers Avi Arad and Gale Anne Hurd started the development for Hulk in 1990. Hurd explained the Hulk became her favorite superhero as a child because "When girls are growing up, they're the ones who are picked on. I had an older brother, and there's no way that you could ever really fight back. So, to me, the Hulk was wish fulfillment." By December 1992 Marvel Studios was in discussions with Universal Pictures. Michael France and Stan Lee were invited into Universal's offices in 1994, with France writing the script. Universal's concept was to have the Hulk battle terrorists, an idea France disliked. John Turman, a Hulk comic book fan, was brought to write the script in 1995, getting approval from Lee. Turman wrote ten drafts, being heavily influenced by the Tales to Astonish issues, which pitted the Hulk against General Ross and the military, the Leader, Rick Jones and the atomic explosion origin from the comics, and Brian Banner as the explanation for Bruce's inner anger. Universal had mixed feelings over Turman's script, but nonetheless future screenwriters used many elements brought by Turman.

By late 1996 Hurd's husband Jonathan Hensleigh signed on as producer. Industrial Light & Magic was hired to use computer-generated imagery to create the Hulk. For the second time, France was invited to write the script. By April 1997 Joe Johnston was directing with the film's title as The Incredible Hulk. Universal wanted Hensleigh to write the script since he worked with Johnston on the financially successful Jumanji. France was fired before he wrote a single page, but received money from Universal. However, France still wanted to write the script. Johnston dropped out of directing in July 1997 in favor of October Sky, paving the way for Hensleigh to have his directing debut. Turman was brought back a second time to write two more drafts. Zak Penn then rewrote it. His script featured a fight between the Hulk and a school of sharks, as well as two scenes he eventually used for the 2008 film; Banner realizing he is unable to have sex, and triggering a transformation by falling out of a helicopter. Hensleigh rewrote from scratch, coming up with a brand new storyline. In August 1997 Hensleigh completed his script, featuring Bruce Banner, who prior to the accident which will turn him into The Hulk, performs experiments with gamma-irradiated insect DNA on three convicts. This transforms the convicts into "insect men" that cause havoc.

Filming was set to start in December 1997 in Arizona for a mid-1999 release date, but was pushed back to April 1998. Hensleigh subsequently rewrote the script with J. J. Abrams. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski were also brought on board to rewrite with Hensleigh still attached as director. In October 1997, Hulk had entered pre-production with the creation of prosthetic makeup and computer animation already under way. Gregory Sporleder was cast as "Novak", Banner's archenemy. Lynn "Red" Williams was cast as a convict who transforms into a combination of human, ant and beetle. In March 1998 Universal put Hulk on hiatus due to its escalating $100 million budget and worries of Hensleigh directing his first film. $20 million was already spent on script development, computer animation and prosthetics work. Hensleigh immediately went to rewrite the script in order to lower the budget.

Hensleigh found the rewriting process to be too difficult and dropped out, and felt he "wasted nine months in pre-production". It took another eight months for France to convince Universal and the producers to let him try to write a script for a third time. France claimed "Someone within the Universal hierarchy wasn't sure if this was a science fiction adventure, or a comedy, and I kept getting directions to write both. I think that at some point when I wasn't in the room, there may have been discussions about turning it into a Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler movie." France was writing the script on fast track from July—September 1999. Filming for The Incredible Hulk was to start in April 2000.

France stated his vision of the film was different from the other drafts, which based Bruce Banner on his "amiable, nerdy genius" incarnation in the 1960s. France cited inspiration from the 1980s Hulk stories which introduced Brian Banner, Bruce's abusive father who killed his mother. His script had Banner trying to create cells with regenerative capabilities in order to prove to himself that he is not like his father. However, he has anger management issues before the Hulk is even created, which makes everything worse. The "Don't make me angry..." line from the TV series was made into dialogue that Banner's father would say before beating his son. Elements such as the "Gammasphere", Banner's tragic romance with Ross, and the black ops made it to the final film. France turned in his final drafts in late 1999—January 2000.

Michael Tolkin and David Hayter rewrote the script afterwards, despite positive response from the producers over France's script. Tolkin was brought in January 2000, while Hayter was brought in September of that year. Hayter's draft featured The Leader, Zzzax and the Absorbing Man as the villains, who are depicted as colleagues of Banner and get caught in the same accident that creates the Hulk. Director Ang Lee and his producing partner James Schamus became involved with the film in January 2001. Lee was dissatisfied with Hayter's script, and commissioned Schamus for a rewrite, merging Banner's father with the Absorbing Man to create a physical antagonist. Lee cited influences from King Kong, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, Faust and Greek mythology for his interpretation of the story. Schamus said he had found Peter David's storyline that introduced Brian Banner, thus allowing Lee to write a drama that again explored father-son themes.

Schamus was still rewriting the script in October 2001. In early 2002, as filming was underway, Michael France read all the scripts for the Writers Guild of America, to determine who would get final credit. France criticized Schamus and Hayter for claiming they were aiming to make Banner a deeper character, and was saddened they had denigrated his and Turman's work in interviews. Schamus elected to get solo credit. France felt, "James Schamus did a significant amount of work on the screenplay. For example, he brought in the Hulk dogs from the comics and he made the decision to use Banner's father as a real character in the present. But he used quite a lot of elements from John Turman's scripts and quite a lot from mine, and that's why we were credited." France, Turman and Schamus received final credit. A theatrical release date for June 20, 2003 was announced in December 2002, with the film's title as The Hulk.

Filming began on March 18, 2002 in Arizona, and moved on April 19 to the San Francisco Bay Area. This included Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley labs, Oakland, Treasure Island military base and the sequoia forests of Porterville, before several weeks in the Utah and Californian deserts. Filming then moved to the Universal backlot in Los Angeles, using Stage 12 for the water tank scene, before finishing in the first week of August. Filming of Hulk constituted hiring 3000 local workers, generating over $10 million into the local economy. Mychael Danna, who previously collaborated with Lee on Ride with the Devil and The Ice Storm, was set to compose the film score before dropping out. Danny Elfman was then hired.

Eric Bana commented that the shoot was, "Ridiculously serious... a silent set, morbid in a lot of ways." Lee told him that he was shooting a Greek tragedy: he would be making a "whole other movie" about the Hulk at Industrial Light & Magic. An example of Lee's art house approach to the film was taking Bana to watch a bare-knuckle boxing match. Visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren was on the set every day. One of the many visual images in the film that presented an acting challenge for Bana was a split screen technique employed by Lee to cinematically mimic the panels of a comic book page. This required many more takes of individual scenes than normal. Sound design was completed at Skywalker Sound. Muren and other ILM animators used previous technology from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (for the Dobby character) to create the Hulk with computer-generated imagery. Other software used included PowerAnimator, Softimage XSI and RenderMan Interface Specification. ILM started computer animation work in 2001, and completed in May 2003, just one month before the film's release. Lee provided some motion capture work in post-production.

Universal Pictures spent $2.1 million to market the film in a 30-second T.V. spot during Super Bowl XXXVII on January 26th, 2003. Just weeks before the film's release, a number of workprints were leaked on the Internet. The visual and special effects were already being criticized, despite the fact that it was not the final editing cut of the film. Hulk was released on June 20, 2003, earning $62.1 million in its opening weekend, which made it the 16th highest ever opener at the time. With a second weekend drop of 70%, it was the first opener above $20 million to drop over 65%. The film went on to gross $132,177,234 in North America, and $113,183,246 in foreign countries, coming to a worldwide total of $245,360,480. With a final North American gross of $132.2 million it became the largest opener not to earn $150 million. Hulk also earned $61.2 million in DVD sales, bringing its total film gross to $306,560,480. Producer Avi Arad called the film a financial flop/disaster at the box office, but declared Hulk's merchandising was successful enough to continue a sequel. This eventually led to rebooting the franchise with The Incredible Hulk.

Hulk received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes calculated a 61% approval rating, and 53% from their "Top Critics" category. By comparison Metacritic collected an average score of 54 based on 41 reviews. Roger Ebert gave a largely positive review, explaining, "Ang Lee is trying to actually deal with the issues in the story of the Hulk, instead of simply cutting to brainless visual effects." Ebert also liked how the Hulk's movements resembled King Kong. Although Peter Travers of Rolling Stone felt Hulk should have been shorter, he heavily praised the action sequences, especially the climax and cliffhanger. Paul Clinton of CNN believed the cast gave strong performances, but in an otherwise positive review, heavily criticized the computer-generated imagery, calling the Hulk "a ticked-off version of Shrek".

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle considered "the film is more thoughtful and pleasing to the eye than any blockbuster in recent memory, but its epic length comes without an epic reward." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe felt "Jennifer Connelly reprises her stand-by-your-messed-up-scientist turn from A Beautiful Mind." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly stated, "a big-budget comic-book adaptation has rarely felt so humorless and intellectually defensive about its own pulpy roots." Connelly and Danny Elfman received nominations at the 30th Saturn Awards with Best Actress and Best Music. The film was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film but lost out to X2. Dennis Muren, Michael Lantieri and the special effects crew were nominated for Best Special Effects.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia