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The Reeler Blog

The News: Ang Lee Gets All the Chicks

Ang Lee takes a walk in Westchester (Photo: NY Times)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Some of today's movie news of note from around New York:

--Among the declining ranks of gracious, patient, indulgent mainstream filmmakers, few outclass Ang Lee. After the grueling press cycle accompanying his notorious one-two punch of Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution, the guy actually welcomed The Times into his Westchester home for a relatively puffy but no less engaging lifestyle piece. With chicks! "Mr. Lee was in Kansas City, Mo., filming the American Civil War drama Ride With the Devil when he got a phone call from home. The baby chick that [his wife] had brought home from work escaped into the marshland and died. 'The kids were crying and crying over the phone,' he recalled." Happy endings ensue (for a change).

--One of Lee's adaptations -- The Ice Storm -- is included in Rachel Donadio's essay about the evolving partnerships between novelists and studios, as are John Sayles, Tom Perrotta and Michael Ondaatje. It's essentially the more theoretical, post-Reservation Road version of Michael Fleming's industry glimpse from last year, but you can't beat hearing from Chuck Palahniuk, who recently visited the NYC set of Choke: " 'It was interesting to see everyone’s interpretation,' Palahniuk said. 'Beyond that, I ate my weight in location catering and ogled during the nude scenes.' "

--Gawker preceded the holiday with a great family anecdote concerning A.O. Scott. I can't say I relate (assuming it's even true), but I did once witness an intergenerational fistfight in my own clan that turned me off to alcohol for about five hours.

--As if on cue, Post neocon Kyle Smith ruins Christmas with his adventurous reading of It's a Wonderful Life. Try as he might, however, he will never outdo his 2006 holiday abortion A Christmas Caroline, whose "soul baritone"-d, Newport-dragging black Santa haunts me like a lump of coal in a stocking woven from John Podhoretz's body hair.

Posted at November 26, 2007 10:08 AM

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