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October 23: Happy Birthday Ang Lee and Sam Raimi


1023LeeRaimi

As headliners today, we feature directors who have in common that each of them was responsible for bringing a pre-MCU version of a Marvel superhero to the big screen.

Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee celebrates his 63rd today.  After his service in the Taiwanese navy, he studied theater at the University of Illinois, and then earned a master’s in film at NYU, where one of his classmates was Spike Lee (no relation—but you knew that 😉 ).  Although his master’s thesis film was highly praised, it took several years before he had the chance to direct.  In 1990, he won a contest for screenplays sponsored by the Taiwanese government, and as a result was able to make the three films that are informally known as the “Father Knows Best” Trilogy.

In between the second and third of those films, Lee made his Hollywood debut in 1995, directing an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility which starred Emma Thompson.  Later in the 1990s he returned to the US to make The Ice Storm and Ride With the Devil, both critical but not commercial successes.  He capped the decade by making one of his most famous films, the wuxia action drama Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won several Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for Best Picture.

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Worst to First: Ranking the Spider-Man Movies


We’re looking forward to tonight’s release of the new Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming with another of our “Worst to First” articles. I’m not sure I’ll offer too many surprises on the top end here, but there might be a little bit of suspense in the lower half. Since most of us will not have seen the new film, we’ll only be ranking the existing five for the time being. If you have seen the newest solo Spider-Man flick already, feel free to share your non-spoiler thoughts here in the comments section.
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Sam Raimi: Along Came A Spidey


Hard to believe but fifteen years ago there was no such thing as a Spider-man movie.  Now here we are and Spidey is on his second reboot.  When the original Spider-man movie debuted in 2002, super hero movies were still relatively uncommon and director Sam Raimi was known primarily as the director of cult horror movies.  Prior to the movie’s release, Raimi talked to Movieline about how he got the job, what controversial contributions James Cameron made to the movie and how the chemistry between Tobey Maguire and Kristen Dunst may have spilled over into real life.

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