Gonna try something new here.  There’s no way I can do a proper write up of all the Oscar and Spirit movies.  Besides, I have no business doing reviews or anything resembling them.  So let’s try out some compliment sandwiches.  First up, Life of Pi.  Mmm…a pie sandwich sounds delicious.  (All pictures from the film’s official photostream)

Look at the pretties – The movie is visually stunning, there’s no denying that.  Certainly worth the extra dollar to see it in 3D.
But were they just a distraction? – I firmly believe the visuals should support the story, quickly getting bored with a beautiful film if it doesn’t go anywhere.  A few times the movie seemed to veer off and be pretty for the sake of being pretty.
No, thanks to confident directing – Ang Lee generally did a great job utilizing the film’s overwhelming strength, the pretty visuals, having them cover for underdeveloped parts of the story.  A flashy movie like this may give its director a leg up for awards consideration, but I’d say it is deserved here.

We love Irrfan Khan  The Grouches have a running joke that whenever there’s a prestige film featuring Indians, Irrfan Khan has a role (e.g. Slumdog Millionaire and The Namesake).  But that’s OK, since he’s pretty great.
The rest of the cast, maybe less so – Rafe Spall wasn’t helped out by the bland writing, but milquetoast much?  (That said, I’m still definitely looking forward to next year’s I Give It a Year.)  Suraj Sharma was put in a thankless situation, having to carry most of the movie on his own, but he just barely acquitted himself.  The comparison, in my mind, is Naomi Watts in King Kong.  There, acting against a CGI monster, Watts was constantly riveting, giving a jolt to the film that Sharma couldn’t provide.
Except for Gerard Depardieu – Who else is dying to see the prequel about the cook’s origin story?

Surprisingly, stuff actually happened – Not having read the book, I was just expecting two hours of a dude on a boat with a tiger, which, frankly, sounded pretty terrible.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the film had an actual plot.
But not that much stuff – Probably wasn’t a good sign that partway through the middle section I kept wondering when we were going to jump back to the rather trite framing device of Irrfan Khan telling his story to Rafe Spall.  I also, frankly, found everything that happened prior to the shipwreck to be more interesting than the story of survival on the boat.  Which…isn’t ideal.
Still, I was never outright bored – Considering the bulk of the movie is just a dude on a boat with a tiger, the story moved along at a generally decent pace.

If the movie were a sandwich, it would be: Something from a recently remodeled Safeway or Giant.