For whatever reason Joel and Ethan Coen chose to attend Saturday night’s Montauk tribute to distributor Ben Barenholz but not Sunday afternoon’s Guild Hall q & a with Armond White. Maybe they never intended to — I don’t know.
Toy Story 3 producer Darla K. Anderson, director Lee Unkrich at Sunday mornng’s Pixar brunch at Maidstone hotel.
Yesterday afternoon 127 Hours star James Franco submitted yesterday afternoon to a q & a with Museum of Modern Art film chief Rajendra Roy inside a small theatre in Sag Harbor. The highlight came when Cool It director Ondi Timmoner tried to persuade Franco to consider playing Robert Mapplethorpe in a biopic she’s planning, and Franco smiled and playfully said yes.
The entire Hamptons Film Festival gang — all the filmmakers, organizers, supporters and press — gathered yesterday afternoon at the home of Stuart and Vicki Matsch-Suna for what was called a “chairman’s reception.” All of it under a big tent on a large sloping backyard with a beautiful pool down below, and with a monstrous lawn adjacent to the property in front, like one of those huge English grazing fields.
Miral star Freida Pinto — Saturday, 10.9, 5:20 pm.
Weinstein Co. marketing exec Victoria Parker, Harvey Weinstein.
N.Y. Press critic and NYFCC chief Armond White — Saturday, 10.9, 5:05 pm. White will be moderating today’s discussion about the 20th anniversary of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Miller’s Crossing at Guild Hall.
Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K. Anderson.
(l. to r)
Pihla Viitala, Finland; Anais Demoustier, France; Zrinka Cvitesic, Croatia; and Karen Dix, Project Director of European Film Promotion (EFP) and Shooting Stars.
Producer Sam Kitt, Waiting for Superman director Davis Guggenheim.
Cool It director Ondi Timerman — Saturday, 10.9, 5:40 pm.
127 Hours star James Franco during yesterday afternoon’s q & a in Sag Harbor.
Taken late yesterday morning in the main lobby and bar area of East Hampton’s Maidstone Hotel, which is the main headquarters of the Hamptons Film Festival. Today’s activities include (a) a Pixar brunch at noon, (b) a q & a with Joel and Ethan Coen with moderator Armond White, (c) a second look at 127 Hours, and (d) a second dive into Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan.
Last night I saw the final, slightly shortened cut of Derek Cianfrance‘s Blue Valentine at the Hamptons Film Festival. It’s about ten minutes shorter than the Sundance version I saw nine months ago, and it really got sunk in this time around. Call me a flake if you want, but it’s a cleaner and less mannered film now, and I felt curiously touched and moved by it even. Certainly by the acting.
This is a Best Picture candidate, I now feel, and Michelle Williams is a Best Actress contender, for sure. I suppose I was so distracted the first time around by Gosling’s intense but curiously mannered performance that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
Maybe my initial reaction was due in part to Sundance exhaustion (which can lead to a kind of fuck-all peevishness), but somehow the neo-Cassevetes vibe seemed to amount to much more this time.
My Sundance ’10 review wasn’t exactly a pan. I called Blue Valentine “a pretty good film made by some undeniably talented folks who would rather shoot themselves than make another relationship movie in the same old way.” I expressed irritation with Gosling (“always doing that rob-bop-a-loo-bop, always focused on behaving in his own particular way and making damn sure that we notice this”) but I didn’t convey disdain or disrespect for Blue Valentine as a whole.
Gosling is a trip though. I met Cianfrance at a party late yesterday afternoon, and it hit me finally that Gosling has literally based his performance on an imitation of Cianfrance — particularly the director’s high forehead, thinning-hair coif (in those parts of the film in which Gosling is playing “older”) and his dese-dem-dose patois. On its own terms the performance is still bothersome in certain ways (the fact that Gosling smokes about 87 cigarettes during this film, several of them while carrying his daughter around, drives me up the wall) but at least I get now what he was doing, weird as that may sound.
In any event, the new Blue Valentine is proof that making a film shorter really can lead to salvation from time to time. It was trimmed, of course, at the urging of distributor Harvey Weinstein, and as such is now one of the best arguments for the Harvey Scissorhands approach that I’ve ever seen.
Us critic Thelma Adams, Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance following last night’s showing in East Hampton.
Here are portions of the January 2010 review that I still stand by:
“[This] is an old-fashioned arthouse relationship movie with next to no story but an intensely observational art-bubble thing going on in which we’re shown a relationship between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in two time periods — young, hot and feverishly in love and somewhat older, frustrated and not in love or certainly less so.
“For the most part Blue Valentine is about Cianfrance showing off his John Cassevetes chops — one deep invadin’, high falutin’ close-up intimacy moment after another with the camera doing the old duck-and-weave.
“It’s basically about Gosling and Michelle Williams giving us their acting-class utmost as a couple of not-very-bright instinctuals who want each other and lah-dee-dah-dee-dah and then they’re older and life is harder with the burden of the cute little daughter and all. I couldn’t tell what was wrong except for Williams being frustrated with Gosling’s blue-collar complacency and Gosling going ‘whassa matter?….wait, wait, whassa matter?’ and smoking so many damn cigarettes (even while holding his daughter) that I wanted to pick him off with a high-powered rifle.
“Gosling is inventive and never predictable, and I’m going to loathe him for years and years to come for this very nimbleness, this determination to imprint and infiltrate each and every film he’s in with a Ryan Gosling mood spray. He’s a behavioralist who lives inside a very deep mine shaft, and when he takes over a movie (as he does this one) you’re suddenly deep in that mine with him and noticing that air is thin and wondering why but feeling it might be time to get the hell out of there, and yet knowing this would be heresy because Gosling is, at the end of the day, a very intense presence with a very shifty bag of tricks that most other actors would never devise, much less resort to. I mean that in a half-flattering way.”
At the end of my Sundance review I wrote that “there’s never a moment in which you’re saying to yourself ‘this is crap, I can’t take this.’ What you’re saying is ‘this a high-end thing made by some fiercely committed people, and I can barely stand it.'” I didn’t feel that way last night. Instead I was saying to myself, “You let your Sundance fatigue get the better of you to some extent, and to a large extent it’s now a better film with some of the indulgences removed.”