Instinctively and intuitively, this photo of Florida pizza parlor owner and blood donator Scott Van Duzer lifting the First Dude off the floor convicned me that President Obama‘s reelection is in the bag. I saw the photo and grinned a bit and I kind of knew…okay? I shouldn’t say stuff like this. Fewer Obama supporters will vote.
Juan Antonio Bayona‘s The Impossible “delivers a visceral treatment of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, hampered only by the overwrought sentimentalism of the survival tale at its center. Until it slows down [the film] contains some of the most unsettling sequences in the history of the disaster movie genre…it never ceases to be a visual marvel. But] it suffers from the…problem of emphasizing a feel-good plot within the context of mass destruction.” — from Eric Kohn‘s 9.9 IIndiewire review. (I’ll post my own reactions tomorrow.)
Onstage at the Princess of Wales theatre on Sunday, 9.9 (l to r.): Impossible costars Tom Holland, Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, director Juan Antonio Bayona.
Bayona at Soho House after-party — Sunday, 9.9, 10:05 pm.
I have to leave for the big public premiere of Juan Antonio Bayona‘s The Impossible in a few minutes so I’m just madly posting photos and videos of the Silver Linings Playbook and Cloud Atlas press conferences, which happened late this morning and early this afternoon respectively. I’ve missed Cloud Atlas so far (I made a choice) and won’t catch up with it until Tuesday.
As someone who knew marketer Geoffrey Ammer somewhat (he took me to lunch a couple of times in the ’90s) and who liked his style, courtesy and professionalism, I’m very sorry to learn that he passed this morning from a heart attack at age 62. A Wrap story mentions that his dad also went early. If you’re living a reasonably healthy lifestyle longevity is always about genes. You’re either lucky or unlucky, and there’s not much you can do if you’re dealt a short hand. My condolences to Geoff’s family, friends, colleagues.
While offering introductions at the start of this afternoon’s Cloud Atlas press conference, the moderator mentioned that today — September 9th — is costar Hugh Grant‘s birthday. Without skipping a beat Tom Hanks went right into the birthday song and the whole room joined in.
Everyone, it seems, except for one off-in-the-corner sourpuss agrees with me about The Silver Lining’s Playbook being a knockout and a likely awards contender. It’s an awfully nice feeling when everyone jumps in and says, “Yup, what you wrote last night was right on the money.” And it’s a terrible feeling when the reverse happens. Do you know how you can tell when a movie is really working during a showing? During the quiet, intimate scenes you can sense the concentration — the entire theatre is dead quiet except for the dialogue. You could hear a pin drop.
I don’t want to be crabby but Deadline‘s Pete Hammond tapped out the day’s oddest comment when he wrote in the middle of a whoop-dee-doo, here-comes-another-Oscar-contender piece that “the film has a certain charm.” That’s like saying a rainshower delivers a certain amount of moisture.
Eric Kohn‘s Indiewire review is an impassioned a-minus. This Oscar potential piece by L.A. Times columnist Steven Zeitchik is cautious but accurate. My favorite rave so far was written by Indiewire‘s Kevin Jagernauth — here are excerpts:
“While the film’s tone will find many making comparisons to Russell’s Flirting With Disaster — and indeed, it has that film’s energy, though it’s not quite as zany — the helmer imbues it with an even bigger heart thanThe Fighter, creating a picture that while frequently laugh out loud hilarious, has very real emotional stakes. Russell wisely never overplays that latter card, tending to side with comedy over drama more often than not, but when those notes do come to the fore, the character work has been so well done, that they’re honest without being sentimentalized.
“But none of this works without some carefully developed, and perfectly pitched performances from the leads, and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both arguably give career best, awards-worthy performances. We’ve frankly never seen Cooper in a role like this, one that requires him to not only to carry the film, but to play a nuanced character who is in big in personality, but also tremendously vulnerable. He’s also outrageously funny.
“Lawrence may be an even bigger surprise to many as Tiffany, a young woman who is sexy, tough and also easily bruised, who not only has to manage Pat’s unpredictable nature, but also keep herself on an even keel to stop from sliding into self destructive tendencies. And the actress simply nails it, and one particular showdown with De Niro is awards-reel ready, and earned deserved applause as well from the TIFF press audience.
“Silver Linings isn’t a movie about mental illness so much as it about the struggle many can identify with, in trying to find someone who can accept us for all of our quirks and flaws, big and small. [It] isn’t the deepest movie you’ll see this year, and ultimately doesn’t say anything new about how men and women relate. But Russell’s film says it in a manner that is a true joy to watch…[it] retains a looseness while never losing track of where the characters and story need to go.
“Yes, the marketing presents it as a big broad comedy — and it certainly is — but it’s also a unique and involving tale of two outsiders who together find a way to get on with life after it has dealt them some bad hands. And the silver lining is a film that is worth every satisfying minute you spend with it.”
I made a choice last night to see Silver Linings Playbook rather than the 172-minute Cloud Atlas, as they were more or less screening against each other, and to judge from reviews so far it seems that I went with the more satisfying film. But I love the Cloud Atlas review by Variety‘s Peter Debruge, and this portion in particular:
“An intense three-hour mental workout rewarded with a big emotional payoff, “Cloud Atlas” suggests that all human experience is connected in the pursuit of freedom, art and love. As inventive narratives go, there’s outside the box, and then there’s pioneering another dimension entirely, and this massive, independently financed collaboration among Tom Tykwer and Wachowski siblings Lana and Andy courageously attempts the latter, interlacing six seemingly unrelated stories in such a way that parallels erupt like cherry bombs.”
And this: “No less exciting is the way Cloud Atlas challenges its actors to portray characters outside their race or gender. [Costar] Hugo Weaving plays villains in nearly every age, ranging from a heartless Korean consumerist to a Nurse Ratched-like ward master. Indeed, the filmmakers put the lie to the notion that casting — an inherently discriminatory art — cannot be adapted to a more enlightened standard of performance over mere appearance, reminding us why the craft is rightfully called ‘acting.'”