Earlier this afternoon I took part in a Carlton Hotel round-table chat with Nebraska costars Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb. Dern was the life of the party, going on about everyone and everything, a totally crackerjack raconteur telling the greatest stories about John Wayne, Alexander Payne, Walter Hill, etc. Sharp as a tack and a naturally affable charmer. The Cowboys, The Driver, Drive He Said, Castle Keep, The Laughing Policeman…the publicist had to drag him out of the room.
James Gray‘s The Immigrant is a respectably authentic period drama, set in 1921 Manhattan, about a beautiful Polish immigrant named Ewa (Marion Cotillard) and her struggle to survive the cruel, slimy exploitations of Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), a pimp who doubles as a low-level theatrical showman. Darius Khondji‘s Godfather, Part II-like photography and the general production values are top of the line, but the pace is slow and the story is a ho-hummer.
It’s one thing to doze off during a print or radio interview, but on camera? It’s too blatant — it must be a form of subtle commentary. On some deep-down, perhaps-repressed level Morgan Freeman allowed himself to doze off during this Now You See Me chat because (again, I’m talking about deeply submerged feelings) he thinks the film is basically another negligible programmer and a paycheck job. If he were being interviewed for a major James Cameron or Alfonso Curaon film, do you think he’d allow himself to nod off? Nothing is accidental. Everything we do is intentional self-expression.
(Tip of the hat to Vulture‘s Amanda Dobbins.)
Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight, which opens Friday, has one of the all-time-highest Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores. Todd Phillips‘ The Hangover Part III doesn’t have one of the lowest (RT 22%), but it’s pretty damn low. Anyone with half a brain knows that this final installment is going to take a huge dump on your face. And so it’s naturally going to earn impressive coin this weekend while Before Midnight, playing in far fewer theatres, will do respectably among those with indie-ish, somewhat rarified tastes.
Why? Because apes like the guy depicted above will probably steer clear of Before Midnight for the most part and probably flock to Hangover III, although I’m presuming it’s going to make less that the other two Hangover films. He and his brethren are real, they exist and they’re as much of a blight upon humanity as Bachar el-Assad.