My Delta flight from Atlanta landed last night around 7:45 pm. I picked up my luggage (a single leather bag) and went to the curb and got a cab. Which is what I always do. And then I piddled around at home and crashed early (10:30 pm), and then got up late (9 am). I worked a bit and then went to the Theory of Everything luncheon and came back and filed three stories. And then a half-hour ago I went downstairs to drop some trash into the bin and I looked over and noticed that my car is missing. Wow. I tried to remember if I’d dropped it off with my local mechanic before leaving….nope. What could’ve happened? I was about to ride my bike to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station and file a stolen car report when it hit me. I drove down to LAX early Friday morning and parked my wheels in one of those $15 per day lots. Of course! Well, at least I don’t have to buy a new car now. Zoning out on stuff like this used to happen every so often when I was imbibing, but things have been really clean and clear since the sober thing began 31 months ago. Famous last words. Now I have to cab all the way down to LAX for another $45 plus pick up the car. The things I do.
Some instinct told me right away (and quite a while ago) that Susanne Bier‘s Serena, a rural period drama with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, was a wrong one. It was shot two and half years ago (March to May 2012) and then it took Bier 18 months to finish it, and then it got killed a few days ago at the London Film Festival and via general British release, and now it’s being VOD released by Magnolia on 2.26.15. Bier’s had a tough time recently, but she seemed unable to do wrong from ’02 through ’07, at least in my eyes — Open Hearts, Brothers, After The Wedding and the brilliant Things We Lost In The Fire.
Glenn Kenny did a first-rate job of analyzing the life and work of Robert De Niro in that Cahiers du Cinema book he wrote which came out last summer. But the book-publishing world can be a brutal, dog-eat-dog one, and now, alas, it’s time for Glenn’s tome to take a farewell strut and defer to Shawn Levy‘s “De Niro: A Life,” which came out yesterday — Tuesday, 10.28. I haven’t even skimmed through Levy’s biography yet. It was lying on my doorstep when I returned last night from Savannah. But I know his Jerry Lewis and Paul Newman bios, and whatever’s there Levy tends to uncover. Plus he’s an eloquent writer. On the other hand…De Niro again! What is new to say or learn? Same story, same trajectory — Mean Streets/Godfather Part II breakthrough, peaking into the mid to late ’80s (Raging Bull, True Confessions, Falling In Love, Cape Fear), resurgence in the early to mid ’90s (Goodfellas, Casino, Heat), and then the late 90s-post millenial sell-out downturn. I’ll read Levy’s book this weekend.
(l.) Shawn Levy’s “De Niro: A Life“; (r.) Glenn Kenny‘s Phaidon/Cahiers Du Cinema’s “Anatomy of an Actor” book about Robert De Niro, which came out last July.
Earlier today Focus Features hosted a press luncheon at Lucques on behalf of James Marsh‘s The Theory of Everything (11.7.14), the rapturously received drama about the life of celestial physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), his wife Jane (Felicity Jones) and their struggle with Hawking’s ALS disease, not to mention their extra-marital intrigues. Redmayne, Jones, producer Lisa Bruce and screenwriter Anthony McCarten took turns speaking with journalists at five (or was it six?) different tables. It was all so civilized and convivial. Everyone conversed, listened, minded their manners, laughed but not too loudly, enjoyed the excellent food, etc. Nobody spilled their drink or behaved like a gorilla or said the wrong thing.
The Theory of Everything star Eddie Redmayne during today’s luncheon at Lucques.
(l. to. r.) a portion of Variety‘s Tim Gray, back of Pete Hammond’s head, TheWrap‘s Steve Pond, back of some guy’s head, Eddie Redmayne, back of another guy’s head. MCN’s David Poland is at far right.
My table included In Contention‘s Kris Tapley, TheWrap‘s Steve Pond and Variety‘s Tim Gray. (The table next to us included MCN’s David Poland and Deadline‘s Pete Hammond.)
Theory opens in nine days. The big premiere happened last night at the Academy. Focus’s big mission, it seems to me, is to underline the notion that (a) Theory is indeed a Best Picture contender (most pundits agree) and (b) to convince the guilds and the Academy that it’s a better “eccentric British genius copes with a serious personal problem” movie — richer, trippier, more soulful — than Morten Tyldum‘s The Imitation Game (Weinstein Co., 11.21).