Last week Vulture guy Kyle Buchanan mentioned something about Neil LaBute‘s Some Velvet Morning being a kind of comeback-resurgence film and possibly his best since In The Company of Men (or something like that). It will screen three times at the Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on Thursday, 4.18. It sounds like a major event — a film that may all but erase memories of The Wicker Man and restore LaBute’s rep as a master conveyor of fear and loathing between the sexes.
Alice Eve, Stanley Tucci in Neil LaBute’s Some Velvet Morning.
But this isn’t a good year for me to attend Tribeca (I can’t afford it) and Steve Beeman of Falco Ink is telling me that the Velvet Morning guys won’t be allowing any Left Coast critics or columnists to see it concurrently via DVD screeners or a limited digital viewing window of some kind. That’s a real shame. They’re presumably afraid of piracy but a limited digital streaming option for favored journalists doesn’t seem like much of a risk to me. So if I want to catch it next weekend I’ll have to fork over $1200 or so and probably more.
“Young and beautiful Velvet (Alice Eve) is enjoying a relaxing morning in her New York brownstone when Fred (Stanley Tucci) interrupts,” the synopsis reads. “With suitcase in tow, he enters the apartment with great expectation. Not having seen or heard from Fred in nearly four years, Velvet is clearly surprised. As Fred unloads the reason for his resurfacing, the history and nature of their relationship is revealed. The weight of their reconnection becomes clear as tension mounts and their chemistry reaches its climax.
“Writer/director Neil LaBute continues his exploration of male and female relations in this enigmatic relationship drama. The use of natural lighting and handheld camera highlights the dramatic realism for which LaBute is known. Both lead actors give electric performances, Stanley Tucci as the manic, ego-crushed older man, and Alice Eve, the dazzling ingénue. Their nuanced performances, paired with LaBute’s dialogue, create an intriguing drama with a stunning finale.”
Update: The only thing that gives me pause is the fact that Velvet is a porn-star name. What semi-upstanding parents would name their daughter Velvet? Any woman who would self-name herself Velvet would do so only to enhance her reputation among oily guys who pay for it. Woman: “Hi, my name is Velvet Kowalsky and I’m applying for the marketing position with your company.” Employer: “Uhm…your name is Velvet?”
Remember that line in Woody Allen‘s Husbands and Wives in which a business colleague was telling Sydney Pollack to call a certain lady of the evening, in part because “she has a mouth like velvet”?
And by the way, what “young and beautiful” blonde 20something who isn’t holding down a senior executive-level position with a major corporation can afford to live in her own “New York brownstone”? At best somebody like Velvet might be able to afford a share…maybe. On her own she might be able to afford some small, moderately dumpy apartment in Brooklyn or Queens.