Today was minimal in regards to number of films screened…due to circumstances beyond my control. But the 2 films I did screen were wonderful. (I paid $15 for a cab to get me to a screening of 127 HOURS on time…only to find out that it had been pushed back – which conflicted with my next screening.) Alas, I only saw two films and attended one hell of a party!
First off, I saw a film that Weinstein Co. has picked up – THE KING’S SPEECH – starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Cater. The film is fantastic! Based on a true story of the relationship between the stammering Duke of York and his speech therapist, the title refers not only to the speeches given by the Duke (& future King)…but also to the everyday speaking voice of the protagonist. If we manage to get it at THE NEON, it will be a hit! The audience was applauding during the film…and certainly after. It’s truly wonderul – with award-worthy performances all around. The film was directed by Tom Hooper (director of DAMNED UNITED).
Later in the day, I attended Mark Romanek’s NEVER LET ME GO – based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (Mark directed ONE HOUR PHOTO and numerous incredible music videos). The film is a revisionist historical piece…but also science-fiction. That said, the “science-fiction” element doesn’t contain monsters or aliens, but rather a different evolution of medicine. The movie stars Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION), Andrew Garfield (IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASUS), and Keira Knightley (ATONEMENT), and it is beautifully done. It’s a quiet film with a strong punch that is quite clearly about all of us (and with strong supporting actors, too).
Lastly, I just got home from a party sponsored by Fox Searchlight – a distributor who has been a great partner with THE NEON (responsible for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, SIDEWAYS, YOUNG @ HEART, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, ONCE, THE WRESTLER, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, and CRAZY HEART). This was the star-sighting party of the year!! Upon arrival, I grabbed a cocktail and struck up a conversation with Mark Olsen of the L.A. Times. He’s a really nice guy, and we talked about the arthouse cinema and the decline of the young demographic. I then chatted with Danny Boyle (director of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE). I told him of my admiration for many of his films (especially MILLIONS – which he said “was a dry-run for SLUMDOG”…and of our gratitude for the success of SLUMDOG. Once again, a nice guy. I spoke briefly with James Franco (we talked about MILK, HOWL, and his grandmother who lives in Shaker Heights), Marion Cotillard (she’s so sweet and down-to-earth), and I had numerous people compliment me on my jacket including Mark Romanek (it really is pretty wonderful…I’d been saving it for a special occasion). Leonard Maltin was there, a radiant Hillary Swank was there. An adorable Carey Mulligan was there. I got a wink from Andrew Garfield. The adorable Justin Long was there. The list goes on and on. In fact, I know there were several more stars who I recognized…but simply can’t name. It was quite a night…and I love that my bar-tab essentially only amounted to my taxi ride back to the B&B.
Off to bed. More soon!