I started off this morning with Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to BLUE VALENTINE. This film is called A PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, and it’s well shot, edited, etc…but I really disliked it. The film is about a motorcycle trick rider with a traveling carnival who finds out that he an old fling ended up pregnant during his last stop through town. He decides to stick around when the fair leaves…and will do anything to make things “right.” There are three chapters to this film – each with its own set of acts. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dean DeHaan are the leads. The story seemed overly contrived to me, and I thought the score had elements of western/thriller hybrid – which somehow appropriate didn’t seem right at the time (only after seeing the whole film did it make sense…but doesn’t work as far as I’m concerned). I shook my head and snickered at several moments…that wasn’t the response the director was hoping for.
Next up, I saw a film from the Netherlands called THE DEFLOWERING OF EVA VON END. When a handsome German exchange student arrives at the home of the von End family, their backwards, slightly wacky lives are turned upside down as almost everyone (except one jealous son) tries to win the attention of the new arrival. This film started off quirky & hysterical…became a little twisted…and then took some completely zany turns. Whereas I liked 80% of this movie, the ending dragged on and I wasn’t completely sold on the entire third act. (That said, I did laugh quite a bit for the first hour.)
Lastly, I saw the world premiere of CLOUD ATLAS. This epic film from the directors of THE MATRIX and Tom Tykwer (PERFUME and RUN, LOLA RUN) covers numerous characters, numerous plotlines and numerous time periods. Whereas I’m rarely a fan of science fiction (GATTACA is the only sci-fi film from the last 20 years that I consider a favorite), this film had me intrigued from the opening sequence. Though it’s a big Hollywood film (Warner Brother is distributing), it’s thoughtful, complicated and quite topical. It’s funny, it’s gory, it’s rough, it’s tender…and the crowd gave the film a standing ovation for more than 6 minutes. So many were there – the directors, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, and more! Overall, I think this is an ambitious piece – and for the most part, sucessful. Check out the long, special trailer below!
After the film, I met up with an old friend who I haven’t seen since last year’s fest. I figured out that we met exactly 10 years ago to this very weekend. Bill and I met in line for Pedro Almodovar’s TALK TO HER – one of my favorite films of all time. And we’ve stayed in touch for a decade. That’s pretty special.
Time for bed. More tomorrow.