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A reader reports on last night's ArcLight screening of Palindromes, director Todd Solondz's latest addition to the misanthrope canon, where it was discovered that Ellen Barkin's rambling answers to questions about the movie are a good time to hit the concession stand or the restrooms:

What exactly is Ellen Barkin on? I went to the Palindromes preview screening at the ArcLight last night. Todd Solondz was scheduled to give a Q&A but lucky for the sold out crowd we were also given an audience with Ellen Barkin. During the Q&A Ellen’s rambling and spacey answers to the simplest questions were so long winded that even Solondz spent a good deal of the time with his hands literally covering his face.

I have heard some people go on and on during these, but this was a new level. The Q&A lasted for over forty minutes and with Ellen’s endless confused answers to the simplest question only four questions were asked during the entire time. A questions about what it was like working with Solondz was answered with a 15 minute rambling description of the entire feature production process, complaining that she hasn’t worked in 5 years, and telling the audience that if her 12 year old daughter got pregnant she wouldn’t hesitate to immediately get her an abortion (“I would know what to do.”) And that was in the first 5 minutes. Yikes!

When the Q&A was over there was an announcement made asking the audience (including Leonard Maltin, Mike White, etc) to please stay in our seats until Solondz and Barkin had exited the auditorium? What the hell? Isn't this sort of thing reserved for Dick Cheney’s appearances? Apparently Hollywood is so security crazy these days even indie film directors and over-the-hill spaced-out actresses are worthy of Secret Service-like security measures. Even after they had left the auditorium, security guards wearing badges refused to let the grumbling industry crowd leave for several minutes, until they were assured over their walkie talkies that Barkin and Solondz had indeed left the building. What is the world coming to?