Che's "roadshow" engagement attracted capacity crowds in L.A. and New York over the weekend, with director Steven Soderbergh even making a special NYC appearance to take his audience's thoughtful questions and verbal abuse.
Having endured Che in its 257-minute entirety, at least one of us at Defamer HQ can attest to its new trailer's elegance in condensing the Che Guevara biopic to a lean two minutes, 31 seconds. From Benicio Del Toro's brooding monochrome gaze to the minimalist grit of revolutionary battle, its comprehensive compression renders the theatrical experience virtually irrelevant. Still, we sort of would have preferred more of the Bollywoodesque "Che You, Che Me" set piece that bridges Guevara's time between Cuba and Bolivia, but! You can't have everything. There will be plenty of time for show tunes when Soderbergh gets busy with Cleo, anyway. [IFC Films]
With most of the industry having seen what it came for and Jeremy Piven having released his date(s) back into the Canadian wild, the 2008 Toronto Film Festival is all but over. But, as befits the event's stature, the whirlwind since our last Toronto Hell round-up deserves a closer look — from the Paris Hilton doc you'll never see again to Kevin Smith literally keeping Zack and Miri's shit together, enjoy the news others traveled thousands of miles for from the comfort of your own industrial slave galley: · Paris, Not France premiered Tuesday night, with its subject in attendance as promised and with a letter from its beleaguered sales agent reportedly making the rounds beforehand:
At the Toronto Film Festival screening of Che, beloved actress Rachel McAdams served as the unofficial ambassador of her native country, Canada. She got the idea when she remembered all of the difficulties she had adjusting to American customs and culture on the set of The Hot Chick in 2002. As she sees it, McAdams' role is to help American film stars become acclimated to the more laid back Canadian lifestyle. McAdams said, "There's not a lot of difference between Canada and America, but if people are confused, they shouldn't hesitate to text me." McAdams handed out pamphlets that featured a metric system conversion chart, as well as a collection of vegan donut shops personally curated by McAdams.
OK, everybody! Raise a glass and extend a warm blogospheric welcome to Peter Bart, the notoriously blogophobic Variety editor in chief who finally succumbed to the medium yesterday at PeterBart.com. We're not sure why he decided to jump in on a summer Sunday of all days, but thankfully, as bloggers, we're free to pass judgment without even asking. We just think of his pleasant column from last September ("[T]he new lexicon of blogdom is all about traffic, not about ideas. ... Here are all these folks sitting at home on their computers, and what's the biggest thing on their mind? Traffic. By the way, I don't have a blog. Not that I know of, anyway") and then his comments last week to Portfolio's Jeff Bercovici:
The Cannes Film Festival wound down Sunday pretty much where we left it Friday: Lindsay Lohan still digs girls, distributors mostly kept their checkbooks closed with one or two exceptions, and Sean Penn and his competition jury putatively fulfilled their social mandate by awarding the French schoolroom drama Entre les Murs (The Class) this year's Palme d'Or. The remaining winners reflect both a who's who of perennial Cannes rock stars (screenplay winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, directing winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan) and sure-fire up-and-comers (Best First Film winner Steve McQueen).
As we established previously, little is happening movie- or industry-wise at the Cannes Film Festival; even Croisette-weary NY Times critic A.O. Scott is officially on the record now with his ambivalence about this year's crop. As such, we lead today's fest news round-up not with the general befuddlement over Synecdoche, New York or continued rapture around Che, but with the only story worth our consideration as the event slumps, thuds and dies until a phoenix-like restoration in 2009: OMG Is Lindsay, like, totally kissing Samantha Ronson? More
press conference photos shameless paparazzi indulgence after the jump.
Where are the big spenders this year at Cannes? After a 2007 buying spree that topped out with Universal snagging We Own the Night for a whopping $11.5 million, only one distributor has made any considerable investment in the current crop of selections — IFC Films, which made news Wednesday by acquiring the acclaimed Irish drama Hunger, its seventh buy in as many days. And even its other deals — an international mash-up including A Christmas Tale (France), Chaser (S. Korea) and the American indie The Pleasure of Being Robbed — are slated for minimal theatrical play as they funnel into IFC's day-and-date on-demand circuit.
One tiny, loaded word pretty much summed up Wednesday at Cannes: Che. Steven Soderbergh's two-part, four-hour-plus biopic premiered last night to a sprawling range of reactions, most of which seem to embrace the challenging film (and particularly Benicio Del Toro's performance as the title revolutionary) even while doubting the film would ever again screen again in its current version. Soderbergh and star Benicio Del Toro were only slightly defensive when it came time to face the press:
Only a few days remain before Cannes ends and we can roll our bleary eyes from the backs of our heads. In the meantime, the rubbernecker in us can't help but take an interest in Spike Lee's latest sortie against the Hollywood establishment — this time as personified by Cannes darling Clint Eastwood, whom Lee railed against while promoting his upcoming Afro-centric World War II drama Miracle at St. Anna:
The pandas have been euthanized and Sean Penn is still lighting up despite you on the first full day of the Cannes Film Festival, which we continue to study from our vantage point in the salt mines. We continue to wince at the reaction to the opening-night film Blindness, whose bad buzz we were nervous about back when the festival waited forever to announce its selection. Variety's Justin Chang piled on this morning — "Blindness emerges onscreen both overdressed and undermotivated, scrupulously hitting the novel's beats yet barely approximating, so to speak, its vision" — with an only slightly happier James Rocchi following suit at Cinematical.
Then there's the anticipation for Indiana Jones and Whatever the Fuck, whose anxious makers are taking precautions to dodge the lynch-mob on their own tail: