With the end of December (and the year) approaching, we come upon another of Jason Reitman’s Live Reads, hosted by Film Independent at LACMA. Only this time, the Live Read was not at LACMA; for December, Jason, Elvis Mitchell and the whole team moved to The Theatre at Ace Hotel, formerly known as the United Artists Theatre. Such an expanded venue could only be necessary for one film: The Empire Strikes Back.
It’s the second Live Read of the season, and creator/director Jason Reitman went in a different direction with his presentation of Barry Levinson’s Diner screenplay. Instead of curating a group of disparate actors, Reitman instead chose to select a group of performers with plenty of experience acting alongside one another: the cast of FX’s The League.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s back; Jason Reitman’s Live Read series returned to LACMA tonight with a reading of the American Beauty screenplay by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, True Blood). Before the reading began, Reitman described this series as being “so much more fun than directing movies.” That must be especially true for the still-young filmmaker lately, as his last two movies have not been well-received; Labor Day was lifeless and uninspired, and his latest – Men, Women & Children – has gotten so many bad reviews that I haven’t even seen it yet. Me! I see everything.
Steven Soderbergh famously retired from filmmaking after his 2013 film Side Effects. In the time since that announcement Soderbergh directed Behind the Candelabra, a highly-acclaimed HBO-released feature based on the life of Liberace. And now, in August, Cinemax will be airing The Knick, a 10-part series about turn-of-the-century medicine starring Clive Owen. Soderbergh directed each of the ten episodes in a process not unlike that of a 10 hour film. It seems Soderbergh just can’t stay away from the filmed medium – indeed, he has recently taken to referring to his “retirement” as more of a “sabbatical.” This is good news for fans of cinema, but there is always the chance that The Knick may be the last we get from the prolific director.
Well, here we are at the end of the road. Yesterday I talked about how important it can be for unhealthy relationships to experience a little separation. While my relationship with the LA Film Fest has certainly been unhealthy, that’s not the only thing I’ve had to let go of recently. I found out this evening that two of my best friends are leaving Los Angeles in the next couple of months. It is rough news to receive, especially for a shut-in like myself. If I hadn’t already committed to the Film Fest thing for today’s review, you would probably be reading “170 – Abandonment” right now. But my self-imposed assignment has forced me to achieve a modicum of closure. I can’t rant too much about losing good soldiers to domesticity, because the key to letting go is finding that little piece of acceptance.
And so it begins. For real this time. The 20th Los Angeles Film Festival – my first film festival. So after a long day of work, I drag my weary bones up to LA Live for an evening of film.
So I’m sitting at the table in a friend’s apartment, drinking a gin and tonic, and listening to this guy count off all of the women he’s had sex with in an effort to prove a point to his wife. And then I realize that I haven’t written a review yet today. I sure as hell can’t write about this experience (awkward), but I did do something else today. I made my schedule for this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival.