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.
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289 – Live Read: American Beauty
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.
190 – The Knick, “Pilot”
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.
107 – Live Read: The Graduate
Another month, another live read. This one actually wasn’t even supposed to happen. What’s more, I wasn’t supposed to be able to attend – I should have had rehearsal this evening. But the stars (and schedules) aligned and Jason Reitman and I found ourselves face-to-face (with several yards in between) once again, this time for a reading of the script for The Graduate, written by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.
083 – Dom Hemingway (2013)
Dom Hemingway, the latest film from The Matador director Richard Shepard, opens with Jude Law, as the movie’s eponymous protagonist, nude, receiving oral sex from a fellow prison inmate, and monologizing on the wonders of his… manhood. The scene effectively sets the tone of Dom Hemingway, while clearly conveying that this Jude Law performance will be like nothing you have seen before. Contrasting sharply with the appealing charmer Law often plays, Dom is verbose and vulgar, often bloviating well beyond the point of no return. Dom is a man from another time, trying to find a place in the now.
079 – Live Read: Groundhog Day
Tonight Jason Reitman returned to LACMA’s Bing Theater stage and to the project he created, and so did I. After several months of guest directors Reitman came back for a reading of Groundhog Day, in honor of the late Harold Ramis, a man Reitman’s father knew quite well.
062 – The Face of Love (2013)
Based on a real-life experience involving his mother, the second film from Arie Posin (The Chumscrubber), The Face of Love, examines how a widow (Annette Bening) is affected when she runs into a man who greatly resembles her late husband (both played by Ed Harris). The movie has the chance to be an exciting investigation into emotional manipulation, but instead becomes more interested in the minutiae of a fantasy scenario.