Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Day 6: Wednesday 11/4/09

I was real sore in the morning so I got to AFI's DigiFest at 2pm and missed most of the presentations. Afterwards, there was a poolside showing of documentary shorts at the Roosevelt Hotel so I headed there. This was my first time pool side at this historic hotel and it was heavenly. I pretended that I was a "50's starlet as I lounged on a chaise lounge but this ended quickly as the temp dropped and I had to huddle around the heat lamps instead. I headed back inside and grabbed a soda and some h'ordouvres and made small talk with some filmmakers from across the globe I did a quick pit stop then I headed to the rush ticket line. I had a choice of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans but I stood waiting for tickets for the tribute to Viggo Mortensen followed by the premiere of Viggo's new movie, The Road. God is amazing! I was rewarded with a ticket after only a 30 minutes wait in line and, again, I had the best seat in the house.

The lights went down and they showed film clips of all Mortensen's movie roles from his early career (opposite in Witness, opposite Michael Douglas and Gweneth Paltrow in Disclosure)to most recently Appaloosa. Eastern Promises clips got "ohs and ahs" from the female audience and Lord of the Rings got thunderous applause from everyone. Then Viggo entered and everyone stood and applauded him. He sat in an armchair on stage right in front of me like we were friends having a one on one conversation and then he discussed his career and the respective films.

Mortensen was very relaxed and soft spoken but he spoke very passionately about acting as a craft and the business of making movies. He spoke about how the industry has changed over the years and how he has changed with it. He also spoke about the other things that he loves like his family, painting art and horses. He talked about the film, The Road being a hard film to make emotionally and he thanked his co-stars especially the child actor who played his son. He smiled a lot and made many self-deprecating jokes even joking that he hoped a tribute doesn't signal that he is old and that his career is over. The interview ended and Viggo waved and left the stage to more applause.

Movie Review: The Road

The Road is a good v.s. evil post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his young son, both slowly starving, in a bleak but not too distant future. The two journey through blighted landscape looking for food and fleeing sadistic bands of cannibals. This movie is not for the squeamish but it is more a psychological thriller than a traditional horror. The horror is evoked with images of suicide and the desperate levels people may go to for self-preservation.

As the father character fights to protect his son, he holds on desperately to the concept of being good but his humanity seems to be ebbing away. Charlize Theron as the wife and mother, is seen mostly in flashbacks and each of her scenes are more cold and desperate than the last. Robert Duvall put in a touching performance in his turn as the old man but who can you trust in this movie? "The boy" as he is called (the boy's name is never said during the movie), played by Codi, is the moral compass and conscience of the movie frequently asking "Are we still the good guys?" and chastising the father for his heart wrenching decisions.

The cinematic views of the blighted land, felled trees and gray skies are impressive and the CG was seamless. The cast did a wonderful job, however, the story was paced too slowly and it was just too sad and disturbing. The boy being called "the boy" really pushes home to the viewer their terrible nightmarish reality. Did the parents not want to name him so that they would not miss him as much if/when he died? Is it for his protection?

I think this movie is based on a book and I hope there was more hope in the book especially hope in God. The father says a few words about God once and they give thanks to an unknown provider for some food they found but it wasn't to God as provider. There is also a scene in an abandoned church with a stained glass widow and a cross.The scene touching but still not hopeful enough for me as they didn't really pray or talk to God.

Still, the ending was satisfying but I almost wish I could have gotten more of Guy Pearce in the film.

I was concerned that the images of suicide (at one point the father teaches the boy how to commit suicide if they are caught by showing him how to mouth a gun and pull the trigger and numerous people are seen hanging by nooses) as well as images of bloody gun and cutlass violence (a man's brain blown out in front of the boy), slaughter of humans and cannibalism were too much of a strong themes for the young actor, Codi. I had to pray a bit before going to bed and I still didn't sleep too well that night myself. I also thought about my med school days in Anatomy cadaver lab and how I went off meat for a few weeks.

My view:

I actually liked the performances but it was very disturbing. On the fence


I was in the row behind where Ms. Theron was exiting and she stopped to hug some of her friends. She looked very pretty but she was not as tall as I thought she would be. I took the time to watch her interactions with her friends then a large crowd gathered quickly around her. A guy I met in line from Germany nearly fell hopping over the seats to her. Charlize refused to sign any autographs but I can understand her point as the crowd was mobbing at this point. One guy wouldn't back off and the security guy shoved him and he kind of fell then he gut up and raced after her but she had already exited. I prayed that he wasn't a crazy stalker and I gave him some room then I exited.

The temperature outside was cold and a few of us huddled together while waiting to cross the street. As it turned out, John H. ( the film's director) and his wife? and I crossed the street together. Not being shy, I discussed the film with him and he seemed receptive. I missed a chance to get a green wrist band for admission for the after party though. It was held at the Roosevelt Hotel's lobby and all the stars attended. They curtained off the foyer and put 2 of the largest bouncers ever at the entrance. I was able to peek through the curtains a bit but I didn't see anyone of interest. I left a few minutes later as it was late and I was in some serious hurt.

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