When Tom Mercier‘s young Israeli man is awakened by a Parisian couple who find him freezing and naked in an empty upstairs apartment, he dispassionately asks if he has died. He is very much alive, but his encounter with this young couple becomes the funeral pyre for the country and national identity that he wishes to leave behind. Mercier gives a muscular, tidal wave of a performance as Yoav, a young Israeli man who flees to Paris armed with little but a dictionary. Determined to abandon his national identity, Yoav refuses to utter a word of Hebrew from then on, speaking only in a stilted, poetic French aided by his dictionary.
Yoav gets a job as a security guard at the Israeli embassy, but refuses to befriend his fellow Hebrew-speaking coworkers. He ignores his parents’ pleas to return home. Instead, he ingratiates himself into the lives of the young Parisian couple who found him, striking up an easy, near-romantic connection with Emile Quentin Dolmaire, an accomplished writer who find Yoav’s life story infinitely more interesting than his, and a hostile, sexual relationship with Caroline Louise Chevilotte. Yoav is almost alien in his interactions with these two and everyone else around him, blatantly refusing to abide by society’s rules and testing the amount of times he can scream in people’s faces on the subway without getting arrested he never does. But his anarchic actions only get more mysterious, while the society around him becomes more amenable — even jaded — to his outbursts.
Lacking any kind of concrete narrative structure and featuring characters that are nearly all ciphers, Nadav Lapid‘s turbulent, tremulous French-Israeli drama based on his real-life experiences is a maddening, baffling, and alienating portrait of radicalism without a purpose. It keeps its audience at arm’s length, existing in a kind of emotional purgatory where the raging whirlwind of passion, anger and misplaced nationalism exist underneath a stoic surface. Synonyms is an always-challenging, frequently hilarious film that almost exists as a satire of cultural stereotypes, probing your own preconceptions about what it means to exist in a globalized society.
Martin Scorsese delivers his mob magnum opus with The Irishman, a sprawling crime epic that manages to be brutally funny, coldly thrilling, and startling sad all at once. The legendary director directs what can be most simply described as a “greatest hits” of his esteemed career — in the best possible way. Reuniting with his longtime stars and friendsRobert De Niro and Joe Pesci, and working with established star of the genre Al Pacinofor the first time, Scorsese looks back at his legacy of violent mob movies to create a moving, elegiac rumination on the effects of a life inextricably tied crime.
In one of the film’s most polarizing choices, Scorsese uses de-aging technology to follow De Niro throughout the years as mob hitman Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman with longtime ties to the Bufalino crime family who may have killed former Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa a deliriously, deliciously outsized Pacino. The film opens on an aged Sheeran, confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home, as he enthusiastically launches into a story about his career as a hitman, recounting the early glory days of his rise through the Bufalino ranks after he strikes up a friendship with the local Philadelphia gangster Russell Bufalino Pesci, in a soul-stirringly understated performance.
While the first hour is a little awkward, thanks in part to the clunky de-aging technology that takes nearly takes one out of the film, once it settles into its rhythm, The Irishman reveals itself to be a profoundly elegant, melancholic masterpiece that unfolds like a dreamlike memory — a little whimsical, a little wry, and always a tiny bit sad. With De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino giving exquisite — in some parts, career-best — performances, Scorsese ruminates on mortality in genre that has always treated death as an afterthought.
Calling First Cow a buddy comedy wouldn’t do justice to Kelly Reichardt‘s strange, offbeat character drama about two frontiersmen who steal milk to start a baking business. The deep connection that is struck between John Magaro‘s mild-mannered cook and Orion Lee‘s shrewd Chinese immigrant is nigh romantic, with the pair’s sweet interactions forming the beating heart to the Richardt’s tender frontier fable.
The Meek’s Cutoff director returns to the wilds of Oregon for this loose adaptation of frequent Riechardt collaborator Jon Raymond’s novel The High Life, a book that the director has said made her want to work with him in the first place. The film takes place in the 1820s, just as the Royal West Pacific Trading Post receives its first dairy cow, imported to an isolated camp by its one wehy resident Toby Jones. But to the cow owner’s misfortune, and to the impoverished settlement’s luck, Cookie Figowitz Magaro and King Lu Lee, start to steal the cow’s milk to bake “oily cakes” — a backwoods riff on scones that becomes an instant sensation for the rugged pioneers starved for reminders of home.
First Cow is a laughably low stakes drama that plays on the intense expectations set for these kind of pioneer films, instead focusing on the lovely relationship between Cookie and King as they dream of making enough money to strike out west and settle down together. Magaro is an adorable scene-stealer as the wholesome Cookie who whispers words of encouragement to the very good cow, and dreams only of baked confections and opening his own shop. Lee’s shrewd King Lu could easily teeter into exploitative, but he treats Cookie with such a warmth that their connection is indisputable. Their subtextual romance is cemented in the opening scene of the film, in which a nameless woman in modern-day Oregon stumbles upon two skeletons lying side by side, holding hands. It casts a profound sadness over the entire film, which is as dryly funny as it is sweet, but adds much-needed depth to the decidedly slim narrative.
Netflix is refusing to play by the rules yet again. Stymied by the big theater chains, the streamer has booked Broadway’s Belasco Theatre for its November 1 opening of Martin Scorsese’s epic “The Irishman” for one of several New York theatrical dates. The three-and-a-half-hour mafia drama starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, which grabbed kudos when it opened the New York FIlm Festival, will play at the Shubert Organization’s historic midtown theater through December 1.
Netflix will install state-of-the-art film equipment for this first-ever movie showing in the 1,016-seat theater. Since the Belasco’s opening in 1907 its storied stage plays include “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Oh! Calcutta!,” “American Buffalo,” and most recently “Network.” Moving into the theater after “The Irishman” will be Conor McPherson’s Bob Dylan musical “Girl from the North Country,” which starts previews in February.
As befits a Broadway presentation, “The Irishman” will show eight times a week — Tuesday through Saturday nights, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets are $15, plus processing fees. Broadway is enjoying a boom year and New Yorkers will likely flock to this opportunity to see a 209-minute movie without intermission from Little Italy’s own Scorsese, even if the seats may not offer the same comfort level as many contemporary cinemas.
Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Harvey Keitel at the Opening Night Gala and world premiere of “The Irishman.”
“We’ve lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single-house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris,” Scorsese said in a statement. “The opportunity to recreate that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theatre is incredibly exciting. Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber, and their team at Netflix have continued to find creative ways to make this picture a special event for audiences and I’m thankful for their innovation and commitment.”
Indeed. Netflix’s marketing team is growing more sophisticated about turning the streamer’s premium awards-bound features into must-see events via festival showings and big-screen theatrical runs. As is always the case with Netflix Original features, “The Irishman” will head to streaming on November 27 shortly after its initial theatrical date.
This is the first announcement of theaters showing “The Irishman.” Netflix has been courting exhibitors, but has been met with resistance from the top national and regional theater chains. It remains to be seen how many chains are willing to book Netflix’s robust fall slate, even though circuit AMC often arranges rental dates for films that don’t hold to the 90-day exclusive window. Netflix four-walls many of their indie theater bookings and will continue to find dates from circuits like Landmark, Alamo Drafthouse, and other independents that previously played “Roma,” “The Laundromat,” and this week’s “Dolemite Is My Name.”
But these efforts are piecemeal and leave some significant cities and towns around the country uncovered. With “The Irishman” earning great reviews amid heavy awards talk for Scorsese, De Niro, Pesci and Pacino, the expectation is that if theaters can be found, audiences will come.
New York is a key location for reaching Oscar voters. Los Angeles also offers a variety of possibilities, including theaters that played “Roma” for weeks. Not playing “Roma” was the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, which would seem ideal for “The Irishman,” along with Westwood’s The Landmark. Arclight has theaters in the area as well as other cities nationally, and has in the past gone against the National Association of Theater Owners’ preferred policy of not playing films that violate windows. But so far, that does not extend to Netflix.
It’s likely that Arclight will stick with the chains’ collective refusal to play Netflix. While the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood is still negotiating with Netflix for future investment, renovation and involvement, there is no deal in place and if it does go through, Netflix would not use the Egyptian for theatrical bookings but for premieres and promotional events. “Dolemite is My Name” played there last week as part of a film festival.
Could renting a stage theatre allow Netflix to finally break into France, where “Roma” was barred from playing a single cinema? The Belasco marks a throwback to the beginning of the industry, when in 1915 Epoch Producing Corporation searched for large auditoriums for the hordes of moviegoers eager to see Hollywood’s first blockbuster, D.W. Griffith’s controversial “The Birth of a Nation.” A film historian like Scorsese appreciates the irony of returning to exhibition’s roots just as the viewing experience keeps evolving.
Netflix's The Irishman is headed to Broadway. No, not some musical version or star-studded stage play, but the actual Martin Scorsese film starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
From Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, The Irishman will screen at the Shubert Organization's historic Belasco Theatre, mimicking the standard Broadway schedule of eight performances per week Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday; as is traditional on Broadway, the theater will be dark on Mondays, with no screenings.
The unusual arrangement — hailed by the preservation-minded Scorsese as a way to showcase his film in the type of ornate theater in which New Yorkers could once routinely view films — will be the first film screening ever in the Belasco's 112-year history the theater was an NBC studio for several years in the early 1950s. Netflix will provide what it describes as state-of-the-art equipment for the screenings.
Belasco Theatre Courtesy Shubert Archive
“We've lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris,” Scorsese said in a statement. “The opportunity to recreate that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theatre is incredibly exciting.”
Scorsese also expressed gratitude to Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber, and their Netflix team for finding “creative ways to make this picture a special event for audiences and I'm thankful for their innovation and commitment.”
The Irishman launches on Netflix Nov. 27, but will get a prior theatrical release — in addition to the Belasco showings — to meet Oscar eligibility rules.
“It's an immense honor for The Irishman to be welcomed to the Belasco,” said Stuber, head of Netflix Film, “an iconic and historic landmark fit for Scorsese's latest cinematic achievement.”
The booking arrives at a convenient time for the intimate, 1,018-seat, neo-Georgian structure on W. 44th Street in Manhattan's theater district. The Belasco's most recent tenant, Ivo van Hove's limited-run Network starring Bryan Cranston, closed June 8. The next announced theatrical tenant is Girl From The North Country, the acclaimed musical written and directed by Conor McPherson, with a score of “reimagined” Bob Dylan songs, that played a sold-out run last fall at the Off Broadway Public Theater.
Previews of Girl From The North Country begin at the Belasco Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, with opening night set for Thursday, March 5.
The Irishman marks a return of sorts to the Belasco for Pacino, who won the first of his two Tony Awards at the theater for his 1969 Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? His second Tony came in 1977 for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel.
Others associated with The Irishman have Broadway connections as well: Scorsese directed the 1977 Liza Minnelli musical The Act; De Niro starred in 1986's Cuba and His Teddy Bear in 1986 and directed, with Jerry Zaks, A Bronx Tale The Musical in 2016; Harvey Keitel starred in 1984's Hurlyburly and 1975's Death of a Salesman; and Bobby Cannavale's various Broadway credits include, most recently, last season's The Lifespan of a Fact, co-starring Daniel Radcliffe and Cherry Jones.
Tickets for The Irishman at the Belasco will be priced at $15, on sale next week.
Netflix signaled that they had no intention of slowing their investment in top-tier talent in the final panel of The Contenders – London, which featured four of the festival season's most popular attractions.
In the first panel, Andreas Wiseman spoke to director David Michôd and composer Nicholas Britell about The King, which stars Timothée Chalamet as the young Henry V, who becomes King of England in the 15th century after his brother’s death. Michôd credited his co-writer Joel Edgerton, who also appears in the film as Falstaff, with inspiring him to look again at the story made famous in two of Shakespeare's best-known history plays.
“I’ve known Joel for many years,” said Michôd. “We live two minutes’ walk from each other in Sydney and we spend a lot of time together. I didn’t know him back then, but when he was fresh out of drama school, he played Hal on stage in Henry IV and Henry V. It was a much-talked-about performance, and it was very important in his early career, as well as being a very creative experience for him.
“And when he came to me and said, ‘How do you feel about tackling Henry V, I thought, ‘That’s a terrible idea.’ But then, y’know, I was immediately drawn—as so often happens— to the challenge of doing something that I wouldn’t necessarily feel was up my alley. So then we just jumped in. We made the decision very early on to push Shakespeare aside and build our own thing.”
Joe Utichi then took to the stage to discuss The Two Popes with director Fernando Meirelles and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. A two-hander, the film depicts life inside the Vatican's walls, as Pope Benedict Anthony Hopkins and the future Pope Francis Jonathan Pryce try to find common ground in order to forge a new path for the Catholic Church and take the papacy forward.
A past hand at fact-based drama, McCarten had recent awards success with The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour, and Bohemian Rhapsody, and told Utichi that he sees The Two Popes as part of that same continuum. “The challenge with any dramatization of a real event is to speculate on those moments that no one’s privy to,” he said, “and this is a constant in all the biopics I’ve done. In this case, it was, I guess, more adventurous. What I did honor is that their stated positions are well known on various subjects. They happen to be diametrically opposed on many, many issues, so it enabled a real dialectic between these two, between an ultra-conservative and a progressive. And my hope with this film is that whether you care about Catholicism or don’t, whether you’re angry at it or not, that it speaks to a more general conversation society can have between conservatives' and progressives' intractable positions. Can we find a common ground?”
Common ground is also the subject of Noah Baumbach's hot fall title, Marriage Story, in which Adam Driver's marriage to Scarlett Johannson falls spectacularly apart. Ironically, the project began as a love story, as the director told Deadline's Peter White in front of a panel that included producer David Heyman and the film's co-stars Laura Dern and Ray Liotta. “For a while now,” said Baumbach, “I’ve been wanting to make a love story and I just didn’t know how to find my way into it, in a way that felt electric or new to me. And, and so weirdly it was in telling the story of divorce [that I found my angle]. I'd explored that before in a different way, from the kids’ perspective in The Squid and the Whale, but this one is more from the, from the adult perspective. I found that it was an opportunity to explore marriage and love while chronicling its undoing.”
The panel closed with a surprise clip from Martin Scorsese's true-life mob drama The Irishman, introduced by Anna Paquin, who plays Peggy, the daughter of Robert De Niro's hitman character, Frank Sheeran. “I think Peggy, in very real way, is sort of the audience’s eyes, or conventional morality’s eyes, looking into the world that we’re telling the story of. She is literally the only person in Frank's life that sees him for the dangerous, frightening human that he is and she isn’t just enjoying the perks of being a mobster’s kid. She's sort of the moral compass.”
Meet the Press and the American Film Institute are staging their annual film festival in Washington on Sunday and Monday, a showcase of documentary shorts touching on issues like climate change, education and immigration.
But it is taking place as D.C.’s attention, quite obviously, riveted on something else: the impeachment inquiry and President Donald Trump’s response to it, a fast-moving crisis that is dominating just about every moment on the news channels.
On Thursday, after Trump publicly urged Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Chuck Todd opened Meet the Press Daily by telling viewers that “a national nightmare is upon us,” and that the “basic rules of democracy are under attack, from the President.”
But in an interview, Todd said that this type of moment, with an all-dominant story consuming media attention, is “the exact reason” why a film festival makes so much sense for the Meet the Press brand.
“One of the biggest frustrations I had on a normal news week is carving out more time in this news cycle, particularly in the Trump era, to do deeper dives, whether it is on criminal justice reform, climate change, fixing the public school system,” Todd said. “So I look at it and think, ‘Thank God we have the film festival,’ especially in this era. It is a way of frankly saying, ‘Hey, you know we are focused, we are stuck covering the story that we have, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know there are a whole series of issues of importance in the policy arena that need more attention.'”
The festival will open on Sunday at the United States Navy Memorial with the U.S. premiere of Toxic Beauty, which explores the unregulated market for beauty products with chemicals and toxins. The movie is the first feature-length documentary to be among the selections.
“We already regulate the chemicals we ingest in the foods we eat, but we don’t do a good enough job regulating chemicals that we accidentally ingest because we have rubbed it on our face or our elbows or our feet,” Todd said of the project.
The event also has been timed to be a kickoff for award season as dozens of titles compete for the Oscar for documentary short. In 2017, three of the entrants ended up as Academy Award nominees.
Todd will moderate panels with filmmakers, along with along with NBC News and MSNBC personalities Andrea Mitchell, Hallie Jackson, Katy Tur, Jacob Soboroff, Morgan Radford and Kristen Welker. The rest of the event, to be held at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington, will split up the documentary shorts into eight themed segments.
Among the other entries are St. Louis Superman, about Bruce Franks Jr., a rapper and state representative from St. Louis, Mo., and Water's Edge, about Louisiana's efforts to restore its bayous and marshes. Some of the shorts will be posted online for streaming over the next month.
Todd said the festival also is a way for Meet the Press to extend its brand in a different way, perhaps to new audiences that don’t watch the 72-year-old Sunday show, yet will see it as analytical and relevant.
“In the 21st century, we have to go where consumers and viewers are,” Todd said. “You can’t expect them to come find you.” He says that he would like to get into producing their own Meet the Press branded documentaries.
“For instance, there are a few filmmakers that we are talking about, and we go ‘OK, do we do a co-production, where we have some resources, they have an idea, or visa versa?’ Where we go and find a filmmaker that we know knows this stuff. That is likely how we step into this next,” he said.
He also thinks that documentary projects have come to resonate more with audiences, particularly millennials, as they have become a staple of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Part of the reason is that issues are presented in a different way than the typical right-left divide. Todd said that they looked for entries that presented issues outside of those partisan lines. “Filmmakers realize that people are stuck in a left right prism too often, and you almost see that they realize they have to figure out how to break through that,” he said. “I think about this all the time every day on my own show. I know there is a left-right prism or a red-blue prism that people get stuck in, that has become sort of a habit for people in how they think about politics.” That “red-blue prism” certainly is a factor in how the impeachment inquiry is being viewed by the public, as a kind of information warfare is played out across news channels, radio and online outlets and across social media. Todd said that he felt compelled to open his show on Thursday by warning of a “national nightmare” because what Trump said was so stunning. Trump’s call for China to investigate the Bidens certainly led news coverage, but no one quite framed the moment like Todd did. “I’ll be honest, I’m surprised I am alone on this,” he said of the reaction. “It was like getting the Nixon tapes in real time. He was just confessing. I just don’t think people realize condoning this will change the fabric of a democracy. Again, I go back to [the fact that] we are stuck in this left right prism all the time. We have got get out of it. Does anyone realize the consequences of condoning this? Do we realize where this headed?” He added, “I know sometimes that people have sounded alarms so often that they don’t hear the sound anymore. And I am aware of that. But at the same time, I sort of view this as just speaking as an American.” Todd also had a moment last week that went viral across social media. On the day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry, one of Todd’s guests on “Meet the Press Daily” was Sen. John Kennedy R-LA, and the interview got testy. As Kennedy argued that it was fair to investigate claims that Joe Biden tried to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to protect his son, Hunter, Todd accused the lawmaker of trying to play a game of, “We have no idea if it's true, but make them deny it.” As Kennedy protested, Todd said, “I am trying to be fair here, but you can't gaslight us, sir. Don't gaslight us!” Todd, though, believes that such moments are essential. “One of the fairest critiques of the professional press corps over the past 25 years has been this idea that we are so worried about attacks of fairness, that we sort of go out of our way to sort of file down the edges of something. We’ll try to explain: ‘ What so and so really meant to say.” And you are sitting there going, You know what, it turns out you can’t explain some of this stuff away. It turns out that softening it actually only conditions it to go forward. “So I kind of think our job as journalist is to kind of throw cold water on people’s faces when they are not paying attention, or throw hot water on their faces when they are not paying attention. The point being, make them uncomfortable, so that they start to think about a problem as a citizen rather than as a partisan.” Rudy Giuliani’s appearances on news channels, in which he has quickly recited a fusillade of claims against the Bidens, President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been a particular challenge for on air journalists to fact check in real time. “We haven’t been able to figure out in an age of social media how to deal with the gaslighting of America that is taking place in the conservative eco chamber. We haven’t solved this problem,” Todd said. “It’s a huge problem - it may take the republic down type of huge problem. I think we are all grasping here. The basic fact check doesn’t work anymore, but I do think there is a way to sort of speak more authentically when you see what is going on.” He added, “That is why I use the word gaslighting. And you know what, make them say, ‘I am not gaslighting.’ This is what I am doing. I think we spend too long accepting a criticism and taking somebody’s criticisms and saying, ‘Hey, so and so said this about you, what do you think?” We shouldn’t just pass on somebody’s criticism if we don’t think there’s truth to it.” He said that in his opener on Thursday, “I was just hoping it got through to somebody. I think we have been covering Trump too casually. This is pretty serious. This time is different. And think tone matters a lot here right now. I think if you want people to take us seriously - that this is republic is on the line stuff - then our tone needs to reflect it.”
On the October 2, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall, weekend editor Brad Oman, and writers Hoai-Tran Bui and Chris Evangelista to discuss what they’ve been up to at the Water Cooler.
>Opening Banter: Ben is in Hawaii.
At The Water Cooler:
What we’ve been Doing: Jacob wants to give a shout-out to the readers and listeners who said hi at Fantastic Fest. Brad wrecked his car, which is not cool. What we’ve been Reading: Peter has been reading Bob Iger’s book A Ride Of A Lifetime. Jacob read Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix. What we’ve been Watching: Jacob, Hoai-Tran, Chris, and Brad watched the season premiere of The Good Place. Hoai-Tran and Chris watched The Irishman. Chris and Jacob watched Hell House LLC 3. Peter has been watching Years and Years on HBO and has been binge watching a YouTube channel called Potato Jet. Chris watched Spider-Man: Far From Home. Jacob watched the season finale of Battlebots, Hatchet, Hatchet II, and the first episode of Creepshow. Brad watched the available episodes of the new season of Great British Baking Show, has been watching Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik, rewatched Cabin in the Woods, Hoai-Tran saw Ad Astra, Lucy in the Sky, The Lighthouse, Inside Llewyn Davis, saw First Cow and Varda by Agnes at NYFF and has revisited an old favorite anime Inuyasha. What we’ve been Eating: Jacob and Chris enjoyed some Gourdoughs. Brad tried Apple Cider cookies from 7-11 and Arby’s S’mores Shake, and Cheez-It Pizza from Pizza Hut. Is enraged to learn that the VooDew Mountain Dew flavor was Candy Corn. What we’ve been Playing: Jacob has been playing Untitled Goose Game.
Other Articles Mentioned:
Daily Podcast: Spider-Man: Far From Home Spoiler Discussion
All the other stuff you need to know:
You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes. /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com. You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps RSS. Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at [email protected] Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air. Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word! Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo. Source: Slashfilm.com