One of the nice things about the public screenings here, and it doesn't seem to be true about public screenings at other festivals (the press and members of the film industry have separate screenings but can also attend ones for which the public buys tickets), is that if someone famous wants to see a movie, not only does he have to sit with us in order to watch it, he risks having to fraternize with us, too.
There are usually no guards watching over those seats (none that I've noticed), so if, say, Guillermo del Toro and his wife want to see "Drive" and "Drive" is screening in a packed auditorium at Ryerson University, it's extremely likely that a young person (or five) will find you and strike up a conversation. Del Toro, of course, might be the perfect man for that kind of encounter. Saturday night, when some young men who looked very Midtown Comics approached del Toro, he rose from his aisle seat and appeared to have a hearty, sincere conversation with them. Each time, the chat concluded with a big handshake and the filmmaker's hand on someone's shoulder or back. Del Toro was delighted, and the boys were over the moon. One gently cupped his hands over his heart as he backed away. (The above photo by Sonia Recchia, from Toronto 2010, for Getty Images, is an extreme for-example.)
All the energy in the room was aimed at Ryan Gosling, who spent what sounded like a fan-friendly amount of time on the red carpet outside. (That sort of thing is not for the vertically challenged, although when it comes to star-gazing, there are young women who don't appear to find being 5'2" a challenge at all.) The frenzy Gosling kicked up was third only to what I heard for the Jolie-Pitts Friday and for George Clooney a few hours before. Clooney's appearance at at different theater either coincided with a concert that necessitated closing down an entire block or was the occasion for it.
On stage, before the film, Gosling worked the crowd, after the director Nicolas Winding Refn overworked it and Albert Brooks, who plays a gangster in the movie, unworked it. (Refn, who's a Dane with a professional relationship to Lars von Trier, doesn't seem terribly far from a press-conference disaster of his own.) In any case, Gosling high-fived some girls in the front row. One almost fell over. Guillermo del Toro doesn't do that to most people: make them scream and pass out. His movies -- "Mimic," the "Hellboy" films, "Pan's Labyrinth" -- are another matter. He is, as they say, approachable. He, too, is very Midtown Comics, inside and out. His fans respond, in part, to his fandom.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, del Toro is to begin shooting next month on a soundstage here for his Warner Bros. blockbuster "Pacific Rim." I was seated two rows behind him, and when the movie started, I looked his way when I knew something particularly gruesome was on tap (a pulverized head, a plastic fork to the retina, some of Ron "Hellboy" Perlman's facial expressions). When the audience, including his wife, gasped (Winding doesn't give enough warning to cover your eyes), he just sat there, presumably taking mental notes.
"Drive" didn't screen at midnight, but it is a midnight movie -- far more so than "God Bless America," Bobcat Goldthwait's shoestring "Natural Born Killers," which did screen at midnight. The movie has a reasonable premise: How nice would it be to murder anyone who got on your nerves? Goldthwait has given his pointed pop-culture standup observations a killing-spree plot, in which a middle-aged nobody (Joel Murray, of "Mad Men") and a high-school girl (Tara Lynn Barre) hit the road with guns and ammo.
Goldthwait knows what's deserving of satire, but he's not much of a satirist. The movie doesn't build or culminate or explode or surprise, although Murray deadpans his rants so their righteousness is as if he's read your mind. Barre, meanwhile, enjoys trying to shock perhaps even more than her director, who's just telling variations on the same good joke. At 15 minutes, that joke is a riot. At 105, it's a crying shame. The camera does a lot of moving, but the comedy never goes anywhere.
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Glenn Yoder is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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