|Can you see the organist on the left there?|
My BFF Bill Kurtis was the emcee for the night (if you don't remember when he had me over to his house for dinner click here).
|My BFF Bill Kurtis|
It was a lovely venue for this event and there was a fitting tribute to Roger Ebert who, if you live on Pluto, died this year. His wife Chaz Bono...oops, I mean Ebert...spoke about her husband in a way that had the woman next to me rummaging in her bag for tissue. Oddly, even though it was very touching, I remained dry-eyed.
Then, director James Gray spoke and he was very funny and charming as he introduced his film The Immigrant to open the festival. If only his movie had been half as charming. It was the most interminable two hours I've spent since We're The Millers.
One thing I learned about the legendary Chicago Theatre is that it's not a good place to watch a bad movie. The rows are so close that you can barely cross your legs, let alone excuse yourself to get past people to get the hell out of there, so I had to sit through the entire thing. Oh. My. God.
It should be called The Immigrant Arrives On Groundhog Day because the same thing happens over and over and over again. The exquisitely beautiful Marie Cotillard is the immigrant Eva who arrives at Ellis Island with her less beautiful sister but the sister has to go into quarantine because she's ill and so Eva spends the rest of the film saying, "I have to do it to save my sister."
She hooks up (no pun intended) with Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) who runs a local theater and who falls in love with her but doesn't mind pimping her out and then being remorseful. So she runs away from him, but then the authorities find her and she's going to be deported and Joaquin saves her and then she tries something else and the authorities find her and she's going to be deported and...well, that's the story. People are always finding her. What? Was she implanted with a GPS tracking device at Ellis Island?
This film tries so hard to be a period piece that it's almost a parody of one. It's beautiful to look at but the music and the burlesque shows are cartoonish. People are always chasing each other like Keystone Cops, trying to create tension that simply doesn't exist.
I didn't care about any of these characters, not even Ivan (Jeremy Renner), another love interest (because of course everyone was always falling in love with the beautiful and sullen Eva). I was just hoping someone important would die so the damn thing would end.
One out of five stars for The Immigrant.