Random Factoid #577

14 07 2015

There’s rumors, in the Twittersphere… (to quote the great “21 Jump Street“)

…that people are angry with Jesse Eisenberg.  The Oscar nominee for “The Social Network” – and villain of next spring’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” – was quoted saying something about Comic-Con that upset quite a few folks.  Here, to the best of my knowledge, are those remarks in context, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:

“It is like being screamed at by thousands of people. I don’t know what the experience is throughout history, probably some kind of genocide. I can’t think of anything that’s equivalent.”

IMG_0998 I would like to add some further context simply to explain Jesse Eisenberg, not Comic-Con.

“The Social Network” is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I have always been curious – naturally – to meet its star in person.  Almost two years ago at the 2013 London Film Festival, I got the chance.

I got a ticket to the gala screening of his film “Night Moves” (which wasn’t great but will almost assuredly be better than any movie Zack Snyder could ever concoct) and happened to be strolling around Leicester Square on my way to the theater when I noticed Eisenberg making his way down a line of fans to sign autographs.  Naturally, I jumped in.

Now, I’ve gotten the chance to interact with quite a few actors in my day, a fact I cite not to brag but to let you know that I speak with some mild authority when I say that Eisenberg moved particularly slowly down his wall of admirers.  He looked down towards the ground and made only the most meager of efforts to interact with the person in front of him.  Eisenberg signed whatever piece of paper a fan handed him but clearly ignored whatever praise they might heap on him.  In a mechanical fashion, he would mutter, “thank you so much,” essentially without being prompted.

IMG_1014(Seriously, I am not bitter about this, but when Eisenberg got to me, my Sharpie ran out of ink.  Rather than wait, he just moved on to the next person.)

I tell this story to let the film blog world know that Jesse Eisenberg is probably the most shy, introverted celebrity I have ever come across.  He sees fame as a negative externality of his acting prowess, not a reward for it.  I think his nightmares probably involve Facebook coming to life.

So if you are someone who regards Comic-Con as hallowed ground, just try to see it through his eyes.  All that attention, scrutiny, and adoration must feel so overwhelming, perhaps embarrassing, to Eisenberg.  Or think of it from the opposite extreme – Comic-Con for Jesse Eisenberg is what zero likes on Instagram is to Kim Kardashian.





REVIEW: Night Moves

2 09 2014

Night MovesLondon Film Festival, 2013

Kelly Reichardt’s ecoterrorist drama “Night Moves” starts off with all the right moves.  As she details the steps that a group of activists take to blow up a hydroelectric dam, the film holds us with the firm grip of a well-crafted procedural.  Reichardt never has to resort to the usual arsenal of cinematic tricks to create suspense because it arises organically from her laser-like focus on presenting the reality of the scene.

The film’s style works at first because we get a sense of who the characters are based on the way they act and react.  There’s no clunky exposition to give us an abundance of background information on them, yet these three resolute and very different figures just seem to make sense as they plot towards their bold action.

That’s largely due to the actors filling the nuances left by Reichardt’s script.  Jesse Eisenberg (yet again) plays the silent and bitterly angry type well, but “Night Moves” is more exciting for its surprising performances.  Dakota Fanning as a zealous untested college dropout and Peter Sarsgaard as a confident but somewhat shady ex-Marine make far more compelling characters because we aren’t sure the depths they can reach.

Once their planning is done and the deed is carried out (notice I didn’t say how successfully), the three split ways.  This occurs between a third and half of the way through the film, a rather odd structure given that we expect blowing up the dam to be the climax.  The unexpected plot development portends an exciting departure when it begins, but “Night Moves” sadly becomes an entirely different movie afterwards.

Reichardt, so ably steering clear of genre cliches at the start of the film, sets a course straight into them at the back half.  As the three characters struggle with guilt, responsibility, and many other feelings, “Night Moves” assumes the tenor of formulaic melodrama. Though this conventional chapter of the story ultimately caps off with a surprising plot development, the familiar waters taint the powerful experience of riding through such uncharted ones.  B2halfstars