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More buzz on "The Yards"

 
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Cathy Y



Joined: 28 Apr 2000
Posts: 120
Location: Middletown, NJ 07748

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2000 11:40 pm    Post subject: More buzz on "The Yards" Reply with quote

From the TNT Rough Cut website Cannes report:

By the time James Gray's The Yards screened in competition, audiences were tired and weary and thirsty for blood. Mark Wahlberg plays Leo Handler who, after serving time in prison for a crime his friends committed, attempts to take the straight and narrow path. Unfortunately his friend Willie (Joaquin Phoenix), who works for Leo's uncle (James Caan) drags him back into a world of deceit and crime which eventually has Leo wrongfully wanted for murder. Brilliantly photographed and superbly acted by the entire cast, which also includes Charlize Theron, Faye Dunaway and Ellen Burstyn, Gray's suspenseful and gripping film may have suffered the fate of screening toward the end of the festival, when most audiences stop caring or have already pegged they film they feel will win the prestigious awards.

Maybe because they had leftover questions they had planned on asking Björk, international journalists wanted to know how a former musician such as Wahlberg approached acting. "I usually rap all of my dialog," joked the actor. "I get James [Gray] to lay down a little beat box. Joaquin does a little back up dance. That's basically where we start and we just work it out from there."

All kidding aside, veterans such as James Caan felt that the younger actors in The Yards hold their own in the film better than he thought they would. "The truth is, Mark, Joaquin and Charlize and there's a host of brilliant young actors today, I find them to be just extraordinarily talented," Caan proclaimed. "And I'm not saying that just because they're here, because I can still whip the both of them, these two and Charlize, they are amazing young talents."

You can find the original here:
http://www.roughcut.com/features/stories/12_days_in_may2.html

And another one from the Ain't It Cool News website:

THE YARDS
For the last 5 years, James Gray has been polishing up his second film after LITTLE ODESSA. Another family story taking the sacrosanct structure of the Greek tragedy. Leo (Mark Wahlberg) comes out of jail for a car robbery he did not commit. He comes home. His mother (Ellen Burstyn) is sick, his aunt (Faye Dunaway) has remarried with the boss of a railroad company (James Caan) who offers him a job. Leo finds again Willie (Joaquin Phoenix) whom he did not give away for the robbery and his cousin Erica (Charlize Theron). The railroad company is shrouded in corruption. Willie kills an employee and says Leo is guilty... Gray says he took inspiration from ROCCO ET SES FRERES (Rocco and His Brothers) and LA BETE HUMAINE (The Human Beast). Personally I saw more the shadow of "On the Waterfront" and the light of "The Godfather". Which is already something good. "The Yards" keeps referring with respect to Coppola's film, with the beautiful photography very close of Vittorio Storraro's (if I remember well from the mob trilogy) or with the description of a family about to collapse. The is no doubt, "The Yards" is a working-class version of "The Godfather" . And that's one of the best idea of the film : trying to give some "aristocracy" in a working-class family. Having chosen James Caan as the father figure is certainly not innocent. When he sits in his big chair, the face half in the shadow, you could think he just took Marlon Brando's seat. A bit like if Gray had decided to give revenge to the Corleone brother murdered in the first "Godfather". The parallel keeps growing when "The Yards" can be seen as a transition between two generations : Mark Wahlberg is definitely a good actor, not overacting, and could be seen as young De Niro; Charlize Theron, at last in a great role, could replace Diane Keaton. But it's mainly Joaquin Phoenix who's amazing, and showing the strength of a new Pacino. "The Yards" is then a very convincing film from an artistic point of view, Gray being an incredibly good director of actors, and just a good director of a beautifully shot film (thanks also to Harris Savides' photography). The only thing missing in "The Yards" is a real inspiration; the film seems so controlled, so well directed that it finds itself prisoner of a too known story. "The Yards" could have been a big mob saga from this beginning of the years 2000; but is instead stuck by this comfortable directorial line which defines the whole movie (when it should have been free to abandon itself to tragic lyrism). "The Yards" is at the same time too ambitious and too classic to be rewarded here in Cannes.

The URL for the piece is http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=6051

OK, I've also come across a couple of negative reviews, one in Variety and one at the Mr. Showbiz website but so far I think about 80% of the response has been positive. Like I said I can't wait to see this film...


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Cathy Y



Joined: 28 Apr 2000
Posts: 120
Location: Middletown, NJ 07748

PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more, from the May 26 Irish Times:

Shown on the penultimate night of the festival and undeservedly passed over in the awards, The Yards is a taut, classically structured, social realist crime drama of simmering power directed with firm assurance by James Gray and building on the promise of his first film, Little Odessa.

Adhering closely to its genre conventions, The Yards deals with two young New Yorkers who have been friends since schooldays and are driven apart when one gets deeper into crime. They are played with conviction by Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix in an exemplary cast which features Charlize Theron as the woman caught between them, along with three veteran actors giving their strongest performances in years - James Caan, Faye Dunaway and Ellen Burstyn.

-------------------------------------

Am I getting obsessed with this movie, or what? Seriously I'm real curious to see the reviews... so far most of them real good...

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fitzy



Joined: 12 May 2000
Posts: 446
Location: ireland

PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep up the good work girl!!
It looks like ...it's the quiet ones you have to watch!!
that's it
cheers
fitzy
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Annie M



Joined: 08 Jan 2000
Posts: 1683
Location: Muskogee, OK, USA

PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cathy,
Thanks for all the work! Very interesting reviews, and it is gratifying to see that most critics so far seem to feel the film is a keeper!
Having seen all the Godfather films, this one should be fascinating by comparison. I'm mainly seeing it for Mark of course, but I like Cahn, Dunaway and Burstyn a lot, and it is great to see them in such gritty roles again. I've never seen Joaquin, so this will be illuminating. Is he River's brother? If so, we shall see if talent runs in the family. And I'm glad he is out there, cuz I sure miss River.
Mark has got such an aray of films hitting the big screen this year, and I just hope everyone wakes up and clues in to how worthy he is now!! And, M.W. is no dummy when it comes to choosing juicy roles, either!!



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Annie M
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Cathy Y



Joined: 28 Apr 2000
Posts: 120
Location: Middletown, NJ 07748

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Joaquin Phoenix is River Phoenix's little brother. He was in the movie "To Die For" with Nicole Kidman. I really liked that movie and Joaquin was really good in it too, though his character was a bit of a caricature -- a really, really, REALLY dumb teenager. Also, he is in the movie "Gladiator" (which I'm planning to see next week), he plays the evil emperor.

Anyway I think "The Yards" is going to be great. I've always liked James Caan and Faye Dunawaye a lot. And it sounds like Mark has a great role in this movie.
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fitzy



Joined: 12 May 2000
Posts: 446
Location: ireland

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I post something about this some where else but I have seen and taped the tiniest snippet of the Yards and yes it looks very good also had interview with joaquin phoenix but none with mark this was on an entertainment show over here called Showbiz weekly and it was a cannes special
So hopefully it will actually been shown over here I will have keep my ear to the ground so as not to miss it!
Sorry for repeating my self
that's it
cheers
fitzy
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Bi@n_ca*



Joined: 04 Jan 2000
Posts: 462
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2000 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for finding all those reviews Cathy, we really appreciate it! I’m glad most of the critics like the movie. Not that their opinion matters that much to me, but it’s nice to hear those things, it makes me even more excited about the movie.

I love Joaquin Phoenix, he’s actually one of my favorite actors. I think he was really good in that movie with Nicolas Cage called ”8 mm” or something and I also saw a movie called ”Clay Pigeons” that he was in. Liked him in ”To die for” and ”U-turn” too even though he didn’t play that big parts in those.

PS: I saw a moviespecial about Cannes 2000 on MTV and they showed clips from the movie and they had interviews with Charlize, Joaquin and the director James Gray. This was on the Nordic MTV, but I think they show those moviespecials on all the MTVs, don’t they? I wonder why nobody had interviews with Mark.

Bianca
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Cathy Y



Joined: 28 Apr 2000
Posts: 120
Location: Middletown, NJ 07748

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2000 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you like Joaquin Phoenix you will really enjoy today's column by Liz Smith which I'm posting below. I like him a lot too ... haven't seen "U-Turn" or "8 mm," but I thought he was excellent in "To Die For" (I love that movie!!!). I haven't seen "Gladiator" yet but a friend of mine who saw it a couple days ago says that he thought Joaquin was one of the best things about the movie, even better than Russell Crowe (whom, actually, I really like too -- he was terrific in "LA Confidential"). So, like I've said before, I am REALLY looking forward to seeing "The Yards."

As for critical opinion, there have been times when I have disagreed with most of the critics. (For instance, I loved Jim Carrey's movie "The Cable Guy" even though it got overwhelmingly negative reviews.) On the other hand, I'm always curious to see what people who (well, at least theoretically) know a lot about film have to say on the subject. Obviously there are good critics and bad ones, and even the good ones can sometimes be REALLY wrong.

However, like it or not, critical reception matters a lot for a movie like "The Yards." A blockbuster with spectacular F/X and BIG movie stars, like "M:I2," can be a success even if it's panned by all the critics. For a serious film like "The Yards," which relies heavily on the quality of dialogue, character development and filmmaking, critical acclaim is all-important. Remember that Mark had his breakthrough as an actor in "Boogie Nights" which didn't make a whole lot of money but was highly praised by the critics. (His earlier performances also received a lot of critical praise even if the films themselves got mixed reviews.) Whatever you think of the critics, they have a lot to do with what kind of film offers Mark gets in the future.

Anyway, with that said, here's what Liz Smith has to say... mostly about Joaquin Phoenix but she also has some nice words here about Mark's performance.

--------------------------------------
LIZ SMITH




QUIRKY NO MORE

JOAQUIN PHOENIX. You know him best as Nicole Kidman's besotted victim in "To Die For" and as the degenerate Commodus in the current blockbuster "Gladiator." He's done lots in between, but seemed destined to be a quirky indie actor, rather than a leading man in leading projects. Industry perception might change, however, once Joaquin's complex and wrenching performance in "The Yards" gets seen. (And he looks terribly dashing and movie-starish on the cover of the current GQ!)

The young actor flew to Cannes for the gala premiere of James Gray's film and found himself "stunned" by the finished product, a dark tale of personal betrayal and political corruption in the NYC transit system. "I tend not to react too well to my own work, or what ends up on the screen. It's such a ****shoot," Phoenix said. "But James Gray exceeded every expectation any actor could have for a director - the rehearsal process, the intimacy he encouraged, his absolute determination never to let one moment of false emotion get by."

Joaquin agreed to talk straight from getting off a plane from the U.S. and then being paraded around to various journalists at the Carlton Hotel on a hot, blinding-white day. He was exhausted and anxious about going to the premiere of his sister's film that same night (Summer Phoenix stars in "Esther Kahn," playing a Hasidic woman who wants to be an actress). But tired or not, Joaquin's eyes - which change from blue to green to gray to hazel depending on the light - blazed with energy whenever he got deep into talk about the movie. Joaquin had originally intended to play Leo, the ex-con. But he ended up with the role of Willie, who leads Leo, played by Mark Wahlberg - all frustrated emotion and vulnerability - back into trouble, destroying his own life in the process. "Willie is a guy who thinks he has it all figured out. He has the money, the girl (a mortally moving Charlize Theron), the life," Phoenix said. "What I loved was the emotional deconstruction of the character. And how James Gray kept all of it so true to our characters, and how he did the most amazing things, had the most amazing ideas on the spur of the moment. This is definitely the best experience I've ever had with a movie. I am, for once, completely satisfied with myself and the work in total."

"The Yards" definitely ushers in the era of Joaquin Phoenix, movie star. He's not a quirky indie guy anymore.

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Bi@n_ca*



Joined: 04 Jan 2000
Posts: 462
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2000 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cathy, I know that critic's have a say in an actor's career, I just meant that I don't let their opinions influence ME to see a movie or not

Thanks for posting Liz Smith's column!

Bianca

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I'm a real Markaholic, and I'll never be rehabilitated

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