DE PALMA, LEVINSON, JEWISON WILL ALSO BE PRESENT
Al Pacino is pictured here from the Venice Film Festival this past weekend, where he made a big splash with two world premiere movies. Now tonight (Wednesday), he will be in Toronto, where, according to The Star's Martin Knelman, Pacino will be interviewed on stage by George Stroumboulopoulos in a fundraising event related to the Toronto International Film Festival, which officially kicks off Thursday. In his article, Knelman adds, "Three famous directors who have worked with Pacino will also be present: Barry Levinson, Norman Jewison and Brian De Palma." Pacino and De Palma are revving up to shoot their third film together, the Joe Paterno picture, Happy Valley.
ZACHAREK: PACINO'S "PERFORMANCE IN 'CARLITO'S WAY' IS THE ZENITH HE'LL NEVER TOP"
Pacino stars in Levinson's new movie, The Humbling, which will have its North American premiere at TIFF Thursday night. Based on a Philip Roth novel that Pacino had acquired the rights to, the film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last weekend, where it moved LA Weekly's Stephanie Zacharek to compare it to one of Pacino's De Palma performances. "The Humbling," writes Zacharek, "...is a bracing and fascinating piece of work, a movie made by an old man, about an old man, starring an old man, from source material written by an old man. Those factors aren’t a liability – they’re what give The Humbling its bittersweet vitality. Pacino is marvelous here – he writes in big, loud loops, as usual, and just when you want to suggest that maybe, just for a bit, he might try to use his Indoor Voice, he pulls himself back to reveal the gruff, subterranean grandeur that made him a great actor in the first place. [Greta] Gerwig is the weak link here: She doesn’t have the aura of hauteur you need to play the womanly schemer – there’s nothing remotely mysterious about her. But Pacino makes us believe that there is: When he looks at her, he’s an anguished lion with a thorn in his paw – his eyes hold the weary truth that if love will kill you, not loving at all will kill you quicker. Pacino is so good at being lovesick that, even if his performance in Carlito’s Way is the zenith he’ll never top, it’s still a deep, shivery pleasure to watch him play a man consumed with love. If we ever get too old for that, it’s the end of movies as we know them."
Zacharek liked (loved) The Humbling much more than she did Pacino's other Venice world premiere, David Gordon Green's Manglehorn. However, some critics seemed to have the reverse opinion about each of these. In his review of Manglehorn, The Guardian's Xan Brooks writes, "Pacino's Manglehorn is a subtle master class in neutral shading, with none of the garish flashes that sometimes bedevil his work. The actor's natural tendency is to hit for the fences and crank up the volume, often magnificently (Dog Day Afternoon), occasionally not (The Scent of a Woman). But Manglehorn provides him with a grand late renaissance, a fresh string to his bow. It takes the splenetic livewire of American film and installs him as condemned human property, boarded up and fenced off. The irony is that, by playing this wreck, Pacino looks as vital and exciting as he did in his pomp."
[Note: In July of last year, De Palma appeared on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, where he talked about Passion, played around with the idea of texting during dates, discussed the lack of a current counterculture in film, Robert De Niro, and quotes from Scarface.]