Yes, that's Focus Features CEO James Schamus in a low-quality iPhone photo on Wednesday night at the "Peggy Siegal Screening" of Terry George's rather intense thriller, "Reservation Road". This sort of revenge drama -- the first film from Focus' partnership with Random House -- is not usually my cup of tea. However, the film is well-acted by Joaquim Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly, and Mark Ruffalo, so it generally worked for me as a straightforward nailbighter, even with a few moments of implausibility. introducing the screening, Schamus singled out the acting and warned guests that they'd need a drink after the movie.
WARNING, PLOT SPOILER: Indeed, two hours later guests were still getting over the death of a young child in the opening scenes of the movie and at the Plaza Athenee dinner later, George thanked attendees for their support of the film and dryly encouraged them to spread the word among their friends to "go see the dead kid in the road movie..."
After the screening, indieWIRE's Brian Brooks and I shared a car with James over to dinner and he was particularly excited about Thursday's NYC premiere of Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution," a film that rebounded from a round of negative trade reviews and won the Golden Lion in Venice. Schamus said the standing ovation at the fest was twice as long as the one for "Brokeback Mountain" and he added that Lee is arriving in NYC tonight from Asia where the film's uncut version is doing big business at the box office. Not one to pat himself on the back, Schamus also admitted that he reluctantly accepted the invitation to be honored this Saturday at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY despite his tremendous support for the organization. He explained that he is particularly fond of their media literacy programs for young kids. Terry George, Ang Lee and others will be on hand to salute Schamus and celebrate the sixth anniversary of the excellent film center.
[iphone photo by eugene hernandez]