At The Illusionist Opening Night Gala (2006-05-25)

It may be challenging when tired to blog every screening we see in SIFF (and, later, every weekend away in Europe), but I like the idea so I'll start with The Illusionist. This was an entertaining, inoffensive film, unlikely to produce the disgust that some felt for the transgressive Opening Night Me and You and Everyone We Know or the tears some shed for the sentimental Opening Night The Notebook. The Illusionist reminded me of The Usual Suspects, with more magic and fewer fatalities, though I liked The Usual Suspects better.

At the Paramount screening were director Neil Burger, leading actress Jessica Biel--whom I've only seen before in Stealth (which looked like it wanted to be Top Gun for the 2000s)--and 2500 film fans, including us and two friends. Edward Norton (see Rounders, American History X, Fight Club, Keeping the Faith, The Score, Frida, and The Italian Job!) was not present. (As an aside, Red Dragon is still my least favorite Ed Norton movie.) Afterward we walked to the old Seattle Public Library for a party that was again too large and too loud. I prefer the smaller galas, but I still had an entertaining evening.