Opening Night of the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival is just six days away and I'm becoming more excited by the hour as I peruse the fantastic lineup. Here's another in a series of promising selections.

Like the previous title I previewed, LAFF's Opening Night Film The Kids Are All Right, I also attended the World Premiere of Welcome to the Rileys at the Sundance Film Festival in January and selected it as one of my Top 5 Picks as well. One of the many high-profile films on the schedule, Jake Scott's Welcome to the Rileys features the world's hottest young star, Kristen Stewart. Son of Ridley and nephew of Tony Scott (both producers on the movie), Jake Scott directs an all-star cast including James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, and the ubiquitous Ms. Stewart.
One would be hard pressed to be unaware of this talented teenager given her presence in the record-shattering Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which together have made over $1.118 billion in worldwide box office. Welcome to the Rileys would most certainly have generated buzz regardless but, as director Scott told me after the Q&A at Sundance, the filmmakers certainly don't mind the added attention from her international notoriety.

At first glance Ken Hixon's screenplay says Pretty Woman meets My Fair Lady, with businessman Doug Riley (James Gandolfini) on a mission to tame wild stripper Mallory (Kristen Stewart) while Doug's wife Lois (Melissa Leo) waits at home. The story takes us in a more unexpected direction, however, and its originality begins to emerge. Welcome to the Rileys isn't about redemption per se, but the way that we are inexplicably changed by the strangers who serendipitously enter our lives.

Few actors play the tortured wife and mother as well as Melissa Leo. As the agoraphobic Lois Riley, her quiet desperation is palpable. Leo's face reflects painful tragedy one moment and shines with the glow of a new mother the next. Gandolfini combines the strength of an experienced road warrior with the innocence of a young man taking his first girl to the prom. His presence dominates this film and his sensitive performance is breathtaking. Stewart takes risks which would be daunting to actors twice her age. Brash and offensive, her Mallory is like a wild tigress in heat that's escaped from the zoo and evades capture at every turn. This could be her most shocking and memorable performance yet. See my full review and my pictures of Stewart from Sundance.

As I announced here in early February, the movie was acquired by Apparition for a tentative fall release. There is some question about the future of the company with its co-founder leaving last month but it is hoped this will not affect the release of the film.

Welcome to the Rileys is featured in the Summer Showcase section. There will be two screenings:

Friday, June 25th
7:30 PM
Regal 8

Sunday, June 27th
4:00 PM
Regal 12

Tickets are sold out but may become available to Rush Line patrons.

Director Jake Scott is expected to attend along with stars Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo. They will walk the red carpet at the Friday, June 25th screening.


Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

Comments (7)

  • nora Reply

    I used to like you Larry, but when I saw how much you kiss @ss the twifans -and mainly Kristen Stewart fans- I lost all respect...it's rather surprising that you liked the movie as a whole, more so, since you are the ONLY person who liked it!! Actually, it's shocking tha you liked it...

    June 11, 2010 at 10:38 am
  • lrichman@pronetworks.org
    lrichman@pronetworks.org Reply

    Interesting comment. I guess if I'm the "ONLY person who liked it" I must have some amazing influence with the programmers at the Los Angeles Film Festival, since they apparently booked the film solely based on my opinion.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:42 am
  • Evenusia Reply

    What a pity to spend time telling Larry he is the only person who liked the movie... Hey girl, open your eyes, and think positiv, Twilight and things in relation to Twilight makes people happy and in the wild world we live on it's quite a huge thing, don't you think so ? Thanks Larry to take care of us even if some people think its kissing ass of Twifans...
    xxx Evenusia from Paris (France)

    http://twitter.com/evenusia

    June 11, 2010 at 11:07 am
  • rebecca Reply

    Larry is hardly the "only person who liked it". Its gotten decent reviews and the acting in it has actually gotten GREAT reviews. You must be one of those "Robsessed".

    June 11, 2010 at 11:17 am
  • Casey Reply

    Larry, we love you. Keep it up.
    XO
    @Steeleyouaway

    June 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm
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    July 08, 2010 at 10:28 am
  • Seenath Kumar Reply

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    July 08, 2010 at 10:32 am

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