The 5:24: If They Pay You For It, It’s Not Love

The 5:24: If They Pay You For It, It’s Not Love

For more than thirty-years, Rich Marin dominated Wall Street, producing some of the most creative investments, making billions for his clients and millions for himself. But it all came crashing down around him five years ago, when the hedge funds he oversaw at Bear Stearns imploded. The rest of the financial world followed within the year. Now Rich Marin wants to build the world’s largest ferris wheel in Staten Island, and New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has just given Marin his blessing.

Before the big recession, nobody outside of Wall Street would ever have heard of him if it were not for the publication of a June 28, 2007, story on the front page of The New York Times Business Section. In his personal time, Marin ran a blog called Whim of Iron, an eclectic mix of notes to friends, ruminations on life in banking, travel writing and a listing of his weight-loss efforts. But most of all, it was home to his movie reviews. Cinema had been a driving passion for many years, ever since Mr. Marin spent some time as a high school student in Rome.

The Times reported that on June 17 of 1997, just as Bear Stearns frantically was trying to bail out two hedge funds that were run by two of Mr. Marin’s traders: “Richard Marin, the head of the Bear unit that ran the troubled funds, ‘stole away’ from the ‘crisis-hedge-fund-salvation-workaholic weekend’ to see the new Kevin Costner thriller “Mr. Brooks.” His advice on the film? Take a ‘pass,’ Mr. Marin wrote in a review he posted that day on his blog.” Rich Marin was out of a job two days after the story ran.

While Mr. Marin may have achieved widespread infamy for blogging about movies while the Bear Stearns division he ran collapsed, he remained unapologetic about his love of cinema, so much so that he even relaunched his movie blog last year. Further, the 1997 financial blogging embroilment was not the first time The Times had written about Mr. Marin’s flare for film. Before blogging, there was his screenwriting.

In 1996, Mr. Marin submitted a script to an HBO competition called Subway Stories, a project produced by Rosie Perez. Out of the thousands of submissions, only 10 were selected for production, and Mr. Marin’s was one of them. “It was the most highly reviewed by both The Times and the Daily News,” he said. In a recent interview, Marin didn’t indicate which of the 10 shorts was his, but it is almost certainly The 5:24, which is about a young banker’s reckoning with a wise old man as they ride the Lexington Avenue subway downtown before dawn.

The Times described The 5:24 as “the most successful example” of “eerie psychological confrontation” that suffuses many of Subway Stories’ series of shorts films, a “succinct study of the traps of financial ambition” starring Steve Zahn as the banker and Jerry Stiller as the wise guy. The 5:24 follows the daily conversations between the wary young banker and the seemingly brilliant, older and allegedly retired financial analyst, who claims that working in an office, although extremely lucrative, would take the fun out his predictive talents. When the older man proposes an investment that appears much too good to be true, will the young banker be able to set aside his fears and gamble his life savings on the older man’s lucrative proposal?

Read more about Rich Marin in The New York Observer here.

The 5:24: If They Pay You For It, It’s Not Love

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Dazed and Confused: Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis

Dazed and Confused: Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis

New York Times journalist David Carr made the now infamously scorned Twilight star Robert Pattinson squirm in his seat Wednesday night during a TimesTalks interview that was intended to serve as an intellectual conversation about Pattinson’s latest film, Cosmopolis.

About an hour into the discussion, Carr tried to draw an analogy between Pattinson’s romantic woes with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart and the famously troubled relationship between England’s Prince Charles and Diana, the late Princess of Wales. “So if you and Kristen have trouble it’s like Charles and Di having trouble?” Carr asked.

Carr’s question wasn’t completely out of context: Pattinson, who often seemed to be intellectually in over his head during the conversation, had to ask for questions to be repeated and admitted to losing track of his thoughts, had only moments before attempted to attribute America’s obsession with fame to the country’s desire for a monarchy.

I think it’s because America really wants to have a royal family,” Pattinson said, then going even further saying that America’s Hollywood royalty are just like the real royalty except “meritocratic.” He quickly backtracked on that somewhat slippery point, but it was too late: the analogy had been cast, and Carr appeared more than content to segue into Stewart.

Pattinson seemed unprepared; waiting a while to answer, it sounded as if he was breathing in backwards for a few moments. “Well, uh, Charles,” the star finally said, after looking down while awkwardly fingering his water bottle. Carr soon moved the conversation forward, stating, “I wasn’t really going there, just so you know.” “No, I wouldn’t go that far,” Pattinson answered.

TimesTalks Presents: David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis

In David Cronenberg’s new film Cosmopolis, the Twilight series’ monumentally popular Robert Pattinson utterly lacks any sense of onscreen magnetism. Without the armor of his signature role, Mr. Pattinson’s speech is halting, his face blockishly blank and he seems aware that he doesn’t really belong in the kind of art films he’d like to make.

Yet, while Cronenberg’s film, based on the novel by Don DeLillo, does not feature a strong performance by Mr. Pattinson, he ends up being good for the movie. A more naturally gifted actor would not have served the story, which needs at its center someone who emphasizes the very stilted quality of each line and the whole enterprise’s distance from reality.

Mr. Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a man who works with money in a not-fully-defined capacity: he’s worried about the yuan. Mr. Packer’s eventful day makes up the plot of Cosmopolis, as the young man only occasionally departs his giant limousine. Cronenberg’s body-horror impulse is in full effect here, with the capacious limousine growing ever more claustrophobic and Eric ever more vulnerable to violation and attack.

As he is chauffeured across midtown Manhattan to get a haircut at his father’s old barber, his anxious eyes are glued to the yuan’s exchange rate: it is mounting against all expectations, destroying Eric’s bet against it. Eric Packer is losing his empire with every tick of the clock. Meanwhile, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city’s streets. Petrified as the threats of the real world infringe upon his cloud of virtual convictions, his paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour cross-town odyssey. Packer starts to piece together clues that lead him to a most terrifying secret: his imminent assassination.

The interior of the car is brilliantly shot in order to convey a sense of the car’s scope without ever showing its full space. The world Packer inhabits is so unsafe that to leave the car even to urinate is a great risk; so, too, is expressing any passion for the woman he brings into the car for sex. Mr. Pattinson doesn’t even remove an article of clothing for the liaison. When he finally gets the haircut he’s been driving vaguely toward all day long, it’s a half-shaved, half-long mess that looks like a Manhattanite’s idea of a Brooklynite and won’t win Pattinson any new fans.

David Cronenberg’s direction throughout Cosmopolis is impeccable, both inside the limo and out. Mr. Cronenberg keeps you rapt, even when the story and actors don’t. Some of this disengagement is certainly intentional. Taken as a commentary on the state of the world in the era of late capitalism, Cosmopolis can seem almost banal. But these banalities, which here are accompanied by glazed eyes, are also to the point: the world is burning, and all that some of us do is look at the flames with exhausted familiarity.

Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (Official Trailer)

Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis: Sex in the Limousine

Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis: The Smell of Sex

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