For once, the Hamptons International Film Festival looks good. It starts Thursday and runs through the weekend, with Sharon Stone leading a parade of celebs to the beach.

One exciting thing: “Solitary Man,” the Brian KopplemanDavid Levien movie featuring Michael Douglas in a standout performance, is the festival’s centerpiece. I loved this film in Toronto, and can’t wait for it to get a distributor. Is there no Pauline Kael out there to champion this tough little movie? If this were 1977, “Solitary Man” would be a must see. Owen Gleiberman, where are you?

A few months ago I had a quick bite with the new Hamptons director Karen Arikian. She promised there would be an overhaul of the HIFF, with fewer films from other festivals and more stars. After all, the Hamptons are always written about as if they’re Hollywood East. (They’re not, but hey.) Arikian has come through on her promise.

They’re going to have parties, seminars, and screenings with stars galore. Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan in “The Greatest,” another terrific film featuring hot newcomer Carey Mulligan. And the closing film is Terry Gilliam’s superb “Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” with Heath Ledger in his final performance helped out by Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell.

Me, I’m going to the Sunday “Conversation with Steve Buscemi” at Guild Hall. He’s one of the smartest actors-directors-producers around, and his wife Jo is really nice, too.

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