Cannes

Maps to the Stars Movie

Canadian auteur David Cronenberg has a well-documented fascination with seeing social systems disrupted by chaos, whether they be romantic (The Fly), domestic (A History of Violence), psychological (A Dangerous Method), criminal (Eastern Promises), automotive (Crash) or technological (Videodrome, eXistenZ) in nature. Just as his suffocatingly stilted Cosmopolis set out to skewer the folly of capitalism in a long limo ride across Manhattan, Cronenberg’s latest, Maps to the Stars, seems explicitly crafted to serve as its West Coast counterpart, taking to task the wealthy, self-involved ranks that populate Hollywood. It may not be the sharpest of satires, but perhaps that unruliness is simply a matter of form reflecting content.

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Les Films Seville

When Diane Després (Anne Dorval) signs her name to have son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) released from a teenage care facility, she scrawls her nickname — “Die” — before dotting the I with a heart. That tiny touch speaks volumes about the crossroads between ominous and ostentatious that Xavier Dolan’s Mommy calls home. A borderline operatic melodrama that emphasizes the emotional states of Solondz-like misfits with Sirkian flair (and a needless near-future setting), it follows the ADHD-afflicted Steve back into Diane’s reluctant care. As a widow, she can hardly hold a job down without having to attend to his latest vulgar or violent outburst, and the schools won’t have him back. Enter Kyla (Suzanne Clément), a mousy neighbor with a bit of a stutter who can withstand Steve’s mood swings. In fact, by tolerating him, the newly empowered Kyla levels out the emotional extremes between mother and son, if only for a while.

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Dawn of the Dead

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Why Watch? Another gem from Cannes, this short from Sam Karmann won the Palme d’Or in 1992 and later the Oscar as well. It’s a simple, very funny look at what happens when a man gets on the wrong train. Karmann converts this annoyingly relatable comic problem into a mini-adventure by raising the stakes to outlandish proportions and delivering a true knockout of a punch line. What Will It Cost? About 7 minutes. Keep Watching Short Films

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review post tenebras lux

You don’t get booed at Cannes for nothing. Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas’ visual iconoclasm continues to advance the bounds of cinema as art, but some people prefer to cling to the old narrative forms. In Reygadas’ progression through what is commonly referred to as auteur cinema, it has become increasing clear that he’s taking it forward with him. His debut feature Japan (2002) showcased the loneliness of a man who seeks refuge in a remote mountain village. It was followed by Heaven (2005), which strove to uncover the moral blight of the urban landscape, but by moving away from the rural he lost his idyllic aesthetic. To correct this this, Reygadas returned to a bucolic setting in Silent Light (2007), following a Mennonite community where a father’s faith is tested when he falls in love with a new woman. In Reygadas’ new feature, Post Tenebras Lux, he allows us into the deep recesses of his dreams. It is a visually stunning work that begs to be seen on the big screen and proved to be one of the most cerebral, reflective, and daring films I’ve seen this year. The film, which premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Best Direction award, takes its title from the Latin phase meaning “light after darkness.” Though it has been described as non-narrative drama, it does follow a clear story, if through a somewhat oblique pattern. It is a semiautobiographical drama that meditates on family life and Mexican class divisions, […]

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Foreign Objects - Large

The Wages of Fear is screening at the SF Film Society Cinema from June 8th-14th with a new print from a recent HD digital restoration completed by the Criterion Collection. I once drove a U-Haul truck from New York to Florida, and it was easily one of the most tension-filled, large vehicle-related experiences anyone has ever experienced ever. Part way through Tennessee, as I took a mildly tight on-ramp in a light rain, the truck began to fishtail. If you’ve ever been in a car when this happens you know how frightening it can be, but now imagine that sensation in a large truck with your girlfriend by your side and all of your earthly belongings packed into the back. I recovered control after what felt like several minutes (but was actually less than ten seconds) and calmly exited the freeway in search of a parking lot…at which point my fingers had to be pried away from the steering wheel. Friends who were driving behind us came running over excitedly to let us know that at one point during the event the left-side tires were all off the ground. I think about that experience occasionally, but watching Henri-Georges Clouzet‘s The Wages of Fear recently marked the first time I actually felt those memories again. The film spends its first half introducing a fairly unlikeable group of unemployed immigrants in a small South American town before devoting the second hour to a treacherous 300-mile drive across rough terrain in trucks loaded […]

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After literally days of rampant speculation and fanciful rumor-spreading (on my part), this year’s official line-up for the Cannes 2012 Film Festival has officially been unveiled by officials in the South of France. Officially. Unsurprisingly, and as predicted, my own 13 film wishlist was largely completely wrong – but I did predict a massive four (including the absence, thankfully, of Terrence Malick), and in my defense, Michael Haneke’s Love was the 14th film on my list until I decided to oust it for timing reasons. Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson and Tom Hardy will battle each other as Killing Them Softly (the awfully renamed adaptation of Cogan’s Trade), Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and the other needlessly renamed flick, Lawless (why not just keep it as The Wettest County?) compete for the Palme d’Or.

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Remember the time in college when you were strapped for cash and ended up working as a subconscious prostitute where anyone with a few bucks could have their way with you in your sleep? Yeah, we had that wiped from our memory too. Thankfully, Julia Leigh‘s new film Sleeping Beauty won’t let us forget. Here’s the trailer if you want to refresh yourself and get some context for the big spooning image of Emily Browning and your grandpa to the right. It hit Cannes with a mixed vengeance, and it should be in theaters (limited style), but it’s also available right this second on SundanceNOW. That is, if you like paying for things. Since we don’t, we’re giving away a free online ticket to see the movie through that wonderful website. How do you enter? How do you win? Glad you asked.

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After nearly a decade out of the cinematic limelight, director Lynne Ramsay returned to the film world with her Cannes Film Festival entry, We Need to Talk About Kevin. The film drew stellar reviews at the fest, with most people pointing squarely at Tilda Swinton‘s performance as one to watch. The film was also nominated for the Palme d’Or, which it lost to The Tree of Life. Simon saw the film at Cannes and gave it an A-, with his review paying particular attention to the strengths of the film’s performances, and adding to the kudos heaped on Swinton’s performance. The film tells the story of Swinton and John C. Reilly‘s characters, a regular married couple who have a not-so-regular son in the titular Kevin. Classy festival terminology aside – Kevin is a Grade A whack job, a nutcase of the highest order, an utterly terrifying child who grows up to be an even more unnerving teenager. And if the few glimpses we get at Ezra Miller‘s dead-eyed stare are any indication of his performance in the film, it looks like his eldest incarnation of Kevin will join the pantheon of all-time cinematic creepsters. Basically, watching this trailer will make you never want to have children – ever. You’ll never be able hear a baby cry without listening for a sinister lilt underneath the howls ever again. Fine, you should probably just never have sex ever again, because you may spawn something like Kevin. Consider it birth control by way of movie […]

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Culture Warrior

Yesterday the Twittersphere (a place where topics are only discussed in rational proportions) was abuzz with the news that Terrence Malick’s long-awaited magnum opus Tree of Life was booed at its Cannes premiere. While the reaction to Malick’s latest will no doubt continue to be at least as divisive and polarized as his previous work has been, for many Malick fans the news of the boos only perpetuated more interest in the film, and for many Malick non-fans the boos signaled an affirmation of what they’ve long-seen as lacking in his work. (Just to clarify, there was also reported applause, counter-applause, and counter-booing at the screening.) Booing at Cannes has a long history, and can even be considered a tradition. It seems that every year some title is booed, and such a event often only creates more buzz around the film. There’s no formula for what happens to a booed film at Cannes: sometimes history proves that the booed film was ahead of its time, sometimes booing either precedes negative critical reactions that follow or reflect the film’s divisiveness during its commercial release. Booed films often win awards. If there is one aspect connecting almost all booed films at Cannes, it’s that the films are challenging. I mean challenging as a descriptor that gives no indication of quality (much like I consider the term “slow”), but films that receive boos at the festival challenge their audiences or the parameters of the medium in one way or another, for better or […]

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Holy Hollywood, the selections for this year’s Cannes Film Festival (both confirmed and mostly-confirmed) are a star-studded bunch so far, if the rumormongers are to be believed, anyway. The news is coming pretty quick-fire at the minute, so I’ll run down the latest… First off, yesterday French site Le Figaro announced that Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides will play on the Croisette out of competition on Saturday May 14th, before it opens to French cinemas on May 18th and in the US on the 20th. This is one I was half-expecting, given the coincidental release dates, and the fact that there are traditionally a couple of mainstream releases showing out of competition at the fest. The third out of competition (joining Pirates and Terrence Malick’s already announced Tree of Life) looks likely to be Kung Fu Panda 2, according to Thompson on Hollywood, who say the 3D Dreamworks sequel starring Jack Black will follow Jeff Katzenberg’s tradition of bringing a DreamWorks project to Cannes to take advantage of a “worldwide marketing blitz.”

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There’s no telling what’s going on in Elia Suleiman’s The Time That Remains, and in rare form, the trailer probably does more to obfuscate any possible plot than it does to enlighten. From the minute we get, it looks sort of like Peter Sellers made a movie about Palestine after discovering trance music. Suleiman’s first feature was the 1990 experimental documentary Introduction to the End of an Argument, but he’s perhaps best known as the director of Divine Intervention which deals with the same subject matter of Remains – the comedic and dramatic and absurd moments of living under the occupation of Palestine. Check out the trailer for yourself, and if you can figure out what’s going on, drop me a line and let me know:

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Discover the girl you thought you knew from the new film by Stephen Frears.

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Our Culture Warrior Landon Palmer digs into next month’s Cannes line up so you won’t have to. Learn what to look out for when they hit the states and feign sounding cultured at parties!

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With movie websites getting clogged with stories and reviews about movies that will never reach the public, are film festivals more ado about nothing than we’d like to admit?

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Dogtooth

When writing about Dogtooth the question is not, as it is in approaching many film reviews, whether or not some elements of a film work and others don’t in order to achieve what it sets out to, but whether or not the audience accepts or rejects what is set out to be achieved in the first place. Tonally and stylistically, Dogtooth is consistent, informed, and well executed on every aesthetic and technical level.

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We don’t come to mourn Miramax, but to bury you in great films to add to your rental queue.

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CW-Antichrist

Don’t worry, Landon is done arguing his case for Lars von Trier’s new film, but he has a bone to pick with critics who feel entitled to spoil it simply because they don’t like a movie.

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antichrist-1

As if the image of Willem Dafoe’s nude buttocks wasn’t enough to haunt you, Lars Von Trier’s entire film is going to be landing in New York and Los Angeles on October 23rd. Spooky!

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basterds-header

Familiar names like Almodovar, Tarantino, Lee, Von Trier, Noe, Campion, Loach, and Haneke will all be vying for the Palme d’Or.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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