Cannes Film Festival

Editor’s note: This review originally ran during Cannes 2012, but we’re re-running it as the film’s limited theatrical release begins this weekend. Those expecting Matteo Garrone to follow up 2008′s excellent Gomorrah with another authentic new world crime drama might be surprised to hear that his latest project replaces the seedy criminal underworld for a thoroughly modern exploration of the current fascination with reality TV and its particular brand of disposable fame. In Reality, we follow the tragi-comic story of Luciano (Aniello Arena), a Neapolitan fishmonger with aspirations to find his fortune on the Italian version of Big Brother at the behest of his family who see him as a star and inspired by the success of former housemate Enzo (Raffaele Ferrante). We also follow his subsequent delusional breakdown. Reality is effectively Garrone’s take on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, replacing the golden ticket with the chance to make it into the Big Brother House and instead of giving Charlie his fantastical pay-off, tricking him and trapping him in a perpetual hunt through Wonka bars for his one big shot. Offered an irresistible glimpse at what the prize would mean for his future, and intoxicated with the modern Fame Disease, Luciano quickly turns from charming family man to an obsessive, paranoid reclusive, convinced that the casting team of Big Brother are testing him for selection long after the show has started.

read more...

If you find the holidays to not be wrenching and desperate enough, Sony Pictures Classics has just announced that they will release their recently acquired Palme d’Or-winning film, Amour, in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 19th. Filmmaker Michael Haneke just won the prestigious Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival this past weekend, making him only the seventh director to win the Golden Fronds of Awesome or Whatever twice (no director has ever won it more than twice). He previously won in 2009 for The White Ribbon. The film centers on aging couple Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), who must deal with the after-effects of an attack that Anne suffers. It’s been billed as a stirring rumination on life, death, aging, love, and marriage, and was almost universally hailed at the festival (of course, there have been a handful of critics who have voiced their displeasure with it, so it will be quite interesting to see how it plays to larger audiences). This is the third film of Haneke’s that SPC has distributed, as they have also previously released both Cache and The White Ribbon. [Press Release, via ComingSoon]

read more...

Movie News: Brian De Palma

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that has been returned to the hands of its rightful owner, for now. But before we get to my triumphant return after a week of vegging out and eating BBQ, lets give a round of applause to Nathan Adams, Luke Mullen, Kate Erbland, Kevin Carr and Robert Fure, who did a wonderful job last week during guest week. I don’t know about you, but I lizzed a few times while reading their work. Lets hope that I can bring the same verve to this week’s return. We begin, of course, with naughty bits… Several new images from Brian De Palma’s Passion this past week, courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival. That includes the above image, depicting a very devious, scantily clad Rachel McAdams burning a hole in my heart of hearts. It’s the eyes that do it. And the stockings. Definitely the stockings.

read more...

Whatever happened to brevity? Xavier Dolan‘s latest project – the transgender-infused romantic melodrama Laurence Anyways that was chosen as part of this year’s secondary Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes – weighs in at a comfort-busting two hours and thirty nine minutes. That, in any context, is too long. But, perhaps the plot might offer redemption, and make for an engrossing enough experience to make time less of an issue? It all appeared very promising – a decade spent in the company of Laurence (Melvil Poupaud), who makes the bold and brave decision to change his sex, and his girlfriend Frederique (Suzanne Clement) who must come to terms with exactly what that decision must mean. Over the ten years the pair refind each other as Laurence advances on his personal journey of discovery, making this sort of like When Harry Became Sally, if you’re looking for a provocative, self-indulgent pop reference.

read more...

In Lawless, John Hillcoat has almost crafted the perfect modern Western, infusing more explicitly the gangster genre elements that always occur in the genre, but never quite so explicitly. The film follows the Bondurant brothers – Jack (Shia Labeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) – rise as the most famous bootleggers in sun-dried Prohibition-era Virginia, and the government’s attempts to stop them. The government’s chief agent is Guy Pearce‘s Charlie Rakes, a flamboyant looking, but profoundly villainous Special Deputy, let off his leash when the Bondurants, lead by Hardy’s powerhouse Forrest refuse to pay a monthly toll on their illegal activities. While it may sound like an all guns-blazing, epic Prohibition-era Western, the story, adapted well from Matt Bondurant‘s historical novel by Nick Cave (who also once again offers a superlative score) focuses on human stories to add poignancy and depth to the more explosive sequences.

read more...

Seeing as his latest project, Moonrise Kingdom, has just opened the Cannes Film Festival – mostly to glowing reviews – Wes Anderson is currently the talk of the film world, and Harper’s Bazaar has taken advantage of the exposure to publish a profile of and interview with the quirky director. Time is taken in the sit down to discuss his signature style, both as far as his films go and as far as his wardrobe is concerned, what he hoped to accomplish with Moonrise Kingdom, including his thoughts on young love, and even what his current living situation is. Surprisingly, it was the current living situation part that colored the juiciest bit of the interview. You see, recently Anderson has been splitting his time between living in New York and living in Paris, and it seems his experimentation with a European lifestyle has inspired him so much that he’s going to work it into his next film. When pressed about a follow-up to Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson revealed that he’s halfway finished with a script that he described as being, “a film I want to make in Europe, a Euro movie.”

read more...

By now, it seems fairly obvious that this year’s Cannes Film Festival will serve as a coming out party of sorts for Robert Pattinson, at least, a coming out party for the actor’s talents beyond just sucking blood and turning girls into emotion pancakes, as he’s been doing for years with his work in The Twilight Saga. The actor’s performance in David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis looks better with every trailer released, and the film’s in-competition premiere at the festival should be a watershed moment for Pattinson. But Pattinson has now added another Cannes-centric project that will help establish him as an actor who is more than capable of breaking out of Edward Cullen’s coffin. Pattinson has signed on to star in Jean-Stephane Sauvaire‘s (Johnny Mad Dog) Mission: Blacklist. The film’s script has been adapted from its source material, military interrogator Eric Maddox’s (written with Davin Seay) novel “Mission: Black List #1,” by Band of Brothers scribe Erik Jendresen. The book is described as “a psychological thriller that details the true, inside story of the search for Saddam Hussein and the interrogator, Eric Maddox, who spearheaded his capture.” The film will be sold at the Cannes Film Market by Embankment Films.

read more...

The first teaser we saw for David Cronenberg’s upcoming film Cosmopolis gave us a glimpse of a stylish, violent work that not only looked like a throwback to the disturbing genre pictures the director made his name on, but that also seemed to be taking a page out of the playbook of Gaspar Noé, a director of French films who made waves in the U.S. with a couple of mind-bendingly stylized films in Irreversible and Enter the Void. That was probably enough to get film fans to mark this one on their calendars already, but after the movie was announced as being a big part of this year’s Cannes lineup, anticipation for Cosmopolis has reached a fever pitch. Or, at least, that’s what its producers are hoping, because they’ve put some new trailers out to capitalize on the Cannes announcement. This one comes from French site Allocine, and it expands on the colorful visuals and cringe inducing violence of the teaser trailer by giving us a better idea of what the story of this film is going to be about. Cosmopolis seems to be a timely tale, taking advantage of the growing Occupy Movement and the mounting frustrations with the world’s richest 1%, as much of the violence we saw in the teaser has now been given the context of being the brutal results of a world rebelling against its ruling class. A ruling class that, in this film, is represented by Robert Pattinson.

read more...

Cannes! It’s upon us! At this stage last year, I offered my pre-festival wishlist for what films might screen at Cannes (and got six out of eighteen picks correct in the process), which was based on rumors and guesswork from around the net. This year, in the interest of embracing the spirit of imagination, the emphasis is on spurious gossip and pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. Plucking films that might have an outside chance of screening on the Croisette this year (in some cases so far outside they won’t even be in France until months after the fest, probably), I’ve compiled my Ultimate Cannes 2012 Wishlist. The caveat to this of course is that probably very few of the bloody things will actually screen – at least not to the majority of the collected press – but what’s life without whimsy? Yes, the bent is firmly on American films, and English language ones, but in my defense, I don’t care. It says “wishlist” up there for a good reason. Realism aside, here are 13 movies I hope play at Cannes this May.

read more...

This weekend’s 38th annual Telluride Film Festival has just announced their slate, including a number of buzzed-about titles from the likes of Cronenberg, Payne, Ramsay, Kaurismäki, Scorsese, Herzog, and McQueen. Telluride differs from other film festivals by keeping mum on its lineup until the day before the festival opens, though speculation runs high in the weeks before opening, with a bevy of well-educated guesses often revealing the festival’s top picks well in advance (an example from this year would be We Need to Talk About Kevin, as star Tilda Swinton is a consistent Telluride favorite). The festival will continue to announce additions to its lineup throughout its run. The festival seems to have a taken a number of cues from Cannes and Venice, with Cannes picks The Artist, Le Havre, Footnote, The Kid with a Bike, Bonsai, and We Need to Talk About Kevin showing, along with Venice films A Dangerous Method and Shame. The festival also announced that they will be bestowing the Silver Medallion Awards (which “recognize an artist’s contribution to the world of cinema”) to George Clooney (starring in The Descendants at the festival), Swinton, and French filmmaker-actor Pierre Etaix. The festival runs this weekend, from September 2 through September 5. Check out the full lineup for the festival’s main program, which also includes Albert Nobbs, Living in the Material World, and The Tuirn Horse, after the break.

read more...

Director Michel Hazanavicius’s newest film The Artist made a big splash at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Not only did it walk away with some decent praise from critics to plaster on its ads, it also earned the film’s star Jean Dujardin the Cannes award for Best Actor. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And also nothing to sneeze at is the visual ecstasy that is the new US trailer for this French film. The Artist is shot in black and white, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The story takes place in late 20s Hollywood, and it tells the tale of a romance between a big star who is entering the twilight of his career and a bright young starlet who is just coming into the prime of hers, as the movie industry in general transitions from silent films to talkies. Not only is it set in old Hollywood, it’s made like a film would have been in old Hollywood, complete with no sound and including all of the old school, broad stage acting that one would have expected from silent films of the time. So why it would need a trailer specifically for the US is beyond me, but let’s continue.

read more...

Each Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar, there’s an extraordinary prayer read in synagogue. Called the “Unetanneh Tokef,” it evokes the awesome power of judgment day, extolling God’s capacity for punishment, his propensity for mercy and man’s insignificance in the face of it all. I thought of the third part of that prayer while watching The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s ambitious, meditative stab at codifying the cosmos. It gets close to the essence of the reclusive auteur’s much-anticipated new picture: “A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust. At risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.” In paralleling the origins of the universe with flashes from the everyday 1950s childhood of a young boy from Waco, Texas, Malick’s film captures the ethereal nature of life. Beginning with the Big Bang and the dinosaurs and cycling through Jack O’Brien’s (Sean Penn) memories of his youth — of ballgames on the lawn during muggy summer nights, his younger brother’s warm gaze, contentious family dinners and the first stirrings of sexual feelings — Malick offers one man’s story writ large and small.

read more...

The best thing about the selection in Un Certain Regard is that it often throws up absolute gems of films that wouldn’t necessarily land on my radar otherwise (which is entirely the point of Cannes’ secondary competition, after all). This year, the selection hasn’t been hugely exciting (and one film even sparked the first, and hopefully only walk-out by yours truly), but in amongst the usual oblique material, little islands of enjoyment like Restless, shine even more by comparison. Now, Eric Khoo‘s animation Tatsumi can count itself among the biggest successes of this year’s Un Certain Regard alongside Gus Van Sant’s latest. The film is based on Japanese comics artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi‘s manga memoir “A Drifting Life” as well as five of his earlier short stories, using the artist’s own iconic gekiga artistic style, and a minimalist approach to animation.

read more...

As the films come to a close, patterns tend to emerge. This year, for instance, there has been a definite focus on the cinema of abuse, of nostalgia and on auteur-driven films, but the most engaging and intriguing mini-pattern for me is the cinema of misdirection, i.e. films that suggest they are one thing and ultimately offer something entirely different by their end. Unlike Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and The Skin I Live In and even to a lesser extent Hara-Kiri, Drive‘s directional swerve is a tonal one, rather than a thematic or material one. What at the outset looks like an indie love story, with background driving sub-plots, swerves wildly onto a more ragged road. Ryan Gosling (Cannes’ new darling after this and last year’s mesmerizing Blue Valentine) stars as a stunt-driver/mechanic by day, who moonlights as a getaway driver who is as solitary as Leon, and as effortlessly cool and detached as Bullitt. This driver’s world is flipped when he meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, who looks stunning), and is immediately floored by her (and her son Benicio). Problem is, Irene has an ex-con husband (Standard, played by Oscar Isaac) who they discover has been granted early release, and doesn’t take too kindly to the driver muscling in on his family. When the driver discovers Standard beaten and bloody in the car park, he offers his services to pull off the one last job that will see the ex-criminal able to get out and go straight. Only things […]

read more...

How can you ever hope to resist the allure of a film whose poster features a naked lady and a giant crocodile? Well, you can’t, as that combination is scientifically proven to be more attractive even than a monkey with a drumkit. So, I took my place in the company of the director and cast, and some other recognisable faces (including the Dardennes) to watch the humor-pricked political drama The Minister from Versailles director Pierre Schoeller, not entirely sure where the nudity and crocodiles would fit in. The film, framed by two tragedies, offers a microcosmic portrait of the inner workings of government, focusing on Transport Minister Bertrand Saint-Jean (Olivier Gourmet) as he tries to deal with multiple emergencies – a fatal bus crash in the Ardennes, a fragile economic climate, and some underhand machinations from other politicians – while simultaneously holding on to his own identity and personal life. Rather than a three-act narrative, we instead follow Saint-Jean as he works himself through the inner mechanisms of government, fending off political enemies and trying to hold his own in a world that encourages blind allegiance over moral fiber. I admit, it’s not one I would usually go for based on that synopsis, but when in Cannes…

read more...

Make no bones about it, the UK has been screaming out for a local equivalent to the sprawling and genius beast that is the San Diego Comic-Con, as well as something that offers “regular movie fans” the opportunity to enjoy a similar festival that takes into account their various levels of nerdery, without feeling like they are second-class behind hacks and those attendees who turn up in full Klingon gear every year without fail. And now, thanks to Empire Magazine, British film-fest-fans are set to get their wish, with August seeing the inaugural Big Screen festival opening at the O2 and offering a so far unrivaled opportunity to get up close and personal with the movie world. I had the opportunity to meet the Empire team at a swanky, on-the-beach restaurant yesterday to find out some more details, and to be punched in the soul by the very best steak I have ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot of steak in my time.

read more...

Yet again I find myself sitting in the dark waiting for one of my most anticipated films of this year’s Cannes film festival, and am met with a chorus of coughs ringing around the screen. Here’s a thought – if you are allergic to either a) the dark or b) the cinema, maybes it’s time you stopped going. It sounds like a bloody Victorian bronchitis convention every time the lights go down… Anyway, The Skin I Live In (also known as The Skin That I Inhabit, depending on how you translate the original Spanish title), is the latest in this year’s auteur-focused Competition line-up, and thanks to both director Pedro Almodovar‘s assertions that he set out to make a horror “without screams or frights” and his reunion with sometime muse Antonio Banderas, this one sat at the top table in terms of anticipation. Warning, there be a few spoilers below, though I have tried to avoid as many as possible. But like Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, such is the nature of the film that some hints are a necessity.

read more...

Despite assertions that I would never consciously put myself through the draining experience of watching one of his films again, this morning saw the first screening of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, a film about the end of the world, as well as one that presents the triumph of melancholia, or the feeling that everything we know is hollow. So, now the credits have rolled, the world has ended and again, I find myself challenged by the dichotomy of a film that consciously aims to jar and jolt, rather than be pleasurable (is there any other way for this director though?). Like Malick’s The Tree of Life, Melancholia is experiential cinema, a film that has limited commercial appeal aside from the names attached to it, that is as much a manifestation of Von Trier as an artist as it is a film in its own right, and long after this film festival is done, it will be those two films that will command the most debate, side-by-side. Both are endurance tests, but Melancholia is something entirely different to that other film, even though both will no doubt split the festival. Is it successful? Incredibly so. Though it’s certainly not an enjoyable experience. But at the end of the day, that’s exactly what the infamous director set out to achieve.

read more...

The second competition title of Sunday, and a universe away from the gorgeous, subtle brilliance of the morning showing of Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, comes Bertrand Bonello‘s House of Tolerance, or to give it its full French title L’apollonide (Souvenirs de la Maison Close), an intimate portrait of a  brothel in its last days. The press pack promised copious nudity, and the hook of a prostitute who is disfigured by a “client,”  who slashes the corners of her mouth to make a permanent scarred smile. So think the Joker, only with capital knockers. It’s hard to offer a succinct review, or even a succinct synopsis, since the film consciously resists definition by traditional standards. In other words it’s one of those pretentious films that is usually found making up the Competition picks at Cannes, not likely to trouble the awards, and thus basically represent an opportunity for the selectors to show off their own tastes. But here goes…

read more...

World events and current affairs invariably inspire cultural commentary, in terms of both entertainment and factual responses, and it is no exaggeration to speculate that if an event, or an idea is worthy of note for documentary filmmakers and straight literary commentators, it will inevitably already have been considered by someone in Hollywood as a potential money-spinner. Just look at how quickly the Kill Bin Laden project was confirmed after the death of arguably the most wanted man in Western history. Recent years have seen the blurring of the distinction between serious exposes and their Hollywood counterparts, as filmmakers like Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock have used more commercial arenas to promote their messages, and we can now talk about documentaries in terms of their box office appeal and potential bankability. Add to that the fact that revolution is hot right now, with notable uprisings taking up slots in the news almost every day, and you could suggest that this is the perfect time to be making and releasing anything that successfully blends a compelling story with a spirit of dissent. Into this context, filmmaking spouses and activists Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell have made The Big Fix (sometimes known as Spill), a documentary charting the continued after-effects and alleged cover-up of the Deepwater Horizons oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which screened this afternoon as a Special Screening in Cannes.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C
published: 04.18.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
A

Listen to Junkfood Cinema
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3