CANNES — In 2001 Benicio Del Toro won an Oscar for his portrayal of a Mexican police officer attempting to take down the drug cartels in Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic.” Fourteen years later he’s starring in another film about North America’s “drug war,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” and the picture makes the disheartening argument that things may have actually gotten worse.
CANNES — Stop and think about it for a just a minute. Imagine a movie almost completely centered on individual emotions living in a young girl's head. Not a short, but a feature length film. It sounds like some sort of nightmare screenwriting assignment, doesn’t it? How do you explain how the emotions work? Do they control her every action? Do they grow and mature alongside her? How do you make a coherent, entertaining and moving experience out of that concept? Pete Docter, who previously directed one of Pixar's best films, "Up," doesn't make things easy on himself taking on that challenge and it makes the success of "Inside Out" more admirable than it initially might seem.
CANNES — There's nothing like a Cannes Film Festival press conference to stir things up a bit. This year we've already had Tom Hardy publicly apologize to director George Miller for his behavior during the filming of "Mad Max: Fury Road" and on Sunday none other than Cate Blanchett stoked the flames. Something tells us she's been waiting for the opportunity.
CANNES — A look across a crowded room. A hand on a shoulder, slightly longer than expected. A conversation of code words. In the McCarthy era, gay men and women were forced to follow societal norms, with even the most "obvious" gays and lesbians trapped in the closet. It is in this context that we are introduced to department store clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) and her new customer, the somewhat older Ms. Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) in Todd Haynes' adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel, "Carol."
CANNES — There are two moments that stand out the most in Asif Kapadia's new documentary "Amy." They will haunt you.
CANNES — In the 25 years since his breakthrough film “Drugstore Cowboy” was released, Gus Van Sant has spent his time bouncing back and forth between the independent film world and more distinctly commercial endeavors. The style and tone of each work has clearly been dictated on the audience it's intended for and you can argue he’s only attempted to meet in the middle a few times, with the Oscar-nominated "Milk" or "Good Will Hunting." Van Sant’s latest work, "The Sea of Trees," sadly proves what a dicey proposition that can be.
CANNES — The competition slate of the Cannes Film Festival is usually packed with established cinematic auteurs or former jury prize winners. When a first-time director is selected to be a part of such esteemed company, it usually means they have created a work that is truly remarkable. In terms of filmmaking prowess, "remarkable" may not do Laszlo Nemes' holocaust drama "Son of Saul" justice.
CANNES — Anyone who even casually follows Woody Allen's career knows that these days the prolific filmmaker delivers just as many misses as he does hits. Last year, Allen directed Emma Stone and Colin Firth in the not-so-enchanting "Magic in the Moonlight." His follow-up, "Irrational Man," premiered today at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and once more finds Stone front and center as his muse. To say it's better film than "Moonlight" may be a compliment, but we won't pretend it's not a backhanded one.
Cannes — Harvey Weinstein appears to be in a good place. The Weinstein Company is, after all, coming off three-straight hits with "The Imitation Game," "Paddington" and "Woman in Gold." Thursday evening the industry titan held court for his annual Cannes preview, noting that he loved this year's slate while insisting that that's not always the case. The highlight of the evening was intended to be the first footage screened of Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," but this pundit was much more impressed with Garth Davis' "Lion."