CANNES - Spend a few days at a major film festival and it won't take long to run into someone who has an opinion on a movie. With the end of the 66th Cannes Film Festival drawing near, it's intriguing to look at some of the films that have generated a lot of buzz over the past week and a half.
Are people still talking about films from the beginning of the festival? Well, in the case of"Great Gatsby," "Jeune & Jolie" and "Bling Ring" they've almost been forgotten. "Jimmy P"? This year's consensus whipping boy (and for obvious reasons). "Only Lovers Left Alive"? The latest polarizing title that seems split down the middle. There haven't been a lot of god awful movies at this Cannes, but opinions certainly vary.
With that in mind, here are 10 other films everyone's been talking about and my quick opinions on each.
Director: Arnaud des Pallières
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Mélusine Mayance, Delphine Chuillot, David Kross, Denis Lavant
Lowdown: Based on a classic 1811 novella, des Pallières succeeds brilliantly at turning this into the most unexpectedly boring film at the festival. "Kohlaas" wastes the talents of its cast (particularly Mikkelsen who finds himself beheaded on screen for the second time in the past year after "A Royal Affair") and Adrien Debackere and Jeanne Lapoirie's gorgeous cinematography.
Venus in Fur
Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
Lowdown: Polanski adapting yet another play. And it all takes place in the same location. Sound familiar? Unlike "Carnage," which featured four actors, "Venus in Fur" features Seigner and Amalric. The duo have chemistry, but it's basically a filmed play (again). And for someone with Polanski's talents, it's disheartening. Especially since you can figure out the play's theatrical conceit a mile away.
Director: Guillaume Canet
Stars: Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Lili Taylor, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, James Caan, Noah Emmerich, Matthias Schoenaerts
Lowdown: Canet's directing skills are quickly becoming overrated. After helming the very commercial and Cesar-winning thriller "Tell No One" he took a dramedy turn with a French version of "The Big Chill," the forgettable "Little White Lies." Now, he's adapted 2008's "Rivals" (which starred in) with James Gray into an English language thriller set in New York City during the 1970's and the result is pretty much a misfire. The brother vs. brother storyline is just silly, much of the ensemble is miscast (notably Canet's own partner Cotillard whose accent jumps all over the place) and the first 40 minutes or so may be the worst lit star studded movie I've seen in years. And somehow, Lionsgate and Roadside thought it was still worth picking up.
[Read Guy Lodge's review]
Only God Forgives
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Vithaya Pansringarm
Lowdown: Anyone expecting this to be an action thriller in the vein of "Drive" will be seriously disappointed. Refn is much more in "Bronson" mode here as he wrestles with much bigger philosophical themes within the context of a revenge pic. He doesn't quite nail it (having Gosling's character remain so silent may have been a mistake), but it's arguably his more gorgeous film yet and that is saying something. Whether you love it or hate, it's hard to find any critic who wasn't impressed by Kristin Scott Thomas balls to the wall turn that will make even the fiercest drag queen blush.
[Read Guy Lodge's review]