CANNES - The Cannes Film Festival is certainly easier than some of its North American cousins in regards to the sheer number of movies screened and how they are scheduled (two major films rarely premiere at the same time). That being said, too many 8:30am screenings and it's easy for the whole festival to get away from you a bit. With that in mind, here are three quick capsule reviews from this year's fest.
CANNES - The circus around the Cannes Film Festival is different than any other film festival in the world. It may be less Hollywood than Toronto and less audience-friendly than Sundance, but Cannes truly draws talent of all kinds from every corner of the globe. Only here could you be interviewing rising Australian filmmaking star David Michôd on a hotel rooftop deck while Kylie Minogue belts "Can't Get You Out of My Head" for a live French TV program across the street.
CANNES - After today's disappointing screening of Michel Hazanavicius' "The Search," there is little doubt it's been a weak year for Oscar at Cannes. There are only two more days left for the Competition titles and no one is expecting Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall," Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," Olivier Assayas' "Sils Maria" (well, maybe) or possible Palme d'Or crasher "Leviathan" to become major awards season players.
CANNES - Jeffrey Katzenberg had quite the Cannes. "How To Train Your Dragon 2" played out of competition with a standing ovation from the festival faithful and he found himself awarded Commander of the Order Of Arts And Letters by the French government. It all coincides with the 20th Anniversary of DreamWorks (although DreamWorks' first animated film didn't arrive until 1998) and was some welcome good news for Katzenberg and DWA.
CANNES - Sometimes directors live in vacuum. You work on a movie for months, you become ingrained with it. That means other films, performances, life events pass you by. Keep that in mind when you see quotes from Bennett Miller that he'd never seen Steve Carell "give material evidence that he could do [anything] like" his performance in "Foxcatcher." Because, frankly, that's not the case.
CANNES - When you have Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack and David Cronenberg on a panel for thirty minutes you expect a lively and intelligent conversation. Maybe it was the mixed reviews for Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" or maybe it was just the always dicey prospects of the international press corps but, sadly, this was one press conference that was sort of a dud.
CANNES - Last year, Lionsgate held a party to celebrate "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" on the beach here, only to have steady rain put a slight damper on the proceedings. This year, lady luck was on their side with sunny skies and every major cast member on hand as the upcoming "Mockingjay Part 1" was the theme of the night. The studio moved the extravaganza to a decadent private mansion 30 minutes outside of Cannes in Antibes. Needless to say, the Capitol City elite would have been proud.
CANNES - After debuting last September at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in separate "Him" and "Her" versions, the combined "Them" (version) of Ned Benson's "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" screened on this side of the pond this afternoon. "Him" and "Her" told a story of a couple in crisis from the different perspectives of the film's main characters, Connor (James McAvoy) and the eponymous Eleanor (Jessica Chastain). "Them" is an attempt to tell the story as an equitable narrative for both characters, but it is clearly still driven by Eleanor's heartache and emotional journey.
CANNES - Another year and another Cannes means The Weinstein Company is once more staging a show and tell for their upcoming slate. After ending 2013 on a somewhat disappointing note at the box office, TWC is hoping a number of new titles can change their fortunes over the rest of this calendar year. The company's annual presentation consisted of familiar trailers for titles releasing in the next few months and selected clips from projects that we haven't seen any footage from up until now. Oh, and Harvey, of course.
CANNES - While the Cannes Film Festival is known for its celebrity-filled red carpets and the prestigious Palme d'Or, it's also a major film market for distributors around the world. For over 50 years international production companies have hawked completed films or movies they are trying to secure financing for to theater owners from the far corners of the globe. For good reasons and bad, the Cannes Film Market is also notorious for its sometimes hilarious promo posters for films that may never see the light of day in the United States.