CANNES — Even at a more civilized festival such as Cannes, it can be hard to catch every single movie in competition. There are always a few that will slip through the cracks and you can always count on the inevitable life drama moment to rear its ugly head. Unlike other festivals, Cannes has less repeat screenings across the board. That also makes things tough for one person to chronicle it all.
CANNES — Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino has already dipped his toe into the familiar genre of characters of a certain age reminiscing about the good old days with 2013's "The Great Beauty." He even won an Oscar for it. Two years later he returns to the Cannes Film Festival with "Youth," a follow-up that stands besides "Great Beauty" thematically while also presenting a decidedly different point of view.
[This review contains descriptions of graphic sexual acts.]
CANNES — The first shot of Gaspar Noé’s new drama “Love” lets you know exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into. Murphy (Karl Glusman) and Electra (Aomi Muyock) are naked on a bed. She is giving him a hand job while he fingers her. The camera does not move. There is no cut to another shot. There is no music. And then, in what will be a common occurrence, Murphy ejaculates in Electra’s hand. Noé has given you ample warning of what’s ahead. This film will not simulate sex. The intercourse will be real and it will dominate the proceedings.
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.