CANNES - In a festival that has been unusually generous to actresses -- permitted to carry any number of high-profile entries, from Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman" to the Dardennes' "Two Days, One Night" to Xavier Dolan's "Mommy" -- it seems fitting that the final Competition film screened to press should be an explicit examination of their craft. The graceful ghosts of "All About Eve" and Cassavetes' "Opening Night" haunt Olivier Assayas' arch-but-airy "Clouds of Sils Maria" -- a melancholic comedy seemingly only fine degrees of fictional separation from taking the title "Being Juliette Binoche."
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Quentin Tarantino planning a “Django Unchained” miniseries, featuring 90 minutes of unused footage
Tarantino said at the Cannes Film Festival he plans to turn those 90 minutes into four one-hour episodes. "It wouldn't be an endurance test,” he says. "It would be a mini-series and people love those. You show people a four-hour movie and they roll their eyes. Show people a four-part mini-series and they'll sit and watch it all in one sitting."
President Obama will introduce History channel's “The World Wars” on Memorial Day
The six-hour, three-night event kicks off on Monday, including interviews with Colin Powell and Sen. John McCain.
Meet “The Bachelorette's” Julliard-educated composer
Brad Segal, who’s worked on "The Bachelor" franchise for more than a decade, is responsible for creating “sad music,” “tense music” and “goofy guy” music.
“Dr. Drew” co-host sues Johnny Manziel, claiming sexual harassment
HLN’s Samantha Schacher claims the Cleveland Browns QB repeatedly sent nude selfies to her. UPDATE: Samantha Schacher denies filing lawsuit, says she's the victim of a hoax.
Watch nudists on TLC’s “Buying Naked”
The nudity realty show debuts on June 28.
Fast National ratings for Thursday, May 22, 2014.
On the first day of TV's Summer of 2014, a "Big Bang Theory" repeat helped CBS rule Thursday overall, but NBC won among young viewers with a solid return for "Last Comic Standing."
Without originals as lead-ins, ABC's "Black Box" and CBS' "Bad Teacher" both fizzled and even with a solid "Hell's Kitchen" as a lead-in, FOX's new drama "Gang Related" failed to stir up any heat.
Thursday also saw an OK debut for The CW's "Labyrinth," as the four-hour miniseries launched to basically "Reign"-esque ratings.
On to the numbers...
What makes Ryan Murphy such a frustrating storyteller is that he has very obvious and impressive strengths, which he then seems to go out of his way to obscure with his very obvious weaknesses. He has great passion for socially relevant drama, for instance, but his point tends to get lost in the ADHD style that eventually plagued "Glee," "Nip/Tuck" and everything else he's done in television. ("American Horror Story," his biggest current hit, at least started out with ADHD, so there was no letdown later when things unraveled.) He works well with actors as both a writer and director, giving them meaty material and pulling excellent performances out of them, but then makes various other choices that distract from those performances.
That "The Normal Heart" — an adaptation of Larry Kramer's 1985 play about the early days of the AIDS crisis — has finally been turned into a film that will air on HBO on Sunday at 9, after decades of sitting in development hell, is a testament to Murphy, who bought the rights with his own money and assembled a cast fronted by Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts. The film wouldn't exist without his belief in it. And yet I wish almost anyone else had directed it.
Will Ferrell reunites with his cowbell in a "Tonight Show" drum-off with Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith
Jimmy Fallon pitted Ferrell and his RHCP drummer lookalike in what evolved into a shout-out to his most famous “SNL” sketch.
Bryan Singer's anticipated return to the director's chair on the "X-Men" franchise finally hits theaters this weekend in the for of "X-Men: Days of Future Past." And it's being met with some pretty exceptional reviews, the best of the series so far, it seems. In noting that the new film "gives the franchise a new lease on life," HitFix's own Drew McWeeny wrote that it "feels like the single most successful attempt to pull the shape of one of the beloved comic stories into the film world." I'd agree with that, as it's very much in the spirit of (if not a direct adaptation of) the 1981 Claremont/Byrne two-issue arc (which is recommended reading).
You know those real estate scams where you're offered a free vacation if you just sit through a time-share presentation and that time-share presentation seems never-ending, because even if it's just two hours, what you really wanted was a free vacation?
For Adam Sandler, filmmaking is like that time-share presentation.
All the guy wants is to get major motion picture studios to subsidize his vacations. Is that so wrong? If Sony or Warner Brothers said to you, "How would you like an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii or Africa or a secluded lake? And all you have to do is deliver a movie and nobody on our side will even ask to see a script or bother looking at the final cut," what would you say? You'd accept the deal. Don't deny it.
It's obvious that Sandler and his partners-in-vacation-loving-crime don't especially enjoy the quid pro quo required for their global galavanting, but like that monotonous time-share presentation, a mid-range budgeted theatrical comedy is the price they have to pay for a situation I assume is luxurious.
Trust me, if Sandler could get vacations in exchange for an Allen Covert-centric features, he'd do nothing but produce. Unfortunately, a sequel to "Grandma's Boy" isn't getting you even as far as Shreveport.
In the name of a comped holiday, Sandler has meandered through offerings that range from mediocre-but-unsettling (the amnesiac romance of "50 First Dates" creeps me out) to downright cinematic crimes ("Grown Ups," "Grown Ups 2," that thing with Brooklyn Decker).
That's a preamble to my warning that I sat down for "Blended," a temporary impediment to Sandler and Drew Barrymore enjoying a vacation in South Africa, with trepidation, having already cringed through the trailers on the behalf of the absurdly talented Terry Crews, seemingly clowning his way through a stereotypical African musical act that probably should have been dubbed Ladysmith Black ManBozo. [Thanks to Twitter follower @EstherK for recognizing "ManBozo" was funnier in this context than just "MamBozo." If either is funny, I mean.]
You say "pre-judging." I say "citing ample precedent." But at this point, nobody goes into Adam Sandler movies a blank slate. You either dread every low-brow comedy and wish for "Punch-Drunk Love II," or you're willing to forgive nearly anything in perpetuity because "Billy Madison," "The Wedding Singer" and "The Waterboy" were all hella funny back in the day.
You need to know the context and the perspective so that you know how many grains of salt to take this with:
"Blended" is far from the worst movie to come out of a studio-subsidized Adam Sandler vacation.
In fact, I'd wager that there's a serviceably so-so movie hiding within the flabby bloat of the 117 minute "Blended" running time. With a better director and a more discerning editor, "Blended" might have been trimmed and reshaped into a 90-minute family dramedy that still might have allowed for a couple shots of humping rhinos and for two or three iterations of a gag in which a mother whacks her sleeping son's head against a wall or a door. As it stands, "Blended" is a woefully unfunny movie, but almost despite itself, there are moments of fleeting human emotion, delivered largely by Barrymore and young co-stars Emma Furmann and Alyvia Alyn Lind.
By the end, I wouldn't say that I was especially moved by "Blended," but I respected its mawkish aspirations more than its attempts at predictable family-style bawdiness.
More after the break...
Presenting the final 2013-14 TV season rankings
“Sunday Night Football,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” ranked 1, 2 and 3. Which ranked the worst?
Charlie Sheen: I hope “Two and a Half Men” invites me back for the final episode
Sheen also says the CBS sitcom “went a year too far."
A “Lost” reunion: Mark Pellegrino to star in A&E’s “Returned” from Carlton Cuse
Pellegrino will play a father who comes back from the dead in the remake of the French zombie series.
“American Idol’s” steep decline is “sad”
About 10.1 million watched last night, less than half of the 21.5 million who watched the finale two years ago -- and a stunning drop from the 29.3 million viewers for the 2011 finale. PLUS: “Idol” gets the Bad Lip Reading treatment, and Caleb Johnson will release a “really kick-butt record” on Aug. 12.
“The Americans” has perhaps the most realistic portrayal of Russians
The FX series was intent on avoiding Russian stereotypes and mistakes of other TV shows and movies. Native Russian speakers were hired for key roles. And native-speaking translators translated the Russian scenes, which were initially written in English. Says creator Joe Weisberg: "Once you bring that level into detail into a show, you can't do cardboard cutouts anymore. You're not in the realm of cliché. You will invariably build a real person.” PLUS: The secret star of "The Americans" is its filmmaking,” Matthew Rhys on the season finale, explaining that “69” scene, and it’s a compliment to call “The Americans” the saddest show on TV.
“Gilligan’s Island” movie will reference “Lost”
Josh Gad, who’s currently writing the big-screen adaptation, tells MTV News: "“You would be remiss not to at least touch upon that in the movie. And I’ll leave it at that.”
How AMC "brainstormed" its next hit show
Funny or Die takes us inside AMC’s thinking process.
“SVU” went too far this season with Olivia Benson
Mariska Hargitay shouldn’t have been repeatedly victimized.
What will Syfy do to cover up the nudity on “Spartacus”?
A big part of the Starz series’ appeal was its excessive nudity and graphic sex.
“Modern Family’s” Mitch & Cam’s had TV’s most important gay wedding
Unlike the gay weddings on “Friends,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Brothers and Sisters,” this one involved two leading characters.
“Last Comic Standing” is back — it’s TV’s best diversity showcase
Previous winners have been of nearly every race. PLUS: How JB Smoove got involved.
How “The Bachelorette” reinforces female submissiveness and male dominance
“A woman has all the power” this season, Chris Harrison declared this season. But that simply isn’t true, argues Jennifer Pozner. PLUS: Andi Dorfman’s cousin pens a NY Times column calling her a “new breed of bachelorette."
Here are your Memorial Day Weekend marathons
“BBQ Pitmasters” and “CSI: Miami” are among the shows having all-day marathons on Monday.
Nickelodeon orders Ryan Seacrest’s “Webheads” viral video game show
“Big Time Rush” star Carlos PenaVega will host the show combining slime, physical challenges and viral videos.
Watch Seth Rogen in a red dress on Adult Swim
He’s a guest-star on tonight’s episode of “Loiter Squad.”
“Game of Thrones” inspires a “Perfect Strangers” spinoff
Check out “Bri & Pod."
“Survivor” winner Tony says the $1 million prize isn't life-changing
Tony Vlachos also says of the jury hating on him: "I believe the jury was hurt by me betraying them. They weren't necessarily bitter, but they were hurt. But I think them having to vent and get everything off their chest was very helpful in the sense that they got it off, could put it aside and make a rational decision was far as who played the best game.” PLUS: More from Tony, how does Woo feel coming in 2nd?, and where would Jeff Probst rank Tony?
How Jimmy Kimmel’s mean tweeters responded to “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets”
Most were happy to be mentioned and not ashamed at all.
2 Off-Broadway plays hurt by “Boardwalk Empire”
One had to cancel its opening night because its star landed a part on the HBO series, another hadn to cancel a preview and movie its premiere.
Disney XD renews “Mighty Med”
The superhero comedy series will return for a 2nd season in the fall.
10 problematic TV characters who will get a 2nd chance next season
From Deputies Tim and Rachel to Paige Jennings.
Here are fall’s toughest timeslots
At 9 pm on Thursdays, “Scandal” will battle “Gracepoint” on Fox and “The Blacklist."
Do video games make good TV shows?
Only a few video games have been adapted for televisioln, including Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda.
Revived by Amazon, “Ripper Street” begins filming its 3rd season
"It's a day many of us thought we'd never see,” Richard Warlow, the show’s creator says of the once-canceled former BBC series.
Why “Mad Men’s” final season was split into 2 parts
One reason: By ending in 2015, "Mad Men" won’t have to compete against “Breaking Bad” and the Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson version of “True Detective” at next year’s Emmys.
Did “Parks and Rec” inspire an ad promoting the city of Ames, Iowa
Watch a video that is absolutely Pawnee-esque.
Jason Biggs doesn’t regret cracking jokes about the dead “Bachelorette” contestant
The “Orange is the New Black” star says it’s fun to read the outrage over his tweets the next day.
In defense of food TV’s celebration of celebrity “cheftestants”
"Top Chef Seattle” runner-up Brooke Williamson says "the rise of shows like 'Iron Chef,’ 'No Reservations' and 'Bizarre Foods' has made food culture more approachable, which I think is good thing."
Katharine McPhee files for divorce from the husband she was caught cheating on
The “Idol” alum, 30, is ending her six-year marriage to 49-year-old Nick Cokas.
“True Blood” star Marshall Allman welcomes a daughter
Allman’s wife gave birth on Wednesday.
CW’s 2-year-old “Labyrinth” doesn’t have enough story for its 4-hour allotted time
The “event” starring “Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay kicks off tonight.
Fox’s “Gang Related” is a “pile of cliches”
Judging from the “instantly awful” series, says Tim Goodman, "it's pretty clear right away that you're dealing with a pile of cliches that can never be anything more than dreadful. Every minute that you keep watching, part of your soul festers and peels away. Somewhere inside you, a pained voice screams out in anguish at whoever could have greenlighted such a blatant display of yuck.” PLUS: “Gang Related” is surprisingly good for a summer series, it’s trying to be “The Shield” filtered through the “NCIS” network, and it’s pulp hooey with a comic book vitality.
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.
After the opening weekend of "Godzilla," it seemed to be a given that Gareth Edwards would be offered further big-budget blockbuster work. I just didn't expect it to be so fast, and I certainly wouldn't have guessed that he would move from one dream job to another.
As Edwards said in the press release that was just sent out, "Ever since I saw 'Star Wars,' I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm."
Yes, Edwards is the man steering the first stand-alone "Star Wars" film. With a script by Gary Whitta, the film is already dated for December 16, 2016. There is no word yet as to which of the hundreds of possible characters will anchor the film, but at this point, the exciting thing here is that they're going to be able to make something that can have its own identity.
CANNES -- When John Boorman released "Hope and Glory" in 1987, I was already fascinated by stories of living through WWII, and I thought his film painted a remarkable, unsentimental portrait of what it was like to be a child during the Blitz. It was all about somehow being able to have a childhood while the world was burning down around him, and it had a spectacular sense of time and place.
Walking into "Queen and Country," his latest film, I had no idea it was a sequel. Written and directed by Boorman, this film takes place as Will, the little boy in the first film, is turning 19 and leaving home, conscripted into Army service as England is sending soldiers over to help fight the Korean War. There's actually a very short clip from "Hope And Glory" at the beginning, and then we dissolve to the island in the Thames where Will and his family still live. We see a Nazi in full uniform charge into the water, only to be shot and killed. Someone calls "cut!" and we realize we're watching them shoot a WWII era movie. The island is near Shepperton Studios, and Will watches, fascinated, as they "kill" the Nazi, again and again and again.
Female protagonist? Check times two. A time period when everyone rides horses? Sure. Cool jewelry? Got it. When the CW acquired "Labyrinth," a four-hour miniseries executive produced by Scott Free (Ridley and Tony Scott's company), CW president Mark Pedowitz called this a "fun companion piece" to the series "Reign." I'm not sure I would call "Labyrinth" fun, but I guess if you think 1209 and 1542 are more or less the same time period, well, then why not snap up this project?