CANNES - Only a few months ago, in the colder climes of the Berlin Film Festival, I had the misfortune of seeing and reviewing "A Long Way Down," a terminally laughless British farce about four suicidal souls who meet and bond on the roof of the same popular London jumping-point. Some critics decried it as tasteless, but it was only the execution that was botched: there is scarcely a taboo subject that can't be made funny in crafty directorial hands, and along comes Jessica Hausner's deft, delightful "Amour Fou" to prove it.
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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 -- As I was standing in line last night outside the Salle Debussy, it was obvious that things were out of the control of the people running the festival. For those unfamiliar with the way badge hierarchy works at these events, Cannes has a carefully segregated caste system. If you have a white badge or a pink badge, the world is your oyster. You are able to walk in first, and you are given your choice of location. If you have a blue badge, you have to wait until white and pink have all been seated. And then beyond that, there are at least two more colors that have to wait even longer, and there's a good chance many of those people don't even make it inside.
I'm rocking a blue badge this year, somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, which means I need to spend some extra time in line if I want to try to guarantee myself a seat. The line for "Relatos Salvajes" was unusually long by the time I arrived, though, and it took me a moment to find the end of it amidst the crowd that's always gathered in front of the Palais. There was no clearly marked space, though, and people with every color badge started to pile in from the sides, creating more of a mob than a line, and as they started letting in, things got volatile very quickly. I saw people forcing their way in ahead of people who had been waiting, and within moments, I started to worry that I genuinely wouldn't get a seat.
Fast National ratings for Friday, May 16, 2014.
With CBS done with Friday originals for the season, ABC dominated the night in all measures with the "Shark Tank" finale and a two-hour special dedicated to the retiring Barbara Walters.
Among other Friday notables, NBC's "Grimm" added a few viewers for its finale, while "Hannibal" was up a hair in both viewers and the key demo. The CW had good nights for both the "Hart of Dixie" finale and "Whose Line Is It Anyway," but those numbers may be high enough to suggest preemptions.
On to the numbers...
CANNES - David Michod's "Animal Kingdom" was a venal little crime drama with strong, unsparing character work, and it garnered him international attention, with Jacki Weaver eventually landing an Academy Award nomination for playing a mother who was only slightly less terrifying than the Alien Queen. Little wonder he was able to attract some big names to his new film, "The Rover," which is making its premiere as part of this year's Cannes Film Festival.
It's been programmed as part of the Midnights section here at Cannes, but I would imagine any audience coming off of a long day of screenings who tries to actually sit through this at the tail end of their day is going to find themselves struggling. Glacially paced and intentionally minimalistic, "The Rover" tells the story of how a man living in Australia ten years after "the collapse" hunts down the men who took his car. That's it. That's the entire narrative arc of the film, and while there are other characters and certain events that serve as digressions, it all eventually comes down to a man pursuing some other men because they took his car and he wants it back, and while there are some very strong performances in the film, the movie is inert, dramatically speaking, and covers such familiar ground that I can't really recommend it.
"Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan really wants to do an "Amazing Race" reunion.
I mention this, because in the two times I've talked to Keoghan in the past couple years, that is the only repeated point. "Survivor" has reunions after each season and Keoghan would like "The Amazing Race" to follow suit.
Keoghan and I got on the phone last week to discuss the upcoming conclusion to "The Amazing Race: All-Stars," a season that is heading towards its conclusion on Sunday (May 18) night with Jen & Caroline, Brendon & Rachel and Dave & Connor still in the running for the big prize.
We talked about the biggest story lines surrounding each of the remaining teams. Is Dave's quest to become the oldest "Amazing Race" winner a notable one? Are Brendon & Rachel capable of actually being underdogs? And should we be dismissive of the Country Blondes because of the amount of assistance they've gotten from other teams?
We also discussed several of the season's other running important moments and themes, including the feud between Dave & Connor and Brendon & Rachel and the short-lived mixed partnership between Mark & Mallory.
Click through for the full Q&A... [I've also got a Q&A with Jeff Probst that'll go up before Wednesday's "Cagayan" finale...]
There are many reasons to like Trish Hegarty's "Survivor: Cagayan" game.
In short order, she was a key to blindsiding widely admired NBA veteran Cliff Robinson. Then she was part of a post-Tribal Council fight that led Lindsey to drop out, further shifting the balance of power.
Soon after, with the numbers looking bad post-Merge, Trish was a conduit to convincing Kass to betray her fellow brains and turn on Queen-for-a-Moment Sarah.
One could argue rather easily that those were the season's pivotal moves.
Despite that, the Boston-area pilates instructor hasn't always been embraced by viewers this season, lingering behind alliance-mate Tony in discussions of likely winners. It hasn't helped that vocal fights with Lindsey and, this week, with Kass were edited as "No winners here" brawls in which both sides looked less-than-ideal.
In the season's latest blindside, Trish went from powerful to snuffed after Kass and Woo reunited with Spencer to strike a blow against Tony's power. Then, in an unexpected twist, Tony also wrote Trish's name down.
In her exit interview, Trish discusses her big moves, her big fights and her big surprise at Tony's vote.
Click through for the full Q&A...
The best and worst of 2014 Upfronts
Fox’s “Red Band Society” is the most depressing new show,, while “Intelligence” with 10.2 million viewers had the least-deserved cancelation. The luckiest show was “Glee” for surviving after terrible ratings, and Matthew Perry is the luckiest actor with his “Odd Couple” getting a guaranteed spot on air even though it’s being retooled and he’s had four failed shows in the past decade. PLUS: Lessons learned from the upfronts.
As Barbara Walters retires, the Big TV Interview seems to be on its way out, too
Big TV Interviews still exist these days — like Anderson Cooper’s interview this week with Donald Sterling — but they don’t get the kind of ratings Walters’ interviews got. For instance, 50 million watched her interview with Monica Lewinsky. PLUS: Recalling Walters’ biggest interviews, how Walters made celebrities cry, and Walters avoids being tripped up in “Her Story."
“Duck Dynasty” stars to attempt to break the duck call Guinness World Record
A large gathering will blow at the same time on Sunday.
If your friends are tweeting about “Game of Thrones,” Twitter will let you know
Twitter is testing a new mobile notification that will alert you when people you follow are tweeting about certain topics.
Why can’t “The Americans” be honest about religion?
Phillip and Elizabeth behave as if there are no secular Americans.
“Key & Peele” mull ending their Comedy Central show
They still have a 22-episode season kicking off this fall, but Jordan Peele says: "If our show is to have any kind of legacy, it should be that it didn't go on too long."
“Game of Thrones’” Sophie Turner hates the criticism of Sansa Stark
"This is what frustrates me," she tells TVGuide.com. "People don't like Sansa because she is feminine. It annoys me that people only like the feminine characters when they act like male characters. And they always go on about feminism. Like, you're rooting for the people who look like boys, who act like boys, who fight like boys. Root for the girls who wear dresses and are intellectually very strong.” PLUS: Peter Dinklage acts out “GoT” in 45 seconds, and “GoT” meets the NBA.
“SNL’s” bloated cast has led to a fractured show this season
With so many cast members — some of whom will probably not return next season — “Saturday Night Live” served up many sketches this season that seemed to serve the individual over the ensemble, says Ryan McGee. "The 17 cast members aren’t a comedic unit—they’re individuals locked in an airtight room, each trying to fight for the same oxygen,” he adds. PLUS: Ranking the best hosts and sketches this season, “SNL’s” server contains every sketch ever written in the past 15 years, Kyle Mooney is “SNL’s” new king of digital shorts, and Noel Wells recalls practicing her audition for strangers in Central Park.
“The Amazing Race” lets David Copperfield design a death-defying task
Watch a preview from Sundays “All-Stars” finale.
“Doctor Who” getting its 1st female director in 4 years
The sci-fi drama hasn’t had many women working behind the scenes.
Jessica Simpson would never do reality TV again, but feels “blessed” for her “Newlyweds” experience
"I would absolutely not ever do reality TV again,” she tells “ET” correspondent Lance Bass. "I am blessed that I did have that show. It allowed people to come into my life, and to know me as a person, and I owe a lot of my support -- my fans came from that because people could relate to me."
Jon Hamm recalls James Gandolfini lending him his SUV 2 weeks before his death
“Take the car!” “The Sopranos” star told Hamm and his girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt. “It’s just going to be sitting here. Do you want the car? Take the car!”
“Grey’s Anatomy’s” Cristina Yang may have been TV’s strongest female character
She redefined what it meant to "have it all.” PLUS: Cristina deserved a better sendoff, and “Grey’s” cast — then and now.
Here is the collected wisdom of Stephen Colbert
Here’s Colbert’s take on comedy, cults, cynicism and more.
Robin Tunney has a “big decision” to make on “The Mentalist” finale
"There's somebody who's sort of declaring themselves, and I think there's something really flattering about that. ... That's there on the table and it's real,” she says.
Report: Kim Kardashian had Joan Rivers moved away from her at NBC Universal Upfronts
The E! colleagues were supposed to sit next to each other at yesterday’s event.
John Stamos is now a songwriter
Listen to his new song, “Let Yourself Be Loved.”
Mindy Kaling: Unlikely feminist
Unlike shows like “Inside Amy Schumer,” Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” embraces girl culture instead of mocking it.
Spencer Pratt graduates from USC
“The Hills” alum, age 30, officially donned hat and gown today for his bachelor’s degree in poli sci.
“Sesame Street’s” Bert and Zachary Levi urge kids to get off social media
Watch them sing about “A Lovely Sunny Day."
“It’s Always Sunny’s” Rob McElhenney: "Ten years later, I still can't describe what our show is about”
"For me,” he says, "the basis of its premise boiled down to one scene I'd written: A guy goes to a friend's house to borrow sugar for his coffee. The friend says he has cancer, but all the guy wants to do is get the f-- out of his house. Disturbing? Yes. But I knew there was comedy there I'd never seen on TV."
Julianna Margulies: “Basically, this sh*t hits the fan” for “The Good Wife” season finale
She says Sunday’s episode "brings politics back into the foreground, and it makes for a wonderful platform to jump off of for the next season.”
Melissa McCarthy on Lena Dunham: “She’s my girl crush”
"The more I watch ‘Girls,' the more I realize I'm crazy about Lena Dunham,” says McCarthy, adding: "She's smart, funny, confident, and she isn't afraid to look awkward. She's exactly who she is, take it or leave it.”
AMC calls “Walking Dead” lawsuit from Frank Darabont “ill-conceived”
The original “Walking Dead” showrunner is accusing the network of “self-dealing” in a license fee “shell game."
A review of tonight's "Hannibal" coming up just as soon as I enjoy some free-range rude...
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 - I'll say this much (and plenty of people today are saying far more) for Nuri Bilge Ceylan: it takes a brazen kind of confidence to build a 196-minute film from wall-to-wall conversation on such matters as intellectualism, altruism and class politics on the Turkish steppes, and then to go ahead and title it "Winter Sleep." Like "The Milk of Sorrow" or "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," it's the kind of wilfully austere art-house moniker that dyed-in-the-wool populists might invent in a fit of dismissive satire.
OWN’s Michael Sam reality show is on hold
The Oprah Winfrey Network and reps for the NFL’s first openly gay player’s docuseries plans have been postponed after discussions with the St. Louis Rams. "After today's meeting with the Rams, we felt it is best to postpone the project," said Sam's agent, Cameron Weiss. "This will allow for Michael to have total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message."
“Nashville” agrees to stay in Nashville after getting an $8M incentive package
The ABC drama had flirted with moving to Texas or Georgia, but its $8 million in incentives will be much lower than the $13.25 million it got for Season 2.
Steven Spielberg’s “Halo” TV series to debut in fall 2015
Microsoft announced that the “Halo” scripted series will come out around the same time as new video game “Halo 5: Guardians.”