Hopefully you've enjoyed the first couple of days of coverage from Cannes as we have a trio of correspondents on hand. Between Greg, Guy and Drew, few stones are likely to be left unturned. One of the goodies on display will be another look ahead at The Weinstein Company's fall offerings.
One of the complaints that I continue to hear in some quarters regarding Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" is that Alexandre Desplat's score is an overbearing one. I couldn't quite wrap my head around that idea given that we're dealing with a monster film here and a monstrous score certainly makes a lot of sense. Our own Drew McWeeny in his otherwise positive review, for instance, said the work was "heavy-handed and obvious in a way that really doesn't seem like [Desplat]," and that last bit maybe hits on why some people aren't liking what they're hearing.
It's too early still for me to get into the blindfolded business of early awards-season projections, but I will share one hunch that I've had since January: that the redoubtable Brendan Gleeson will sneak a dark-horse Best Actor nod for his sensational performance in John Michael McDonagh's "Calvary." The very black ecclesiastical comedy, starring Gleeson as a rural Irish priest faced with an anonymous death threat from one of his parishioners, was a major critical hit at the Sundance Film Festival, and got further glowing reviews when it opened in the UK last month.
CANNES - If any critics were about to ding Mike Leigh for wading into the warm waters of the period prestige picture for his latest, long-contemplated feature, let it be known that the veteran writer-director has come prepared. "What is wrong with being a portrait painter?" asks a slighted practitioner of the form at an ego-crammed artists' gathering midway through "Mr. Turner," Leigh's expansive, exquisitely realized biography of Britain's foremost Romantic painter. The retort from a colleague is airy and sneery and entirely predictable: "What does it do to elevate the art?" he smugs.
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.
The last time Kathryn Bigelow and Annapurna Pictures wunderkind/patron Megan Ellison worked together, the result — 2012's "Zero Dark Thirty" — was magic. It's just been announced that they'll join forces again on an adaptation of New York Times journalist Anand Giridharadas' "The True American" with "Dark Knight Rises" actor Tom Hardy attached to star.
CANNES - It is the very nature of film festival scheduling to turn up odd juxtapositions, but even by the usual standards, the first two premieres of this year's Cannes Film Festival couldn't have been more gauchely incompatible. As if "Grace of Monaco's" fretting over the political liberties of a gilded tax-haven state weren't silly enough in isolation, its vapidity only intensifies when considered back-to-back with Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu" -- a breathing, bleeding response to a genuine human rights crisis that doesn't view tragedy as a zone exempt from beauty or humor. You'd probably have guessed that between the two films, "Timbuktu" would be the one containing more human suffering; less obvious was that it'd feature rather more joy too.
CANNES - Speaking to a colleague this evening, we felt it was clear "Grace of Monaco" is on its way to being one of those highly anticipated festival films that critics viciously pounce on when it's not good. Both myself and Guy Lodge are not fans of it, but we can admit it's entertaining in a bad movie way. The general word is so negative you'd think it was "Diana" or "God's Pocket" (it's bad, but it's not unwatchable in a campy way).
It's almost that time of year: August, when something aims for the heartstrings at the end of a blockbuster summer and just before the prestige movie season of the fall. We've seen films like "Eat, Pray, Love," "The Help," "Hope Springs" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" succeed in that frame in recent years, and this year, it will be "The Hundred-Foot Journey" looking to cash in. Whether it can translate that potential success into an awards trajectory a la "The Help" (the only one of those three to find Oscar traction) is anyone's guess.
"Godzilla" rampages into the multiplex this weekend, and as I've already detailed, I'm pretty well in the tank for it. It's an exciting, suspenseful, and above all, artful piece of work that really sits on a higher tier than most movies of its ilk.
Max Borenstein was the man given the impossible task of re-imagining this iconic story for a new era (working from a story by Dave Callaham), and I think he and director Gareth Edwards have delivered. And not only that, but Borenstein had a chance to expand the universe a bit with his work in the graphic novel prequel "Godzilla: Awakening," which we've already grilled him about.