Nicole Kidman in "Grace of Monaco."
Nicole Kidman in "Grace of Monaco."

Review: 'Grace of Monaco' opens Cannes on a graceless note

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A committed Nicole Kidman can't makes sense of this misjudged fantasy biopic

With apologies to Three Six Mafia, it's hard out here for a princess. In the past year, first-world problem films – the plush brand of non-issue cinema exemplified by last year's Cannes entry “A Castle in Italy,” in which linen-clad lunchers fretted prettily about what to do with their priceless original Brueghels – have been threatened by the Princess Problem Picture, a currently thriving subgenre that sets out to measure the true weight of a tiara. Whether the wearer is a closeted Scandi ice maiden who just wants, Garbo-style, to be left alone (“Frozen”) or a hounded British divorcee who just wants, Lauper-style, to have fun (“Diana”), female royalty hasn't seemed such a drag since the age of Henry VIII.

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"Leviathan"
"Leviathan"
Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Check: Andrei Zvyagintsev's 'Leviathan'

Closing out our Competition preview with one of the Palme d'Or favorites

Welcome to the final entry in Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow. Taking on different selections every day, we've examined what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. We close thing out, neatly enough, with what will also be the last Competition film to be unveiled on the Croisette: Andrei Zvyagintsev's "Leviathan." 

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11 big questions we want answered at this year's Cannes Film Festival

11 big questions we want answered at this year's Cannes Film Festival

Is awards season about to kick-off?

The 67th Festival du Cannes is only a day away and as the last rain shower sweeps through the small French seaside town, the sun is ready to shine on the global film community's annual pow wow.

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"Wild Tales"
"Wild Tales"
Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Check 2014: Damian Szifron's 'Wild Tales'

Continuing our preview of the festival lineup with a wild card from Argentina

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, perhaps the most unexpected selection of the lot: Damián Szifrón's "Wild Tales."

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<p>&quot;Timbuktu&quot;</p>

"Timbuktu"

Credit: Le Pacte

Cannes Check 2014: Abderrahmane Sissako's 'Timbuktu'

Continuing our festival preview with the only African film in Competition

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the Competition's only African entry: Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu."

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<p>&quot;The Wonders&quot;</p>

"The Wonders"

Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Check 2014: Alice Rohrwacher's 'The Wonders'

Continuing our festival preview with one of the Competition's freshest names

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, one of the clear (or not-so-clear) wild cards of the lineup: Alice Rohrwacher's "The Wonders."

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<p>Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in &quot;Foxcatcher.&quot;</p>

Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in "Foxcatcher."

Credit: Sony Classics

Cannes Check 2014: Bennett Miller's 'Foxcatcher'

Continuing our festival preview with the long-awaited awards hopeful

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, a film we've been waiting to see for some time now: Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher."

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"Jimmy's Hall"
"Jimmy's Hall"
Credit: Film4

Cannes Check 2014: Ken Loach's 'Jimmy's Hall'

Continuing our preview of the Competition with another British veteran

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the lineup's second Palme d'Or-winning British stalwart: Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall."

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<p>Kids stare in awe at the spectacle that is &quot;Godzilla.&quot;</p>

Kids stare in awe at the spectacle that is "Godzilla."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Godzilla' is an artful antidote to the usual this summer

Take a bow, Gareth Edwards

I loved Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" so much I went back for seconds. And I'll probably revisit it many times over as it's a captivating directorial accomplishment, in my view, one that puts the anonymous summer actioners that tend to permeate this time of year to shame. I might not go so far as to declare it a work of art, but it is unequivocally the work of an artist, and that makes all the difference in the world.

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Timothy Spall in "Mr. Turner."
Timothy Spall in "Mr. Turner."
Credit: Sony Classics

Cannes Check 2014: Mike Leigh's 'Mr. Turner'

Continuing our festival preview with the seven-time Oscar nominee's passion project

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the first of two British veterans in the lineup: Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner."

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