The Palme d'Or race is heated as ever in Cannes with a handful of contenders still to peel out. One of those set for a bow is Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria" with Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz.
Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" opens tomorrow. I really liked it. I remain a pretty huge fan of "X2" and think it has a lot of balance lacking in many superhero movies, and this one is very much in the spirit of those early entries. It feels more like a sequel to them than anything, using elements from "X-Men: First Class" to carry the story. And in editor/composer John Ottman, it gets some added continuity with those films as he hasn't been involved with the franchise in over a decade.
CANNES - The circus around the Cannes Film Festival is different than any other film festival in the world. It may be less Hollywood than Toronto and less audience-friendly than Sundance, but Cannes truly draws talent of all kinds from every corner of the globe. Only here could you be interviewing rising Australian filmmaking star David Michôd on a hotel rooftop deck while Kylie Minogue belts "Can't Get You Out of My Head" for a live French TV program across the street.
CANNES - Let's hear it for Xavier Dolan: not many auteurs have built up such a body of work by the age of 25 that the first and least arguable adjective that can be applied to his latest is "characteristic." The Québécois multi-hyphenate does not appear on screen in "Mommy," a restless interior epic of unconditional love between mother and son, but his presence in it could hardly be stronger or more idiosyncratic. Dolan's passions, neuroses and eccentricities fill every frame of "Mommy" -- even the frames themselves have his name written all over them, given the director's unorthodox decision to shoot 90% of the film in a distinctive, disorienting 1:1 ratio. "I'm still big, it's the pictures that got small," protested Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard"; think of Dolan's aesthetic here as a uniquely literal interpretation of that boast.
When Greg and I recently discussed the Oscar-season potential of the films we've seen thus far at the Cannes Film Festival, we were muted on the prospects for Tommy Lee Jones' western "The Homesman." It's not that the film is beneath consideration. It's heartfelt stuff, beautifully mounted and well acted (particularly by two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank), and has received generally respectable reviews (if few outright raves) from the Croisette critical collective. Any prizes from Jane Campion's jury on Saturday would be a surprise, but that rarely means much either way for the awards season ahead.
Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence has been making the press rounds promoting "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and that included an appearance "Late Night with Seth Meyers" Wednesday night. The occasion brought with it a delightful anecdote of that time the "American Hustle" star blew chunks at a fancy Oscar party.
Woody Allen is back this summer with Colin Firth and Emma Stone in "Magic in the Moonlight." He's obviously hot coming off major awards success "Blue Jasmine" (also a summer release from Sony Classics last year) and the trailer for his latest promises plenty of chemistry between his leads.
CANNES - "Did you see the Lisandro Alonso?!" came the eager text from a friend not in Cannes, mere minutes after I had, indeed, seen Alonso's "Jauja" -- an Argentine western turned existential comedy turned, well, any number of alternate-dimension subgenres. I envied him his excitement. Alonso has built up a fiercely devoted band of admirers with his opaque brand of slow-cinema puzzle picture, as demonstrated in the likes of "Liverpool" and "Los Muertos"; for those of us who have never gained access to that club, "Jauja" is unlikely to bring us much closer. Intermittently playful, consistently confounding, finally petrified, it's a film of fussy, cultivated austerity; Alonsolytes will debate what it's hiding, while others will suggest "an actual movie" as the answer.
CANNES - At the risk of being unkind about a filmmaker who delighted me (and many others) so unequivocally with his last feature, it's probably tempting fate to open any film with the words, "What is this piece of shit?” That's not an entirely fair assessment of “The Search,” Michel Hazanavicius' follow-up to his unlikely, Oscar-garlanded 2011 hit “The Artist,” but it does roughly sum up the jaded bafflement with which it was received by journalists in Cannes this morning. A stiff, lumbering humanitarian drama that works obtusely and tirelessly against its director's spryest skills, it's proof positive that good intentions pave not only the road to hell, but the one to dreary mediocrity as well.
CANNES - After today's disappointing screening of Michel Hazanavicius' "The Search," there is little doubt it's been a weak year for Oscar at Cannes. There are only two more days left for the Competition titles and no one is expecting Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall," Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," Olivier Assayas' "Sils Maria" (well, maybe) or possible Palme d'Or crasher "Leviathan" to become major awards season players.