CANNES - When you have Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack and David Cronenberg on a panel for thirty minutes you expect a lively and intelligent conversation. Maybe it was the mixed reviews for Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" or maybe it was just the always dicey prospects of the international press corps but, sadly, this was one press conference that was sort of a dud.
CANNES - The will to win has rarely seemed more self-defeating than it does in "Foxcatcher,” a sinuous, methodical true-crime drama in which the moral and psychological rot sets in long before any crime is committed. Just as Bennett Miller’s first two features, “Capote” and “Moneyball,” were portraits of coolly driven individuals possessed by their own passion projects, so is this remarkable film -- a study of sociopathic billionaire John du Pont’s quest to annex as much of America’s wrestling empire as money and ego could buy. But where Miller’s previous films culminated, however tortuously, in creation -- of a landmark book, a formula that changes the future of baseball -- aspiration here results only in lives literally and spiritually destroyed.
CANNES - Ned Benson's "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" seems to have been well-received in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival after debuting in two parts in Toronto last year. With that reception has come a lot of favorable ink for actress Jessica Chastain. Perhaps it's for those reasons and more (like, um, relaxing in the south of France) that the actress was as cheerful as ever when Greg Ellwood sat down with her to discuss her performance in the film earlier this week.
CANNES - Charged with devising a character name that immediately conveys staunch feminine pluck and perseverance, I'm not sure any writer could do much better than Mary Bee Cuddy -- the disarming heroine of Tommy Lee Jones' handsome, elegiac neo-western "The Homesman," until she rather unsettlingly isn't. Just listen to the way those pithy syllables roll (or march, rather) off the tongue: a Mary Bee Cuddy can only be as square and grounded and business-meaning as a pair of sensible shoes. As played by the eternally purposeful Hilary Swank, moreover, she's an anchor of sincerity in a film in a film that needs one, shifting as it often does from loutish comedy to sticky sentimentality in the turn of a wagon-wheel.
CANNES - Last year, Lionsgate held a party to celebrate "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" on the beach here, only to have steady rain put a slight damper on the proceedings. This year, lady luck was on their side with sunny skies and every major cast member on hand as the upcoming "Mockingjay Part 1" was the theme of the night. The studio moved the extravaganza to a decadent private mansion 30 minutes outside of Cannes in Antibes. Needless to say, the Capitol City elite would have been proud.
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.
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 - 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.