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.
It's hard to believe that it's a whole year since James Gray's "The Immigrant" was unveiled at Cannes to response that ranged from the rhapsodic to the sneering. A hot topic for the duration of the festival, it then dropped alarmingly off the radar, as its release was ever further postponed by The Weinstein Company. And as one of those who rhapsodised harder than most last year -- the film placed in my top five of 2013 -- I'm relieved to say that it finally reaches US theaters today.
Back when the first teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" dropped, I asked if we'd be talking about the film come Oscar season. With a November release date and arguably the industry's top blockbuster/prestige filmmaker at the helm, it was a warranted question. Now with the second trailer we dive a little further into what this story is, how it will be told, and the excitement hops up another notch.
I don't know what else I could possibly say about "Godzilla" at this point. I dig it, and I hope you do, too. The reviews have been interesting, split in some ways, though lots of concessions are made for the other side on both the pro and con sides of the argument. It'll just boil down to what you're hoping to get out of this film and, like me, if you were hoping for something that eschewed the bait of itself and tried to elevate the genre and the summer blockbuster in general, however slightly, then you'll probably be satisfied. If you're looking for something more bubble gum, maybe you'll be let down.