Meanwhile, Friedkin is also set to screen 'Killer Joe'
The Seattle International Film Festival has announced that it will recognize Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek and director William Friedkin as 2012 tribute honorees. Sissy Spacek will receive the festival’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting on June 7 and William Friedkin will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award on June 9.
“Sissy Spacek and William Friedkin have captivated audiences repeatedly throughout their careers with critically acclaimed works that boast multigenerational appeal,” said SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence via press release.
Spacek has a particularly special place in my heart. Her first firm step onto the world stage was in “Badlands,” the debut film of one of my favorite director’s, Terrence Malick. But it was her Academy Award-winning turn as country singer Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter” that really left an indelible mark.
Does Fox have a contender? The breathless hordes seem to think so.
CinemaCon in Las Vegas is where it's at this week as movie journos and bloggers have descended on Sin City and turned an exhibitors convention into an exasperated "We saw 10 minutes of 'X' movie!" slog. Nevertheless, I kind of wish I was there.
But then I don't know what I could add when everyone is not just covering the same events but coming away with the exact same talking points. Are they distributing memos or something? Anyway, it's no different than Comic-Con, I guess, where "Sucker Punch" looks like it could be an awesome movie for all of 600 seconds.
As it pertains to potential awards contenders, they've shown some much-anticipated footage from Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in 48 frames-per-second, which yielded responses from mixed to overwhelmingly negative (a few champions of the hyper-real look scattered here and there). Today, though, "Oscar" was on everyone's lips after a taste of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi."
Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews
The auteur: David Cronenberg (Canadian, 69 years old)
The talent: At this stage in his career, we don't expect an undistinguished cast from a Cronenberg film, and true to form, this one is packed to the rafters with interesting names -- though not ones you'd necessarily expect on one bill. Juliette Binoche (returning to Cannes for the first time since winning Best Actress two years ago), Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Mathieu Amalric and Jay Baruchel are all on board -- as, more improbably, is Somalian rapper K'Naan. (On a side note, this is the director's first feature in 10 years not to star Viggo Mortensen.)
The big attraction, however, is some guy called Robert Pattinson in the lead. It's perhaps the poppiest casting coup of Cronenberg's career, and the best chance yet for the talented British heartthrob to win some admirers beyond the fiercely devoted "Twilight" faithful.
Meanwhile, Michel Gondry's latest heads up Directors' Fortnight selection
What do Hiam Abbass, Andrea Arnold, Emmanuelle Devos, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor, Alexander Payne and Raoul Peck have in common? Okay, no prizes for this one -- you've already seen the headline.
This year's Cannes Film Festival competition jury, who will serve under previously announced jury president Nanni Moretti, is a typically motley crew, sufficiently diverse to stump any pundits trying to handicap the Palme d'Or race in terms of what the people voting might be looking for.
It's hard to imagine what cinematic common ground off-the-wall French fashion designer Gaultier might find with stern Haitian filmmaker and political activist Peck, for example, or where the sensibilities of the jury's two British members, jaunty Hollywood star McGregor and tough-minded realist director Arnold, may collide. Therein lies the fun.
The filmmaker says there is a sense of urgency surrounding ‘The Central Park 5’
Ken Burns is one of the world’s most well known and respected documentarians, but his films rarely make an appearance in cinemas. He has made an indelible name for himself with his meditative and expansive PBS studies, which tackle broad cultural phenomena ranging from “Baseball” to “The Civil War.”
But Burns feels that there is “a sense of urgency” attached to his latest endeavor, “The Central Park Five,” which warrants a theatrical release. And a tidy (for Burns) two-hour run time makes it possible.
The film, which premieres at next month's Cannes Film Festival where the hope is to secure a distributor, is the result of a joint familial effort between Burns, his daughter, Sarah Burns and her husband, David McMahon. It follows the story of the infamous “Central Park Five,” the five young men who were convicted of brutally beating and raping a Central Park jogger in 1989 only to have their convictions overturned after several years served.
Bear with me, here
A few weeks ago I saw "The Avengers." The next morning, I cranked out a thousand words or so with all my thoughts, I felt, perfectly representative of what I took away from the movie. I felt good about it. Then the internet ate it.
Oh well, it happens, but the gist of the piece was this: "The Avengers" succeeds mainly because its all-star cast, playing all-star characters, gels perfectly, organically, no ego tipping the scales, no "front man" (as it were) emerging from the mix. Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston work wonderfully off each other and finally bring Marvel to a place DC Comics should have been a few times over by now.*
So on one hand, yeah, the headline here is a joke. The Screen Actors Guild's nominating committee, and indeed, any "self-respecting" awards-giving body is highly unlikely to pass kudos approval on a film like "The Avengers." But in the case of a category meant to honor well-oiled machines like this one, perhaps they should.
Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews
The auteur: Leos Carax (French, 51 years old)
The talent: There are a couple of eclectic ensembles to be found in this year's Cannes lineup, but surely none weirder than this one. That weatherbeaten French character actor (and longtime Carax associate) Denis Lavant ("Beau Travail") takes the lead role here is hardly a surprise. Gallic veterans Michel Piccoli (most recently seen in "We Have a Pope") and Edith Scob ("Summer Hours") also make sense. But who would have expected them to share the bill with Eva Mendes and, wait for it, Australian pop pixie Kylie Minogue? The mind reels.
Carax wrote the script on his own. Below the line, Bruno Dumont's favorite DP Yves Cape (who hit a career high with Claire Denis on "White Material") is one of two cinematographers on the project; the other, Caroline Champetier, recently won a Cesar for "Of Gods and Men." Editor Nelly Quettier (who also has some Claire Denis credits on her CV) has worked with Carax since 1986's "The Night is Young"; production designer Florian Sanson is a relative newcomer, but recently did some impressive work on "Black Venus." The score, apparently, is by British semi-novelty band The Divine Comedy, because, well, obviously.
‘There is nothing more fascinating in the world than a beautiful woman dying.’
This weekend “The Raven,” director James McTeigue’s imagined version of horror master Edgar Allan Poe’s final days, makes its way into theaters. A predictable thriller with uneven attempts to elevate itself beyond the confines of a formula while still satisfying the demands of the middle ground, I cannot say that I wholeheartedly recommend it.
However, I find the film's subject matter and the ideas that inspire it to be somewhat intrinsically intriguing. I do not believe that "The Raven" captures Poe's tone or essence; it is a bit too shallow for that, lacking the density of those who really wish to engage with his work. There are moments in the film that were awkward to the point of being nearly painful to behold and others that felt like they struck the balance between naturalism and suspense/fantasy. But it is what "The Raven" points to in the broader context of the genre that has been, and is, of interest to me.
From 'The Paperboy' to 'Amour,' the films I can't wait to see on the Croisette
With the rosters for both Critics' Week and the Directors' Fortnight both having been unveiled this week -- more on those later -- the lineup for this year's Cannes Film Festival is essentially complete, though festival director Thierry Fremaux has promised that there are one or two additions still to come. (Don't hold your breath for Malick or Paul Thomas Anderson -- a title like Cate Shortland's well-buzzed "Lore," on the other hand, may be a more realistic wish.)
When people ask me if I'm excited about this year's Cannes crop, the only sensible answer is yes: what cinephile worth his salt would feign indifference to the prospect of seeing new films from Jacques Audiard, David Cronenberg, Michael Haneke, Michel Gondry, Raul Ruiz and so on? Cannes is never not exciting in that respect, as this week's list makes pretty clear. Yet I still think this year's lineup, and the Competition strand in particular, falls short in some respects. Not for lack of big names, but rather for lack of smaller, more surprising ones. With no female directors or debut features in the running for the Palme, the Competition also isn't as global as it might be: Asia gets just two of the 22 slots, Africa one, South America zero.
Continuing our preview series on the Cannes competition
The auteur: Jacques Audiard (French, 59 years old)
The talent: Though Audiard has never been averse to working with actors on the French A-list, his latest represents his shiniest star collaboration to date, with Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard taking top billing -- the Hollywood adoptee's first lead role in a French-language feature since 2009's "The Last Flight." Audiard's male leads, in recent years, have been rather imaginatively chosen, and this one is no exception: Matthias Schoenaerts may still be an unfamiliar name to many, but the hulking, impressive Belgian actor made a major impact in last year's Oscar-nominated "Bullhead," for which he won several festival awards. The supporting cast featueres another notable Belgian, actor-director Bouli Lanners, and relative newcomer Celine Sallette, Cesar-nominated for last year's Cannes entry "House of Tolerance."