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.
CANNES - If you only see one incestuous Israeli father-daughter relationship study a year, well, it's pretty much going to have to be "That Lovely Girl." If your annual average is lower than that, chances are you won't be tempted to make an exception for Keren Yedaya's modestly accomplished third feature, which debuted to ashen-faced audiences in Un Certain Regard yesterday.
Hopefully you've enjoyed the first couple of days of coverage from Cannes as we have a trio of correspondents on hand. Between Greg, Guy and Drew, few stones are likely to be left unturned. One of the goodies on display will be another look ahead at The Weinstein Company's fall offerings.
One of the complaints that I continue to hear in some quarters regarding Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" is that Alexandre Desplat's score is an overbearing one. I couldn't quite wrap my head around that idea given that we're dealing with a monster film here and a monstrous score certainly makes a lot of sense. Our own Drew McWeeny in his otherwise positive review, for instance, said the work was "heavy-handed and obvious in a way that really doesn't seem like [Desplat]," and that last bit maybe hits on why some people aren't liking what they're hearing.
It's too early still for me to get into the blindfolded business of early awards-season projections, but I will share one hunch that I've had since January: that the redoubtable Brendan Gleeson will sneak a dark-horse Best Actor nod for his sensational performance in John Michael McDonagh's "Calvary." The very black ecclesiastical comedy, starring Gleeson as a rural Irish priest faced with an anonymous death threat from one of his parishioners, was a major critical hit at the Sundance Film Festival, and got further glowing reviews when it opened in the UK last month.
CANNES - If any critics were about to ding Mike Leigh for wading into the warm waters of the period prestige picture for his latest, long-contemplated feature, let it be known that the veteran writer-director has come prepared. "What is wrong with being a portrait painter?" asks a slighted practitioner of the form at an ego-crammed artists' gathering midway through "Mr. Turner," Leigh's expansive, exquisitely realized biography of Britain's foremost Romantic painter. The retort from a colleague is airy and sneery and entirely predictable: "What does it do to elevate the art?" he smugs.