The collective mind of the film world may be squarely on Cannes right now, but the Venice Film Festival -- which runs this year from August 28 to 7 September -- has taken this moment to remind us of its existence by announcing the winner of its annual Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement: Oscar-winning director William Friedkin.
(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Asghar Farhadi with "The Past.")
Film Independent has revealed the line-up for this year's Los Angeles Film Festival, cherry-picking this and that from Sundance and Cannes with a few other things thrown in here and there.
I'm hardly alone in this, but I continue to resist the notion that Steven Soderbergh's professed retirement from feature filmmaking is permanent -- not least because he's been on such vigorous creative form lately. "Magic Mike," of course, cracked my Top 10 of 2012 list, while his lithely nasty Hitchcockian thriller "Side Effects" is on course to be one of my favorite mainstream genre entertainments of this year -- it would be an enormous pity for him to bow out just as he seems to have perfected the rarely performed trick of the counter-intuitive audience movie.
"Looking forward" is the phrase we use most often when discussing the Cannes Film Festival, given that it showcases many of the year's most anticipated specialty films -- many of which stoke that anticipation by taking their sweet time to land in theaters. But looking backward is also a significant part of the festival... or it has been, at least, since the Cannes Classics strand was introduced to the Official Selection in 2004.
(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Amat Escalante with "Heli.")
I kind of feel like I can't let a year lived in New York go without some commentary on the Tony Awards, which we rarely really get into around here. Alas, looking across the nominees, I see I've missed a great many of the top players so far. But I'll get to them. At least I have a bit of a cheat sheet now.
The last time Woody Allen went to France, the result wasn't too bad. 2011's "Midnight in Paris" scored a number of Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and even a surprise bid for Best Production Design (formerly Best Art Direction). Allen himself won his third writing Oscar to date, and his fourth overall, for penning the script, beating out stiff competition from Best Picture winner "The Artist."
Well it seems he's heading back for his next film, which will go into production this year. There is no title, naturally, as of yet, but the film will star Colin Firth and Emma Stone, the latter a natural fit and a rather obvious choice, given Allen's penchant for scooping up popular young ingenues for his films. He will once again be collaborating with cinematographer Darius Kondji, production designer Anne Seibel and costume designer Sonia Grande on the film, all of whom worked with him on "Midnight."
So "Iron Man 3" launches the summer movie season this Friday. Drew flipped for the movie. I...wasn't so enthused. I loved the Shane Black flourishes and I admire the film's balls for doing what it does with the Mandarin character (no spoilers). I like the idea of boiling it down to more of a Tony Stark film than an Iron Man film. I enjoyed myself. But I had issues with the central villain (Guy Pearce), I felt like the self-containment missed an opportunity to push the overarching story forward and I thought it danced unsuccessfully with fallout from "The Avengers." (I am, though, very glad to see the film brought such a huge economic boost to North Carolina.)
Call me mixed, I guess. But that's my one-off. Nevertheless, it's a great film to kick off the season, even if it ranked way down at #20 on HitFix's big countdown. When I look at that list of 25 movies, though, I have to say, it makes me feel really proud to be a part of the site as we've been the last nearly two years. The variety is superb, a wonderful cross-section of the team's taste and sensibilities. It's just the right mixture of blockbuster and counter-programming fare and I think it's a great primer for the season ahead.
Regular readers know how hard I fell for "Drive" at Cannes two years ago, so when the news broke that Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn were reuniting for a similarly hard-boiled thriller, I admit my usually well-behaved inner fanboy let out a rather loud yelp. Yes, "Only God Forgives" had me at hello -- and that was before they added one of my favorite working actors, Kristin Scott Thomas, to the mix. Gosling's sleek posturing, Refn's heightened action styling and Scott Thomas vamping it up as a black-hearted gangster mama? Did this film somehow get made in my subconscious?