What's good and what's bad directly from the Palais
CANNES - Straight from the Palais, HitFix's Gregory Ellwood and Guy Lodge of In Contention break down a few of the most-talked about films from the first half of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, including "A Separation" director Asghar Farhadi's "The Past," the Coen Bros.' "Inside Llewyn Davis" starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake, and the WIlliam Faulkner adaptation "As I Lay Dying" starring and directed by ubiquitous multi-hyphenate James Franco. Check out all their thoughts on these films and more in the video above.
Zal Batmanglij's latest hits theaters May 31
Zal Batmanglij's "The East" premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January. Its positioning this summer has me interested in giving it another look amid the surrounding blockbuster noise. The film is about an operative for a private intelligence firm embedded in a corporation-focused anarchist group who sees her priorities tested. It is the follow-up to Batmanglij's debut, "Sound of my Voice."
J.T. on a 'mission to be continually inspired'
CANNES - It goes without saying that Justin Timberlake's come a long way. I remember chatting with him and a very young Anton Yelchin at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival about Nick Cassavetes' underrated "Alpha Dog." Timberlake was prepping "FutureSex/LoveSounds" at the time and this was a pre-"Sexy Back" world, but Timberlake's enthusiasm for his Sundance debut was evident. It wasn't clear whether Timberlake enjoyed the art form of acting or whether he saw this as another outlet for his own work, but you could see even then this wasn't going to be a one time thing.
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon excel in Soderbergh's witty Liberace biopic
- Critic's Rating A-
- Readers' Rating A-
CANNES - A late, not-entirely-incidental scene in “Behind the Candelabra” finds Swarovski-encrusted pianist Liberace holding forth on the 1981 Academy Awards. The showbiz legend is due to make his long-desired debut appearance as performer and presenter, and you may or may not be surprised to learn that he’s backing “On Golden Pond,” that maudlin, Vaseline-lit ode to comfortable expiration, to take the gold. “I’m so glad Jane Fonda’s dropped all those awful causes and made a nice film with her father,” he coos primly. “Our job is to entertain the world and sell lots of drinks and souvenirs.”
The actor-director gets all the best close-ups in his Faulkner adaptation
- Critic's Rating C
- Readers' Rating C
CANNES - Adding the title of "film critic" to his well-strung bow of professional achievements, actor-writer-director-artist-musician-academic-activist-probable-ceramicist James Franco recently spoke up for this year's Cannes opener, Baz Luhrmann's flash-and-sizzle adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," against the predictable armada of critics dismissing it. "These people make their living doing readings and critiques of texts in order to generate theories of varying levels of competency," he wrote for VICE magazine. "Luhrmann’s film is his reading and adaptation of a text – his critique, if you will."
'Traumatized critics exhale.'
When last year's Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron were tapped for the 2014 Academy Awards, speculation immediately swirled around the possibility that they would offer hosting duties to Seth MacFarlane once again. With Academy president Hawk Koch keeping the "consistency" mantra going -- citing a ratings boost, though failing to consider that the films in play had plenty to do with it -- it made sense that MacFarlane might be back, regardless of the critical thrashing he and the telecast took in February.
Indeed, an offer was extended to the "Family Guy" funny man, despite his stern "no way" response to a Twitter query in the wake of the 85th annual show about whether he'd consider it again. Well, whether he was game or he wasn't, MacFarlane has officially dropped out of the running today, he revealed on Twitter. And he even took a bit of a shot at that critical thrashing in the process.
T Bone Burnett spills the beans...a bit early
CANNES - Quick bit from the Croisette. The festival is still coming off a high following the rapturous premiere of the Coen Bros. "Inside Llewyn Davis" Sunday evening and, most likely, many members of the audience still have a song or two from the film's early '60s folk soundtrack stuck in their head.
The prestige distributor also handled Asghar Farhadi's 'A Separation'
CANNES - As a rule, Sony Pictures Classics tends to make the first big acquisitions strike at the Cannes Film Festival: last year, they moved quickly when Chilean sensation "No" started getting sidebar buzz (and steered it all the way to an Oscar nomination.
Is it possible to make these kids sympathetic?
CANNES - Sofia Coppola is a bit tired. As we sit down for one of her last interviews of the day it's clear she's lost a wee bit of enthusiasm to talk once again about the world of celebrity culture her characters in "The Bling Ring" are obsessed with. She succinctly notes, "You can't really look at US Weekly as in the same way after making this movie."
Where was Peeta?
CANNES - Lionsgate tried to bring a taste of the "Hunger Games" to Cannes Saturday night with a Capitol City party on the Croisette in honor of the upcoming sequel "Catching Fire." After grossing $400 million in the U.S. you might wonder why the studio would shell out big bucks to trek stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and new cast member Sam Clafin to the south of France for one day of red carpets and a swank beachfront party. This wasn't about America, though, this was about the world.