CANNES - "Nebraska," Alexander Payne's latest dramedy of American ennui and mislaid family relationships, opens with a vintage monochrome Paramount Pictures ident standing in for the flashier, CGI-enhanced mountain peak of recent years. It's a detail that may strike you either as a cute throwaway (hey, the film's in old-timey black-and-white!) or something rather more calculated. Like so many of his peers, Payne is deeply indebted to the American new wave of the 1970s, and with its Bogdanovich-esque lensing and revival of Bruce Dern, "Nebraska" cops to that debt pretty openly with this badge of cinematic classicism. That's all well and good, but is it stretching to detect a certain smug conservatism there too, a whiff of self-congratulation in its resistance to the new?
When last we heard from Todd Haynes (save a quick trip to HBO's "Enlightened"), he had brought James M. Cain's "Mildred Pierce" to the small screen via mini-series. Kate Winslet stormed the awards circuit winning every trophy in sight (much like Michael Douglas seems poised to do this year for "Behind the Candelabra") and the event was in general a nice fit in Haynes's oeuvre of female-centric drama. He's set for another as he transitions back to the big screen with "Carol," Screen Daily reports.
The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) announced today its list of nominees for TV programming. CBS series "The Big Bang Theory" and FX's mini-series "American Horror Story: Asylum" led the way with six nominations apiece. On the drama side, FX's "The Americans," AMC's "Breaking Bad," HBO's "Game of Thrones" and CBS's "The Good Wife" led with four nods each.
CANNES - If nothing else -- and like many Cannes folk who entered this morning's screening bleary-eyed, and left it black-eyed, I'm still working out just how much else it is -- "Only God Forgives" may be the single reddest film to grace our screens since "Moulin Rouge!." Just about the only scenes in which blood isn't virtually seeping from the walls in Nicolas Winding Refn's sleek, stunted, undeniably startling revenge thriller are those in which it's quite literally splashing them.
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 "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."
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.”
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."
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.
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.