CANNES - "Did you see the Lisandro Alonso?!" came the eager text from a friend not in Cannes, mere minutes after I had, indeed, seen Alonso's "Jauja" -- an Argentine western turned existential comedy turned, well, any number of alternate-dimension subgenres. I envied him his excitement. Alonso has built up a fiercely devoted band of admirers with his opaque brand of slow-cinema puzzle picture, as demonstrated in the likes of "Liverpool" and "Los Muertos"; for those of us who have never gained access to that club, "Jauja" is unlikely to bring us much closer. Intermittently playful, consistently confounding, finally petrified, it's a film of fussy, cultivated austerity; Alonsolytes will debate what it's hiding, while others will suggest "an actual movie" as the answer.
CANNES - At the risk of being unkind about a filmmaker who delighted me (and many others) so unequivocally with his last feature, it's probably tempting fate to open any film with the words, "What is this piece of shit?” That's not an entirely fair assessment of “The Search,” Michel Hazanavicius' follow-up to his unlikely, Oscar-garlanded 2011 hit “The Artist,” but it does roughly sum up the jaded bafflement with which it was received by journalists in Cannes this morning. A stiff, lumbering humanitarian drama that works obtusely and tirelessly against its director's spryest skills, it's proof positive that good intentions pave not only the road to hell, but the one to dreary mediocrity as well.
CANNES - After today's disappointing screening of Michel Hazanavicius' "The Search," there is little doubt it's been a weak year for Oscar at Cannes. There are only two more days left for the Competition titles and no one is expecting Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall," Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," Olivier Assayas' "Sils Maria" (well, maybe) or possible Palme d'Or crasher "Leviathan" to become major awards season players.
CANNES - Jeffrey Katzenberg had quite the Cannes. "How To Train Your Dragon 2" played out of competition with a standing ovation from the festival faithful and he found himself awarded Commander of the Order Of Arts And Letters by the French government. It all coincides with the 20th Anniversary of DreamWorks (although DreamWorks' first animated film didn't arrive until 1998) and was some welcome good news for Katzenberg and DWA.
I was glued to the Twitter application of my iPhone Sunday night waiting for the reactions to Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" to roll in as the film bowed in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. It was interesting to watch the first wave of knee-jerks, all of them just a touch muted, I assume because Miller is not a filmmaker whose movies hit you right away. They kind of seep into you the more you spin away from them, and I got the feeling "Foxcatcher" is absolutely one such example.
One of the most anticipated films at the Cannes Film Festival this year is Ryan Gosling's directorial debut "Lost River," starring "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks. The neo-noir reunites Gosling with his "Place Beyond the Pines" co-stars Eva Mendes and Ben Mendelsohn, although Gosling is staying behind the camera. "River" also stars Matt Smith ("Doctor Who), Iain De Caestecker ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") and Saoirse Ronan ("Hanna"). The gang descended on Cannes for a photo call on Tuesday, with the world premiere following later this week.
CANNES - There are few faces -- individual, honest-to-God faces -- in the movies today quite like that of Marion Cotillard, her startling beauty assembled from oddly sized, quizzical features that mightn't hang quite right on anyone else's bones. She looks like no one else, and yet never quite resembles herself on screen either: it's a face that different angles and contexts can turn from silken to sallow, hunter to hunted, goddess to guttersnipe. It is, in other words, the closest thing to a character actor's face that a cover girl can have.
CANNES - If "masterpiece" is a word that critics should use with extreme caution -- never more so than at film festivals, where snap judgments are unavoidable but inflexible -- the same should probably go for the filmmakers under scrutiny. Naomi Kawase, the Japanese auteur arguably revered more by Cannes programmers than by anyone else, became a target of derision last week when she announced in an interview that her new film "Still the Water" is her "masterpiece," and that her eyes are firmly fixed on the Palme d'Or.
CANNES - Sometimes directors live in vacuum. You work on a movie for months, you become ingrained with it. That means other films, performances, life events pass you by. Keep that in mind when you see quotes from Bennett Miller that he'd never seen Steve Carell "give material evidence that he could do [anything] like" his performance in "Foxcatcher." Because, frankly, that's not the case.
I've been a little desperate for some new "Guardians of the Galaxy" footage. It seems like the same material from the first teaser has been re-purposed ad nauseam for a number of months now and, this being a pretty bold and risky project from Marvel Studios, I've been very, very curious. Today we got a new trailer for the film and finally get a load of what James Gunn has been whipping up.