Oh yeah, Peter Berg's big ticket board game production (shoot me) hit theaters this weekend, too. I totally forgot (honest). Guy saw the film when it opened in the UK last month and was none too high on it in his Variety assessment. Anyway, if you have something to say about "Battleship," again, hit the comments section below.
CANNES - With this year's Competition still searching for that unifying critical and audience hit -- though the two biggest hitters thus far, Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" and Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills," have proven excitingly and necessarily divisive -- the longest and loudest rounds of applause appear to have been heard in the sidebars. Two of the four films I saw today elicited that kind of response, with audience members cheering and reprise-clapping at odd points in the closing credits in the manner that comfortably exceeds required festival politeness and firmly establishes that they like you, they really like you.
One of these successes, an Un Certain Regard selection that had already slayed the Sundance crowds a few months back, was to be expected; the other, from the lower-profile Directors' Fortnight selection, was more of a surprise. Chilean director Pablo Larrain hasn't, until now, been the kind of filmmaker to court such all-round approval: his cold-blooded political comedies "Tony Manero" and "Post Mortem" are something of an acquired taste even to those not alienated by their contextually non-transferrable Pinochet-rule milieu. Indeed, following its Venice premiere two years ago, I remember the closing credits of "Post Mortem" being greeted by nothing noisier than the stunned shuffle of footsteps as viewers made a beeline for the nearest stiff drink.
I haven't caught up with Sacha Baron Cohen's latest shenanigans in "The Dictator" yet but the wife thinks it looks funny so maybe we'll make it out this weekend. I do get the sense that things are running a bit thin and hope Cohen can jump into this Freddy Mercury thing ASAP for a nice shift (not that collaborations with Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese haven't been refreshing). Anyway, I imagine many of you will be seeing it, too, so when/if you do, head on back here with your thoughts.
Focus Features has an interesting little slate of films to pitch this season. There's Wes Anderson's latest, "Moonrise Kingdom," which opened Cannes earlier this week to mostly favorable reviews. Indeed, I found it to be one of his best, a charming mark of maturation for the filmmaker. There's also Joe Wright's big adaptation "Anna Karenina," which looks to be the heavyweight in the stable.
Then there's "Hyde Park on Hudson," director Roger Michell's latest. From the official synopsis: "In June 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor host the King and Queen of England for a weekend at the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park on Hudson, in upstate New York – the first-ever visit of a reigning English monarch to America. With Britain facing imminent war with Germany, the Royals are desperately looking to FDR for support.
"But international affairs must be juggled with the complexities of FDR’s domestic establishment, as wife, mother, and mistresses all conspire to make the royal weekend an unforgettable one. Seen through the eyes of Daisy, Franklin’s neighbor and intimate, the weekend will produce not only a special relationship between two great nations, but, for Daisy – and through her, for us all – a deeper understanding of the mysteries of love and friendship."
On the heels of the recent news that Dolby Laboratories has wrangled naming rights to the Hollywood & Highland theatre (formerly known as the Kodak) that has played host to concerts, performance events and, of course, the annual Academy Awards ceremony, Walt Disney Pictures has announced that the "grand opening" of the venue will coincide with the world premiere of Disney/Pixar's "Brave." The June 17 event will take place in conjunction with the Los Angeles Film Festival.
"This is the first of many exclusive and exciting events—from movie premieres to awards ceremonies—in which Dolby and our technologies will play a featured role," said Dolby executive VP of sales and marketing via press release.
As part of the naming rights announcement earlier this month, it was noted that Dolby "will continue to update the theatre with innovative, world-class technologies to ensure that the theatre remains state-of-the-art, beginning with the immediate installation of its recently released Dolby® Atmos™ sound technology." The "Brave" screening will be presented in Dolby 3D.
CANNES - As a general rule, it should be a bit further into Cannes, when the combination of punishing onscreen themes and depleted reserves of sleep have battered down all defences, that I have my first involuntary cry of the festival. And as a general rule, it should be several lifetimes before the instigator of such a reaction is Katy Perry's plastic empowerment anthem "Firework," with a wheelchair-bound young woman playing conductor to its ersatz emotional swell.
"Rust and Bone" (B+) a remarkable exercise in brute sentimentality and unwashed romance from French genre artisan Jacques Audiard, is not a film with much use for general rules: awash with aesthetic and narrative decisions that scratch at the boundaries of human empathy and simple good taste, it's the rare Croisette provocation that invites polarized responses by flirting with convention, even cliché, rather than transgression. In no other context could the Wonderbread pop stylings of Ms. Perry sound more subversive.
Are you ready for the year of Matthew McConaughey? And did you ever think you'd read that sentence?
Yes, the heartthrob best known over the last decade for turns in dubious actioners, countless rom-coms and a naked bongo drumming episode is set to have a pretty sensational 2012. And not to diminish the actor. Even in all that sludge there have been sparks of that natural flair. But few would argue that McConaughey hasn't been off on an irrelevant tangent since "Reign of Fire," at the very least.
But this year -- with two films set to bow next week at the Cannes Film Festival in Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" and Jeff Nichols' "Mud," another in theaters already and two more on the way -- the actor has saddled up to quality filmmakers for the first time in a while. Seemingly, he's ready for a new, more meaningful phase of his career.
CANNES - It's not often that a filmmaker's cheerleaders and detractors alike can agree upon a single convenient adjective. But for better and for worse, "precious" has been a defining term for Wes Anderson's unapologetically affected filmography ever since "Rushmore" dressed up the grainy funk of "Bottle Rocket" into something a little more preppily composed.
From any perspective, "precious" covers the thematic and aesthetic delicacy of his films, their exactingly designed construction and perennially nostalgic gaze. Whether that degree of refinement is something cherishable or enervating, however, is in the eye of the beholder. To say, then, that "Moonrise Kingdom" -- a neurotically designed and almost exhaustingly cute return to the pre-adult concerns of 1998's "Rushmore" -- is Anderson's most precious film to date scarcely qualifies as a value judgment. But it is, and you can attach to it what value you will.
Filmmaker Wes Anderson is back this year with his first live action film in five years, "Moonrise Kingdom," premiering today as the opening night film of the Cannes Film Festival. In typical Anderson fashion, it features an ensemble of actors, though many of them are working with him for the first time. Over the years, Anderson has established an impressive stable of acting talent, a dedicated troupe of personnel that can slip right into his singular world with ease. Will first-timers Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel join the crew after "Moonrise Kingdom?" Time will tell, but for now, here's a look at the house that Anderson built. Click through the gallery below for a quick refresher.
It's been a while since I last saw Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon." It's a film that demands attention be paid, and I so rarely find that I can sit down and settle in with it. But it's a masterful piece of work that deserves a couple of looks over the years, to be sure.
The Academy is offering one such look as part of its "Member Selects" series on Monday, May 21 at the Lighthouse International in New York City. "Capote" and "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller will be on hand to introduce the film (as "Member Selects" is a series where Academy members introduce one of their favorite films).
"Barry Lyndon" landed at an interesting time in film history. It was part of a dying breed of film, done with a certain magnificence that was becoming rarer and rarer (and, indeed, is one of a kind for the way Kubrick approached the material). It landed seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.