CANNES - With screenings having wrapped here at the Cannes Film Festival, all eyes are on tomorrow's big awards. I'll preview those in the morning, but in the meantime, we received the first Competition bellwether in the form of the FIPRESCI Critics' prize, which went to Abdellatif Kechiche's three-hour lesbian romantic drama "Blue is the Warmest Color" -- currently the bookies' favorite for the Palme d'Or.
Cambodian film 'The Missing Picture' wins Un Certain Regard section
A series of talking points and a full annotated transcript hit the net
When I saw Alex Gibney's new documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" at Sundance, I was bowled over. My instant reaction was mostly admiration for Gibney, who has become "a beast at his craft," as my first blush Tweet noted. The film, opening in limited release this weekend, is a towering study of one of the most enigmatic figures of our time, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and it will surely be seen as the definitive documentary of the organization, which trades in leaked classified information that has had an impact on everything from the Arab Spring to perceptions of National Security here at home.
Jim Jarmusch is on typically deadpan form in mildly amusing vampire film
CANNES - A Jim Jarmusch vampire movie? Sure, why not? Much of "Only Lovers Left Alive" seems to have been made in this spontaneous, scarcely thought-through spirit, which is responsible for what is both most appealing and most enervating about it. It's a designer doodle of a dream, like much of Jarmusch's work, though it's clear some effort has gone into making it appear this cast-off. If the "Twilight" series has taught us anything, it's that vampires are natural poseurs, which creates a stronger creative bond between Stephenie Meyer and the bequiffed crown prince of American indie cinema then you might have expected.
Audiences revisit Celine and Jesse this weekend
For many of our readers, I know today has been circled on the calendar for a long while. Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight" brings a third look into the lives of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke). It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it was very well received and was soon after picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. It featured prominently in our summer movie preview feature here at HitFix and I, of course, am over the moon for the film. I can't wait to give it another look. For now, though, let's hear what you thought of it. Rifle off your thoughts in the comments section and as always, feel free to vote in our poll below.
Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix play out a bad romance in 1920s-set drama
CANNES - James Gray has always made period films – it’s just that they haven’t always been set in the past. Since arriving on the scene as a precocious 25-year-old with his Venice-laurelled 1994 debut “Little Odessa,” the New Yorker has unobtrusively fostered a reputation as one of the American cinema’s last true classicists, his writing and visual storytelling alike distinguished by an unfashionable emotional sincerity and matte polish – virtues that the French have embraced far more openly over the years than Gray’s compatriots.
Matthias Schoenaerts the ensemble standout in overlong period thriller
CANNES - Fans of New York-based writer-director (and lovingly adopted son of France) James Gray are getting a lot of bang for their, well, Euro at this year's Cannes Film Festival. His long-awaited new feature "The Immigrant" may be the main attraction, of course, but he also has a writing credit on Guillaume Canet's thriller "Blood Ties" -- a film that might be described as too James Gray for Gray to have directed himself. Between its elegiac genre qualities, its fuzzily gray visual textures, even its age-old tale of brothers on opposite sides of the law, it's a veritable checklist of attributes from the director's past films; small wonder it took a Frenchman to make it.
This one looks poised for an awards run
The Weinstein Company came to Cannes ready to show off with films like "Only God Forgives" (via VOD shingle RADiUS), "The Immigrant" and "Fruitvale Station" in tow, not to mention a big presentation of material including peeks at biopics "Grace of Monaco" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom". There were rumblings that footage from Judi Dench starrer "Philomena" at the film market had revved the distributors engines, and indeed, today TWC has announced acquisition of the title in the US, UK and Spain and positioned it in the fall of 2013, obviously aiming for an awards trajectory.
Amusing moments outweighed by sour notes in minor-key family drama
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?
Patricia Highsmith adaptation marks the director's return to the big screen
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.
'Behind the Candelabra' begins the long march through awards season
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.