Colin Firth kicks actual butt in first trailer for Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'
Credit: 20th Century Fox/MARV

Colin Firth kicks actual butt in first trailer for Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'

Vaughn's working with Mark Millar again, and to great effect, it seems

Colin Firth… action hero?

That's been the most intriguing prospect of Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Secret Service," based on another Mark Millar series, since Firth was first announced for the cast last year.

Now that we've got an actual trailer for the movie, I'm in. I find that Matthew Vaughn is an enormously divisive filmmaker, and I have peers who routinely lambast me for enjoying his work. I don't care. I like his sensibilities. I think he has a very dry subversive streak, a fondness for the rude, and he loves many of the same things I do about action movies in general. Hooking up with Mark Millar has led him down a very particular path, and I can see a sort of progression from "Kick-Ass," where a kid decides he wants to try to be a real-life superhero with no powers, to this film, where a kid is recruited to go to what looks like a deadly Hogwarts for British spies.

Read Full Post
Review: Ryan Gosling's directorial debut 'Lost River' drowns in all that ruined beauty
Credit: Marc Platt Productions

Review: Ryan Gosling's directorial debut 'Lost River' drowns in all that ruined beauty

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
As first films go, it's pretty but familiar fare

CANNES -- Ryan Gosling has made a concentrated effort to escape his origins in show business, and little wonder. His own personal artistic sensibilities seem to be miles away from the kiddie fare that he appeared in, or "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club." Little by little, as he's been able to pick and choose the roles he wants to play, he has pushed towards darker and moodier work, often collaborating with very strong, challenging filmmakers. Commercial appeal seems to be one of the last things on his mind, and even so, he's built up a dedicated fanbase.

His first film as a writer and director, "Lost River," had its premiere this afternoon at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Un Certain Regard section. There are a number of first time directors in the section this year, and in the years that I've been covering this festival, I've come to think of Un Certain Regard as the place where they put the films that are taking chances, that are exercises in voice, that are hard to categorize anywhere else. That would certainly be a fair description of "Lost River," and while I don't believe it works as a whole, it is apparent immediately that Gosling believe wholeheartedly in this world that he's created.

Read Full Post
Review: Swedish film 'Force Majeure' asks hard questions about manhood and family
Credit: Platform Produktion AB

Review: Swedish film 'Force Majeure' asks hard questions about manhood and family

HitFix
A-
Readers
n/a
And answers them with both wisdom and a surprising streak of humor

CANNES -- What if you were to learn that you are not the man you think you are?

And even worse, what if your family learned it at the same time you did?

That is the question that is cannily posed by "Force Majeure," a new film written and directed by Ruben Ostlund, and with one minor quibble, I found myself deeply impressed by how complex and smart the movie is, and how well it sets up that question and then spends time digging deep to try and answer it. Ostlund pulls off a remarkable balancing act of tone throughout the film, and while many movies feel like they work overtime to try and reach some sort of profound statement, "Force Majeure" effortlessly offers up an examination of just how difficult it is to define and live up to modern ideas of masculinity.

Read Full Post
'Godfather" D.P. Gordon Willis, Hollywood's Prince of Darkness, dies at 82
Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

'Godfather" D.P. Gordon Willis, Hollywood's Prince of Darkness, dies at 82

One of our titans has fallen

One of the most joyous sequences in American film is the opening of Woody Allen's "Manhattan." As Allen's character Isaac speaks in voice-over, Gershwin's remarkable "Rhapsody In Blue" plays.

"Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. No, make that… he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Mm. No. Let me start this over."

Don't bother, Woody. You got it right the first time, and to provide that black-and-white counterpoint to the soaring sounds of Gershwin, cinematographer Gordon Willis shot some of the greatest images of New York City ever burned onto celluloid. Black-and-white felt like a perfect form of expression for Willis, who was referred to by many filmmakers as "The Prince Of Darkness," and "Manhattan" is not just Woody Allen's best looking film… it may be one of the best looking films of all time.

Read Full Post
Review: Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska struggle to stay afloat in turgid 'Maps To The Stars'
Credit: eOne Films International

Review: Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska struggle to stay afloat in turgid 'Maps To The Stars'

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Cronenberg's latest just doesn't ring true

CANNES -- Last time I was here on the Croisette, David Cronenberg was here with "Cosmopolis," and his son Brandon Cronenberg was here with "Antiviral." It was interesting seeing Brandon make a film that felt like it came from the young and squishy heart of his father, while David made a movie that felt like a genuine explosion of anger without a clear target to land on.

It is easy to say that filmmakers lose steam as they work, that age and success mellow even the most genuinely furious artists, but I don't think that's the case with Cronenberg. After all, since the year 2000, he's made three films that I think are all very strong in their own way and very different than anything he'd done before. "Spider" is an upsetting glimpse into a damaged mind, one that traps us inside looking out rather than trying to explain or excuse. "A History Of Violence" did an exceptional job of digging into the secret faces that even the most intimate of married couples can hide from each other. "Eastern Promises" is just a lean, mean, solid crime thriller with a truly sordid side. And while I don't care for "A Dangerous Method" at all, at least I can understand why Cronenberg would want to tackle a story about the birth of the language we use to dissect modern sexual pathology.

Read Full Post
Review: 'It Follows' offers up some fresh horror ideas from a rising indie filmmaking star
Credit: Northern Lights, Two Flints

Review: 'It Follows' offers up some fresh horror ideas from a rising indie filmmaking star

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
It may not all work, but it's got some teeth to it

CANNES -- David Robert Mitchell's "The Myth Of The American Sleepover" was a low-key, low-fi charmer that came out of nowhere a few years ago. The title struck me as perhaps a wee bit on the ambitious side, but the film wasn't out to make grand generational statements. It was just a well-observed film about the sort of night that is important to teenagers precisely because of how loose and free and dangerous it feels, and it marked Mitchell as a guy who had something to say, and a very particular way of saying it.

"It Follows" is his second feature, and it feels very much like it is a companion piece to "Myth." It takes place in the same sorts of neighborhoods, on the same sorts of streets, and many of the scenes play out in that same sort of dreamy loose manner, the way many real conversations play out for teenagers. The difference is that Mitchell's got a very different goal in mind this time, as "It Follows" is an unabashed horror film. There's something really compelling about watching what feels like his first film suddenly erupt into a supernatural nightmare, and it feels like Mitchell's just as much of a soft spot for Carpenter's Haddonfield as he does for Linklater's Austin.

Read Full Post
Review: Argentine dark comedy 'Relatos Salvajes' is dazzling and wicked
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Review: Argentine dark comedy 'Relatos Salvajes' is dazzling and wicked

HitFix
A+
Readers
n/a
Damian Szifron, it's nice to meet you

CANNES -- As I was standing in line last night outside the Salle Debussy, it was obvious that things were out of the control of the people running the festival. For those unfamiliar with the way badge hierarchy works at these events, Cannes has a carefully segregated caste system. If you have a white badge or a pink badge, the world is your oyster. You are able to walk in first, and you are given your choice of location. If you have a blue badge, you have to wait until white and pink have all been seated. And then beyond that, there are at least two more colors that have to wait even longer, and there's a good chance many of those people don't even make it inside.

I'm rocking a blue badge this year, somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, which means I need to spend some extra time in line if I want to try to guarantee myself a seat. The line for "Relatos Salvajes" was unusually long by the time I arrived, though, and it took me a moment to find the end of it amidst the crowd that's always gathered in front of the Palais. There was no clearly marked space, though, and people with every color badge started to pile in from the sides, creating more of a mob than a line, and as they started letting in, things got volatile very quickly. I saw people forcing their way in ahead of people who had been waiting, and within moments, I started to worry that I genuinely wouldn't get a seat.

Read Full Post
Review: Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce sizzle, but slow-moving 'Rover' still disappoints
Credit: FilmNation

Review: Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce sizzle, but slow-moving 'Rover' still disappoints

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
This the way the world ends, not with a bang but a yawn

CANNES - David Michod's "Animal Kingdom" was a venal little crime drama with strong, unsparing character work, and it garnered him international attention, with Jacki Weaver eventually landing an Academy Award nomination for playing a mother who was only slightly less terrifying than the Alien Queen. Little wonder he was able to attract some big names to his new film, "The Rover," which is making its premiere as part of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

It's been programmed as part of the Midnights section here at Cannes, but I would imagine any audience coming off of a long day of screenings who tries to actually sit through this at the tail end of their day is going to find themselves struggling. Glacially paced and intentionally minimalistic, "The Rover" tells the story of how a man living in Australia ten years after "the collapse" hunts down the men who took his car. That's it. That's the entire narrative arc of the film, and while there are other characters and certain events that serve as digressions, it all eventually comes down to a man pursuing some other men because they took his car and he wants it back, and while there are some very strong performances in the film, the movie is inert, dramatically speaking, and covers such familiar ground that I can't really recommend it.

Read Full Post
<p>By far, this is still my favorite Duran Duran album cover. Boy, the &#39;80s were fun.</p>

By far, this is still my favorite Duran Duran album cover. Boy, the '80s were fun.

Credit: Gabriel Polsky Productions

Review: 'Red Army' offers up a smart and funny documentary about Cold War hockey

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
Yeah, I wouldn't have picked this one as a laugh-fest, either

CANNES -- When I was a kid, the Soviet Union was the source of many long nights worth of nuclear nightmares, the Communist empire that we were warned would be coming for us one day. They were The Enemy, and we were indoctrinated with an infantile form of geopolitics, Us Vs Them. The Cold War was a constant presence, drilled into us from the moment we were old enough to understand the basics of "There are bad guys, and they want to kill you." Even today, when I talk to people my age who never shook that programming off, I am amazed how well they drilled that message into us, and how pervasively ugly it was.

As much as there were financial and political issues in play, the ideological war of Communism Vs Democracy was the biggest thing they tried to teach us. Never mind that they weren't technically communists and we're not technically a democracy. It made for a compelling narrative, and it seemed to motivate any number of advances for both nations. One particular triumph on the Soviet side involved their hockey program, and the film "Red Army" tells the story of how that happened.

Read Full Post
Chris Pratt calls 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' 'mind-blowing' from the London set

Chris Pratt calls 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' 'mind-blowing' from the London set

This is just the start of our coverage on this one

There are so many things I want to tell you about the time I spent in London on the set of "Guardians Of The Galaxy."

Today, though, we're still embargoed on the vast majority of it, and so we're going to focus on one of the interviews that we conducted as a group. Seems like Chris Pratt's a good place to start in any conversation about this film, since this will be the biggest film role he's ever had, and much of the success of the film hinges on how the audience takes to him as Peter Quill aka Star Lord.

Read Full Post