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Thread: CANNES Festival 2019

  1. #16
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    Almodovar's Pain and Glory.


    Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory

    Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian says Almodóvar "delivers another sensuous and deeply personal gem" in this "wistful extravaganza" in which "life meets art," and gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Ruminative, painful, with a sense of declining powers, the director presents an aging movie director played by Antonio Banderas. Peter Debruge in Variety calls it a "remarkably mature metafiction."

    AlloCiné asks: "Is Almodóvar on the way to the Palme d'Or?" He looks like a prime contender. Clearly sounds like a very positive consensus, one of the most admired Competition films. But could it be a little too familiar a maker and topic to be up for a top prize?

    Hausner's Little Joe.


    Jessie Mae Alonzo and Ben Whishaw in Little Joe

    Another much anticipated film at Cannes was Jessica Haussner's Little Joe. Haussner is known for her Lourdes (2009). But Peter Bradshaw says he was disappointed, and gives it a measly 2 out of 5 stars. It's a horror film that likens the spread of antidepressants to the invasion of an alien force a la "Bodysnatchers." Erlich of IndieWire finds in this "plenty of potential to offend," though he calls the film "brilliant." Bradshaw finds " plot implausibilities" and a movie "too high on the art-house register" to notice its lack of "out-and-out thrills or suspense."

    Fletcher's Rocketman.

    The comparison with Bohemian Rhapsodyis inevitable: two pictures about gay glam rock stars directed by Dexter Fletcher. Nicolas Barber of BBC Culture says "this year’s Elton John biopic is superior to last year’s Freddie Mercury biopic in almost every way: funnier, more moving, more imaginative, more upfront about its hero’s sexuality." That's nice, isn't it? I wonder if the public will go along. Probably not, and later in the review Nicolas Barber doesn't even seem to like the movie so much, though he still rates it and Fletcher and Egerton high.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; Today at 10:19 AM.

  2. #17
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    Recent Cannes reviews


    Pamela Mendoza in Canción Sin Nombre

    Canción Sin Nombre/Song Without a Name (Melina León). Directors Fortnight.

    "In a dingy clinic, a newborn child is whisked away from her exhausted mother, supposedly for routine health checks, and is never returned; in short order, the clinic vanishes into thin air too, leaving the stolen baby’s bewildered, impoverished parents with no recourse." So Guy Lodge states the film's premise in his admiring but critical Variety review about this child-trafficking tale. The Peruvian writer-director's film is a "visually striking period piece" that's "a Kafka-esque crime thriller inspired by real events" says Stephen Dalton of Hollywood Reporter. It has some similarities to Cuaron's ROMA, being about a poor peasant woman and in black and white. (Today.)



    Sorry We Missed You (Ken Loach) Competition.

    A "fierce, open and angry" new film about life in the British "service-economy serfdom" says Peter Bradshaw who gives it a full five stars in his Guardian review. In his Variety review, Owen Gleibeman says 82-year-old Loach has grown spryer as he's aged and now is at the top of his game and is making films that "connect, with a nearly karmic sense of timing, to the social drama of our moment." This one is about "how the gig economy screws over the people it promises to save." This is indeed perhaps the dominant, and fastest growing, labor issue in the developed world today and an even more relevant film than Loach's last one, which won the Palme d'Or in 2016. But a feeling is he won't win again. Three Palme d'Ors would be a bit much for one director. (May 16th.)


    Image from The Wild Goose Lake

    The Wild Goose Lake/南方车站的聚会 (Diao Yinan) Competition.

    An understatedly brilliant and poetic noir that winds up being less than the sum of its parts, says David Erlich of IndieWire. It works with traditional ingredients, a gangster on the run, a femme fatale at his side, and cops and bad guys trying to do them in, he writes. But along with that it's also a picture of "contemporary China as a vast land of exploitation and criminality." The central Chinese capital of Wuhan is the setting for a lot of eye-catching and rich seediness. It has some ingenious ultra-violence, some over-congested plot moments, style, and the benefit of Dong Jinsong, one of the dp's of Bi Gan's visually entrancing Long Day's Journey Into Night. Sounds good to me. The images are so ravishing I was sorely tempted to reproduce more than one here. (Today.)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; Today at 10:21 AM.

  3. #18
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    Louise Labeque, Wislanda Louimat in Zombi Child

    Zombi Child (Bertrand Bonello). Directors Fortnight.

    (French film, English-language title.) The spelling follows the original Creole, which is the kind of zombies or zombis Bonello is focused on (one that slowly struggles to come back to life), along with a second story about girls in a state school, one of whom may be a zombie too. This is Bonello's first stab at a genre film,and his eighth feature, says Jordan Mintzer in Hollywood Reporter. Only the three last ones are well known, but they are very well known (and I am a fan): House of Tolerance aka L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close), Saint Laurent, and Nocturama). Zombi Child, says Mintzer, "feels like two incomplete movies in one, neither of them fully satisfying in the end, though there are "some graceful moments scattered throughout", particularly in the Haitian scenes. Not one of Bonello's greatest successes, perhaps, but a fresh take on the subject, apparently, marked by exquisite craft, and with great music, largely by Bonello himself as usual.


    Leyna Bloom in Port Authority

    Port Authority ( Danielle Lessovitz). Un Certain Regard.

    From New York, first-time writer-director Lessovitz follows a young guy who barely escapes homelessness when he comes from Pittsbugh to the big city and his half-sister is not at the famous grim bus terminal to greet him, and he falls in with "New York’s Kiki ballroom scene – a carnivalesque LGBT club culture that evolved from voguing," and is troubled to be attracted to a young trans gender woman. "Port Authority is vehement, urgent and sensual – not perfect, and I would have liked to have seen more extended dance sequences. But it is made with storytelling gusto and heart" writes Peter Bradshaw, who gives in 4 our of 5 stars in his Guardian review.


    Lise Leplat Prudhomme in Rouen Cathedral Joan of Arc

    Joan of Arc/Jeanne d'Arc (Bruno Dumont). Un Certain Regard.

    Dumont's biopic is "a stately, deadpan classical-absurdist pageant of "child warrior on the march," adapted from Charles Péguy’s writings about her, says Bradshaw, that's "passionless and exasperating." Lise Leplat Prudhomme, who played in Dumont's 2017 Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, (RV-2018), back again, has "undoubted charisma," and there's a cameo by Fabrice Lucchini as Charles VII (who played Percival in Eric Rohmer's Percival le Valois in 1978, an early role), but the whole thing may be a "longeur," and is often "torpid." It may be seen as a way-station toward something more evolved by the formerly compelling director, says Bradshaw, who gives it a dismal 2 out of 5 stars. Like its predecessor, the film is full of lip-synched rock numbers, is shot on the beaches of northeastern France (and in Rouen Cathedral), and makes no attempt at historical authenticity. For Dumont coimpletists only, and 137 minutes long. I have a lot of time for this amazing and original filmmaker, but this latest bent has not repaid my patience as well as earlier work or amused as do his recent "Li'l Quinquin" films.



    Too Old to Die Young (Nichlas Winding Refn). TV. Grand Theatre Lumiere.

    Not sure what Cannes category this falls under, but two episodes (4 and 5) of this new TV series (Refn calls it a 13-hour film) have just been shown at Cannes on the super-big screen of the Grand Theatre Lumière there, and it has been vividly reviewed. With caveats: that it's tedius and horrifying. It concerns Los Angeles cop, played by the energetic Miles Teller, who moonlights as a contract killer and "who comes under the sway" of former military colleague John Hawkes' "apocalyptic visionary," writes David Rooney in his Hollywood Reporter review, who says it shows the Danish director's "steady slide deeper and deeper into empty genre posturing" has gone as far as it can go. Bradshaw is more taken with it, calling it a "doomy, sepulchral, and very plausible evocation of pure evil" and a "dead-eyed LA nightmare," and giving it 4 out of 5 stars. Gregory Ellwood, on Collider, thinks it's ambitious and "at times brilliant" but "not as deep as it thinks it is." Sounds to me as if cop series binge-watchers will want to take a look, but some may not have the patience for its long silences.


    Tomorrow:
    The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, of The Witch). Directors Fortnight.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; Today at 10:28 AM.

  4. #19
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    Eggers' new film


    Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse

    THE LIGHTHOUSE (Robert Eggers). Directors Fortnight.

    Peter Bradshaw's Guardian review gives it 5 out of 5 stars and suggests the new movie by Robert Eggers (whose The Witch was so much admired) is likewise a rousing success. It is a tense portrait in striking black and white of two men in 1890's Maine in physical and psychological torment as they man a lighthouse together and come apart under pressure of shared solitude and conflicting roles, with mood swings and tormenting mermaid visions. Eggers lets the tale hover between intense realism and horror, never making genre an issue, says Bradshaw, and Both Willem Dafoe as the man in charge and Robert Pattinson as number two chafing under his lowly role are fine, Pattinson especially, who "just gets better and better." Bradshaw also praises the rich poeticism of the period dialogue and the actors' delivery (the "script is barnacled with resemblances to Coleridge, Shakespeare, Melville"). Variety's Owen Gleiberman calls it "a gripping and turbulent drama," praising its "powerfully antiquated sense of myth and legend," the "weird immersive clarity" of its "shimmeringly austere black-and-white" and striking near-square aspect ratio, a movie "made with extraordinary skill" that you "can't pigeonhole." David Rooney's Hollywood Reporter review hails the "gripping performances thick with flavorful period dialect and jolts of ever-intensifying insanity soaked in rum." Nobody really has reservations, except whether this will be as great a commercial success as The Witch. (A24 produced again, and most of the Witch crew is back.)


    Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots in Vivarium

    VIVARIUM (Lorcan Finnegan). Critics Week, Feature Competition.

    The premise of this second feature for Irish director Lorcan Finnegan is a couple goes to a plasticky suburb, in jest visit a model home, and are trapped and forced to live in it and raise a freakishly precocious baby supplied to them by malevolent outside Big Brother forces. It feels a lot like an extended episode of the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror, says Stephen Dalton (Hollywood Reporter), with echoes of "cult dystopian authors" like JG Ballard and John Wyndham and with "eye-pleasing nods to the surrealist art of Rene Magritte and MC Escher." Poots shines and has more emotional depth while Eisenberg seems underused and miscast as a rugged outdoor type tasked with lots of physical work. A "smart and gripping yarn," says Dalton. But Ben Croll of The Wrap thought it tries to say too much about too many topics and "never fully satisfies on any one front." He thinks it could have been good as a "comic allegory" à la Jorge Luis Borges or a more overtly sci-fi piece that would "lean harder into the human menagerie connotations of the title," but unfortunately, it is neither one nor the other, and winds up unfocused, a shame because it "engages from a technical perspective."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; Today at 10:31 AM.

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