A strike by French air traffic controllers caused chaos at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday (15May14) as attendees were caught up in the travel problems. Passengers flying to France faced severe delays and disruption due to a walkout by aviation staff, while industrial action by cab drivers also impacted on those flying into Nice airport on the first day of the festival on Wednesday (14May14).
British pop stars Spandau Ballet are due to attend the event on Friday (16May14) for the premiere of their documentary Soul Boys of the Western World, but Martin Kemp was left waiting for his bandmates on Thursday when they were caught up in the strike chaos.
He posted a video on Instagram.com showing himself drinking coffee in the sunshine while waiting for his colleagues to arrive, adding in a caption, "The other band members are caught up in the French air strike... I will just sit here and wait then... Could be worse!"
Other festival-goers who suffered travel problems on Thursday included screenwriter Stuart Hazeldine, the brains behind 2009 thriller Exam, who wrote in a post on Twitter.com, "Cab cancelled at last minute. Went to wrong terminal. Flight delayed by air traffic control strike. Cab strike in Cannes. C'est La Vie!" while actor Martin Delany tweeted, "Off to Cannes film festival, flight cancelled due to French air traffic strike, re route to Perpignan, this movie business is tough."
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
There is a certain level of enjoyment you are guaranteed when signing on for a movie that boasts a cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray. And that's the precise level of enjoyment you'll get from The Monuments Men — that bare minimum smirk factor inherent the idea that your favorite stars are getting to play together. In FDR-era army helmets, no less. But what we also get from the film is an aura of smug self-confidence from project captain Clooney, who seems all too ready to take for granted that we're perfectly satisfied peering into his backyard clubhouse.
So assured is the director/co-writer that we're happy to be in on the game that there doesn't seem to be any effort taken to refine the product for the benefit of a viewing audience. An introductory speech from art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) sets up the premise straight away: the Nazis are stealing and destroying all of Europe's paintings and sculptures, and by gum we need to stop them! The concept doesn't complicate from there, save for a batting back and forth of the throughline question about whether the preservation of these pieces is "really worth it." Stokes rallies his own Ocean's Seven on a fine arts rescue mission, instigating an old fashioned go-get-'em-boys montage where we learn everything we need to know about the band mates in question: Damon has a wife, Goodman has gumption, Murray doesn't smile, Bob Balaban is uppity, and Jean Dujardin is French.
The closest thing to a character in The Monuments Men comes in the form of Hugh Bonneville, a recovering alcoholic whose motivation to take on the dangerous mission is planted in a festering desire to absolve himself of a lifetime of f**king up. When we're away from Bonneville, the weight disspears, as does most of the joy. Without identifiable characters, even master funnymen like Goodman, Murray, and Balaban don't have much to offer... especially since the movie's jokes feel like first draft placeholders born on a tired night.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
But wait a minute, is this even supposed to be a comedy? After all, it's about World War II. And no matter what Alexandre Desplat's impossibly merry score would have you believe (coupled with The Lego Movie, this opening weekend might be responsible for more musical jubilance than any other since the days of "Make 'Em Laugh!"), warfare, genocide, and desecration of international culture all make for some pretty heavy material. But The Monuments Men's drama is just as fatigued as its humor, clumsily piecing together a collection of mini missions wherein the stakes, somehow, never seem to jump. We're dragged through military bases, battered towns, and salt mines by Clooney and the gang — occasionally jumping over to France to watch Damon work his least effective magic in years on an uptight Cate Blanchett, who holds the key to the scruffy American's mission but doesn't quite trust him... until, for no apparent reason, she suddenly does. We never feel like any of these people matter, not even to each other, so we never really feel like their adventures do.
The Monuments Men doesn't have much of a challenge ahead of it. Its heroes are movie stars, its bad guys are Nazis, and its message is one that nobody's going to refute: art is important — a maxim it pounds home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, through countless scenes of men staring in awe at the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. And in this easy endeavor, Clooney decides to coast. How could it possibly go wrong? Just grab hold of the fellas, toss 'em in the trenches, and let the laughs and danger write themselves. "This is what they came to see," Monuments Men insists. "Just us guys havin' a ball." But we never feel in on the game, and it isn't one that looks like that much fun anyhow.
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Warner Bros. has big plans for Gods and Kings, its film project based on the life of the biblical Moses. How big? If Deadline.com is to be believed, the studio is seeking none other than Steven Spielberg to direct it. Though no "formal meetings" have occurred, Spielberg has apparently read the script penned by Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine. If he does become attached, Gods and Kings will join the dozen or so projects in his crowded pipeline, and thus could realistically look forward to a summer 2029 release.
Steven Spielberg's next film, The Adventures of Tintin, opens December 28, 2011. Click on the image below for more images of Steven Spielberg:
Oh, Bradley Cooper. Just because you think something is a good idea doesn't mean it is. Take Case 39 for example. I'm sure that, at the time, doing a horror thriller opposite girlfriend Renee Zellweger seemed like a swell idea. How'd that one turn out? That's what I thought. Even so, you've managed to make the upgrade from supporting player to all-out leading man thanks to The Hangover, The A-Team and Limitless, but now you want want to use that career capital to play...Lucifer?
That's what Variety is saying. According to the trade, the star of this summer's surefire comedy hit wants to team with director Alex Proyas (Knowing, I, Robot) for an adaptation of John Milton's epic 17th-century poem Paradise Lost, which chronicles the epic war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer and also touches upon the latter's role in Adam and Eve's fall from grace. Warner Bros.-based Legendary Pictures has been developing this project for a long while, waiting for the right pieces to fall into place. It seems as though Cooper's eagerness to play the Devil is jump-starting the stalled production and the company will try to capitalize on today's buzz to get it going.
A handful of writer's have been involved in adapting the classic poem, from Stuart Hazeldine and Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi to Lawrence Kasdan, who provided a recent polish (as did Ryan Condal). That usually is a red flag, but thematically the story is so deep it comes as no surprise that it would take this many scribes to get to the heart of the narrative. The source notes that the film is being molded into an all-out actioner which could be shot in 3D to accommodate various aerial warfare sequences. Angels flying around the heavens doing battle? I'm in. But Cooper shouldn't be.
I'm sure that as an actor one would want to take risks and do something out of the ordinary, but can you honestly tell me that you'd BELIEVE Bradley Cooper as the Devil? Hell, I don't even think he's right to play any kind of villain at this point, let alone the Prince of Darkness.
Heaven versus hell -- in 3D?
Alex Proyas (I, Robot, Knowing, The Crow) is set to direct the cinematic adaptation of Paradise Lost -- the 17th-century English poem by John Milton -- possibly in 3D. The 10,000 line epic tells the story of the war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer.
According to Variety, Stuart Hazeldine developed the screenplay, which was originally written by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi. (On a side note, could you imagine turning 10,000 lines into a screenplay? Holy crap.)
If there's any director who can take something as epic and apocalyptic as heaven versus hell and not fail at making it totally bad-ass, it's Proyas. He's proven himself successful at combining epic action and heavy drama countless times. This will be his first venture into 3D, but we're confident he'll handle it well.
No word yet on casting, but we're assuming that John Travolta won't be reprising his role as Michael.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
In the late '50s a group of elementary students put futuristic drawings in a time capsule that is then buried on school grounds. One overly obsessed kid Lucinda goes her own way by writing hundreds of mysterious seemingly non-sensical numbers on her entry. Fifty years later it’s dug up and comes into the possession of Caleb the young son of John Koestler a recent widower and astro-physics professor who becomes obsessed with the papers Caleb has brought home from class. He soon discovers the random digits are actually not-so-thinly disguised dates (including 91101 of course) for “future” disasters and there are clearly three of those dates yet to come. Although nobody believes his ramblings about this code for impending doom a nearby plane crash proves he is on to something so ominous the fate of the world could be in jeopardy. With all hell about to break loose the prof takes matters into his own hands.
WHO’S IN IT?
Just a couple of years ago Nicolas Cage starred in Next as a magician who could see into the future and had to prevent a nuclear attack. Now he’s at it again as an MIT professor who also has clues to future catastrophes and also is out to prevent the inevitable. And of course in the National Treasure films he latched on to maps that had contained similarly dark deeply held secrets. Nic clearly likes “knowing” stuff before the rest of us and he’s quite believable even if some of the circumstances in his latest sci-fi adventure are really out there -- literally. Cage somehow makes you buy into this stuff which is key to the ultimate success of the flick. As the key kids Chandler Canterbury as Caleb and Lara Robinson as Lucinda (and later Abby Lucinda’s granddaughter) are properly eerie and haunted-looking. Rose Byrne is also along for the ride as Lucinda’s grown daughter who is able to provide goosebump-inducing information that the numbers alone can’t. There’s also some dead-on creepy emoting from D.G. Maloney as a quietly foreboding stranger who seems to be following Caleb.
Unlike some recent movies of this type with nothing on the agenda but pure mayhem “Knowing” delves into the bigger issues of why we are all here providing something other than just big explosions to talk about on the way home from the multiplex. Director Alex Proyas (I Robot Dark City The Crow) certainly knows how to pull off complex action set-pieces but he and his screenwriters also seem to be genuinely interested in exploring the meaning behind the madness.
Some of the more pedantic dialogue Cage is given can be groan-inducing but since he plays John as a total believer we can forgive it. Also the film falls victim to a final act that veers into typical disaster movie territory and isn’t as compelling as the first two thirds which try to keep the premise at least marginally credible. At two hours it probably could have been tightened anyway.
The rain-soaked plane crash sequence with its gritty hand-held photography is riveting to watch and one of the most frightening depictions of a jetliner disaster put on film yet.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
If you are really squeamish it might be worth "knowing" that you should take breaks in the big disaster sequences as the CGI effects can get pretty violent and graphic particularly for a PG-13 movie.