The films have all premiered, the awards have been handed out, and the yachts are headed back home: the Cannes Film Festival has officially come to an end, which means even those of us lucky enough to spend two weeks on the French Riviera must now head for less-idyllic shores. But just because the festival has wrapped up, that doesn't mean there aren't a few films left to catch up on, and so we've rounded up the last of Cannes' biggest and buzziest films, including the winner of the Palme d'Or, a gang movie told entirely in Ukranian sign language and Kristen Stewart's best-reviewed film role yet.
Winter Sleep This year's Palme d'Or winner was also the longest film in competition, with a runtime of just over three hours. However, its epic length didn't deter judges from heaping praise on the film, which follows retired actor and hotel owner Mr. Aydin (Haluk Biginer) as he deals with the dissolution of his marriage to Nihal (Melisa Sozen). As the slow winter season arrives, the relationship between Aydin and Nihal becomes more and more fractured as she attempts to get him to face up to the issues that have made so many people turn against him. Winter Sleep is director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's fourth win at Cannes — he has won the second place award twice, in 2002 and 2011, and took home a directing award in 2008.
"Given that the title virtually encourages viewers to nap during the proceedings, Winter Sleep is no chore to sit through. Most of its characters are complex and compelling, and the actors’ faces, craggy or lustrous, reward fascinated study. The movie indulges one frustrating narrative trope in too many Cannes contenders: the unexplained disappearance of a major figure more than halfway through the story [...]. But as austere soap opera or probing character study, Winter Sleep validates the viewer’s attention, if not its nearly 200-min. running time — make that ambling time." - Richard Corliss, TIME
"That said, the performances are strong (bar a scene between Aydin and Nihal in which Bilginer suddenly plays Aydin as so one-note patronizing and condescending toward his young wife that we just wanted to punch him) and Ceylan’s and DP Gokhan Tiryaki's way with composition and cinematography is in evidence even in the interior scenes (which are most of them), lighting faces warmly and designing shots richly, which needs to happen when almost everything takes place in shot-reverse-shot, he-says-then-she-says format. But the unpleasantness of being constantly trapped in the middle of conversations of increasing resentment and bitterness starts to take its toll less than halfway through this marathon-length film as we start to realize that just as the characters all seem defined by the overweening desire to have the last word in every discussion [...], it’s a foible of Ceylan’s too." - Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
Mommy Helmed by 25-year-old Xavier Dolan, Mommy is set in the distant future, where parents are forced to either care for their unstable children or send them to detention centers. Diane (Anne Dorval), is a single mother who is struggling to raise her violent son, Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon) on her own. Diane eventually begins to receive help from their mysterious new neighbor, Kyla (Suzanne Clement), and together, the three of them form their own dysfunctional family. Dolan was awarded the jury prize at the festival, an award that he (the youngest director in competition) shared with Jean-Luc Godard (the oldest), for his film Goodbye to Language 3D.
"Dorval gives a force-of-nature performance as Diane “Die” Despres, a glamorously trashy middle-aged widow whose teenage son Steve suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, bouncing off the walls as he struggles to contain his explosively violent temper. Pilon is great casting for Steve, charismatic and manipulative, volatile but vulnerable. [...] Diane and Steve are both flawed characters, neither victims nor villains. Their conversations are combative and prickly, full of salty slang and occasional physical contact, with teasing hints of incestuous intimacy that the script never fully explores. Unlike Dolan's typical protagonists, these are not bourgeois bohemian hipsters but damaged blue-collar outsiders, struggling yet ever hopeful, bursting with a vitality and vulgarity that give the film its raw humor." - Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
"It's a needlessly complicated introduction that makes the film to come sound somewhat like science fiction; Die and Steve's household, however, is believably exceptional enough to render the mitigating circumstances unnecessary. Their sparring is engrossingly abrasive, but the film risks wearing itself (not to mention its audience) out within a mere quarter-hour. Dorval and Pilon, both remarkable, are cranked up to 11 from the get-go, while Dolan's chosen aspect ratio forces cinematographer Andre Turpin into a claustrophobically repetitive routine of alternating, invasive close-ups. It's bravura filmmaking, all right, but the center cannot hold." - Guy Lodge, HitFix
The Clouds of Sils MariaOliver Assayas' bilingual Hollywood drama stars Juliette Binoche as Maria Enders, an actress entering the twilight of her career, who has signed on to star in a revival of the play that made her famous about an ambitious young girl who drives an older woman to suicide. As she spends more and more time with the Hollywood starlet (Chloe Grace Moretz) taking over her old role, Maria's life begins to crumble, and she comes to rely on her loyal assistant and only friend Valentine (Kristen Stewart). The role forces Maria to confront the person she is and used to be and reconcile with her past and the impending pressures of time.
"Maria and Val love each other and live together, but their friendship has never been on an equal footing. Passing a cigarette back and forth, they proceed to rehearse the old play to the point where it highlights and defines the running tensions between them. Val, we come to realise, is the real Sigrid in this movie. Assayas is a supple, playful and confident director whose eclectic body of work has embraced mercurial satire (Irma Vep), period drama (Sentimental Destinies) and terrorist thrills (Carlos). [...] It's a study of the artistic elite from a fully paid-up member, a story that proves a little too tolerant of the preening peacocks at the summit and too glibly dismissive of the bottom-feeders (hacks, paps and internet trolls) down below." - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
"Assayas’ screenplay deftly celebrates the act of creation and neatly demonstrates that works of art, like people, can be viewed from different angles, their true meaning unknowable. The French filmmaker also neatly dovetails the relationship of Sigrid and Helena with that of Maria and Valentine: the pair are close, at times bordering on getting too close, and their power dynamic squirms and coils as the film develops - a Maloja Snake of its own." - Matt Risley, Total Film
Leviathan A modern re-telling of the Book of Job, Leviathan tackles the corruption of Vladimir Putin's government, and deals with "some of the most important social issues of contemporary Russia." The film centers on a family who is currently locked in a bitter dispute with its corrupt mayor over the waterfront property on which its house is built. But when the patriarch of the family calls in an old friend — who is now a big-shot lawyer — to help him, he may end up making things even more difficult for himself. Written and directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan received rave reviews and took home the festival's prize for Best Screenplay.
"In “Leviathan,” which director Andrey Zvyagintsev has described as a loose retelling of the Book of Job, an ordinary man must wrestle with his faith not in God but in the Russian state — an epic struggle against a monster with many faces possessed of the capacity to bend the law to suit its own appetites. Resistance is futile, as they say, and yet this stunning satire’s embattled patriarch valiantly perseveres for the sake of his family, even as it crumbles around him. Debuting in competition at Cannes, this engrossing, arthouse-bound opus spans a meaty 142 minutes and unfolds with the heft of a 1,000-page novel." - Peter Debruge, Variety
"The film is really about contemporary Russia, the corruption of the current regime, exemplified by Vadim, who has a portrait of Putin on his wall [...] and of the increasingly insidious influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the nation's leaders. Given Putin's feelings on dissent, and the partial-funding of the movie by a state body, it's a brave move, and an incredibly vital one, giving the movie a savage, fiery quality to it that continues to sear long after it's finished. And yet, it's not just political point-scoring either. There's a rich lyricism and poetry to the picture that promises more and more to unpack with every viewing." - Oliver Lyttelton, IndieWire
The Tribe Featuring a cast of deaf-mute actors, The Tribe is a teen-gang film told entirely in Ukranian sign language. The film doesn't feature any subtitles or translations, relying entirely on sign language and imagery in order to tell the story of a group of teenagers at a boarding school for the deaf who are average students by day and gangsters and prostitutes by night. Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's ambitious project took home the top Critic's Prize awarded at the festival, as well as the France 4 Visionary Award.
"There have been countless films over the years about teenage gangs, their rites, rituals and violent codes of ethics, but Ukrainian-made and set The Tribe must surely be the first one featuring a cast entirely composed of deaf sign-language users. [...] However, the use of sign language, deafness and silence itself adds several heady new ingredients to the base material, alchemically creating something rich, strange and very original. Add in Valentyn Vasyanovych's silky smooth steadicam cinematography, sexually explicit imagery, strong critical support, and winning the top prize and two more besides in Cannes' Critics' Week sidebar (including one to assist distribution in France), and you've got a reasonably exportable item for the specialist market that doesn't even need subtitles." - Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Sometimes I’m totally fine with letting shows collect dust on my DVR. I know that like Sour Patch Kids or my little black dress, those shows will never let me down and they’ll wait patiently until I have time to enjoy them. Unfortunately yesterday in my haste to make sure I could record the Pretty Little Liars finale, I did the unthinkable: I deleted my entire DVR library. My world is in shambles, I literally called my mom and cried, and I’m pretty sure I put a straw directly in my wine bottle last night. Can we please have a moment of silence for all the precious episodes of Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Glee, and Chopped that I lost? … Thank you.
On a happier note, this week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List features five phenomenal shows that will make you twirl with excitement. I chatted with Shameless star Shanola Hampton to bring you updates on the year’s most important, yet bizarre, baby-watch, and gushed with the Mayim Bialik and creators of The Big Bang Theory about taking Sheldon and Amy’s relationship to the next level. Plus, you’ll find delightful details on upcoming episodes of The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy and The Mindy Project. Read on for all the TV wonder below!
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1. Shameless: Baby Maybe?Whenever some one asks me what my favorite shows are — and believe me when you’re a TV reporter that happens a lot! — Shameless is always in my top three. This season has featured the most jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, heart-pounding episodes that have ever graced my TV screen so naturally I needed someone to discuss all the chaos with.
Last week I giggled with the incredible Shanola Hampton as she filled me in on all the baby mama-drama that V and Kev are currently dealing with — namely, the fact that since V can't conceive, her mom and hubby are doin' it so her mom can be the surrogate for their child. Hampton explains that even though V is using a rather twisted method to get a baby, she understands how her desire to be a mom clouded her logic. “The options were limited for her and that’s what she chose to do. For a woman like V who is determined to always get what she wants when she sets her mind to it, I get it,” she says.
But Hampton says Kev and V's mother’s last baby-making session officially snapped V out of her crazed pregnancy plan. The actress says, “Once she saw her mother getting into it with the music and stuff she’s like, ‘Okay no! This has gone to a whole new level!’” In fact, the Shameless star was so in tune with V’s horror and digust that she almost got sick on set filming that day! “The episode that you saw with the final sex scene where V finally stopped it and said, ‘No no no no no!’ By that point I was nauseous, literally threw up in my mouth a little bit shooting,” she says with a laugh.
We saw at the tail end of “Where There’s a Will” that Kev received a sexy text from Carol, so could this intimate event come back to into play? Hampton teases, “There will be some other craziness that comes out about my mother by the end of the season and Veronica will flip her lid, but it wont be that message.” As we all so clearly know, if there’s one girl in Chicago you don’t want to eff with, it’s Veronica. Isn’t that right, Cheryl?
Potential ass-kicking aside, will all this craziness finally let V get her “little punk” with Kev’s pretty eyes and smile? Not to brag or anything, but I’ve already seen this Sunday’s episode, “Civil Wrongs,” and I can tell you that there will be a pregnancy test involved. I can’t tell you whether it’s positive or negative but I can tell you that my girl Shanola is truly a master at sprinting in heels.
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2. Grey’s Anatomy: Practically Perfect in Every WayDr. April Kepner finally found some luck in the love department last week when her hot new EMT boyfriend revealed he was a virgin and was waiting until marriage to have sex, just like she was! (Well, minus her little dalliance with Jackson, of course.) And according to April's lovely portrayer, Sarah Drew, he's only going to get more perfect when we see him again.
"He’s not actually in this week’s episode but I talk – quite a lot – about him in the episode, and he shows up in two weeks where he gets injured in a gas explosion trying to shield a child from the blast," Drew reveals to Hollywood.com. Risking his life to save a child? Yeah, we agree with Drew: "He’s just perfect in every way."
Too bad April didn't tell him the whole truth about her brief sexual past with Jackson. We have a feeling that won't end well for one of our favorite Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital doctors. "She has lied to him and she is stuck in this in-between where she doesn’t know how she feels about Jackson," Drew says. "I don’t think she can fully articulate that she is in the middle of a love triangle but she is, whether she believes it or not."
But despite her feelings for Jackson, April's lie is the biggest obstacle in her new relationship right now. "She’s so excited that she’s met someone that’s exactly on the same page about sex that she is that she didn’t want to screw it up," Drew explains. "In that moment she felt like it would be such a disappointment to try to explain, 'I was a virgin and then I wasn’t and now I am again.' Who understands that? That’s absurd. I think she should have told him, and if she told him right off the bat he would have been fine. But she didn’t want to screw with it. It’s going to come back and bite her in the ass." Yikes!
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3. The Big Bang Theory: Mother May I?There are certain things in this world that I love with all my heart: the teeny-tiny meows of a kitten, the first cup of coffee in the morning, the word “adore,” and last but certainly not least: The Big Bang Theory! So you can imagine my delight when I caught up with the scientifically gifted cast and creators on the PaleyFest red carpet last week.
Those who follow me on Twitter know that I one of my goals in life is to be besties with Amy Farrah Fowler and that I consider this moment to be one of the greatest 43 seconds ever created on television. So of course I had to talk about one of my all-time favorite couples: Shamy!
“We are constantly amazed that Amy is able to make progress with Sheldon in the relationship,” creator Bill Prady reveals. “It’s actually fought when it happens in the writers room because someone will say, ‘Amy wants this.’ and someone else will say, ‘Sheldon would never do that. Then the work is what could Amy do to make him do that? She’s a strong and smart, character so it usually works out.”
So what should the next step in their relationship be? Go on a scientific retreat together? Write a thesis together? Or maybe (gasp!) coitus? Well I have an idea that I’ve been wanting to see for months: Amy meeting Sheldon’s mom! Prady agrees that this would be the perfect next step for the couple. “That a good idea! We’ll talk about that.” Executive producer Steven Molaro agrees, saying, “We would love to see that as well, so do not be surprised if in the future that occurs.”
Just thinking about Sheldon’s Christ-loving Texan mother talking with our Sheldon-obsessed Amy makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When I pitched the idea to Mayim Bialik she was equally excited. “Oh I think that would be really clever!” she smiles. “I mean Laurie Metcalf is just so amazing, so anybody with her would be incredible.” Squee! So keep in mind Big Bang Theory lovers, whenever we see this amazing interaction it was my hypothesis that started it all!
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4. The Good Wife: Best Episode Ever!I kind of feel a little like Saturday Night Live's Stefon trying to describe the next episode of The Good Wife, "The Death of a Client." While I can't tell you exactly what happens, just know that It. Has. Everything! Murder, lawsuits, fistfights, life-changing job opportunities, ball gowns, Fringe star John Noble, drunk Stockard Channing, and some steamy Alicia/Will makeouts.
Yes, that's right — Will and Alicia totally make out. I know. OMG! But before you freak out, know that much of the episode is told through flashbacks after Noble's character, Alicia's eccentric and extremely litigious client, is murdered and the police enlist her help to figure out who killed him. Things only get scarier when we find out Alicia may be the next target. Dun dun duuuuun!
But despite the serious premise, don't expect non-stop drama — although they're trying to find a killer, the episode is pretty funny! What you should prepare yourself for is plot development after plot development. That too vague for you? Okay, fine. Here are some more teases: Someone gets decked in the face, Diane gets a very intriguing career opportunity, Channing's character (Alicia's mom) reveals some secrets about her daughter's marriage to Peter, and there's a well-timed "go f*** yourself."
Of course, as always, Juliana Margulies looks gorgeous, but especially so in a red gown as she heads to an important political event with Peter. (Did I mention the sexy Will/Alicia scenes? Because they're pretty damn hot.)
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5. The Mindy Project: Romance and Bromance The Mindy Project has explored the love lives of two of its main stars, but we haven't seen much of the action the sexy yet womanizing Dr. Jeremy Reed has presumably been getting (aside from the pilot, where he and Mindy ended their ongoing fling).
That's about to change, Ed Weeks promises Hollywood.com. Score! Jeremy is about to spark up a relationship with Mindy's old college friend, Maggie (Mary Grill), and the "fun mismatch" will heat up quickly. "He normally goes for models and 10s and bimbos, and she is slightly more rough hewn," Weeks spills. "She’s a gym teacher, unreconstructed, doesn’t give a s**t about all of Jeremy’s bulls**t, isn’t seduced by his accent or his hair or his clothes. I think Jeremy finds that really intriguing, like a challenge."
While Weeks stayed quiet on how long the relationship will last, you should know that the couple just filmed their first screen kiss. "It was pretty good. My action was bad but I tasted fine," Weeks jokes after popping a piece of gum.
But a new fling isn't all we'll see of Jeremy in the second half of Season 1. "We might meet some of his family," Weeks teases. "We might learn a little bit about his past, how he got to America from England, which will be really fun. We’ll see his bromance with Morgan develop. We’ve shot a few really fun stories of recently."
Like what? Prepare yourselves: "There’s an amazing scene in a sweat lodge where Morgan and Jeremy are topless and are embracing — and are arguing. Buckle up."
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional Reporting by Jean Bentley and Sydney Bucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Showtime, CBS, FOX, ABC]
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After not showing up to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 3 reunion, Adrienne Maloof confirmed what most had suspected: She's officially leaving the show.
"To my loyal fans... It was time to exit #RHOBH," the reality star tweeted on Monday, March 4. "The show served as a wonderful platform, stay tuned!" In a slightly longer message, Maloof wrote on her blog, "The show served as a wonderful platform for all the amazing projects that I have in the works. I am forever grateful to my fans, thank you for your support, and stay tuned!"
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Maloof declined to participate in the Housewives reunion although she was scheduled to take part, leading folks to speculate that she was planning on leaving the show. According to Us Weekly, Maloof decided to attend a "more important obligation" with her kids instead of the taping.
Maloof, who split from husband Paul Nassif in 2012, is reportedly dating Sean Stewart, the 32-year-old son of Rod Stewart.
TMZ reports that both Maloof and Taylor Armstrong are leaving the show, and former Extra host Dayana Devon and Rod Stewart's wife, Penny Lancaster, are both being eyed as replacements.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Victoria Will/AP Photo]
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