It's the beginning of the summer, which means it's time for Hollywood's biggest and brightest stars to make their way to the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival, while the rest of us look on with jealousy. But just because you didn't snag a ticket to the most glamorous film event of the year, that doesn't mean you can't keep up with all of the big films premiering over the next two weeks. To help you stay on top of things, we're running down the biggest films that premiered in competition at the festival, including Michel Hazanavicius' gritty follow up to The Artist, a strange, metaphorical film from Jean-Luc Godard, and a possible Palme D'Or winner.
Two Days, One Night The latest film from Cannes fixtures Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Two Days, One Night stars Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard as a woman who has one weekend to convince her co-workers to give up their annual bonuses so that she can keep her job. Assisted by her husband, played by Fabrizio Rongione, she must find someone to help her convince her boss to reconsider, and to give her another chance despite the time she had to take off for depression. The film premiered to positive reviews, and it's considered one of the frontrunners for the Palme D'Or.
"Cotillard's best work since La Vie En Rose unquestionably ranks as her most credible turn, as the actress demonstrates a fragility that never veers into the realm of overstatement. Despite its basic trajectory, her actions are littered with surprising moments, and each new co-worker she encounters adds another layer of texture to this delicate portrait of personal and professional priorities clashing with awkward results." - Eric Kohn, Variety
"The Dardennes have made a brilliant social-realist drama with a real narrative tension which is something of a novelty in their work. [...] As for this solar-panel company, it appears to have a union in that a vote has been forced which the management will abide by, but it is a union which manages and regulates the decisions of those above them, and they are certainly not united enough to reject out of hand the insidious Bonus/Sandra choice. Yet movingly, solidarity is what the film is about; solidarity is what Sandra is trying to achieve as her emotional state comes to pieces, through a majority vote in a democratic election." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
The SearchAfter winning a Best Picture Oscar for The Artist, director Michel Hazanavicius went in a different direction for his follow-up, The Search. Set during the Second Chechnyan War, an NGO worker (played by Berenice Bejo) cares for an orphan boy, Hadji, who refuses to speak or open up to her in any way. Hazanavicius describes his film, which is based on the 1948 movie with Montgomery Clift, as a "picture of dignity" and "a true canvas of the suffering of humanity.”
"It’s ambitious of Hazanavicius to cram so many of war’s horrors into one film, but it makes that film a slow-moving, bloated one. And once you’ve got used to the way he cuts between three different strands, it becomes apparent that not much is actually happening in any of them. There are shockingly credible depictions of firefights and bombings, and there are more shots of corpses than you’d see in a typical zombie movie. [...] For a war movie, The Search is curiously short of conflict." - Nicholas Barber, BBC Culture
"Coincidentally quite timely in the wake of recent Russian moves on its neighbors, the writer-director’s first full-on drama attempts to present a mosaic portrait of the suffering in a region little-known or understood by the world, hence the perceived lack of concern. The result is vivid when focusing on those directly involved in the war but laborious when devoted to the fretful hand-wringing of do-gooder outsider characters, which is a lot of the time." - Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Joss Barratt/Sixteen Films
Jimmy's Hall Irish director Ken Loach's latest film tells the story of activist Jimmy Gralton, who was deported from the country during the Red Scare of the 1930s. Gralton was the founder of the Pearse-Connolly community hall, where people from the town gathered to learn about art, music, and literature. However, his actions upset the Catholic priests and town leaders, who opposed to his teachings and practices.
"Ken Loach has taken a despicable episode of modern Irish history — the 1933 deportation without trial of one of its own citizens, James Gralton — and made a surprisingly lovely, heartfelt film from it with Jimmy’s Hall. A thematic sequel of sorts to his Cannes-winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Loach’s 24th fiction feature finds the activist-minded director trafficking in familiar themes of individual liberties, institutional oppression and the power of collective organizing, here infused with a gentle romanticism that buoys the film without cheapening the gravity of its subject." - Scott Foundas, Variety
"Loach has made a sumptuous period piece, beautifully photographed by Robbie Ryan, using many local people in the crowd scenes, wearing wonderful tweeds, slipovers and wrap dresses, riding on antique bikes and in donkey-drawn carts through the green hills and boggy valleys, dancing merrily. It all looks great, a dream of Ireland before the blissful bungalows. The characterful faces are a treat too, above all that of Jimmy’s aged mum (Aileen Henry, new to acting)." - David Sexton, London Evening Standard
Goodbye To Language 3D Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard's newest project takes a relatively straightforward story - a couple reflect on their relationship, life and the world around them - and through the use of voice-over, imagery and non-linear storylines, turns it into a confusing, entrancing "film essay." Starring Heloise Godet and Kamel Abdeli, the film has been described as everything from "hilarious" to "frustrating."
"Goodbye to Language" is in 3D, and a very challenging 3D at that. The film is structured in numbered sections that repeat themselves with different or overlapping content, and there are brain-scrambling superimpositions, texts, clips from old films, solarized images, and footage shot with low-res cameras. There’s even a costume-drama sequence depicting Mary Shelley and Lord Byron. The sense of experimentation is extravagant, and the 3D effect achieves such notable depth of field that this little movie puts mainstream mega-bucks productions like "The Great Gatsby" to shame." - Barbara Scharres, Roger Ebert.com
"To some degree, the overwhelming montage taps into the over-saturation of today's media climate, a point that Godard makes explicit several times: the recurring shot of a flat-screen television broadcasting static speaks for itself, as does a more comical bit in which two strangers continually tap away on their iPhones and exchange them, repeating the action. [...] It doesn't take a lot of analysis to determine Godard's intentions: He portrays the information age as the dying breath of consciousness before intellectual thought becomes homogenized by digital advancements." - Eric Kohn, IndieWire
Lindsay Lohan has been dealt a fresh blow as she prepares to end her rehab stint after her new movie The Canyons was branded "lame" and "dreary" by critics following its premiere in New York on Monday (29Jul13). The erotic thriller, written by American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, finally screened at The Film Society of Lincoln Center in Manhattan after it was previously denied slots at a number of film festivals last year (12), with organisers of Texas' South by Southwest (SXSW) rejecting it over "quality issues".
Lohan was unable to attend the red carpet event on Monday night as she is serving out the final few days of a court-ordered rehab sentence in California, but she is unlikely to be cheered by the majority of the movie's reviews.
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter brands the film a "lame, one-dimensional and ultimately dreary look at peripheral Hollywood types not worth anyone's time either onscreen or in real life" which is full of "melodramatic cliches" and characters with a "lack of distinct personalities".
The New Yorker's David Denby writes, "Lohan is a real actress, but in this movie she's puffy and overwrought and unfocused, and she weeps a lot.. You're not sure whether she's crying in character, or lamenting her participation in a low-budget movie, or grieving over her own troubles."
Eric Kohn of Indiewire.com singled out Lohan's performance for particular criticism: "Lohan is as bland and unfocused as the material," adding, "Her robotic delivery freezes the possibilities of bona fide tension."
However, Scott Foundas of Variety gave the film a more favourable write-up and even compared Lohan to legendary actor Marlon Brando, writing, "Lohan... gives one of those performances, like Marlon Brando's in Last Tango in Paris, that comes across as some uncanny conflagration of drama and autobiography. Lohan may not go as deep or as far as Brando, but... there's a little-girl-lost quality to the onetime Disney teen princess that's very affecting."
The Variety review touched Lohan, who posted a link to the article and a message of thanks on her Twitter.com page, writing, "Wow... humbled and feeling so much gratitude."
The romantic drama The Vow is not adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel though I doubt its producers would be offended if you’d assumed otherwise. In fact I suspect they’re banking on it. The film’s stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum are both recognized veterans of the Sparks subgenre – she gave us the indelible (for better or worse) Notebook while he starred in the somewhat less successful Dear John. Moreover its premise pitting love against the insidious after-effects of brain trauma may be inspired by a true story but its one-two punch of tragedy and sentiment is straight out of Sparks’ tear-jerking playbook.
It’s all there in The Vow’s opening montage which first introduces Leo (Tatum) and Paige (McAdams) two desperately smitten bohemian-artist types (she’s a sculptor; he’s a musician/studio owner) and then rudely separates them all in one slick heartbreaking sequence. There’s the meet-cute at the DMV the whirlwind courtship the quirky marriage proposal the kitschy guerrilla wedding (replete with vows scrawled on restaurant menus) and finally the brutal car accident glimpsed in agonizing slow-motion that leaves poor Paige in a coma.
When Paige awakens in the hospital Leo is aghast to discover his wife doesn’t recognize him. While her girl-next-door beauty emerged from the crash remarkably intact it seems her brain did not fare so well suffering injuries that effectively wiped out her memory of the preceding five years – a span comprising the entirety of her relationship with Leo. Her mind’s clock rewound a half-decade Paige assumes the identity of Paige from five years prior like a rebooted computer whose owner neglected to backup the hard drive in a timely manner.
It soon becomes achingly apparent that the Paige from five years prior was markedly different from the Paige we met in the opening credits: a superficial sorority girl on track for a law degree averse to city-dwelling partial to blueberry mojitos cowed by her domineering father (Sam Neill) and engaged to a corporate douche (Scott Speedman). Upon emerging from her slumber she finds the remnants from her old life all-too-eager to re-assimilate their lost lamb into the Bourgeois Borg even if she does have one of those icky tattoos.
In danger of losing the love of his life to her former one a heartbroken Leo resolves to win back Paige even if it means starting from scratch and wooing her all over again. Aligned against him are the grim realities of brain damage as well as Paige’s family and former fiancé whose cult-like efforts at re-education seem ever-creepier the more I contemplate them. (There are unintentional echoes of Total Recall in Paige’s arc which I suppose would make Leo her Kuato.)
Cultishness and Total Recall allusions notwithstanding The Vow flirts with a more unsettling notion one seemingly at odds with the romantic drama mission implying that what we know as love is simply the product of our memories tenuous and transient and not the profound transcendent bond that Hallmark promised.
Fear not: The Vow is by no means a dense metaphysical treatise. Director Michael Sucsy (Grey Gardens) and is far more concerned with heart-tugging than thought-provoking. To that end he steers admirably clear of grand epiphanies and other moments of high melodrama preferring instead to apportion the sap relatively evenly throughout the story. The strategy is less manipulative but also less impactful. The script from Abby Kohn Marc Silverstein and Jason Katims can’t maintain the energy of its opening act and apart from its brain damage twist is a tediously familiar romantic-drama slog. I found myself secretly rooting for some old-fashioned emotional overkill if only to alleviate the boredom.
The two leads for their part form a charming pair. McAdams is as endearing as ever working well within her comfort zone and equally likable Tatum bears his character’s anguish ably even if he’ll never be credible as a bohemian-artist type. Their easy appealing chemistry might be enough to satisfy the Sparks-philes but it’s not enough to sustain the film.
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Click here to watch our hard-hitting exclusive interview with The Vow stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.
Here’s a fantastic idea: take dating advice from someone who married Tom Green. This should work out wonderfully.
Despite her dating history, Drew Barrymore is returning to the director’s seat for How To Be Single. Her directing debut, Whip It, was a decent movie and one of the better female centric films of the past decade. How To Be Single sounds like shit though. Following in the footsteps of Valentine’s Day and He’s Just Not That Into You, the film will follow, over the course of ten years, a group of New Yorkers as they navigate the dating world. Oh goody, another ensemble romantic comedy. It’s always so refreshing to see ten one-note characters in place of one really well-defined character that has normal human motivations. Why actually develop a character when you just tell an actor “you’re the greedy one?”
Anyway, HTBS is based off the novel of the same name by Liz Tuccillo. She has one other book credit to her name, and shocker, it is He’s Just Not That Into You. Barrymore produced that film as well and the writers, Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn, are penning HTBS too. Oh Drew, I really do appreciate you directing this movie, but we still won’t forget you dated a drummer and the “I’m a Mac” guy. Nice try though.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
William Petersen has joined the cast of Tony Kaye’s indie drama Detachment.
Along with CSI’s erstwhile Grissom, Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks has come on board as well as Lucy Liu.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the high school-set drama centers on a detached substitute teacher who becomes invested in the students and teachers at the troubled school where he works and grows close to a homeless teen who is also a prostitute.
Petersen will play a Vietnam veteran who teaches history; Hendricks will play a teacher who may be a romantic interest for Adrien Brody’s lead character; and Liu will play a school psychologist who grows frustrated with her students' incompetence.
Also starring in the picture are Bryan Cranston, James Caan and Marcia Gay Harden.
The script is by Carl Lund, with Bingo Gubelmann, Austin Stark, Benji Kohn and Greg Shapiro producing. Shooting recently began in New York.
Drama is a hard sell these days. It often takes a big name, or in some cases more than one, to get people in the theaters to see a traditional romance picture or a cerebral narrative. Spyglass, the production company behind last year's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Star Trek and Invictus, understands this and has acted accordingly to get their wrenching romantic drama The Vow made.
The Hollywood Reporter scoops that Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams have committed to the film, bringing much needed star power to a movie that otherwise might never have gotten off the ground. They'll help director Michael Sucsy tell the real-life story of a newlywed New Mexico couple who end up in a car crash. The wife is put in a coma, where she is cared for by her devoted husband. When she comes to, without any memory of her husband or their marriage, the husband woos her and attempts to wins her heart again.
The trade notes that the project, written by Sucsy, Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, has been in development for over a decade and at one point had Julia Roberts set to star. Today's audiences will more likely flock to see heartthrob Tatum and it-girl McAdams in the film than Roberts anyway, so everyone's a winner this time around.
Still, production won't begin until both actors finish up their current respective workloads: Midnight in Paris and Terrence Malick's upcoming romance film for McAdams and Cheaters for Tatum.
Today marked a sunny day for The Dark Knight.
Also for a guy who grows younger as he gets older and a kid who beats all odds to win Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
The Producers Guild of America has announced its nominations for best movies, documentaries and TV shows. Nods in this movie category often foreshadow what’s to come by way of Oscar later on.
The 20th Annual PGA Awards will take place Jan. 24 at the Hollywood Paladium.
The complete list of nominees is as follows. First, for theatrical movies:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall
The Dark Knight
And for documenaries:
Man on Wire
Standard Operating Procedure
Julie Bilson Ahlberg
Trouble the Water
And for animation:
Kung Fu Panda
And for episodic TV/comedy:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Lori Jo Nemhauser
And for episodic TV/drama:
David E. Kelley
Mark A. Baker
Todd A. Kessler
Robert Lloyd Lewis
Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
And for "nonfiction" TV:
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List
Lisa M. Tucker
This American Life
And for "live and competition" TV:
Bertram van Munster
Hayma “Screech” Washington
The Colbert Report
Stephen T. Colbert, DFA
Real Time with Bill Maher
And for "long-form" TV"
Bernard and Doris
A Raisin in the Sun
Finally, honorary awards and recipients:
Brian Grazer and Ron Howard
David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television
MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson
The Stanley Kramer Award
Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen
MORE NEWS: It's Dolly and Charlie Romijn-O'Connell!