Latest Blog Posts

<p>Marion Cotillard in &quot;Rust and Bone.&quot;</p>

Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Who will win at Cannes tomorrow... and who should

Three years on, could it come down to Haneke vs. Audiard again?

Right, we're almost there. All 22 Competition films have been screened, the crowds are starting to thin out and France's rosé reserves are in urgent need of refilling. In less than 24 hours, the 65th Cannes Film Festival will be but a beautiful/punishing/hazy memory, but before we can get to the post-mortems and dissections of what standard of fest it was -- my snap verdict: not as good as last year, but contrary to what some doom-sayers will tell you, attending Cannes still beats coal-mining -- there's the small matter of the awards to get through. I say it every year: predicting the jury's choices is an entirely foolhardy business. Something else I do every year? Predict the jury's choices.

Are we headed for a repeat of 2009's Cannes ceremony, where Jacques Audiard and Michael Haneke fought it out for the top prizes? The relative thinness of this year's Competition suggests that might be the case, with most pundits favoring the happy-go-lucky Austrian to come out on top once more. After the jump, check out my best guesses for which way Nanni Moretti's posse will lean tomorrow, as well as which films and individuals would get my vote. 

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<p>Don't forget to watch both halves of the &quot;Buffy the Vampire Slayer&quot;&nbsp;pilot before our next podcast.</p>

Don't forget to watch both halves of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" pilot before our next podcast.

A 'Buffy'/'Deadwood' rewind clarification

Note that both the podcast and blog rewinds will begin with two episodes at once

So on Tuesday, Fienberg and I announced that this summer's podcast rewind would be season 1 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and on Thursday, I added that the blog rewind would be season 2 of "Deadwood." 

What we failed to do a good job of in either instance was to clarify exactly how much you all should be watching before the first discussion begins.

With "Buffy," it's the two-hour series premiere as it aired on the WB 15 years ago, but which has been separated into two episodes for syndication, on DVD and now on Netflix and Amazon streaming. So watch both "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" before the next podcast, which may be this coming week or may be the following, given Dan's travels.

With "Deadwood," I decided after watching the first two episodes — "A Lie Agreed Upon, Part I" and "A Lie Agreed Upon, Part II" — that even though they didn't air on the same night the way the "Buffy" premiere did, the titles and the structure suggests that David Milch wanted them to be viewed as one big premiere story, so that's what we're going to do. I'll be discussing both at once with the review going up on Friday morning, and the plan is to do one episode per week after that, give or take my own summer travels.

Sorry for the added wrinkle, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew what the homework assignment was before the next class.

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<p>The McCoys from &quot;Hatfields &amp; McCoys&quot;</p>

The McCoys from "Hatfields & McCoys"

Credit: History

Interview: Producer Leslie Greif talks History's 'Hatfields & McCoys'

TV veteran discusses landing Kevin Costner and shooting in Transylvania
Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton are the big stars featured in the poster for History's "Hatfields & McCoys."
 
The helmer of "Robin Hood: Prince of Tides" and "Waterworld" gets the "A Kevin Reynolds Film" credit.
 
But before any of those names, as the opening titles roll, the three-night miniseries is "A Leslie Greif Production."
 
The story of America's most famous family feud -- all apologies to Richard Dawson -- has been a passion project several decades in the making for Greif, the founder and CEO of Thinkfactory Media.
 
In addition to "Hatfields & McCoys," Thinkfactory is the company behind "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" and Lifetime's "Intimate Portraits," though Greif may be best known as one of the creators of "Walker, Texas Ranger."
 
I chatted with Greif last week about the long journey to bring "Hatfields & McCoys" to the small screen, the power that comes from Kevin Costner attaching himself to your project and why the story of these bickering clans remains potent to this day.
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in &quot;Mud.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in "Mud." 

Credit: Everest Entertainment

Review: 'Mud' brings Jeff Nichols' moodiness to the mainstream

Affecting, conventional coming-of-age tale closes out the Cannes competition

CANNES - A funny thing happened during this morning’s introductory press screening of “Mud” – a snafu that would make an already nervous filmmaker clutch his forehead and represents an unusual malfunction in the well-oiled machine of the Cannes Film Festival.

A little over midway through the screening of Arkansas writer-director Jeff Nichols’ third feature, the digitally projected image was suddenly buried under a gaudy griddle of fluorescent green lines, before shots began to overlap and the sound veered out of sync. Swiftly corrected and rewound, the technical error didn’t harm anyone’s enjoyment of what turned out to be a robustly applauded Competition closer, but it did oddly highlight what had been bothering me about this enjoyable, evocative slice of contemporary American classicism: it was the only truly unanticipated moment of the film thus far.

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<p>John Lithgow and Harry in &quot;Harry and the Hendersons&quot;</p>

John Lithgow and Harry in "Harry and the Hendersons"

Credit: Universal Pictures

‘Men in Black III’ alien designer Rick Baker on his favorite creature

It's not what you might think

“Men in Black III”’s U.S. release inspired Kris to post a list of legendary effects/makeup artist Rick Baker’s top 10 contributions to cinema earlier this week. With 12 Oscar nominations and seven wins, Baker is perhaps the most well known and revered man working in his field.

As Kris’s article indicates, the creature effects mastermind’s catalogue of work is both varied and prolific. Baker has run the gamut between horror (“The Ring,” “Cursed”), comedy (“Tropic Thunder,” “Ed Wood,” “The Nutty Professor” and, a personal favorite, “Coming to America”), fantasy (“Hellboy,” “Enchanted”) and of course, sci-fi comedy with the distinctive “Men in Black” franchise.

In his interview with Baker, Drew McWeeny mentions the transformation sequence in “An American Werewolf in London” as a moment that forever altered his perception of what is possible in the world of filmmaking. McWeeny is certainly not alone. For many, the thriller remains, if not the most successful, the most beloved on-screen rendering of the shape-shifting beasts.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 85 -- Special Edition! -- Cannes 2012 dispatch

Oscar Talk: Ep. 85 -- Special Edition! -- Cannes 2012 dispatch

Also: Weinstein's big presence and more

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

It's been about two and a half months since Oscar Talk went on hiatus. When we last left our heroes the 2011 Oscar season had drawn to a close. That season started in earnest with the premiere of "The Artist" at the Cannes Film Festival. This year's fest is nearing its end. What clues has it offered for the upcoming awards season? Anne is there with our own Guy Lodge (I'm in Pittsburgh, so we're kind of scattered). So, on the docket today...

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<p>Video may have killed the radio star, but the biggest hit from The Buggles is a key part of one of the most magical moments in the remarkable 'Take This Waltz,' arriving this week on streaming platforms.</p>

Video may have killed the radio star, but the biggest hit from The Buggles is a key part of one of the most magical moments in the remarkable 'Take This Waltz,' arriving this week on streaming platforms.

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Weekend Watch: 'Men In Black,' 'Take This Waltz,' and new Ghibli Blu-ray

One of the year's best films shows up at home before a theatrical run

You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

It was a long and irritating day of travel to get me from France to Los Angeles, and I've only been home for about six hours, but that's enough time for me to start to get my post-festival bearings again and prepare this week's Weekend Watch.  As always, there are big films and small films and theatrical and video all in the mix, and it's an eclectic buffet that proves that just because it's the beginning of the summer movie season doesn't mean you only have big giant blockbusters as possibilities.  It looks like I'm going to be taking Toshi to see "The Avengers" on Sunday after all, so that's my Memorial Day fireworks celebration, and I'll also be enjoying a birthday celebration with friends tomorrow with friends and family.  Hope you guys are going to use the weekend to see something fun, and that we're able to help steer you towards something you might not expect.

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<p>Linkin Park</p>

Linkin Park

Watch: Linkin Park takes 'Burn It Down' literally in new music video

Performance clip is nicely charged

That is one combustible rehearsal space Linkin Park has got going for itself.

In the video for “Burn It Down,” which premiered on MTV, there are particle clouds, fire bursts and more. The boys have got their own sci-fi weather eco-system going on right there.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris Brown and friends</p>

Chris Brown and friends

Watch: Chris Brown shows off his abs in new video for 'Sweet Love'

His love powers include levitation

Remember how when you were little, you used to make a tent by stringing a sheet over two chairs so that you and your friends could play?  Chris Brown is doing the adult version of that in his new video for  “Sweet Love.”

He and his lady play under the sheets and he promises “tonight is the night that I change your life.” Indeed, his lovemaking prowess is apparently so remarkable that he has the power to make women levitate, literally, and even to bring pleasure to ghosts in the back of a limo.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Gael Garcia Bernal in &quot;No.&quot;</p>

Gael Garcia Bernal in "No."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'No' takes top honors in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes

Buzz for the Sony Pictures Classics acquisition keeps building

Well, that was a, uh, no-brainer. As Cannes winds down, its numerous awards start getting doled out -- and the most notable win so far comes for Pablo Larrain's critics' darling "No," which has just taken the Art Cinema Award, the top prize in the festival's Directors' Fortnight sidebar.

The film, a riveting political campaign drama starring Gael Garcia Bernal, was the obvious favorite for the award from its first screening way back on the third day of the festival, where it received rapturous applause and prompted many to ask why it wasn't in a higher-profile strand of the festival. Since then, it's had pretty much a dream festival run: reviews were glowing across the board, while word of mouth spread rapidly from that first screening, inspiring many more Competition-focused critics to give it some column inches.

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<p>&nbsp;Kylie Minogue</p>

 Kylie Minogue

Watch: Kylie Minogue struts her stuff through London in new video for 'Timebomb'

Will she wear that outfit to play for the Queen?

On “Timebomb,” Kylie Minogue sings “Time...time is moving so fast.” Maybe for the rest of us, but not for her. Minogue who spends much of the video in short jean shorts and a cropped motorcycle jacket (and sometimes less) looks amazing. Time has been very, very kind to the Aussie sensation.  In the Christian Larson-directed clip, she strolls through London streets on what looks like a rather chilly day compared to what everyone else is wearing, but she’s Super Kylie: she’s immune to feeling things like temperature.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Mads Mikkelsen fights for his reputation in Thomas Vinterberg's 'The Hunt'</p>

Mads Mikkelsen fights for his reputation in Thomas Vinterberg's 'The Hunt'

Credit: Zentropa International

Review: Vinterberg's 'The Hunt' infuriates in all the right ways

A piercing examination of the aftermath of false accusation impresses deeply

CANNES - Thomas Vinterberg's 1998 film "The Celebration" was a blistering piece about repressed secrets as a form of familial cancer, and it established him as an important voice in Danish film on part with Lars Von Trier.  The films he's made since then have not worked with the same focus, but he's remained an interesting presence with the potential to put it all together again.

And now, with his new film "The Hunt," he's done exactly that.

It's interesting that you could read this as an almost direct inversion of "the Celebration," but I don't think that was by design.  Instead, Vinterberg began his process on this film by reading some disturbing reports on how children are so unclear on the notion of fantasy that they can lie with complete emotional conviction, and how adults, unclear on the way that works, can sometimes believe the unbelievable because of the source.  We tend to paint children in our culture as these pristine moral figures, and when I hear that, it makes me wonder if the people who believe that have ever actually met any children.  I love my kids, and I think they are well on their way to being good people.  But left to their own devices, kids are basically wild animals and morality is something we teach them, not something that is inherent to them.  They are driven by desire and need and powerful waves of emotion that they barely understand.

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