We were expecting an all-star lineup for this year's Cannes Film Festival, and that's pretty much what fest director Thierry Fremaux delivered at this morning's press conference -- though not without a few surprises along the way. Barring later additions, 19 Competition films will vie for the Palme d'Or; among them are such hotly anticipated auteur titles as Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," James Gray's "The Immigrant" (formerly known as "Lowlife"), Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis," Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra," Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" and Roman Polanski's "Venus in Furs."
Latest Blog Posts
Right, the waiting is over. Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux has announced a name-heavy Official Selection for this year's fest. Among the 19 Competition films vying for the Palme d'Or are Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," James Gray's "The Immigrant," Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis," Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra," Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" and Roman Polanski's "Venus in Furs." The indefatigable James Franco, meanwhile, shows up in Un Certain Regard. More detailed commentary here, while you can check out the full lineup after the jump.
It must be an exceptionally easy casting decision to hire Olga Kurylenko to play an object of desire.
Which is not to say she is an object in any way, of course. In fact, Kurylenko seems to be constantly pushing me as a critic to redefine how I view her as an actor. Seeing her in "Quantum Of Solace" or "Hitman," she certainly seems like a lovely woman, but those roles don't challenge her, and they don't demonstrate any range at all. The first time I really paid attention to the choices she was making was in Neil Marshall's "Centurion," where she played the mute assassin Etain. It was a damn-near feral performance, and all of a sudden, it was clear that she's much more than just a stunning face.
The one-two punch of "To The Wonder" and "Oblivion" should start to make that abundantly clear to the observant. I was not in love with "To The Wonder," but a lot of what Kurylenko does in it is impressive and emotionally honest and even more impressive because it is largely non-verbal.
A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I make insurance...
A review of the two-part "Suburgatory" season finale coming up just as soon as my troubles melt away like so much provolone...
It's amazing that we are almost 30 years out from the release of "Ghostbusters," and we're still feeling the ripples from its detonation in the heart of mainstream culture even now.
Frankly, I'm amazed that we haven't seen more films cut from that same basic template. They are expensive, sure, and they're not easy to get right, but it's such a tempting formula. I honestly thought "Men In Black" had crapped out, but the third film wrung some surprising joys out of it. Even so, it seems like that particular franchise is so expensive at this point that Sony can't really afford to do more of them.
Enter "R.I.P.D.", ready and willing to take its place, and based on this first trailer, it seems like a very confident, slick riff on the basic ideas. Ryan Reynolds is the SWAT officer who is killed in the line of duty and immediately recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, the law enforcement of the afterlife, made up of the greatest dead lawmen from throughout history, all working to keep unruly spirits in line.
P!nk lands her fourth song at No. 1 as she and fun.’s Nate Ruess take “Just Give Me A Reason” to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
The track has catapulted up the chart, notching big gains each week since its debut xx weeks ago. It’s P!nk’s first chart topper since “Raise Your Glass” in December 2010.
“Reason” replaces Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” out of the pole position after just one week. The track drops to No. 3.
Looking at the rest of the top 5, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s former chart topper, “Thrift Shop” is No. 2; Rihanna’s “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko, does just that at No. 4 and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis can also claim the No. 5 spot with “Can’t Hold Us, featuring Ray Dalton, according to Billboard.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis aren’t the only act with two songs in the top 10: Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” with Jay-Z, falls one to No. 6, and is followed by Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” which shines its way up five spots to No. 7.
Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment,” featuring Christina Aguilera, rises 10-8, Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” stays at No. 9 and Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack” pumps its way 15-10.
The voting order may have been a little strange, but "American Idol" ultimately ended up with what I would argue was the correct Top 5. In the auditions and sudden death rounds, the judges pretty clearly decided this was going to be a year for a female winner and the deck was stacked, but just because the deck was stacked didn't mean that America wouldn't find some way to screw things up.
And guess what? We're all good, America. Did Lazaro Arbos last a month longer than he should have? Absolutely. Should Curtis Finch Jr. have stuck around for a few more weeks? Probably. Would I tolerate an argument that Burnell Taylor *maybe* might have deserved Janelle Arthur's Top 5 place? Yeah, I guess so.
But here we are. We have five talented women remaining on "American Idol." And that's not bad.
I've heard a bunch of rumors regarding tonight's themes and my current headline just reflects the rumor I heard most recently. If Ryan Seacrest starts the show by saying something different, I'll change it.
Click through for the full recap!
I came out of "Oblivion" thoroughly entertained, though I think the film had a lot of flaws. It's the magical in-between of not flat-out disliking the movie, but feeling like my general values in plot and character were compromised for the sake of indulging in something lavishly beautiful. I wanted a plot, or a core, and it ended up being a film that felt only vaguely human and incredibly staged.
That's might also be the way I'd describe how I felt about Anthony Gonzalez and Joe Trapanese's score for "Oblivion," with partial credit going to Gonzalez' performing name M83. The estimated budget for "Oblivion" was $120 million, so you'd expect a musical backing just as big. But big doesn't have to mean bludgeoning, even if it's a clobbering in mystical, iPod-white, bleating drums and slick, metered electronica.
This is not to say M83's trademark is nuance and the movie didn't any room for any. I'm partial to Gonzalez' ability to heighten the mundane. I think Trapanese's work with Daft Punk on Joseph Kosinski's other recent sci-fi powerhouse "Tron Legacy" actually took that dance duo's strengths and made them into something specifically Hollywood, and in that case I liked it. And "Oblivion" had many opportunities to have a cool-headed, surgical moments with their thoughts, like when Tom Cruise's Jack gazed out at the Earth's altered landscape beside a potted plant, or when Andrea Riseborough's Victoria indulges in romantic, pool-bound foreplay, or when Jack prepares to meet his enemy.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Gonzalez revealed that the end-result was "frustrating," becoming a cooks-and-kitchen problem.
"They needed something bigger, more orchestral; it was hard for me to be told that my music was too indie for the film. I was pissed most of the time, but this is how it works. It's like, 'Take it or leave it.' And I took it," Gonzalez told the site.
The scale of the film, it seems, interfered with what M83 naturally does, which made it a little curious why Universal would tap him in the first place (the reach of M83's "Midnight City" makes this less curious: youth vote). Like Daft Punk, he hadn't extensive experience with arranging orchestras. The finished product didn't sound refreshingly updated on his sound, but more like a mash of Hans Zimmer's "Inception," "Tron" and even Don Davis' "Matrix" scores, films themselves that add to "Oblivion's" problems with redundancy. Maybe not a problem for an over-the-top script and exponentially outstanding visual effects, except that I hear no personality from Gonzalez and Trapanese combined.
Clint Mansell found this balance of organic orchestral scale and electronic sensuality with "Pi" and, ahem, "Moon." Air worked their wares perfectly with "Virgin Suicides," and Chemical Brothers in terrifically buoyant "Hanna." Thing is, these were made for a fraction of a $120 million budgets.
"I'm stressed out because I know people are going to hate the soundtrack so much because it's different," he continued. (Yeah, but different from what?) "People are going to expect a new album from M83, and that's not the case. But, I'm also super proud of it because Joe Trapanese and I worked so hard on it to make everybody happy at the studio."
And that's the hitch: as M83, he plays for himself, he plays for his fans. For $120 million budget movie, his audience is the studio. Or at least that's how it sounds, when you take all the damn reverb off and turn the choir down and give the horns section a break.
Gonzalez will get another shot, and play with scale again: he's scoring a small French film for his older brother next. Hopefully that will suit him better.
It's practically Christmas Eve in the cinephile realm today, as we await tomorrow morning's unveiling of the full Cannes Film Festival lineup -- the press conference begins at 11am in Paris, or 2am PST -- with varying degrees of impatience. Some are so eager they'll go so far as forging a "leaked" lineup, but we'll get to that in a bit.
But first, with "The Great Gatsby" and "Zulu" confirmed as the festival's opener and closer, respectively, a third feature has been formally announced as part of the Official Selection: Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring."
Yep. That's a Gore Verbinski movie.
In the first weekly installation of our countdown to summer (you can see that here), I picked "The Lone Ranger" to write about because I just plain like the way Verbinski does what he does. I think sometimes it's that easy when it comes to this type of huge-canvass filmmaking. I've certainly had directors whose work did nothing for me who I've realized early on don't share any particular aesthetic common ground with me. And I've also seen plenty of filmmakers who prove early on that whatever secret version of film language they're speaking, it affects me, and I'm onboard, whatever the story or subject.
Verbinski shoots action I enjoy watching. I still think his most inspired moments came in "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," but there are things he does in the third "Pirates" and in "Rango" that are just preposterous, fun and frantic and impeccably staged. He is able to put all these things in motion and then catch them in the perfect way, and it's a gift that should not be discounted. Not everyone's capable of it, no matter what budget or support you give them.