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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery

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Entries in film festivals (325)


Cannes Lineups: Director's Fortnight

Previously in Cannes news
The Coen Bros led Jury and the Lineups for Competition and Un Certain Regard 

While the competition & un certain regard films are the "star headliners" as it were, they aren't always the ones that garner the most critical buzz or sales or what not. So let's look at what's coming in the Director's Fortnight sidebar. While this section is non competitive, the films are eligible for the Camera D'Or prize if they are among the first films in a director's career, though that's tough to win since they're competing with first films in other sections, too. The last few winners of this prize were: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Oscar nominee Best Picture), Ilo Ilo (Oscar submission Best Foreign Film) and France's Party Girl.

Opening Film

In the Shadow of Women

In the Shadow of Women (France) dir: Philippe Garrel. 
A romantic drama about documentary filmmakers in Paris 

Closing Film

Dope (US) dir: Rick Famuyiwa
This action comedy about high school hip-hop fans who get caught up in a drug deal gone wrong was a huge hit at Sundance (our quick take). It has supposedly been edited since then, which would probably only strengthen it. It's very funny but a bit bloated. 

The Rest of the Lineup is after the jump

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Cannes Jury: Coen Bros to Boss Auteurs & Pretty Things Around

We've long since known that the Cannes jury would be headlined by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, better known as The Coen Bros, the world's most famous sibling auteurs (though not the only of course: see also the Wachowski siblings, the Dardenne Bros, and more). We now know who'll be joining their jury and therefore deciding those incredibly prestigious prizes like the Palme D'Or, the Grand Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actress and more.

As usual the jury is a mix of directors from multiple countries, one non-actor/non-director, and a beautiful actress or, um, three. In fact the jury is almost half women this year. The jury is, from top left:

  • Joel & Ethan Coen  (US), filmmakers
    How many masterpieces would you say they're up to now?
  • Rossy de Palma (Spain), actress
    You know and love this Picasso-assymetrical godess from Almodóvar's oeuvre
  • Guillermo del Toro (Mexico), writer/director
    Of Pan's Labyrinth & Hellboy fame. Can't wait for Crimson Peak.
  • Xavier Dolan (Canada), writer/director/producer/actor/costumedesigner
    The film world's youngest all-purpose cinematic godsend
  • Jake Gyllenhaal (US), actor/object-of-obsessions
    He's testing his range and still hasn't found his limits. He's only getting better. This is a good get for a super actor whose entire family is in the biz. 
  • Sophie Marceau (France), actress/director
    One time Bond girl and Braveheart co-star, diversified into directing in her home country
  • Sienna Miller (UK), actress
    Her career is on the upswing after starring in two Oscar favorites last year 
  • Rokia Traoré (Mali), composer
    She doesn't have many film credits but you can learn about this African goddess here 

With more actresses than usual and two men (Jake & Xavier) who are every bit as gorgeous as your typical Cannes jury actress this is an unusually easy-on-the-eyes jury. Will their various aesthetics mix well or will the jury awards be a series of compromises?  We shall always wonder... even after the official prizes are handed out late next month since they don't exactly let press into the jury room. 


Tribeca: "The Adderall Diaries" and "Hungry Hearts"

Tribeca Festival coverage. Here's Joe Reid, who you know and love from the podcast...

The Adderall Diaries
We sometimes joke around about James Franco's insane output over the last five years -- he's been in WELL OVER 30 movies since 127 Hours, with a whopping 21 of them playing film festivals. That's an average of five films a year playing in some festival or another.

For a lesser-known actor, this kind of heavy indie output might be a better idea. Throw yourself into as many projects as possible, increasing your odds that one of them will hit. Franco's already established, though. He's had his hits. What starring in so many festival indies does for him it's the opposite: it ups his odds that he'll end up in at least a few total stinkers, every year. It's gotten to the point where Franco's presence in an indie feels like the promise of disappointment.

New Franco and new Adam Driver after the jump...

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Tribeca: A Second Look at "Grandma"

Lily Tomlin with writer/director Paul Weitz of "About a Boy" fameJoe Reid reporting from the Tribeca Film Festival

After months of feeling left out for not being at Sundance when this little gem debuted (Nathaniel reviewed it), I was at long last able to see Paul Weitz's Grandma, featuring as charming and exciting a central performance by Lily Tomlin as you've heard. Tomlin plays Elle Reid (no relation...though that's not what I'll be telling people), a thorny old lesbian who at times she describes herself both as a misanthrope and as a "terrible person," yet the good heart at her center never gets covered up all that effectively. She's just dumped her lover (Judy Greer) when she's visited by her teen granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner), who needs money for an abortion. Elle doesn't have it, but she thinks she knows where she can get it, and pretty soon, we've got an old-fashioned road trip on our hands!

Road-trip movies have a natural episodic structure to them, and Grandma keeps some fun casting decisions around each corner. Here's Laverne Cox! Here's Sam Elliott! Here's Elizabeth Peña! (I let out a whimpered "aw" when the late Peña showed up; I found out after the film screened that a friend of mine did the same thing when she saw it.) Here's Marcia Gay Harden! The casting decisions are all quite sharp, which keeps it from feeling like a parade of familiar faces designed to cozy up to an indie audience. In particular, Elliott does some impressive work in his one scene. If Tomlin ends up folded into awards talk for her performance (she should), expect more than a few for-your-consideration pleas on Elliott's behalf.

While Grandma becomes as much of an abortion comedy as Obvious Child was, the focus never leaves Tomlin's Elle. It seems for a while that the movie is going to be a succession of dupes for Elle to mow down. Certainly that's how thing's go for Sage's boyfriend (Nat Wolff, making his requite festival rounds this year). But the film proves to be unexpectedly generous to most of its other characters, including an energetic third-act stomping-through by Marcia Gay Harden, who gets my vote for the movie's funniest line (it's about condoms).


Tribeca: Relating to "The Wolfpack"

The Tribeca Film Festival 2015 kicked off this week and we'll be bringing you our screening adventures. Here's special guest Joe Reid on a buzzy documentary...

I thought a lot about Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth during Crystal Moselle's Sundance winning documentary The Wolfpack, now playing at the Tribeca Film Festival. How could I not? The Wolfpack tells the story of the Angulo family, including the seven siblings whose extreme home-schooling meant they were rarely permitted outside their modest Lower East Side apartment. That kind of forced isolation of children is always going to make me think of Lanthimos' dark comedy.

Knowing the premise, you might expect the Angulo kids to end up as warped as those kids in Dogtooth, but they're decidedly not. They speak about their unusual childhood with uncanny emotional intelligence and articulation. And the more you watch The Wolfpack, the more you might want to chalk it all up to the power of the movies.

The dynamite opening to the film sees the Angulo boys' filmed reenactment of Reservoir Dogs (1992), complete with costumes, props, and honestly? Some pretty decent line-readings. You immediately get a sense of how long the boys have had to perfect this production. It helps when you're never allowed to leave your home. These boys are no mere dabblers; they're movie fanatics, with hand-drawn movie art papering their walls; with lists at the ready ranking their personal favorites. They're shown transcribing Pulp Fiction, studying Blue Velvet, poring over Scream. I found myself leaning forward, relating so hard.


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Details on the Cannes Lineup

The Cannes Competition Lineup (and more) was announced in the wee wee hours of the morning -- not so wee for France mind you -- and here's what we're looking at. A lot of French and Asian films, a few foreign giants doing their first English language films and at least three directors we haven't had a film from in 7 or 8 years.

International beauties we can safely expect to see walking that Cannes red carpet include but are not limited to: Cate Blanchett, Qi Shu, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger, Emily Blunt, Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve, and Maîwenn. ANNOUCEMENT: Friend of TFE Diana Drumm will be reporting for us a bit from the festival like last year. If we've written about any of these films before, the links will take you there. Included after the jump are descriptive bits of each film that we know anything about.

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TCMFF Wraps with Hollywood History & more Shirley MacLaine

Anne Marie here in Hollywood, reporting on the end of the TCM Classic Film Festival.

The 6th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival came to a close last night after four days. Though the theme of the festival was History According to Hollywood, the diverse programming of the festival showed that not only was TCM celebrating historical events and the films that portrayed them, it was also highlighting the this histories of the films being made, and - most importantly - the shared histories of the audiences that watched them.

It's impossible to cover everything the TCMFF screens (though The Black Maria did try), so instead I attempted to focus on the diversity of the programming. I watched Greta Garbo kiss a woman and renounce her throne for a man in Queen Christina. I watched two Pre-Code Hollywood musicals, Lubitsch's The Smiling Lieutenant and 42nd Street. I saw Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a Tennessee Williams-penned movie called Boom! that was so bad that it made Lindsay Lohan in Liz and Dick look like Meryl Streep. I saw Christopher Plummer honored twice, but as a result missed Sophia Loren. I had three festival highlights: the French Revolution film noir Reign of Terror, a program of single reel films run using a hand-cranked projector from 1905 (have you seen a short called The Dancing Pig?), and the newly restored 1919 Houdini film The Grim Game, constructed from the only surviving complete print.

But by far, the most valuable asset to TCMFF is its star power. Reader's choice film discussed after the jump...

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