Robert (author of Distant Relatives) here. It feels like the dog days of Cannes. Film reactions keep coming in and while they seem endlessly mixed or average it's always helpful to remember that when most of these films make their way to the states (in what could be a week or a year... or two years... or never) many of them will be greeted by accolades and Rotten Tomato scores upwards of 80%.
Let's start with the gems. Alex has already clued you in on the success of The Artist. There was one other big hit this weekend. The Dardenne Brothers at this point could direct a Sham-Wow infomercial and it would be accepted to Cannes. But there's a reason why. The Kid With a Bike is being received as one more of many high points in their career. Are the Dardennes in the running for their third Palme? [Rotten Tomatoes page]
Footnote by Israeli director Joseph Cedar, who had an Oscar nominee in Beaufort recently, is also finding itself plenty of fans, as the MUBI roundup will attest. The film, about an accomplished but underappreciated professor constantly at odds with his very appreciated academic son is being praised for its mixture of dry, often awkward comedy and meaningful family pathos.
If you've seen previous Cannes winner The Son's Room, you're familiar with the work of director Nanni Moretti. His entry this year is We Have a Pope which is about a reluctant pontiff seems to have not struck the right note between comedy and drama. "Intermittently amusing" is the faint praise coming from IndieWIRE.
Fans of Korea's Kim Ki-duk (3-Iron, spring summer fall winter...and spring) will be happy to know that he's returned, albeit with an odd project. Arirang is a documentary in which the director has turned the camera on himself to record his crises of confidence after an actress almost died on the set of his film Dream. A few viewers find the process intriguing, but many echo the sentiment of AV Club's Mike D'Angelo who calls it "self-indulgent, useless, “therapeutic” one-man tripe."
Un Certain Regard film Miss Bala, a tense film about a Tijuana beauty queen's encounter with gangsters is getting good to strong notices. As usual MUBI has done a fine job of summing up.
You can now consider yourself caught up, except for the 500lb artistically narrated gorilla, which opens today.
[Editor's Note: Hi. It's Nathaniel. I'm back from a short trip away. We are opting not to say much about The Tree of Life, or to cover the inevitably ecstatic reviews and tweetgasms that are pouring in. For one thing, initial response to highly awaited festival fare is always tricky to gauge. No matter what this type of movie is like, the reaction will verge on hysteric (in any direction) since no critic -- even the best of them -- will have had the proper time to truly contemplate it before writing their reviews (especially given that none of them are getting any sleep at the moment.) But mostly we don't want any spoilers. No, Malick's films aren't typically plotty but do you really want his amazing gift for indelible imagery described to you in detail before you're seeing it? I do not. I want to experience it in the purest way possible. Since the film is opening THIS MONTH patience is not only a virtue, but it's an easy (okay, easier) trait to adopt. Resist the modern urge to have every experience spoiled in advance for you!]