One of the most exciting things about attending the Cannes Film Festival is being among the first people to see the films the world will be talking about. That's one of the terrible things, too: There's no one to warn you when you're about to see a puppy murder, a 12-year-old girl borne away toward rape and misery, or a penis doused with lighter fluid and set ablaze.
François Ozon's Young & Beautiful, a portrait of a 17-year-old French call girl is a story about a family in crisis: Isabelle (played by Marine Vacth, a stunning-looking if ultimately inert actress) is a student who still lives at home with her mother, stepfather, and kid brother; no one, least of all mom (Géraldine Pailhas), is too happy when her secret profession comes to light.
The biggest puzzlement of these early days of the festival comes from Sofia Coppola, one of my favorite working directors. Until now, I have loved every one of Coppola's movies: I love her sure and delicate touch, and she's better than any other contemporary filmmaker at capturing the greatness of small moments. The Bling Ring is the first of her pictures that I actively dislike—I sense no mystery, no depth there.
|The Great Gatsby, 2013.|
The only thing we English teachers hate more than Sparknotes is a high quality, mostly faithful movie version of a book. Why would a student slog through Pride and Prejudice when she can drool over Colin Firth in the excellent BBC miniseries? And shh! Don't tell the eighth graders about Gregory Peck's brilliant turn as Atticus Finch in 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird!
Haphazardly veering between bloody prison stabbings and angelic orphans out-wholesoming the von Trapp brood, the bilingual Aussie drama 33 Postcards is a film as rootless as its foundling protagonist.
Few films lend themselves to critical reevaluation as well as David Lynch's much-maligned Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Booed at its premiere at Cannes in 1992 (and playing at BAM as part of their "Booed at Cannes" series, which runs through May 23), eviscerated by the popular press during its brief theatrical run later that year, and remembered now with bafflement and contempt, the film's reception and legacy might best be characterized by the infamous words of sworn Lynch defender Quentin Tarantino, memorialized in an interview with Elia Taylor that year: "David Lynch had disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to see another David Lynch movie."
There's one key truth that separates the tank-topped gearheads of the Fast and Furious movies from the rest of us. Every problem these lugnuts face can be solved by doing the one thing these lugnuts love most: driving really fast. It's like if you could deal with your taxes by hunkering down with a season of Justified.
It's a cultural travesty that the women of early jazz -- not just singers, but instrumentalists of all kinds -- have become a neglected footnote in music history, but Judy Chaikin's The Girls in the Band, a well-researched, buoyantly entertaining documentary portrait could be the corrective.
Seemingly crafted to validate the fears of those conservatives who rage that the white man can't get respect on the big screen these days, Katie Aselton's smart-till-it-isn't thriller Black Rock centers on a tense scene of hero-pantsing and gender inversion. The piece-of-shit bad guys, a couple of vets of our desert wars, have tied up a trio of Massachusetts women who sport New Girl bangs and an understanding that this world has a use for them. The vets—who throughout most of movie history would be the heroes—have all been dishonorably discharged, are given to fits of inarticulate rage, and stand psyched to gut the women. But the women—who throughout most of movie history would be saved by some other soldier or hero—turn out to be the one thing these stone killers can't handle. One of them, Abbie (Katie Aselton, who also directed), faces down the lead killer and snarls, "You fucking pussy!"