The Playlist

Cannes Review: Leos Carax's 'Holy Motors' Is An Anything Goes Stew Of Big Ideas That Doesn't Always Work

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 24, 2012 6:04 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Hilarious and dull, fascinating and pretentious, there is no doubt that Leos Carax's "Holy Motors" is memorable. Whether it's actually any good is up for debate. Bold and confounding in equal measure, Carax's first feature in over a decade is less a movie than a collection of sketches about the making of movies, inspired by a handful of projects Carax has tried to realize over the years but which never came together. Carrying a contemptuousness and cynicism about the current state of cinema -- "All of it made possible by digital cameras, which I despise" Carax says in the press notes of the film -- the helmer both gazes outwards and look inwards in an ultimately sloppy and tremendously bonkers screed.

Review: 'The Intouchables' Is A Crowd-Pleaser For Simpletons

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 24, 2012 11:59 AM
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  • 11 Comments
“The Intouchables” is a study in contrasts. In one corner, there is Phillipe (Francois Cluzet), a wealthy, white renaissance man paralyzed from the waist down. He is mobile, exiting his home for fine dining, purchasing artwork, and attending the opera. He cannot continue to live the finer life without assistance, however, and as the film begins, he is in search for a new aide.

Cannes Review: Lee Daniels' 'The Paperboy' With Matthew McConaughey & Nicole Kidman Is A Disastrous Flop

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 24, 2012 8:08 AM
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  • 37 Comments
Many people will tell you that "The Paperboy" -- based on Pete Dexter's novel, brought to the screen by "Precious" director Lee Daniels -- is a trash masterpiece, an instant camp classic, so bad it's good. These people, these critics, are simply not to be trusted about any question of judgment for a long time based on that half-hearted ironic "endorsement" of one of the worst films of the year, never mind at Cannes. Like the patina on a bronze roof, there are two ways to acquire trashterpiece/camp/so-bad-it's-good status. One is through time, and patience, as entropy and erosion bring down the bright gleam to a more interesting set of colors and nuanced shades; the other is to spray it on artificially with a hose, with plenty of spillage and waste, toxic and cheap and jumped-up and unconvincing.

Cannes Review: Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers' - Or, "Natural Born Campers" - Is A Black-Comedy Holiday Hoot

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 23, 2012 7:43 PM
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  • 2 Comments
After "Down Terrace" and "Kill List," midnight-movie manqués and buffs in the know were wondering what director Ben Wheatley would do next; the answer is, apparently, make you laugh until you sound like a hole in the side of an airplane. "Sightseers," starring and written by Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, starts as Chris (Oram) and Tina (Lowe) embark on a camping tour of Britain, various caves and pencil museums and heritage sights -- a nice, relaxing trip for a couple in their third month of going out. Things go off the rails early, though at a streetcar museum where Chris is incensed by a litterbug … and, later, distractedly backs over the man and kills him.

Cannes Review: Carlos Reygadas’ 'Post Tenebras Lux' Is Singularly Strange, But Not Especially Impressive

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • May 23, 2012 6:49 PM
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  • 11 Comments
When discussing Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux,” comparisons to “The Tree of Life” come easily, though Reygadas’s film is as far from a paean to God as it gets. In fact, while Malick’s movie has a sweeping, hands-on perspective on enlightenment and God, Reygadas’ (“Silent Light,” “Battle in Heaven”) has a brazen, ostentatiously alienating and mostly detached view of redemption and Satan.

Review: 'Oslo, August 31st' A Tender, Bleak Search For Hope

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 23, 2012 1:41 PM
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  • 2 Comments
A reprint of of our review from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes Review: Beat Classic 'On The Road' Comes To The Screen In Lustrous-But-Long-Winded Fashion

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 23, 2012 7:29 AM
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  • 15 Comments
Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" has been heralded for decades: an important novel, a cultural signifier, a sociological landmark, a cracking good read. It's also been considered "unfilmable" -- but now Walter Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries," "Dark Water") brings the novel to the screen, and "The Motorcycle Diaries" turns out to be a pretty good template for understanding how Salles has shot his adaptation. "On the Road," like 'Diaries,' is scenic and episodic, full of youth's passion but with a shade of the future yet to come dimming the brightness of its vision, as a charismatic young man travels with another young man, saying little but watching everything along the way.

Cannes Review: 'Me And You' A Middling Return For Bernardo Bertolucci

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 22, 2012 2:45 PM
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  • 2 Comments
It's been nine years since the last feature film from Bernardo Bertolucci, and for a moment there, it looked like "The Dreamers" would be the final effort from the currently wheelchair-bound filmmaker. And while we're glad he's re-energized and back to making movies, unfortunately, "Me And You" will be remembered as nothing more than a middling effort at best. A limp and lukewarm film about addiction and the relationships between parents and children, and brothers and sisters, Bertolucci's first entirely Italian-language film in a couple of decades doesn't build to anything of consequence, offering an insubstantial drama that mostly feels incomplete.

Cannes Review: It's Isabelle Huppert Times Three In Hong Sang-soo's Light 'In Another Country'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 22, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Heaviness tends to dominate the Cannes Film Festival, and this year is no different. Death ("Amour"), doubt ("The Hunt"), losing limbs ("Rust And Bone") and religious fanaticism ("Beyond The Hills") are just some of themes that have cropped up so far as we get to the halfway point of the fest. And while Hong Sang-soo's "In Another Country" won't win any points for examining tough subject matter, the deceptively simple film is a decent breath of fresh of air in a lineup of Important Movies.

Cannes Review: Brilliant & Angry 'Killing Them Softly' Is The Anti-Thriller For Our Times

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 22, 2012 6:09 AM
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  • 17 Comments
"What is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect," Barack Obama said at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. And that section of the speech opens Andrew Dominik's seething "Killing Them Softly," as he cuts the audio between white noise and the silent black title screen, signifying the blind emptiness of Obama's statement and the thematic current he'll be taking for the film. We are not a changed nation. We are not a nation of equals. The government are a bunch of children who need to be led by the hand into any decision making process and Americans at both the top and bottom rungs of the ladder all have their share of the blame to take. Uncompromising and uncommercial, divisive and brave, "Killing Them Softly" bitterly boils at the state of the nation.

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