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Cannes Review: 'Room 237' An Outstanding, Fascinating & Funny Exploration & Celebration Of 'The Shining'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 21, 2012 3:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Is "The Shining" just a horror movie about a guy who goes berserk in a hotel, or is it subversively about the history of American genocide? Why did Stanley Kubrick use cans of Calumet and Tang in the hotel's storeroom? Were these just random products, or were they each chosen and framed in the camera with a specific intent? And what's the deal with the Bill Watson? If you think you know "The Shining," guess again, as Rodney Ascher's outstanding "Room 237" goes down the rabbit hole of the meanings and interpretations of the horror classic, from the plausible to the outlandish.

Cannes Review: Abbas Kiarostami Drives In Circles In Dull 'Like Someone In Love'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 21, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
After heading to Italy for his last effort "Certified Copy," famed Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami had a very simple reason for making Japan the next stop on his international production jaunt. "...if I make a film in Japan, I won't be accused of making a film for the West. Making a film in Japan is like making a film in Iran. Whether actors speak Japanese or Persian, there are still subtitles." Unless he makes "Men In Black 4," it's hard to fathom that Kiarostami would ever be thought of as submitting to the conventions of American filmmaking. And no matter what language its in, "Like Someone In Love" is pure Kiarostami, but whether or not it succeeds is up for debate.

Cannes Review: Chris O'Dowd Shines In The Otherwise Uneven 'The Sapphires'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 20, 2012 7:13 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Among the The Weinstein Company's pre-Cannes Film Festival buys this year was the largely unknown (until it was bought) Aussie musical/drama/comedy effort "The Sapphires." It's certainly easy to see why this easy-to-digest, feel-good movie earned their attention. With a slate this year that includes "Lawless," "Django Unchained," "The Master" and "Killing Them Softly" they could probably use something that's guaranteed to have broad appeal, and that's something the first-time feature film from director Wayne Blair carries in spades. And it's largely thanks to the winning charm of unlikely leading man Chris O'Dowd.

Cannes Review: 'Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir' A Fascinating Look At The Director As Told By The Man Himself

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 20, 2012 9:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Who is Roman Polanski? That's the question at the center of "Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir," a deeply fascinating look at the life and (sort of) career of the controversial filmmaker as told by the man himself. But this isn't a hagiography -- the documentary doesn't shy away from the more tabloid-worthy elements of his life (you know what we're talking about), and is more about the events that made Polanski into the man and director we know him as. 'A Film Memoir' doesn't dive into the making of his movies so much as contextualize them with where he was personally and professionally at the time. And this perspective, particularly with the participation of Polanski, offers a refreshing look at the filmmaker you thought you might have known.

Cannes Review: Age & Illness Test Love In Michael Haneke's Unflinching 'Amour'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 20, 2012 6:06 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Michael Haneke makes it clear from the opening of the film exactly where he's going in "Amour." Kicking off with a literal bang, a team of police officers force open the door of a flat in France, and with masks over their mouths, they walk around the apartment, open the windows and finally find what they're looking for. A dead body, respectfully surrounded by flowers, lays in a bed. And in pure Haneke fashion, this is when he throws up the title card for "Amour," a movie that is, to put it simply, two hours of a woman dying.

Cannes Review: Brandon Does David Proud, 'Antiviral' A Classic Cronenberg Freak Fest

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 19, 2012 11:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There is no doubt that no matter what Brandon Cronenberg decided to make as his first movie, the shadow of his father would loom large. So whether it just runs in the family, or if it was a calculated decision to do something audiences would expect from the Cronenberg mantle, full credit to Brandon for taking body horror to the next level with "Antiviral." While hardly perfect, it delivers the freak fest fans of David have been missing for the past few years while establishing Brandon as a filmmaker with a bright future.

Cannes Review: The Bondurant Boys Deal Moonshine & Violence In John Hillcoat's Lively 'Lawless'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 19, 2012 6:10 AM
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  • 12 Comments
"It's not violence that sets men apart, it's the distance they're willing to go," Forrest Bonduarant (Tom Hardy) tells his youngest brother Jack (Shia LaBeouf) in "Lawless." And with a set of brass knuckles in his pocket and a pistol in his waistband, he knows what he's talking about. That theme is one that has carried John Hillcoat through his last two pictures "The Proposition" and "The Road," and once again he explores men and their relationship with violence in "Lawless," a picture that while highly entertaining, doesn't quite match the heights of his previous efforts.

Cannes Review: It's Ad Men vs. Bad Men in Pablo Larrain's Exciting, Funny, Moving 'No' Starring Gael Garcia Bernal

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 18, 2012 9:34 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Playing as part of the Director's Fortnight, Pablo Larraín's "No" is exactly the kind of film you hope to stumble across at Cannes -- a film that hadn't been on your radar until buzz from too many quarters too diverse to be ignored made you seek it out, discovering a film that's extraordinarily well-made, superbly acted, funny, human, warm, principled and, yes, as enthrallingly entertaining as it is fiercely moral and intelligent. Set in Chile in 1988, "No" stars Gael Garcia Bernal as Réne, a "creative" at an ad agency. At the start of the film, he's explaining to a group of clients how this spot he's about to show them represents the new, young feeling of Chile, and how it's in tune with the youth of that country and their needs. And then he rolls … a soda commercial, full of shoulderpad-wearing rockers, exultant crowds of youth, and a mime.

Cannes Review: Faith & Love Collide In Cristian Mungiu's Powerful 'Beyond The Hills'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 18, 2012 7:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Can blind, unquestioning devout faith be just as corrupting as sin? Can love be as all consuming as evil? These are the big, broad themes being explored in Cristian Mungiu's deliberate and somewhat cryptic "Beyond The Hills," a very slow burn drama that finds both religious and emotional obsession crossing paths with tragic and haunting results.

Cannes Review: Xavier Dolan's Messy 'Laurence Anyways' Is Both Ambitious & Admirable

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 18, 2012 5:22 PM
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  • 5 Comments
"The sky's the limit," Fred (Suzanne Clement) says when she's asked about what people will say when her boyfriend Laurence (Melvin Poupad) decides to become a woman. It's 1989 and she believes that her generation is ready to handle transsexuality -- and perhaps they are -- but as both Fred and Laurence soon find out, their intellectual capacity to deal with the transition may not survive the rigors of the heart. The young director Xavier Dolan has proven he's anything if not divisive, and his latest, "Laurence Anyways," will do nothing to change that. But as messy as it is, as much as the film overreaches and overplays its hand, "Laurence Anyways" is also exciting for the very ambition and narrative daring that it contains.

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