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Review: Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' Is A Gorgeous, Fascinating Muddle Of Ideas That Can't Stick The Landing

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 30, 2012 7:11 PM
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  • 61 Comments
Ambition is a rare thing in movies these days, especially when it comes to summer blockbuster fare. There might be ambitions to blow up bigger things, or include more bad guys, or feature more stars, but in terms of real ambition -- telling big stories, about big subjects, on a huge canvas -- only a handful of filmmakers are really playing ball. Far more so than its predecessor "Alien," which is, after all, pretty much a haunted house designed to scare the living hell out of you, Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" has big ambitions. It wants to ask the big questions -- where do we come from? Why are we here? -- while also serving as a 3D, CGI-filled thrill ride.

Cannes Review: 'Therese Desqueyroux' Starring Audrey Tautou Is A Banal Version Of 'Masterpiece Theater'

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • May 26, 2012 3:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments
"Therese Desqueyroux," the closing night selection for this year's main competition lineup at the Cannes Film Festival, is not the nuanced period drama it should be but rather a banal, pseudo-thoughtful and monotonous episode of "Masterpiece Theater." Co-adapted by director Claude Miller ("A Secret," "Class Trip"), the latest adaptation of Francois Mauriac's acclaimed novel reduces the titular heroine's story to a troubled individual's struggle to remain autonomous as a member of her oppressive husband’s family. The phrase, "For the family" is bludgeoned into viewers' heads to the point where it's very easy to ignore the fact that Therese (Audrey Tautou) is more than just a proto-desperate housewife. In fact, she's a fatalist because she's also an atheist, a complex concept that Miller sets up but doesn't follow through on.

Cannes Review: Sprawling 'Hemingway & Gellhorn' Worthy Of The Rough & Tumble Life Of Two Great Writers

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 26, 2012 1:50 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Ernest Hemingway is the kind of grandiose figure that it seems it would be difficult to contain within the framework of a feature film, and the decision to pair his life with that of his ex-wife Martha Gellhorn only adds to the task at hand. But with the leisure of a two-and-a-half hour running time, a starry ensemble, the guiding hands of director Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff," "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being") and the support of HBO, "Hemingway & Gellhorn" is a messy, but still worthwhile film about the two writers that does a strong job of bringing their complex, explosive and committed relationship to the big screen.

Cannes Review: 'Mud' Starring Matthew McConaughey Is An Underwhelming Anti-Fairy Tale

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • May 26, 2012 8:28 AM
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  • 27 Comments
"Mud," American writer/director Jeff Nichols' underwhelming follow-up to the masterfully visceral "Take Shelter," is a shallow and contrived coming of age story. While both 'Shelter' and "Shotgun Stories," Nichols' promising debut feature, explore their respective characters' motives and emotions, "Mud" instead offers pat sentiments and bland bathos.

Review: In 'OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie,' Too Much Bud Gets A Little Boring

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • May 25, 2012 3:57 PM
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  • 1 Comment
"OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie" is a completely unique documentary that depicts one man's struggle -- co-director Bud Clayman -- with his Asperger's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yes, Bud's got the one-two punch of Asperger's and OCD, the symptoms of which began to manifest themselves in his late teens/early twenties, as they do in many young men who suffer from such mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
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Cannes Review: David Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis' Is Both An Excellent Adaptation & A Rich, Complex Character Study

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • May 25, 2012 8:12 AM
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  • 12 Comments
"Cosmopolis," an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s typically provocative novel of the same name, is the first feature film since 1999's "eXistenZ" that filmmaker David Cronenberg has directed and scripted. This in part explains why "Cosmopolis" is such a triumph: it’s both an exceptional adaptation and a remarkable work unto itself.

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.

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