The Playlist

Cannes Review: Takashi Miike's 'Shield Of Straw' A Tedious, Dumb & Overstuffed Thriller

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 20, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Particularly with a filmmaker like Claire Denis shifted to the Un Certain Regard category or Ari Folman's "The Congress" scuttled to the Directors' Fortnight sidebar, many will be wondering what on Earth the Cannes selection committee saw in Takashi Miike's "Shield Of Straw" to have it play in competition (especially considering it already opened a month ago in Japan). A b-movie potboiler at best, and indebted to countless other and much better films, this tedious, dumb, so-bad-it's-almost-funny procedural is an overstuffed thriller that offers one single idea, and proceeds to beat it to death, without much of anything to say.

Cannes Review: Sprawling, Uneven Crime Saga 'Blood Ties' Falls Short Of Epic Scope

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 19, 2013 2:27 PM
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  • 9 Comments
If there is any movie this year at Cannes that is absolutely brimming with promise on paper, it's Guillaume Canet's "Blood Ties." With an extended cast featuring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, Matthias Schoenaerts, Zoe Saldana, James Caan, Marion Cotillard, Noah Emmerich and Lili Taylor among others along with a script co-written by James Gray, one wonders how it could go wrong. And while "Blood Ties" isn't a disaster, it's certainly a mess, a sprawling crime saga that endeavours to evoke the great character-driven movies of the 1970s, but never quite lives up to its epic scope.

Cannes Review: ‘Grand Central’ Weaves A Lyrical Tale Of Love And Radiation Around Tahar Rahim & Lea Seydoux

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 19, 2013 1:30 PM
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  • 4 Comments
GRAND CENTRAL BY REBECCA ZLOTOWSKI, Lea Seydoux, Tahar Rahim
Director Rebecca Zlotowski scored big in 2010 when her debut feature “Belle Epine” (aka “Dear Prudence”) won the Prix Louis Delluc for best first film, and snagged star Léa Seydoux a nomination for Most Promising Actress at the Césars. Three years on and Seydoux has certainly made good on that promise, with her profile rising ever higher -- in this year’s Cannes she’s one of a select number of actors to have two films in the Official Selection, one of them being her reteaming with Zlotowski on “Grand Central” with Kechiche’s ”Blue is the Warmest Color” in competition being the other.

Cannes 2013: T-Bone Burnett Teases Live & Studio Versions Of 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Soundtrack, And Further “Events,” Plus New Photos From The Film

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 19, 2013 11:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Inside Llewyn Davis
Following its almost uniformly rapturous reception yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival (you can read our take here) today the ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ team showed up in force for the press conference. With Joel and Ethan Coen, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, T-Bone Burnett and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel comprising the panel it really felt like of the principals, only John Goodman and perhaps “Doogie Howser” alum Max Casella (who incidentally, is totally having a moment right now) were absent. It wasn’t perhaps the most illuminating press conference ever, with hard-hitting questions ranging from “How much did you laugh on set?” to “Oscar Isaac, you were amazing, how did you manage to be so amazing?” but one tiny detail caught our attention.

Cannes Review: 'Seduced And Abandoned' Enjoyably Explores The Surreal World Of Film Financing

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 19, 2013 10:45 AM
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  • 4 Comments
It's hardly any surprise for people who follow film news (or read this site) that cinema, at least as far as the major Hollywood studios go, is mostly a dead art. With a shift toward four-quadrant, brand pushing, sequel spawning blockbusters, the days of the $50 million drama are a distant memory. And so here comes James Toback's "Seduced And Abandoned," described by the director as an "uncategorizable" film that finds him teaming with Alec Baldwin, as they set their cameras on the movers and shakers (financially speaking) in the movie biz, while talking to filmmakers and actors about their craft, moviemaking, and much more.

Cannes Review: ‘Borgman’ Delivers A Deliciously Dark, Twisted Cannes Competition Treat

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 19, 2013 10:15 AM
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  • 6 Comments
BORGMAN BY ALEX VAN WARMERDAM
Caustic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny, Dutch polymath Alex van Warmerdam’s “Borgman” is the trickster god in this year’s Cannes competition pantheon. Tonally similar to recent cultish favorites from Yorgos Lanthimos and Ben Wheatley (“Dogtooth” feels like a particularly close and favoured first cousin), there’s also a little Haneke in its chilly dissection of a perfect bourgeois life. But it’s really its own thing, due to the inspired choice to take recognisable archetypes of evil and mischief-making, and let them loose on a crisply contemporary, contained playground in the form of an aspirational, architect-designed modernist house, its gardens, and the lives of the family that lives there.

Cannes Review: The Coens Brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Is A Funny, Melancholy Look At A Wayfaring Stranger

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 18, 2013 5:03 PM
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  • 13 Comments
Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Isaac
Long hours on the road, sleeping on sofas, eating very little, playing shows for little money; it's a wonder why anyone struggles to make it as a musician. But for Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) there really isn't any other option to playing music. "...And what, just exist?" he counters, when his sister suggests he stops couch surfing, borrowing money and barely getting by, and re-enter the Merchant Marine. While Llewyn can't quite put into words the passion that sustains an existence perpetually on the fringes, hustling for the next dollar, it's that weary energy that drives the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Cannes Review: 'A Touch Of Sin' Sees Jia Zhang-ke Change Things Up, With Peculiar, Bloody Results

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 18, 2013 12:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A Touch of Sin,  Jia Zhang-ke.
Ooh-ed and aah-ed over, but largely in more arcane cinephile circles, Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke (Venice winner “Still Life,” Cannes 2012 doc ”I Wish I Knew,” “The World”) has made a name for himself to date with detailed, glacially paced, social realist films, often in the documentary tradition, set against a backdrop of a modern-day China that we rarely see: the China of disenfranchisement, displacement and social unease which comprises the flip side of the globalisation and economic boom times that make more headlines abroad. It provides fascinating, glimpse-behind-the-curtain subject matter, and Jia is nothing if not authentic, but his measured, long-take style can try the patience to the degree that really, the reason that we had this film as one to watch out for on our Cannes Anticipated list was because we’d heard that for the first time, Jia had incorporated elements of genre into his social critique. And we have always believed that just a spoonful of genre can help the dense social commentary go down.

Watch: Trailer For Alejandro Jodorowsky's First Film In 23 Years, 'The Dance Of Reality'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 18, 2013 12:01 PM
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  • 8 Comments
For all the Goslings and Grays and Gatsbys on the Croisette, for some, the biggest news at Cannes this year is the return of Alejandro Jodorowsky. The French/Chilean filmmaker, the man behind cult hits "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain," hasn't made a film for 23 years, since 1990's "The Rainbow Thief," but is all over Cannes; a documentary about his ill-fated attempt to film "Dune" is premiering, and his return to directing with "The Dance Of Reality" just screened this morning.

Cannes Review: The Mind Heals The Soul In Meandering & Unsatisfying 'Jimmy P.'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 18, 2013 10:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If Freddie Quell came back from World War II as an unhinged animal, Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro) is the polar opposite, an intensely quiet but no less wounded man, who is out of sorts in post-war America. But he is also a Native American, which brings to his life a whole set of experiences (especially at the time) foreign to common understanding, giving his plight an extra layer of complexity. And it's within this milieu that Arnaud Desplechin presents the true story "Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian)," a picture that meanders and focuses far too heavily on its subtitle, rather than on its two lead characters, who are presented with promise, but are ultimately left underdeveloped.

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