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The Playlist

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.

Cannes Review: Ken Loach's 'The Angel's Share' Is Slight, Sitcom-y & Suspense-Free

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • May 21, 2012 6:36 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The working class are a little funny in “The Angels’ Share,” English director Ken Loach’s new bluecollar comedy. “The Angels’ Share” is Loach’s (“Kes”) latest film to play Cannes after his “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” won the 2006 Palme D’Or and both "Route Irish" and "Looking for Eric" played in competition in 2010 and 2009, respectively. Tonally, Loach’s latest is more of a piece with “Looking for Eric” than “Sweet Sixteen,” though all three films concern young people looking for a way to find a loophole and rise above their lousy social stations in life.

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: 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.

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