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Thompson on Hollywood

Cannes Review Roundup: Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' a Wistful but Slight Father-Son Road Trip Film

Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son embarking on a roadtrip, screened today at Cannes. The response is thus far mixed to positive, with praise for the film's wistful tone and a "career-crowning" performance from Dern. Those less impressed site the film's slightness, calling it "affably unexceptional" and that it provides "not much to talk about." Roundup below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 23, 2013 12:33 PM
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Winding Refn Talks 'Only God Forgives': Cannes Press Conference, Review Roundup

"Only God Forgives" was unveiled Wednesday morning to the most divisive response at the Cannes festival thus far, and even with the smattering of boos and walkouts we’d hazard a guess that Nicolas Winding Refn couldn’t be more delighted by the reception. As empty, soulless, frenziedly art-directed viewing experiences go, "Only God Forgives" is one of the better examples. At the press conference following the screening, the Danish filmmaker expounded on his ultra-violent, hyper-stylized follow-up to "Drive," which features dismemberments, torture, eye gouging, Kristin Scott Thomas as a trashy, bestial, peroxide-wigged mother who calls her son’s female companion a “cum dumpster” and Gosling as a vaguely sketched mean machine operating in a seedy Thai underworld who makes the "Driver" look like a motormouth.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • May 22, 2013 12:10 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Cannes Review Roundup: Robert Redford Keeps Things Afloat in Chandor's Dire Existential Adventure 'All Is Lost'

Reviews are coming in from Cannes for J.C. Chandor's ("Margin Call") second feature, "All Is Lost," a virtually dialogue-free adventure starring Robert Redford as a man battling the ocean elements solo on his boat. Reactions are largely positive, praising Redford's "tour de force" performance and Chandor's existential direction, while dissenters wish Godspeed to the film's languid pace -- that "a shark attack might put poor Redford out of his misery." Roundup below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 22, 2013 11:52 AM
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Cannes Fest Diary: Le Weekend, from Compelling 'Jimmy P.' to Toback's Doc and 'Jodorowsky's Dune'

It was a weird, wooly and wet weekend in Cannes. And it began with what has to be one of the stranger ideas ever put forward for a film: “Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian” from Arnaud Desplechin (the wonderful “A Christmas Tale”). Based on a book by French anthropologist/psychotherapist George Deveraux, it’s the more or less true story of a Native American WWII vet, played by Benicio del Toro, who winds up in a military hospital suffering from post-war injuries, real or imagined. When the staff decides the problems are not physical, but don’t have a grasp on the potential mental issues an Indian might face, they call in Deveraux, who is also an expert in Native American culture.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 21, 2013 10:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Review Roundup: Critics Go Ga-Ga for Soderbergh's Outrageously Mesmerizing 'Behind the Candelabra'

Critics are over the glittering, bedazzled moon for Steven Soderbergh's Cannes competition entry "Behind the Candelabra," set to premiere on HBO on May 26 and starring a no-holds-barred Michael Douglas and Matt Damon as the famed pianist Liberace and his younger lover, Scott Thorson. The Telegraph refers to it as a "gay Pygmalion myth: call it My Fair Laddie," while the Guardian raves that "the film is mesmeric, riskily incorrect, outrageously watchable and simply outrageous." Roundup below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 21, 2013 12:51 PM
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Review: Rama Burshtein's Luminous 'Fill the Void' Looks at the Strange, Painful Romance of Choice

Rama Burshtein’s “Fill the Void,” Israel’s official Oscar entry earlier this year, is set in the Haredi Orthodox Jewish community in Tel Aviv. It focuses on one young woman’s turbulent experiences with traditional matchmaking -- a custom which, it should be noted, differs from arranged marriage, and is abundantly foreign to many of us Westerners. Yet Burshtein renders a portrait that is universal: of the necessity of choice, and its connection to putting away childish things.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 21, 2013 6:05 AM
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Cannes Film Fest Diary 3: Seduced by 'The Past,' Abandoned by a Brazilian Beach Bikini Party

At 8:30am Friday morning, I got it. What Cannes is truly all about. You get something in theory, and then there’s the moment you get it through experience. Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” had just begun, and I thought back to what a friend said was the real reason to attend Cannes: because you see the best films in the world. Literally, according to one of the money men in James Toback’s new documentary about Cannes, “Seduced and Abandoned” – more on that later – half of the year’s supply of big films debuts at the festival. Farhadi won the Oscar for best foreign film with his last, “A Separation,” and as the new film began, the audience just relaxed into their seats as the film, with its first shot, took over. It’s a wonderful feeling when you realize you are in very, very, very good hands.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 20, 2013 11:11 PM
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Cannes Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Is Vintage Coens

There is a moment in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the new Coen brothers film that stormed the Palais Saturday, when the owner of Manhattan's Gaslight club circa 1961 asks Davis what he thinks of the four Irish sweater-clad singers performing. Davis, a struggling folk singer with an edge, ponders the question. “I like the sweaters,” he says.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 19, 2013 8:41 PM
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Cannes Fest Diary 2: Dull Coppola, Brilliant 'A Touch of Sin'

I began the search for a room in Cannes quite late. I checked hotels.com, home to “Cheap Hotels, Discounts, Hotel Deals and Offers,” which is why I was a bit taken aback when my first offer was for a week at the Carlton for $52,000. What I wound up with was not quite the Carlton; it’s more of a bed with walls adjacent, a former maid’s quarters located on the ground floor of a very large complex; any resemblance to a prison cell, known or unknown, is entirely a coincidence.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 18, 2013 12:46 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Cannes Review: Ari Folman's Hybrid 'The Congress' Befuddles More than It Bedazzles

Ari Folman’s “The Congress” begins well enough, with the sheer physical presence of Robin Wright center screen, tears popping from her eyes. The actress, who in real life has aged gracefully into strength – or maybe it’s just bitterness -- plays “Robin Wright,” an aging actress who has made many “lousy choices.” We know this from her agent, played with sweet understatement by Harvey Keitel, who spares nothing and no one, including the “lousy men” Wright has chosen. Is that one of the movie’s many in-jokes?
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 17, 2013 8:43 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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