Festivals: Cannes Reviews

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Cannes 2017 Review: THE MERCILESS Punches Up Familiar Gangster Tale

After helming a low-key music drama (The Beat Goes On) and a romantic comedy (Whatcha Wearin'?), director Byun Sung-hyun finally shows off what may be his true colors in the brash and confident half gangster thriller, half prison drama The...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE BEGUILED, A Campy Anatomy of Lust

Sofia Coppola is a filmmaker whose work I've appreciated from a distance. I know she's a great director, but apart from Marie Antoinette, her stories of rich white people and their troubles has held little interest for me. But as...

Cannes 2017 Dispatch: A Strong Year for the Sidebars

The main attraction at what might be the world's most bifurcated film festival is certainly the Palme d'Or competition. But there is always a film or two that finds a fair amount of buzz out of one of the primary...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, Love Can Make Us Cruel

Human beings can be kind, generous, and loving. But they can also be self-indulgent, vicious, and cruel. We all want to believe that, under certain circumstances, we would sacrifice and fight for the lives of our loved ones. But would...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE DAY AFTER Offers Bitter Portrait of Infidelity

Returning to black and white for the first time since The Day He Arrives (which screened in Un Certain Regard in 2011), Hong Sangsoo returns to the Cannes competition section with The Day After, a focused rumination on love and...

Cannes 2017 Review: FACES PLACES, A Delightful and Poignant Capture of Working Life

The Grand Dame of French cinema, Agnès Varda's work has ranged from the New Wave in Cleo from 5 to 7, to feminism and friendship in One Sings, The Other Doesn't, to documenting the life of the poor in The...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE VILLAINESS Shoots and Chops Her Way to Bloody Revenge

Korean action cinema bursts through to new horizons in the hyperkinetic pulp blade and bullet ballet The Villainess. Equal parts Kill Bill, Nikita, John Wick, Hardcore Henry and HK-era John Woo, the second film from Confession of Murder director Jung...

Cannes 2017 Review: CLAIRE'S CAMERA, Hong Sangsoo's Low-Key Cannes Holiday

Love him or hate him, Hong Sangsoo has been remarkably consistent with his films, which both offer viewers a familiar framework and new variations on his favorite themes. His 20th work Claire's Camera debuts this weekend as a Special Screening...

Cannes 2017 Dispatch: Competition Embraces the Weird

For a festival notorious for taking itself way too seriously, the opening salvo of the Palme d'Or competition has been filled with movies that are actually pretty weird. Of course, that's incredibly refreshing. Not to say that it isn't nice...

Cannes 2017 Review: OKJA Will Make You Jump for Joy and Burst into Tears

An endearing family adventure, a bitter ecological plea and a rousing action film all rolled into one, Okja proves once more that Bong Joon Ho is a master of twisting something new out of the familiar. While Netflix's gamble screams...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: The Unbearable Lightness of TONI ERDMANN

Maren Ade's Palme d'Or nominated film works marvelously as both an awkward study of a father-daughter relationship and as an immersive look into the corporate politics of post-wall Europe.

Cannes 2016 Review: THE BFG Showcases Steven Spielberg's Infectious Sense Of Play

Once upon a time Steven Spielberg was the fabulist of our time. Looking at Close Encounters or E.T. or even Jurassic Park and A.I., you could see a sense of wonder and playfulness in his filmmaking, a childlike enthusiasm that...

Cannes 2016 Review: PATERSON, Jim Jarmusch's Latest Journey

A driver named Paterson in a town called Paterson played by a man named Driver - the rhyming seems almost too perfect. Yet Jim Jarmuch's latest, a delicate, poetic, often delightful musing on creativity and the art of listening is...

Cannes 2016 Review: Jeff Nichols' LOVING Is A Minor Key Masterpiece

There may be no more subtle, beautiful and accomplished film this year than Jeff Nichols' Loving. There might also be no film more in need of help being championed, a work surely going to be stampeded in a year where...

Cannes 2016 Review: ELLE, A Sordid, Provocative Masterwork

Paul Verhoeven is one of the more unique directors in cinema history. As perhaps the most famous Dutch auteur, he's gone from ribald little European films to the biggest of Hollywood bangs, incorporating his unique wit, visual sense and narrative...

Cannes 2016 Review: GRADUATION Fails To Engage

Cristian Mungiu's film Four Months, Three Weeks, 2 Days heralded the Romanian New Wave when it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2007. His other features have since played at the festival, and his latest, Graduation, is in competition,...

Cannes 2016 Review: THE NEON DEMON, A Dark, Seductive Symphony

If beauty is fleeting, is there anything more precious than protecting it while it lasts? If all you have going for yourself is the outer shell, to what lengths would you go to in order to keep your specialness? Does...

Cannes 2016 Review: THE RED TURTLE Sublimely Tugs Our Strings

Human emotions can be fragile, unpredictable things. However, they can sometimes also be pretty damned predictable. Show someone a kitten and they'll feel an emotional pang. Show a human going through the stages of life from youth to life's logical...

Cannes 2016 Review: HELL OR HIGH WATER Does Outlaw Justice Darn Right

Bank robbers. Texas Rangers. A sun-drenched landscape. Oil derricks. Tumbleweeds. A loose cannon ex-con. A brother just trying to do the right thing. An aging lawman on the doorstep of retirement. Throw it all in a blender and you're bound...

Cannes 2016 Review: JULIETA, Beauty Without Substance

Alfred Hitchcock once said, 'Drama is life with the dull bits cut out'. To twist that a bit, Pedro Almodóvar's new feature film Julieta is a slice of life with the drama cut out. The story of one woman's journey...