With Toronto Star‘s Pete Howell, The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney and MCN’s David Poland singing praises thus far, it looks like Thomas Vinterberg‘s The Hunt (showing at 11:30 this morning) is the one to see and perhsps stand by. Maybe.
Hold Up: It’s 8:17 am in the Grand Palais, waiting on Michael Haneke‘s Amour, and First Showing.net’s Alex Billington just told me he “hated” The Hunt. And the guy sitting next to him said “it should have played in the market.”
Here’s an excellent piece by Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, appearing in tomorrow’s Sunday edition, about the transition from film to digital that’s been happening now for…what, 15 years now? Yes, it’s gratifying that she’s used my Ciinemacon reaction to the 48 frame-per-second product reel for The Hobbit for her second quote.
The screening of Brandon Cronenberg‘s Antiviral that I couldn’t get into broke a little while ago, and the Twitter consensus is that it’s outlandish, icky, cool, creepy, maybe a bit too long, and definitely influenced by dad.
My favorite so far is from Ben Kenigsberg, to wit: “Self-reflexive? Brandon Cronenberg infects himself with his dad’s greatest hits, which replicate (and thrive) like a virus.”
“A strong debut with a clear papa-influence aesthetic,” said Logan Hill, “but it only creeped me out, didn’t disturb me. But wow, is Brandon Cronenberg David’s son! Childhood Videodrome nightmares?
From Jake Howell: “Oh man, Toronto, Antiviral is crazy awesome.”
“Brandon Cronenberg’s stylish smart stab at celeb-worship loses momentum along with blood in last act,” says James Rocchi. “Some cutting wouldn’t hurt.”
52m Noah Cowan ?@noahlightbox
“Why are people calling Antiviral ‘outlandish’? Its a simple extension of celeb death watch group panic on Twitter/Facebook, etc.” — Noah Cowan.
Many have voiced dissatisfaction with the original 2009 Heat Bluray. The main beef is that the film looks like it was based on the original DVD master and upscaled to 1080p, and that the sound is nothing special. Now there’s a new version coming out on 6.19. Is this a re-mastering that’s expected to correct the earlier problems?
Xavier Dolan‘s Lawrence Anyways, which I have respectfully declined to see, runs two hours and 41 minutes. The joke passed around last night and today is that the ratio between the director’s age and the length of his/her film shouldn’t be any more than five, or five minutes for every year of life. Dolan is 23, so Lawrence Anyways shouldn’t have been any longer than 115 minutes. Dolan has extended the factor to 7 — i.e., 23 x 7 = 161.
David Lean was 53 when he began work on Lawrence of Arabia, which ran 216 minutes. By the rule of 5 he was entitled to make Lawrrence run 265 minutes, but he held himself in check. Peter Jackson was 43 when he began work on King Kong, which ran 187 minutes. By the 5 rule was permitted to make it 215 minutes long, so again — discipline! This is silly. I guess the 5 rule only applies to young directors.
A 4.18 Variety story by Nick Vivarelli reported that the new “redux” version of Sergio Leone‘s Once Upon A Time in America (which will screen tonight in Cannes for the second time) “adds 40 minutes of original footage to the 229-minute running time.” In other words, I calculated, it’ll run 269 minutes, or a minute shy of four and a half hours. But the festival program says the film runs 253 minutes, or 16 minutes shorter than Vivarelli’s version. A subsequent 5.15 Variety piece said the running time is 254 minutes.
In any event, people attending tonight’s 10 pm screening will get out at 2:15 am or thereabouts.
Your first reactions to a film are happening within two or three minutes. General impressions start to coalesce and coagulate after 15 or 20 minutes. Your opinions are usually pretty clear at the 30-minute mark, and you know what this movie is 45 to 60 minutes in. So whatever you’re tweeting as you leave the theatre has been kicked around a bit. So I never regret them, although it’s always more satisfying and revealing to deliver a fleshed-out review.
I was denied admittance to the 2 pm screening of Brandon Cronenberg‘s Antiviral at the Salle Debussy. Me and about 150 or 200 others. My pink-with-a-yellow-pastille pass always gets me in at the last minute, but hordes of buyers pushed their way into this showing. Festival press liason Gerald Duchassoy estimates that buyers took up one-third of the seats. Tonight’s 10:15 pm screening will also be rough, he cautions.
I’ve got 40 minutes before Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral begins at 2 pm. It’s about “biological communion” with celebrities, as somebody tweeted a day or two ago. Or more precisely about an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. I have a funny feeling about this but better to encounter and respond than sit here in the Orange press longe, tapping out pissy little paragraphs.
I saw John Hilcoat‘s Lawless this morning — a bootlegging movie about backwoods macho bludgeoning, stabbing, gouging, shooting, throat-slitting, shotgunning and all that good exploitation yeehaw crap. It’s a better acted, more finely photographed and much more violent upgrade of an early ’70s Roger Corman film. So why did they screen it here? It’s a drive-in movie for rednecks, and I’m sitting in Grand Palais on the Cote d’Azur watching this flotsam?
It’s set in 1931, the height of the Depression, and I guess I wanted something classy and fabled like Phillip Borsos‘ The Grey Fox…no such luck with Hillcoat. Tom Hardy plays a time-travelling robot with a hick accent who can’t be killed with a throat-slashing or with two or three shots to the chest…he jes keeps on a’comin.
As far as I’m concerned Hillcoat is no longer someone to watch. He’s a thick-fingered plebe. The Proposition, for me, was crude, sadistic, high-style hash about amber lighting and grubbily dressed actors whose faces were smeared with chicken grease. The Road, his post-apocalyptic father-son movie, was half-decent but was mostly about compositions filled with grayness and ash and waste of one kind or another. And now this sludge.
“Two good things about Lawless,” I tweeted. “(1) Guy Pearce‘s ultra-venal, almost Dracula-like villain, and (2) a nice nude scene featuring Jessica Chastain.”
I got into an 11:30 am market screening of Pablo Lorrain‘s No, which has more heat than any festival selection so far. It’s about an advertising campaign in Chile, largely sculpted by an ad man played by Gael Garcia Bernal, that led to the unseating of the fascist thug Augusto Pinochet in a 1988 plebiscite election, and the introduction of democracy.
Unfortunately the print shown had only French subtitles, and the film is naturally in Spanish. I was able to understand some of it but not enough, and I finally split after 45 minutes or so. I’d naturally like to catch an English-subtitled version. The film is shot in 1.33 with what looks like a 1980s video camera, so it looks like a period piece — an odd term for a film set 24 years ago but whatever.