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May 19, 2019 at 5:26 am #1202899453
The critics seem to be in a really good mood during this particular Cannes Film Festival! While there have been some negative reviews here and there for the most part everything is getting laudatory reviews this year. Of course there are quite a few films yet to be shown so the tide could turn… anybody hear any advance word on Frankie?May 19, 2019 at 9:54 am #1202899730
Portrait of a Lady on Fire First Reactions
Anna Smith: Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is magnificent. I have a feeling that, years from now, I’ll still be talking about being part of this standing ovation
Caspar Salmon: Céline Sciamma has done it again! Loved this film whose central love story gains and gains in intensity. This is a love letter to Adèle Haenel as much as anything, a hymn to looking at the adored one. Very beautiful.
Becca Harrison: If there’s a dry eye in the house after Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire they must have been closed all the way through the film. Just wow. That was magnificent filmmaking. A stunning picture of women’s love and solidarity
Another Gaze: Bowled over by Céline Sciamma’s PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), a gorgeous and generous study of womanhood, desire, and what it means to live fully in a world of constant confinements
Tim Robey: Céline Sciamma’s PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE overcame my initial reservations and, well, caught fire: it’s a gorgeous, elegant and teasing manifesto for feminine art, with a duet of tender lead performances from Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel
Guy Lodge: As a Sciamma devotee, I was unprepared for the ostensible mannered formalism of PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, before I tuned into all the sensual life crackling beneath its starched shell. It plays as the work of a filmmaker very much in love; eventually, and deeply, we fall too.
Jordan Farley: Céline Sciamma’s Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is superb. Devastatingly restrained and sensual. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel are achingly good. Will be surprised if it doesn’t win something big
Emma Stefansky: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is a slow, quiet burn, intense and sensual. one shot and line near the end felt like someone took my heart and squeezed. it’s also GOOOOOORGEOUS
Arash Azizi: My vote for winning Palm so far: Celine Sciamma for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” What a gorgeous, gorgeous film!
Isabel Stevens: Palme d’Or alert!! PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE: a tender 18th century love story that critiques women’s position in the world and banishes men to the background. The ending is something else. Plus the power of art!
FilmLand Empire: Windswept austerity, fire under the ice, female romance and camaraderie… The new Sciamma is a stunner with some haunting shots and a moving tenderness. Adèle Haenel should win best actress on the back of that final scene aloneMay 19, 2019 at 10:39 am #1202899814
A Hidden Life First Reactions
Justin Chang: Terrence Malick is back, in every sense, and his A HIDDEN LIFE pretty much wrecked me.
David Ehrlich: Terrence Malick is back, baby! obviously his best film since “The Tree of Life,” but also a powerfully graceful portrait of defiance, and a provocative challenge to “Silence.”
Jason Gorber: The hills are alive with the meanderings of Malick. Film may thrill fans of director and imagery is suitably bucolic, but equally sees redemptive Nazis granting due process to a protagonist whose obstinate nature helps his beatification
Tom Page: A slight story given body by considerable emotional weight. Something for Malick to hang his never-better direction off, but is it compelling enough? It could lose an hour, but that would be to lose a course of this visual feast.
Tom Bond: Malick’s back baby! His style works so much better with serious topics and this WW2 tale of resisting the Nazis is a stunner. The first Malick to make me cry since The Tree of Life
Inney Prakash: Malick’s new film should satisfy those who feel he’s become too indulgent with the last few and mildly disappoint those who want a further departure from linearity. Plenty of beautiful moments, some mere imitations of life, lots of plant fondling.
Jake Coyle: Most of Malick’s films are spiritual but this is his most direct grappling with faith and conviction. Its 3rd act builds to an overwhelming crescendo and now I need to roll in the grass with my daughters. A beautiful & devastating rejuvenation for Malick
Todd McCarthy: Well, it’s a big swing and a miss for strike three with A Hidden Life, which sees the massively talented but often mystifying writer-director take on true-life material for the first time in this desperately indulgent and puzzlingly de-theologized study of an Austrian man who paid the ultimate price for his conscientious objector stance against the Nazis during World War II.
Mani Lazic: I found Malick’s A HIDDEN LIFE to be just fine; if the intimate story it tells is undeniably moving in itself, the big ideas that story represents are too spelled out for us in both dialogue and images. Strangely heavy-handed.
Luke Hicks: A HIDDEN LIFE is a breathtaking christian, pacifist manifesto. easily his best since THE TREE OF LIFE. august diehl and valerie pachner are so dreamy in malick’s australian mountainside spiritual epic.
Steve Pond: I understand that “Malick’s best since Tree of Life isn’t a resounding endorsement to everybody (though I liked a couple of the ones in between), but A Hidden Life really does feel monumental in a way nothing of his has in many years.May 19, 2019 at 10:45 am #1202899825
11 Competition films down. 10 to go. Here’s where I see them all so far, ranked based on first reactions:
1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
2. Pain & Glory
3. The Whistlers
4. Wild Goose Lake
5. A Hidden Life
7. Sorry We Missed You
8. Les Miserables
10. The Dead Don’t Die
11. Little JoeMay 20, 2019 at 11:09 pm #1202902622
The Young Ahmed First Reactions
Charles Bramesco: The Dardenne brothers’ teen-terrorist drama YOUNG AHMED isn’t nearly as racist as has been feared. That’s not to say it’s “good,” however
Tim Grierson: A troubling work that reveals more about its creators than their subject. And maybe that’s the point: The Dardennes are sincerely wondering how we grapple with extremists when we can’t understand their motivations. Their movie guesses but doesn’t know
Robbie Collin: I was not wild about Young Ahmed, in which the Dardennes come face to face with the first protagonist to ever defeat them
AA Dowd: YOUNG AHMED is reasonably gripping, and as starkly unsentimental as the rest of the Dardennes’ work. But it doesn’t entirely figure out its main character, which maybe why the ending they engineer for him feels so hollow—a botched Hail Mary.
Alex Billington: Eh. Way too manipulative and obvious, subpar Dardennes screenplay here trying to tackle a big topic of the day but this really isn’t their jam. I get what they’re doing with this kid and trying to respect him, it’s so plainly there, but nah it’s no good
Xan Brooks: If Young Ahmed was a novel, the Dardennes would be getting monstered for cultural appropriation. Different rules for film, it seems, & I *did* quite like this. Sad, gentle, well-intentioned tale of a radicalised teen at a crossroads
Joseph Fahim: The Dardennes, whose work enriched me for years, tackle Islam in their new film, ‘The Young Ahmed,’ and as a result end up with the worst movie of their career; an incredibly shallow yarn rife with dangerous stereotypes it never challenge
Stephen Miller: I am a sucker for the Dardenne style, but god did I love YOUNG AHMED. Risky subject matter, handled with signature intensity and grace
Joel Mayward: I’m still reeling. This is the Dardennes’ most direct treatment/critique of religion and ideology, as well as their most conventional and concise narrative. In this, it will likely be their most divisive film to date.
Yasmin Omar: As if there weren’t already enough one-dimensional presentations of Muslims as murderous fanatics, Young Ahmed adds to this tone-deaf canon with its culturally appropriative view of Islam. No thank you
J Sperling: “Young Ahmed” is a measured story from Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. It follows a young Muslim teenager who becomes radicalized and must deal with consequences of his extreme behavior. Less substance than one would hope for from the bothers.May 20, 2019 at 11:20 pm #1202902626
Frankie First Reactions
Tim Grierson: In which Ira Sachs largely achieves the offhand grace his films consistently seek. There are some narrative lapses, but the simple, focused wistfulness of the piece sweeps over you, building in force. Huppert is great, of course, but Marisa Tomei is sublime
AA Dowd: FRANKIE is definitely Ira Sachs’ Frenchest movie: a minor-key, melancholy gabfest about lives in transition, set against the scenic splendor of Portugal. Not a film I expect to stick with me too long, but certain images (like the last one) might
Ken Adams: can anyone do poignance like Ira Sachs nowadays, for real. Absolutely beautiful tales of the four seasons vibes, less Eustache this time around
Alex Billington: Relationships & family crash & churn like waves on a beach while on a vacation to Sintra, Portugal. A light film with a very tender touch. Ira Sachs is so wonderful at making his actors feel so comfortable in their roles, always a delight to watch them.
David Ehrlich: Isabelle Huppert at her most vulnerable. Brendan Gleeson in “sad dad on vacation” mode in khakis and a blazer. Jérémie Renier with a mustache. i can dig it.
Eric Kohn: FRANKIE is such a lovely low-key charmer. A Rohmer-like rumination on family, art, mortality, the usual jam. Not much happens but so much is said. Ira Sachs’ best ending
Tom Page: A brittle family drama with some friction, but Sachs spends too much time rummaging in the chaff when there’s more profitable kernels left wasted. And by that I mean more Brendan Gleeson please.
Gregory Ellwood: Frankie is at its best when no one speaks. Sachs can’t avoid exposition to the gods but Huppert and Tomei are superb
Jason Gorber: Frankly Ira Sach’s film is lovely, the story of a family headed by the always formidable Isabelle Huppert finds solace is decidedly unorthodox ways. Think of it as MAMMA MIA with a lot less ABBA and a lot more of an affecting and developed narrative
John Oursler: Marisa Tomei and Brendan Gleeson in FRANKIE are my favorite performances of the year so far. Authentically funny and emotionally resonant. A beautiful film abundant with beautiful moments.
Charles Bramesco: if you’re gonna die, you might as well be rich and bourgeois and in postcard-perfect Portugal while you do it. Huppert’s reached a point of iconhood where her movies bend around her instead of the other way around, and I’m all for itMay 21, 2019 at 2:28 am #1202902762
Thank you, AMG, for your daily review recaps! (: They are much appreciated! (:May 21, 2019 at 10:41 am #1202903222
Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood First Reactions
Magdalena Miedl: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD is Tarantino’s most tender film. Who’d have thunk.
Jason Gorber: Historically dubious, thematically brilliant, QT finds his form in film that could win Palme d’Or or be picketed by audiences, or maybe both. Thrilling, provocative, blackly comical, intensely unsettling masterwork
Emma Stefansky: I reeeeally liked ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Jordan Ruimy: QT’s latest has some of the best sequences of his career, but also some of the draggiest. A scrambling, ambitious, maddening, beautiful film. Brad Pitt steals the show. DiCaprio, as always, fantastic.
Isabel Stevens: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Tarantino’s bromance. Naturally in love with “the old timey movies” and LA. On set Western scenes are my fav. Wasn’t expecting to be so charmed by it
Joe Utichi: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is so gloriously, wickedly indulgent, compelling and hilarious. The film QT was born to make. The world is a more colourful place in Quentin Tarantino’s twilight zone. Round two, please.
Peter Bradshaw: Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant exploitation black-comedy Once Upon A Time In Hollywood finds a pulp-fictionally redemptive take on the Manson nightmare: shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary colours of sky blue and sunset gold.
Tim Grierson: Like a lot of recent Tarantino, this is baggy, self-indulgent, fascinatingly its own thing and ambitiously conceived. Of course it’s accomplished, sometimes dazzlingly so, but it ends up being as hit-or-miss as his last few
Xan Brooks: Tarantino lays a gaudy, explosive counter-culture circus. DiCaprio & (especially) Pitt terrific value under the lights, while evil scurries in the shadows. Some, um, third-act issues but the film’s highs are electric
Alex Billington: To be completely honest I’m not yet sure what to make of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Need to let this one marinate, don’t have an instant reaction. Most of the film is pretty good, I’m having fun watching them play around in late 60s Hollywood. Then the finale is HOLY FUCK.
Damon Wise: I wouldn’t change a single second of Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood. It did not disappointMay 21, 2019 at 10:33 pm #1202903998
Parasite First Reactions
Justin Chang: PARASITE is like SHOPLIFTERS on pricey Korean bath salts, and that’s a wonderful thing: so cumulatively tense, funny and terrifying, it’s almost unfair when it becomes utterly heartbreaking in the final stretch. Bong d’Or, please
David Ehrlich: PARASITE might be Bong Joon-ho’s best movie. it bundles up all his previous work into one angry, grounded, hilarious, and painfully bittersweet story about the horrors of co-existence in capitalism.
Xan Brooks: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is the darkest & funniest film in Cannes 2019 competition; the merciless eat-the-rich Upstairs Downstairs comedy-horror the world needs right now. It’s just brilliant
Wendy Ide: Parasite saves the day. Or my day at least, which had been veering between somewhat underwhelming and utter shit
Charles Bramesco: Bong goes back to basics as he goes back to Korea, returning to the sadistically hysterical class comedy of BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE. Instant love.
Alex Billington: A brilliant dark comedy and fantastic take down of rich people. One of Bong Joon-ho’s best films, and I LOVE his films. A masterclass in filmmaking, with perfect composition, every performance dialed in, and a genius screenplay with so much depth. IT RULES
AA Dowd: Mostly loved Bong Joon-ho’s PARASITE, an insane, ingenious farce about desperate times calling for some very desperate measures. Bong being Bong, the tone veers wildly, but always in service of the class politics.
Robbie Collin: Apols for the positive review overload but Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite just premiered at Cannes 2019 and it rips
Ella Kemp: Check back in after this adrenaline-headache has calmed down but, well, PARASITE: I screeched, gasped, stopped blinking for about 15 minutes and whooped so passionately. Bong Joon-Ho is absolutely regal, BOW DOWN BONG HIVE
Jake Cunningham: PARASITE is bong-kers satire, filled with heist zip and a walloping finale that makes a busted garden party feel like a levelled city. A tremendous time at the movies, that genuinely will appeal to a lot of audiences
Luke Hicks: what they say is true. bong joon-ho’s PARASITE is a perfect movie. laugh-out-loud funny, an astute blend of humanity & absurdity, thrilling til its final depraved moments, a modern architectural feast for the eyes, a razor-sharp socio-economic critique, etcMay 22, 2019 at 3:58 am #1202904162
It’s impossible to predict this year’s winners – at least so far (mostly) there has been passion for every single film in competition. I just hope some French language films get awards this year… (clearly Portrait of a Lady on Fire is going to win an award, but which one?)May 22, 2019 at 5:05 am #1202904211
It’s impossible to predict this year’s winners – at least so far (mostly) there has been passion for every single film in competition. I just hope some French language films get awards this year… (clearly Portrait of a Lady on Fire is going to win an award, but which one?)
Based purely on reactions, so chances are these won’t happen:
I see Palme being between Portrait of a Lady on Fire vs Parasite so far.
The other receiving either Grand Prix or Director.
Antonio Banderas for Actor?
Marisa Tomei for Actress?
A Hidden Life/Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood for Screenplay/Jury Prize between themMay 22, 2019 at 9:34 am #1202904534
Matthias & Maxime First Reactions
Emma Stefansky: MATTHIAS & MAXIME is another sweetness from Dolan, about how agonizing it is to watch people take their own pain out on the ones they love the most. someone dabs in this
Ella Kemp: MATTHIAS ET MAXIME is Xavier Dolan’s most tender and generous feature. It’s wonderful to see him so comfortable, mastering all the stories he knows so well: brotherhood, motherhood, friendship, affection. This film is so easy to love!
Charles Bramesco: impure pleasures, purely pleasurable. Not since MOMMY has the prince seemed so purposeful, petulant, or passionate. And yes, don’t worry, of course a character dabs in this movie
Gregory Ellwood: As someone who is a major critic of Xavier Dolan’s last two films I’m happy to say that his latest is very good. Max and Mattias or Mattias and Max. Leaves all the right questions unanswered
Richard Lawson: MATTHIAS & MAXIME is great! A poignant character study that’s sad and a little sexy and is made with care and restraint. A new era of Dolan dawns?
Alex Billington: Screened in 35mm. A story of how a kiss can ignite a spark, a feeling that just won’t go away. Feels like this was made in the early 2000s and pulled out of a vault. Doesn’t come together as nicely as I hoped, but glad to see Dolan experimenting
Jason Gorber: Xavier Dolan tells a drawn out story of friends with a spark that never manages to fully ignite. It lacks bite and direction, feeling more indulgent than anything despite some brief moments of warmth
AA Dowd: Missed Xavier Dolan’a last two movies, but I have to assume they had more spark than the drippy, prosaic MATTHIAS & MAXIME. I take back anything I ever said about wanting him to settle down a little!
Leonardo Goi: As someone who owes Dolan a great deal of emotional wreckage for MOMMY and LAWRENCE ANYWAYS (as was among those rare creatures who didn’t think IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD was that bad), MATTHIAS & MAXIME felt unnervingly flat & didactic. A return to form? Not yet
Niels Putman: MATTHIAS & MAXIME is a tender Dolan; a dramedy on friendship blues, queerness, dysfunctional families. Feels like Fassbinder at its best moments, a tad too sentimental at others but overall: heartfelt, funny, beautiful aesthetics
David Ehrlich: the new Xavier Dolan movie is actually pretty good! a tender, sensitive, ultimately unfocused riff on Humpday. but with a Britney Spears needle drop because of course.May 22, 2019 at 1:24 pm #1202904820
Oh, Mercy! (Roubaix Une Lumiere) First Reactions
James Healey: I LOVE Desplechin but this is absolutely awful. He should stay in his lane and stick to comedy. Running around back and forth with dull interrogation scenes made my Red Bull ineffective and still put me to sleep. The worst I saw at Cannes this year
Peter Bradshaw: The story, though, is force, supercilious and contrived, oddly, considering its true-crime origins.
Alistair Ryder: they really do let the dullest shit in the Cannes competition if it ticks the box of ‘being French’
Lee Marshall: From around its midpoint, this uneven film becomes a riveting, compassionate interrogation drama
David Ehrlich: Leá Seydoux Is Totally Wasted in Arnaud Desplechin’s Flat Procedural
Jean Baptiste Morel: Great Roubaix Une Lumière, which will certainly not be served by the fatigue that many begin to feel at the end of the festival. It is certainly the most beautiful script of the selection. And Roschdy Zem is exceptional
Julien Lada: Didn’t really get Desplechin’s approach with Roubaix Une Lumiere, who opens lanes which he ends up giving up on, and delivers a wobbly and deceptive thriller, but quite fascinating in the dynamics of domination of his feminine duet. Roschdy Zem at the top
Charles Bramesco: [LAW & ORDER jum-jum sound effect in French]
Thomas Gastaldi: In a normal Festival ok. But this is Cannes 2019. We can not be satisfied with a ‘good’ Desplechin with the most beautiful use of music in competition
Nat Brimmer: Léa Seydoux is still my hero. But this film is an unfortunate use of not only her but the charismatic Roschdy Zem and 2 long hours
Gwennaëlle Masle: a deadly bore that, at the end of the festival, hurts our patience. A movie about nothing, with nothing. Desplechin manages to make all his actors painful, it was frankly a torture.
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