I love most martial arts movies, but there are a few in particular that stand out above others, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which premiered in Cannes in 2000), and Wu Xia is one of those exceptional films. Now I know why Cannes chose to feature it. Wu Xia (being titled either Swordsmen and/or Dragon in English) is the latest film from Chinese director Peter Ho-Sun Chan, also of The Warlords a few years ago, and it's awesome. While it does have a few fantastic fight scenes, he never sacrifices story for spectacle, which pays off as it's a film that I enjoyed from start to finish and will definitely be revisiting in the future.
This is the year, the year I think I've been waiting for, the vintage year at the Cannes Film Festival that I knew was one day coming. We've only just finished Day 2 (it's currently Friday morning here in France) and I've only seen four films so far, but everything has been absolutely parfait so far. For those who don't speak French, that means "perfect". My travel here, the films I've seen, the experience so far, even the apartment we rented to stay in (with Eric from IONCinema) has been better than ever before. And I'm hoping it'll only get even better as the fest continues. How are the films I've seen? All but one of them I thoroughly enjoyed.
The latest film from filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Elephant, Milk) premiering in Cannes is a quaint love story called Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre) and Henry Hopper (Dennis Hopper's son) as two unconventional teens who fall in love. But with any good story, it's much more than that. It started out a bit slow, but picked up by the second act and had me fully emotionally invested by the end. It's not as polished as GVS's Milk (my favorite movie of his that I've seen), but it's another wonderful film that tells a very sweet, heartwarming story between these two unusual kids.
Julia Leigh's Sleeping Beauty is exactly the kind of film I hate. Made by an amateur Australian novelist-turned-filmmaker named Julia Leigh, who shouldn't be directing and, perhaps, should never direct again. It's bland, boring, tasteless, has a story about as thin as thread, is full of pointless fade outs and lacks more than 10 seconds of music in the entire film (which I cannot stand). I guess the redeeming value, if there was one, is that Aussie actress Emily Browning is naked in nearly every scene. But not even for good reason. A highly anticipated Cannes film and yep, it was awful, and I actually have something to say about it this time.
Wow this was good. I've only been getting into Woody Allen recently and have been let down by some of his recent films, like You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger last year and Scoop from 2006. However, that changes again, as Woody is back and better than ever with his new film Midnight in Paris, which is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival today as the opening film. It's a great fit for a Cannes opener, as not only is it a love letter to Paris, the heart of France, but it's filled with numerous fantastic French actors as well as plenty of talented American and British actors. And I must say, I think it's Allen's best film in years.
As the Cannes Film Festival is also a destination for European vacationers and those eager to catch a glimpse of celebrities, in addition to film critics and filmmakers, the main street in the city known as The Croisette is always covered with massive Hollywood advertising throughout the fest. My first year (2009) I walked up and down the entire street and snapped tons of photos providing us a look at some of the early marketing materials on display. However, this year's selection of Hollywood banners on display was kind of measly, and there's not much sales artwork either. But take a look at this 2011 gallery I have put together.
Round Three! I'm currently at the airport waiting to board my flights to Nice, France where I'll then catch a bus down to the very south of France to attend my third Cannes Film Festival in a row. It's a particularly exciting year thanks to The Tree of Life and Melancholia, but after a mediocre reaction to the films from last year, the line-up for 2011 looks like it might be a truly amazing year. Only time will tell, but as always, I wanted to let you guys know that for the next two weeks I'll be covering the fest and running this website from France. The fest runs from May 11th to 22nd and I'll be there the entire time. We'll see you in France!
The 64th Cannes Film Festival official selection was just announced this morning. A total of 49 films this year are featured in four categories: Competition, Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition and Special Screenings (including those Midnight Screenings). The festival kicks off on May 11th next month and lasts for 11 days until May 22nd. I will be attending for my third straight year in a row and I cannot wait to be in France! It was previously announced that Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris would be opening the fest, but there's plenty of other treats like The Tree of Life, Drive and We Need To Talk About Kevin. Full list below!
Faye Dunaway? From Puzzle of a Downfall Child and Chinatown? Yep! An official poster for the 64th Cannes Film Festival, which is coming up in just a month running from May 11th to 22nd in the south of France, has been unveiled. The poster features a photo of actress Faye Dunaway that was taken by filmmaker Jerry Schatzberg in 1970. In the early 70s Schatzberg directed his first film, Puzzle of a Downfall Child, which starred Dunaway in one of her early roles. This was produced by the H5 design agency, which is also providing the graphics for the 2011 Festival. I'm excited to be returning to the festival for my third year!
Delivering his 45th feature film, the Cannes Film Festival has announced that Woody Allen's new drama Midnight in Paris will open this year's fest. The rom-com, which was shot last year in the French capital, brings together a broad international cast, including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy & Léa Seydoux. After London (Match Point) and Barcelona (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), it’s the turn of Paris to be honoured by the lens of the New York director most appreciated by European audiences. Looks like it won't be a big Hollywood movie opening the fest this year.