Month: May, 2012

My Cannes top five most anticipated films

Cannes 2012 has run its course and as expected has exposed some very interesting looking films. The following are five films shown at Cannes that top my list to see. Add to this list Life of Pi and Prometheus … and I suppose The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and you have a fairly comprehensive list of my personal must sees for the remainder of 2012.

So at number one is the Palme d’Or winner Amour. Directed by Michael Haneke who made the Oscar Nominated White Ribbon and the chilling Funny Games. He is a master of clipped minimalism, structured and elegant. From all reports this film is well deserved of the Palm D’Or.

Second is the surreal Holy Motors by Leos Carax. I’m not familiar with his work, but by all accounts this is an exceptional film. It’s completely out of left field and appears to be dripping with Lynchian surrealism … and it stars, among others, Kylie Monogue. Odd casting but fascinating nonetheless! The trailer looks stunning and I can’t wait to see it.

Third is Beasts of the Southern Wild. I was a mad fan of Where the Wild Things Are and Pans Labyrinth and this film also explores a child’s cognitive defense from hardship by creating a new reality … it is a theme that for some reason fascinates me.

Fourth is Cosmopolis. A futuristic dystopian thriller. David Cronenberg returns to a genre that he does well. This film has seemed to polarized critics. However, being a Cronenberg fan I can see myself going berko over it. Surprisingly, I think Pattinson is a good choice for the lead. Hopefully I’m right and hopefully its a lot better than Cronenberg’s previous disappointment, A Dangerous Method.

Fifth is Mud. Call it a guilty pleasure but I quite like Matthew McConaughey … I just think he’s very “likable”. Directed by Jeff Nichols (who gave us Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter), this film is a Stand By Me style story concerning an escaped fugitive who befriends two boys. Been getting exceptional reviews.

Other notible films which piqued my interest are:
The Paperboy (yes, I know it’s McConaughey again)
On the Road. What’s not to like … it’s written by Jack Keroac.
Moonrise Kingdom. Looks quirky and has an interesting cast but may be a fizzer as well.
Killing them Softly. Kiwi director Andrew Dominik who directed the exceptional slow burn The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Both star Brad Pitt. If this is half as good then it will be worth seeing.


French surrealism, Dulac’s La Coquille et le Clergyman, and Buñuel’s L’Âge d’Or

Abstract from an essay I did in 2011 on French surrealism.  Breton observed in his first Manifesto of Surrealism (1924) that “what is admirable in the fantastic is that there is no more fantastic, there is only the real.” I discuss the validity of this statement and illustrate with examples from Dulac’s La Coquille et le Clergyman and also Buñuel’s L’Âge d’Or and Un Chien Andalou.  Read the remainder of the abstract here.

Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou

First official Prometheus clip from 20th Century Fox

Here is the first official one minute clip from Scott’s Prometheus. Somebody please tell me that this is not the final edit of this sequence, because if it is then this really is going to be a different beast from its genetic predecessor, Alien, … and I’m not sure I like it. Alien took great pains to emphasize the difficulty involved in landing on an alien planet and pretty much dedicates a quarter of the film to it. This created tension and a sense of realism. In the Prometheus clip they do all this in one minute. Really? They plonk the ship down like its landed at Auckland international airport. Not to mention, the edit does not flow well and feels incredibly jumpy. Hopefully this means they’ve only released a rough cut … which doesn’t sound like a thing the studio would do. My hopes for this film are systematically being dismantled, but as they say, a pessimist is never disappointed. I guess we’ll know for sure in a month.

Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method – review

I’ll say from from the start that I am a huge David Cronenberg fan. He often dives headlong into intense psychological dramas that involve power and its ties to sexual tension. The Talking Cure seemed like an adaptation that was tailor made for an auteur such as Cronenberg.  As a result I was expecting a grand Cronenberg psychoanalytic opera. I was disappointed. Read the full review here.


R.I.P. Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak, Author and Spike Jonze Muse, Dead at 83. I grew up with Where the Wild Things Are and it haunted me to my core. Then, a few years ago Spike Jonze brought it all back with his fantastic film adaptation. For me Maurice was a legend.

Indiewire has a bit more on him here.

Hugo – directed by Martin Scorsese

With Seema away in Vancouver I decided to take a weeks leave. Now I find myself in the enviable position of being free enough to catch up on some movie watching. This weekend saw me doss down on the couch with the kids, takeaways on our laps, lights dimmed, and Hugo on the screen. I’ve been meaning to see Hugo for a while due mainly to a curiosity I have rather than anything else. I was curious to see how Martin Scorsese would handle a children’s movie.  You can read my review here.