While you were outside grilling, probably see “Fast and Furious 6”, and celebrating a fun-filled Memorial Day weekend in general, an ocean away, the Cannes Film Festival wrapped up and handed out of some awards. The big winner, a three-hour drama about a relationship between two young women called “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” blew audiences away and claimed the Palme d’Or from the jury led by Steven Spielberg.
The latest effort from the Brothers Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” didn’t do so bad for itself either. The jury named the story of the 1960s folk singer as the runner up to “Blue.”
Film.com sent critic Jordan Hoffman to France to cover all of the festivities. We’ve done a quick roundup of some of the higher profile premieres.
Only God Forgives (Solo Dio perdona) – Estratto… by SpaggyPalermo
“Only God Forgives”
Only God Forgives” is slow. I don’t mean lots of slo-mo, I mean when Chang enters the room he basically floats like a ghost. Lines are delivered as if everyone is whacked-out on quaaludes, and this includes tough guys being tortured. Score: 5/10
“All Is Lost”
From bow to stern, Chandor delivers pure cinema. Thrilling and adventuresome, this is a career highlight from the uniquely sympathetic Robert Redford. I know he’s committed to the next “Captain America” film but if I were him I’d do whatever I could to wiggle out of that contract and retire on top. He’s a lock for every award imaginable, but more than that he’s a symbol for the enduring spirit of will under harsh, unendurable circumstances. Score: 9.1/10
Well, “Nebraska” still has much merit, but for Payne it is a little underwhelming. (For what it’s worth, though, Taylor’s other work includes “We Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry,” so this is definitely a two-way partnership.) It’s not just that this is a small film, it is a slight film, and a little hard to fully embrace. There’s an essence of falseness around the characters and the scenario, and the lack of full-throated bite holds it back from being harsh satire. There are some laughs – and a few moments worthy of tears – but there’s a breaking point of believability in here somewhere that keeps “Nebraska” merely good as opposed to great. Score: 6.9/10
“Only Lovers Left Alive” is, in my opinion, the next great midnight classic. Much like its characters, it has no business being out in the daylight. It is hazy and dreamy and if you fall asleep for a few minutes here and there that’s totally fine – perhaps even preferable. Jarmusch’s last film “The Limits Of Control” failed to connect with many people (though I loved it) and this one ought to be much more of a crowd pleaser. For the right crowd, that is. Not the zombies. Score: 9.2/10
Listen, I don’t know if he’s on to anything, but there’s no doubt that seeing Adele and Emma in love – and in the act of making love – as presented by Kechiche and these two actors is something special, not just titillation. If your prudish hangups or need to cry foul over perceived exploitation prevent you from seeing that, you won’t like this movie. Which at least may save you from having your heart ripped out and stomped on at the end. “Blue Is The Warmest Color” at three hours long still but scratches the surface of this love story. The running time in your head after, well, let’s check in with one another for closure in a few years. Score: 9.6/10
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
Despite some ambiguity, this is not “A Serious Man.” This is far and away the most straightforward thing the Coens have ever done. There’s very little of their trickster-ish ways, either in the story or the dialogue. (There are quotables, don’t get me wrong, but by Coens standards very few.) It’s a character piece, and one of the best, and most understated, movies I’ve ever seen about the grieving process. Score: 9.5/10