05/23/15 12:53pm
05/23/2015 12:53 PM |


What a strange festival. From the very beginning of Cannes 2015 things have felt slightly out of whack. The press lounge was stripped of some key seating, making it even more difficult to overtake the swaths of paparazzi that defend key sections of terrain like warlords. Queues are ballooning with Bleu badges earlier and earlier. Strolling down the Croisette is like trying to maneuver a sea of drunken walkers; more than a few espressos have been felled thanks to errant elbows. It’s survival of the swiftest.

Somewhat fittingly, as extreme exhaustion sets in desperation has become a key theme in the last throes of Cannes’ festival slate. On polar opposite sides of the quality spectrum live the singularly fractured and sublime narrative of Hou Hsian-hsien’s quiet masterpiece The Assassin and two laughably self-important social critiques: Jacques Audiard’s loud misfire Dheepan and Michel Franco’s absurd and antiseptic euthanasia drama, Chronic.

Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario resides somewhere in between.


12/17/14 4:59pm
12/17/2014 4:59 PM |
Photo courtesy of Disney

Into the Woods
Directed by Rob Marshall
Opens December 25

For Stephen Sondheim obsessives, the news that his sublime 1986 musical, Into the Woods, was finally making its way to cinemas was cause for celebration and concern. Sondheim’s material typically hasn’t been treated well in movies; he’s a major theater artist whose multilayered music and lyrics somehow seem diminished on the big screen. (Search Elizabeth Taylor and A Little Night Music on YouTube for an especially horrifying example.) That Rob Marshall was helming the composer’s beloved fractured fairy tale was even more distressing; as suggested by Chicago (2002) and Nine (2009), he’s the 21st century’s answer to lifeless theater-to-film transplant Joshua Logan.