12 items from 2016
Were ever words on screen more deserving of groans than the fatal “based on a true story”? To be fair to novice helmer Stéphanie Di Giusto, she acknowledges she took some licenses with dancer Loïe Fuller’s biography, but then why bother with the “based on” line when nearly all of “The Dancer” deviates so wildly from the truth? More problematic, even if we accept the film as pure fiction, is its pedestrian construction and ill-conceived script, unlikely to spark interest in one of the most innovative and influential performers of the last century and a quarter. Its $9 million budget was a lot of dough for main producer Alain Attal to round up, though perhaps Euro play might see respectable returns.
Di Giusto claims “almost no one” remembers Fuller, though ask anyone remotely familiar with dance history, film history and the Belle Époque, and they’ll all be able to »
- Jay Weissberg
Lily-Rose Depp popped up at the photocall for her film La Danseuse at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. The 16-year-old model and actress struck a series of poses in a cozy Chanel hoodie and shorts set and linked up with her costars Mélanie Thierry, Gaspard Ulliel, and Kristen Stewart's ex-girlfriend Soko. Lily-Rose plays the role of famed dancer Isadora Duncan in the 19th century drama, and looked every bit the burgeoning movie star when she arrived on the red carpet for the big premiere later that evening. Also on hand for the fun in Cannes is Lily-Rose's mom, Vanessa Paradis; the French native is one of this year's jury members at the festival along with Kirsten Dunst, Donald Sutherland, and Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Vanessa and Lily-Rose have yet to hit the red carpet together this week, but how stunningly similar the teenager looks to her mom is »
- Brittney Stephens
Exclusive: Stéphanie Di Giusto’s The Dancer premieres in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard tomorrow with stars Soko, Gaspard Ulliel, Mélanie Thierry and Lily-Rose Depp in town. Above is a clip from the film which is Di Giusto’s feature debut. It’s inspired by the story of Loie Fuller, an American dancer who was one of the pioneers of the modern dance movement. Played by breakout Soko, she invented the Serpentine Dance. Born in the midwest, nothing in Fuller’s background destined… »
Here are the hottest titles to look out for on the 2016 Cannes Film Festival market.
Director: Michael Cuesta
Key Cast: Michael Keaton
Plot: Spy thriller based on Vince Flynn’s blockbuster books.
Sales: Lionsgate Intl.
Plot: Determined to fit in, an immigrant teen facing racism and bullying joins his high school wrestling team and against all odds, leads his team to the state championships.
Sales: Radiant Films Intl.
Director: Trish Sie
Key cast: Maddie Hasson,
Plot: Based on the popular Ya novel “Anna Dressed in Blood.”
Sales: The Solution Entertainment Group (intl.)
Key cast: Clive Owen, »
- Variety Staff
Lily-Rose Depp isn't your average 16-year-old. With a Chanel contract, a film selected for this year's Cannes Film Festival, and 1.4 million (and growing) Instagram followers, the daughter of Johnny Depp and French star Vanessa Paradis has just added a Vanity Fair cover to her burgeoning résumé. Appearing in the latest issue of the glossy's French edition, the "icon in the making," as Vanity Fair France dubbed her, says she's plunged head-first into French cinema after tenuous steps in two Kevin Smith films"For me, it's simple: I like to act," she tells the magazine. "It frees me. I want to make it my craft. »
- Peter Mikelbank
How acclaimed filmmaker Denys Arcand went from earning an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of “The Barbarian Invasions” to writing the truly execrable script for “An Eye for Beauty” is an even greater mystery than what drives his characters to make their oft illogical decisions. Instead of a relationship drama, the film works better as a 100-minute ad for Canadian travel or the benefits of competitive sports for adults. Its failure to succeed on any level but the visual is all the more puzzling due to its provenance from a celebrated director with decades of experience. Read More: Exclusive: U.S. Trailer And Poster For Denys Arcand's 'An Eye For Beauty' At the shallow heart of “An Eye for Beauty” is Luc (Éric Bruneau), a talented architect who is married to athletic beauty Stéphanie (Mélanie Thierry). The couple has a stunning home on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, »
- Kimber Myers
Oscar nominated and Cannes Film Festival prize winning filmmaker Denys Arcand is a Canadian director who has been behind acclaimed pictures like "The Barbarian Invasions," "Jesus Of Montreal," and "The Decline Of The American Empire." And the latest from the auteur is "An Eye For Beauty," which is now landing stateside thanks to Monument Releasing and today we have the exclusive U.S. trailer for the film. Starring Éric Bruneau, Mélanie Thierry, Melanie Merkosky, Marie-José Croze, Mathieu Quesnel, and Geneviéve Boivin-Roussy, the story follows a young man whose affair threatens to unravel his marriage and professional life. Here's the official synopsis: Luc is a brilliant young architect with a budding reputation. Opinionated, charming, and confident, he lives with his beautiful wife in the stunning countryside of Quebec. Luc's seemingly-perfect life begins to fall apart however when he meets and falls for »
- Edward Davis
[Editor's Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand in support of Indie Film Month. Today's pick, "Our Brand is Crisis," is available now On Demand. Need help finding a movie to watch? Let TWC find the best fit for your mood here.] In "A Perfect Day," a wartime drama unfolds between a group of aid workers and A-listers, all working to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone. Read More: Watch: New U.S. Trailer For ‘A Perfect Day’ Starring Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko, And Melanie Thierry Tim Robbins and Benicio Del Toro star alongside each other in Fernando León de Aranoa's gritty tale of bureaucratic crises. Set in the Balkins in 1995, the characters try to remove a dead body from a well in order to protect the local water supply from contamination, but soon run into moral complications along the way. "A Perfect Day" »
- Bryn Gelbart
All’s Well, End’s Well: Leon de Aranoa’s Benevolent English Debut
Fernando Leon de Aranoa makes his English language debut with A Perfect Day, a period comedy set in the mid 90’s about a group of aid workers doing their best to assist the locals at the tail end of the Balkan War. Though this ‘war comedy’ isn’t the first of its kind (Altman’s M*A*S*H certainly comes to mind with its similar mix of self-consumed characters and melancholy apathy), the Spanish filmmaker avoids sermonizing the noble intentions of the Ngo workers in favor of realistic character tendencies. But although it avoids melodrama, the narrative languishes a bit too much on its quintet of characters, whose passions, drives, and desires tend to be relayed paralytically. As a glimpse at a particular time and place often avoided in English speaking cinematic ventures, Leon de Aranoa »
- Nicholas Bell
This compact little satire — set in 1990s Balkans — is a small, personal story about huge unfairnesses and injustices. Bleakly, bitterly, blackly funny. I’m “biast” (pro): love Benicio Del Toro and Tim Robbins
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
The title of the film is, ironically, the least ironic bit of absurdity four humanitarian aid workers confront in this bleakly bitter black comedy set in the Balkans in 1995. (One unintentional bit of bleakness: the reminder that 1995 is 20 years ago.) The three veterans — Mambrú (Benicio Del Toro: Sicario, Guardians of the Galaxy), B (Tim Robbins: Welcome to Me, Life of Crime), and Katya (Olga Kurylenko: The Water Diviner, Oblivion) — may come from very different parts of planet Earth, but they are united in their comparative privilege, relative to this one small »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Here's a fun experiment. Go to Tim Robbins' IMDb page and tally the number of action films on his resume. Notice how you can count them on one hand? That's by design. Rare among Hollywood stars, Robbins walks the walk not only in terms of his political activism but his work as a film actor as well. In short: his moral compass doesn't malfunction when a giant paycheck is put in front of him. As Robbins explained to me while promoting writer/director Fernando León de Aranoa's forthcoming Bosnian War drama A Perfect Day -- which is currently up for eight Goya Awards in Spain and co-stars Benicio Del Toro, Olga Kurylenko and Melanie Thierry -- he has a moral problem with starring in films that cater in gruesome violence as entertainment, and as a result he has turned down some presumably lucrative opportunities. "Throughout my career I've »
- Chris Eggertsen
Bad timing may harm Emmanuel Finkiel’s potent “A Decent Man,” a hard-hitting drama about a working-class French ne’er-do-well who fingers an innocent Arab guy after being stabbed. Finkiel incisively builds his lead characters, subtly developing relationships along with alienation, resentment and racism to paint a picture of an average Joe whose weaknesses are distressingly commonplace. An act of violence at the pic’s end suddenly adds a major extratextual blow likely to leave many viewers (especially French viewers) reeling. Finkiel’s project has been gestating for more than a decade and thus has no actual connection with November’s tragic Paris events, yet the mind makes inevitable parallels, and predicting how “A Decent Man” will play at home would require an impossible act of clairvoyance.
To say that the film climaxes with targeted bloodshed isn’t much of a spoiler, though reviewers and commentators will be hard pressed »
- Jay Weissberg
12 items from 2016
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