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The greatest favor you can do Sofia Coppola‘s “The Beguiled,” and yourself before you watch it, is to put all thoughts of Don Siegel‘s 1971 Clint Eastwood-starrer of the same name from your mind. As a standalone film, Coppola’s version abounds in pleasures: from the starry cast (at least four of whom almost coincidentally seem to be hitting their career-best strides at exactly the same moment) to Philippe Le Sourd‘s cinematography, all misty woods, dangling creepers and softly sparkling candlelit interiors. Continue reading Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Beguiled’ With Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell & Kirsten Dunst [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

Let’s go through the checklist. 1: Jane Campion is one of my favorite working filmmakers. 2: The only other time she collaborated with megastar Nicole Kidman, she made “The Portrait of a Lady” which I’ll defend to all comers as the underrated masterpiece in both women’s catalogues. 3: I’ve extolled the virtues of Elisabeth Moss as an actress so much recently (especially in relation to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and most recently for her small, terrific role in Ruben Ostlund‘s “The Square“) that I’m a little sick of hearing my own fawning praise. Continue reading Jane Campion’s ‘Top Of The Lake: China Girl’ With Elisabeth Moss & Nicole Kidman Gets Off To An Uneven Start [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

CANNES – Her fourth Oscar nomination this past January somehow an afterthought, Nicole Kidman has arrived on la croisette as, arguably, the queen of the 70th Cannes Film Festival. That may give Isabelle Huppert stans heart palpitations, but after nearly universal acclaim and an Emmy nomination in sight for her work on HBO’s “Big Little Lies” Kidman has not one, not two, but four different projects screening during the fest. Continue reading Nicole Kidman Resurgence Hits Cannes: ‘I Don’t Have To Work. I Work Because It’s My Passion’ at The Playlist.

Maybe the second or third shot in Yorgos Lanthimos‘ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is of a hospital waste bin, over which Colin Farrell, as heart surgeon Steven Murphy, peels off his bloodied latex gloves post-surgery. Now, if you hold simultaneously in your head the established ideas of the surgeon-as-God and the director-as-God, then that suggests the surgeon equates to the director, and gives us a neat metaphor: “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is Lanthimos with the gloves off, and it makes the absurd, amazing “The Lobster” seem like a warm and cuddly experience by comparison. Continue reading Yorgos Lanthimos’ Ice-Blooded, Brilliant ‘The Killing Of A Sacred Deer’ With Colin Farrell & Nicole Kidman [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

Shutting the blinds on the warmth that shined through his previous critically-lauded opus “Amour,” Austrian arthouse maestro Michael Haneke is back to doing what he does best: peeling the decadent, bourgeois layers off the European upper class to uncover its festering core full of lies, deceit and misery. The director’s immaculate compositions and sui generis brand of thematic depth suspend “Happy End” with the violent undertones of a high-strung piano wire, creating a nourishing cerebral treat that will nestles itself in the back of the mind to grow forevermore as yet another brilliant entry filmmaker’s intimidating catalog. Continue reading Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Is Austere, Darkly Comic & Stunning Cinema [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

One thing that non-Cannesgoers might not realize about this crazy festival is that underlying the stew of emotions served up by the programming, the one constant is guilt: every moment not spent either watching a film or writing about a film comes freighted with a low-level background hum of remorse, with a side order of vertiginous FOMO. But this year I’ve tried to come to terms with my inability to bilocate, and to explore just a few of the other experiences the festival has to offer. Continue reading The First 3 Days: Iñarritu Goes VR, Focus Features Tease And More [Cannes Report] at The Playlist.

If he hadn’t already laid claim to the title of king of the cringe-inducing confrontation and nabob of the nervous laugh with the withering “Force Majeure,” Ruben Östlund truly anoints himself with “The Square,” an excoriating razor-burn of a movie that deploys drollery like an instrument of torture. Broadening out his canvas from the family dynamics of his previous avalanche movie before slashing it to similarly precise shreds, “The Square” is made up of dozens of scenes of such perfect, short-story polish and bite that it almost feels like a vignette anthology rather than a feature. Continue reading Ruben Östlund’s Smart, Sharp, Deliciously Uncomfortable ‘The Square’ [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

The pantheon of crushingly lovable cinematic creatures needs to clear a very large alcove, and lay on a good supply of fresh persimmons, for Bong Joon Ho‘s Okja, the eponymous, enormous, hippo-like “superpig” whose covalent bond with her human best friend could pulverize the hardest of hearts. This is the visionary, genre-bending Korean director’s most broadly accessible film ever, not just because it’s largely in English, and not just because its so full of fun and mischief and adventure. Continue reading Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Okja’ Is A Gorgeous, Galumphing Big-Screen Triumph [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

CANNES – It was quite a Friday debut for Boon Jong-ho’s “Okja,” one of two Netflix titles that have been at a center of controversy over the fact neither  title will be released in French cinemas despite being selected for competition at the 70th Festival de Cannes  (the other being Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories”). As expected, much of the European media booed when the Netflix title card appeared before the film at its first press screening, but things didn’t die down when the film began.  Continue reading ‘Okja’s’ Tilda Swinton Says ‘We Didn’t Come Here For Prizes’ As Cannes Netflix Controversy Continues at The Playlist.

CANNES — Twenty-two years. That’s how long it’s been since Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore first worked together in the now-indie-classic “Safe.” The pair reunited to spectacular effect in “Far From Heaven,” and Moore had a small supporting role in Haynes’ massive ensemble piece “I’m Not There.” Now, they’re back together once more in the feature film adaptation of Brian Selznick‘s “Wonderstruck,” which premiered at the 70th Cannes Film Festival on Thursday. Continue reading Todd Haynes Talks Working With His “Creative Soulmate” Julianne Moore & More [Cannes] at The Playlist.