Cannes is in full swing and there’s plenty other stuff going on besides — way too much to cover completely. So, consider this just me hitting a very few of the highlights of the film world right this moment.
* The critical wars are going full strength at Cannes with the biggest love-it/hate-it proposition appearing to be Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Biutiful.” I haven’t seen the film, of course, but Iñárritu is most definitely my least favorite of “the three amigos” of Mexican/Spanish/U.S. cinema. (The other two being Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro) and not only because his name is the most impossible to type. I mostly liked “Amores Perros” but his “21 Grams” and “Babel” struck me as exercises in touchy-feely realism that was a lot less real than it seemed to fancy itself.
Still, he’s working with different writers now and everyone seems to agree that the always great Javier Bardem is especially fine in it, so I suppose I should keep an open mind. Still, reading about the film, it’s hard not to side with the anti-faction when much of the commentary echoes my feelings about past films and when the pro-side is being taken by Jeffrey Welles, who really doesn’t seem to respond well when other people don’t love his favorite films. It’s a conspiracy, I tells ya!
In any case, David Hudson does his usual amazing job summarizing the critical reaction from a wide swath of the press; John Horn at the L.A. Times focuses on the reactions of big name critics.
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* The weekend hasn’t even started in terms of box office reporting, but “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is already netting huge deposits for Gringott’s. Variety is estimating an “$80.1 million domestic cume” and $125.9 million worldwide. And I can remember when only geezers were named “Harry.”
* Charlie Matthau is dipping into the frequently profitable writing well of the frequently adapted author Elmore Leonard, with “Freaky Deaky.”
* Entertainment newshound Nikki Finke has a funny idea of taking a vacation, because her blog is still being updated by her rather heavily for someone whose supposed to be taking it easy (well, you don’t get that famed $14 million pay day by being all easygoing). In any case, Finke is apparently happy to sorta be called “thuggish” by business writer David Carr in the New York Times. Good article, possibly slightly inaccurate editorializing aside. Pull quote: “I’m not mean, I just write mean.”
* The same folks who gave Ms. Finke her money are doing something similar for the lighter side of the showbiz fence and have brought on mega-gossip monger Bonnie Fuller.
* Consider yourself a cinephile or film geek? Really? Well, if so, Prof. Snape has a challenge for you but beware or it might be 200 points from Gryffindor.