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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Movie news bits and pieces tonight.
* Universal may be having a bad year, but Sony is doing just fine.
* Disney has apparently ditched a McG-spearheaded sort-of prequel to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” focusing on the “origin” of Captain Nemo and his fabulous submarine, the Nautilus. Apparently, pirates on the water are better than mysterious antiheroes underneath it.
* Kim Masters introduces us to “the movie theater of the future,” which sounds an awful lot like no movie theater at all to me. With people buying fewer DVDs, I supposed it’s necessary for the studios to experiment with delivery systems and new approaches, but undercutting theater owners won’t help anyone in the long run. The focus should be largely on making moviegoing better, cheaper (or at least providing more value), and more of an event for filmgoers of all ages — while also maybe utilizing our enormous numbers of screens to offer more choices. Just a thought.
* Have you ever heard of fifties B-movie and sixties TV director Paul Wendkos? I just barely recognized the name and I’m a gigantic geek. C. Jerry Kuttner has some thoughts on his passing.
* That item above is via The Auteurs Daily and so is this item. Extreme meta and some inside baseball is involved, so caution is advised. So, was using the expression “screw-up,” a screw-up? That’s the question facing Anne Thompson who, in post I linked to and left a brief comment at last week about a new job for L.A. Weekly movie critic Scott Foundas, had in passing pretty much said that former New York Film Festival programmer Kent Jones had apparently been guilty of some sort of big mistake, with the implied result being his departure. Anyhow, Mr. Jones has friends and one of them was Manohla Dargis of the New York Times. I really don’t know any of the specifics enough to even contemplate a comment on whose right and wrong here — the ins and outs of festivals and their personnel hasn’t exactly been on my radar — but fans of excess verbiage might want to take a look at the ‘net equivalent of a non-lethal multi-car pile-up that eventually involved Mr. Foundas as well.
* Bad news for cinephiles. Edward Copeland, whose involvement in the movie-geek blogosphere predates my own and lots of others by some time, is taking a break from blogging because of health concerns. For as long as his break lasts, he will certainly be missed. Get better soon, Edward.