Friday, 29 May 2015

REVIEW - SAN ANDREAS (BRAD PEYTON)


The problem with honest ambition can be that, in the wrong hands, you can end up with films like San Andreas as a result of it. That's not categorically a bad thing - ambition almost always pays off to one extent or another - but it is categorically never an entirely good thing. You could comment exactly the same about this film, which is supremely enjoyable, but not necessarily for the best reasons. The filmmakers aspire toward silly spectacle, and a throwback disaster movie vibe that's just about out-of-vogue enough to make it current again, in the cyclical passage of artistic trends. The only artistry on display in San Andreas is crass and perverse, though luckily that's all this film requires: the first hour's escalating surge of natural disasters on an outrageous scale (and, to a degree, into the second hour) is fantastically good fun, sprinkled with little sequences here and there of bombastic imagery and tremendous tension. This being an entirely conventional Hollywood blockbuster (studio Warner Bros. has just released Mad Max: Fury Roadthe exact opposite in those terms, so forgive them this minor regression), the film is also sprinkled with moments of sweetness and levity, because nothing better represents the destruction of an entire coastline and the deaths of many thousands of people than a bit of a lol! As the lols begin to accumulate, San Andreas loses its purpose, and succumbs to its generic structure in a manner that's only fitfully entertaining, and again you query whether or not you're enjoying it for the best reasons - the film is so naive as not to heed such meagre concerns as quality or integrity. But to what purpose could these concerns be, when we could expend our energy on watching an earthquake level the Hoover Dam, or The Rock riding a glorified dinghy over the crest of a tsunami? Or on Queen Kylie Minogue playing the bitch, quoting her own song titles with facial expressions as pinched as all that Botox will allow? An extra star for Kylie? Could it be so? Of course it could! IT'S KYLIE MINOGUE!!!!!1!1!!!!!1!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

REVIEW - ALOFT (CLAUDIA LLOSA)


The Manitoba frost tells you much of what you need to know about Aloft. It's a chilly film, its iciness punctuated by passages of warmth that feel as artificial as the old-age makeup sported by Jennifer Connelly in its final scenes. That's the kind of base emotional manipulation you don't entirely expect from this film, and which it fails to execute anyway - such is the silliness of Claudia Llosa's purpose, your bewilderment may overpower whatever qualms you have with being so blatantly emotionally controlled. It's the cool detachment that actually functions strongest, as Llosa forms a tangible connection with her environment, and encourages a similar response in her actors. The accents may be off, but there's no denying the conviction behind Jennifer Connelly's performance - one of her very best - nor even Cillian Murphy's. Murphy struggles with a character prone to melodramatic huff, and his portion of the story is thus less compelling than Connelly's, even if it's more believable. At the very least, Llosa lays off on the psychobabble - or perhaps just on subscribing to it - for much of Aloft, allowing the story and its characters to do their work without being undermined. A tendency to yield to cliche and a lack of innovation in the treatment of such material drags Aloft down though, and the film is never, not at any single point, quite the profound, affecting work it aspires to be. The crunch of ice beneath a snow boot, or the cosiness of four walls and a blanket in such bitter conditions - these are the details which this film gets right, the Manitoba atmosphere. Aloft is all atmosphere and no point.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

REVIEW - MOOMINS ON THE RIVIERA (XAVIER PICARD)


I always want to return to Moomin Valley. It's a pleasant place to spend a half hour, and an even more pleasant place to return to. Moominmamma is right: there's no place like home, yet the Riviera is perhaps an equally pleasant spot to spend a half hour, or even 80 minutes. Moomins on the Riviera is an easygoing delight, a film content enough in its character not to strain for cinematic brilliance, and entirely charming in its modesty. It rests on what laurels its mythology has established over some decades of storytelling, and thus the film is wholly original and unoriginal simultaneously - an extension of a brand, but what a singular brand this is. And what a comforting one too, even if its qualities can't offer nourishment to sustain interest over even so brief a runtime, nor to inspire the level of ecstatic wonder that the finest animations do. That comfort is invaluable, though, and it is to the benefit of Moomins on the Riviera that its writers did not seek to embellish the blueprint that history had handed them, and the film's only suggestion of theatrical polish is in its superior visuals (and even these are decidedly retro held against the majority of animated titles today). The plot is perfunctory, merely a rambling string of events designed to develop the characters in the narrow context of this episode, and a deference to convention strands those characters in the antiquated roles created for them years ago, but you didn't come for any of this, did you? You came for that ineffable Moomin essence, that indefinable spark of Moomin magic that has kept this series afloat for so long now. Once again, Moomins on the Riviera makes me want to return to Moomin Valley.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

REVIEW - POLTERGEIST (GIL KENAN)


A strange, garish horror film, at once wholly functional in some respects and wholly unconventional in others. The non-traditional approach is manifested mostly in questionable narrative diversions, though, and not in any dedication toward innovation or idiosyncrasy. In fact, Poltergeist is not dissimilar from the film that begat it, in that it eschews certain horror film cliches in favour of a more playful, child-friendly tone that befits its family focus. That sense of mischief, often shot in daylight or with harsh non-natural light, is less scary than unsettling, and Poltergeist is heavily reliant on engendering immediate spooks rather than lingering terror. It's only frightening as long as the adrenaline keeps flowing. What Gil Kenan can make of this appears in his handling of certain visual elements, specifically the film's imaginative effects. A nighttime attack on the house that is the prime location here is full of memorable imagery, and a climactic journey into a nearby dimension is so evocatively eerie you rather wish the film spent longer in this netherworld. The screenplay positions it as a vital component in a critique on American attitudes towards property and possession, particularly on society's addiction to inessential electronic devices - this is a slant that even writer David Lindsay-Abaire seems only semi-interested in, so you can hardly blame Kenan for missing it completely. It's just another suggestion of strangeness in Poltergeist, a film that craves to work as another haunted house horror film, of the sort that is currently in vogue, but that's eventually just too conventional to even compare.

Monday, 25 May 2015

REVIEW - TOMORROWLAND (BRAD BIRD)


Brad Bird is a skilled director of action, and an empathetic director of drama. He understands spatial dynamics and fluid, effective editing as keenly as he understands relationship dynamics and subtle character detail. It's a shame to see his skills exploited for such measly ends in Tomorrowland, a film whose shortcomings can neatly be attributed to its production company (Disney) and its co-writer (Damon Lindelof), though not in whole. Alas, Bird drops the ball in Tomorrowland, a film so high off its own sense of wonder that it neglects to inspire the same sense in its audience. We're firmly in post-Spielberg school here, in that Bird joins the likes of JJ Abrams and co. in self-consciously and unsuccessfully aping methods once used by Steven Spielberg. To do so is to deny one's own vision as a filmmaker, though to what extent Tomorrowland represents any particular filmmaker's vision is questionable. The film dribbles forward, with the plot generously interspersed with action scenes that display curiously little visual ingenuity and precious little propulsion - that which the film itself desperately needs, but is refused principally due to those action scenes. The film becomes a mystery adventure, in which the protagonist (a grating Britt Robertson) seems perpetually in awe... but of what? Kitschy design and passe sci-fi plotting immeasurably reduce the depth of awe that any of us might experience at, say, a space pod hurtling through dimensions. The camera is mostly trained on the actors' faces in this scene, and watching movie stars' vaguely nauseous expressions wobble left and right for an entire scene makes me wonder indeed: "I wonder why this movie got made?" I'm still wondering.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

JACQUES AUDIARD'S DHEEPAN IS SHOCK WINNER OF CANNES PALME D'OR 2015


On a slate of winners packed full of expected parties, though not all in their expected positions, and peppered with shock upsets, the greatest upset of all occurred in the greatest category of all: the Palme d'Or. Contrary to reviews declaring it to be a 'minor' work (or thereabouts) from director Jacques Audiard, his immigrant drama Dheepan took home the Cannes Film Festival's top award today, Sunday the 24th of May 2015. Audiard beat a host of acclaimed titles to the prize, many of whom were honoured in other categories. One such film was Todd Haynes' Carol, which had been predicted to at least bring home the gold for star Cate Blanchett if it failed to win any of the top awards - it did win the Best Actress prize, but not for Blanchett, as her co-star Rooney Mara shared the award with Emmanuelle Bercot, fending off the negative reports she and her film, Maiwenn's Mon Roi, received, and with a heavy oul trophy to give her extra clout. Full details of the Coen brothers' jury's decisions below, alongside Camera d'Or, Palme d'Or (Short Film) and Palme d'Or d'Honeur results below:

Palme d'Or
Dheepan (Jacques Audiard)

Grand Prix
Son of Saul (Nemes Laszlo)

Prix du Jury
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Prix de la Mise-en-Scene
Hou Hsiao Hsien (The Assassin)

Prix d'Interpretation Feminine
Emmanuelle Bercot (Mon Roi)
Rooney Mara (Carol)

Prix d'Interpretation Masculine
Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)

Prix du Scenario
Michel Franco (Chronic)

Camera d'Or
Land and Shade (Cesar Augusto Acevedo)

Palme d'Or (Short Film)
Waves '98 (Ely Dagher)

Palme d'Or d'Honeur
Agnes Varda

CANNES 2015 - CONTENDERS ALIGN AS AWARDS CEREMONY APPROACHES


Films have been showing at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for eleven days now, and awards have been rolling in for the past two. 19 films are competing for the festival's final set of awards, decided upon by Ethan and Joel Coen's jury and topping out with the prestigious Palme d'Or. Below, a brief analysis of the seven categories which the Coens and their fellow jury members are set to present later today, at the Cannes Closing Ceremony, beginning at 17:50 GMT.

Palme d'Or

The festival's top award is often handed out to one of Cannes' grandest titles, perhaps a work of particular social or artistic importance. Plenty of those in competition this year, with a variety of highly-acclaimed films vying for this prize. With consideration to the lineup of jury members this year, genre fare is expected to do well.

The Contenders: Hou Hsiao Hsien's The AssassinTodd Haynes' Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Justin Kurzel's MacbethJia Zhang Ke's Mountains May Depart, Nemes Laszlo's Son of SaulMatteo Garrone's Tale of Tales, Paolo Sorrentino's Youth


Grand Prix

In the past, the Grand Prix has gone to a wide variety of types of film. You might expect a more broadly liked, rather than loved, title than that which wins the Palme, or perhaps a film awarded more as a commendation than as a recommendation. Or perhaps this might be a more high-profile title than the Palme winner, since a less well-known film may benefit more from winning the bigger prize.

The Contenders: See above - this prize is virtually indistinguishable from the Palme d'Or, only this is the Silver, and the Palme is (literally) the Gold.


Prix du Jury

Last year there was a tie in this category: one to the youngest filmmaker in the competition (current jury member Xavier Dolan) and one to the oldest (Jean-Luc Godard). This is the perfect forum to recognise innovation or creativity, even if the film itself is somewhat lacking in comparison to the winners of the Palme and the Grand Prix.

The Contenders: Again, this award will likely be taken from the remaining films after the two above prizes have been catered to.


Uh-oh, here comes a cut! There's plenty more to read underneath it though!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

CANNES QUEER PALM GOES TO CAROL


It's the sixth year of Cannes' Queer Palm, and the winner may well be the award's most acclaimed title yet. Todd Haynes' Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, wins the award for its depiction of a gay relationship in the 1950s, between Cate Blanchett's title character and Rooney Mara's shopgirl. Despite it not actually containing any gay characters, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster receives a Special Mention.

UN CERTAIN REGARD 2015 AWARDS - RAMS WINS TOP PRIZE


A generous spreading of the wealth by Isabella Rossellini's Un Certain Regard jury, as a variety of acclaimed titles won awards for Cannes' secondary strand. Icelandic comedy Rams won the top prize, the Prix Un Certain Regard, with awards being shared across the globe, from the aforementioned Northern European island nation to India, Romania, Japan, Croatia and Iran! Full details of voting below:

Prix Un Certain Regard
Rams (Grimur Hakonarson)

Jury Prize
The High Sun (Dalibor Matanic)

Best Direction
Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Journey to the Shore)

Prix Un Certain Talent
Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure)

Special Jury Prizes for Debut Films
Masaan (Neeraj Ghaywan)
Nahid (Ida Panahandeh)

BEYOND MY GRANDFATHER ALLENDE WINS FIRST L'OEIL D'OR


The l'Oeil d'Or is a new award at Cannes, presented to the best documentary screening as a part of any of the festival's several programmes. Fourteen films competed for the award, with the winner revealed as Marcia Tambutti's Beyond My Grandfather Allende from the Directors' Fortnight stream. The runner-up was also announced: Stig Bjorkman's Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words received a Special Mention from the jury. It hails from this year's Cannes Classics stream.

ECUMENICAL PRIZE AT CANNES AWARDED TO MIA MADRE


The Ecumenical Prize at Cannes is decided upon each year by the Ecumenical Jury, a collection of Christian filmmakers, upholding a historic tradition at Cannes of honouring a film of supreme social, moral or religious conscience. This year, two of their three selections were taken from the main competition, with an Un Certain Regard title also in the mix. Their choices can be seen below:

Ecumenical Prize
Mia Madre (Nanni Moretti)

Special Mention
The Measure of a Man (Stephane Brize)
Taklub (Brillante Mendoza)

CANNES 2015 FIPRESCI PRIZES: SON OF SAUL, MASAAN, PAULINA WIN


Almost as eagerly-anticipated as the main competition jury prizes each year out of Cannes are the FIPRESCI prizes. The international critical federation hands out three official awards at each annual Cannes Film Festival, among very many others throughout the year - one for the main comp, one for Un Certain Regard and one for Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight combined. Below are their 2015 results:

In Competition
Son of Saul (Nemes Laszlo)

Un Certain Regard
Masaan (Neeraj Ghaywan)

Critics' Week / Directors' Fortnight
Paulina (Santiago Mitre)

CANNES REPORT - REVIEW ROUNDUP


Here's a handful of films which showed at Cannes 2015 and weren't featured in individual posts or in other review roundups. Many of these films are new titles from the Cannes Classics strand, most others featured in Special Screenings.

Han Jun Hee's Coin Locker Girl
Pierce Conran at Twitch
Leslie Felperin at The Hollywood Reporter

Benoit Forgeard's Gaz de France
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Renaud Fessaguet and Richard Melloul's Gerard Depardieu: Larger Than Life
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Stig Bjorkman's Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words
Deborah Young at The Hollywood Reporter

Samuel Benchetrit's Macadam Stories
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Elisabeth Kapnist's Orson Welles: Shadows & Light
Boyd van Hoeij at The Hollywood Reporter
Ben Kenigsberg at RogerEbert.com

Souleymane Cisse's Our House
Deborah Young at The Hollywood Reporter

Pavle Vuckovic's Panama
Boyd van Hoeij at The Hollywood Reporter

Emilie Brisavoine's Pauline
Boyd van Hoeij at The Hollywood Reporter

Eric Hannezo's Rabid Dogs
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna's Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans
Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter

Clara Kuperberg and Julia Kuperberg's This Is Orson Welles
Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter

Louis Garrel's Two Friends
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

CANNES REPORT - UN CERTAIN REGARD ROUNDUP


The Un Certain Regard awards at Cannes are traditionally held the evening before the main ceremony, and 2015 will continue that tradition. Isabella Rossellini's jury will choose from 19 titles - an equal number to those in the main competition - most of which have featured in individual posts here. A few haven't, though, so here's a roundup of all of the remaining Un Certain Regard screeners:

Laurent Lariviere's I Am a Soldier
Jonathan Romney at Screen Daily
Jon Frosch at The Hollywood Reporter

Nerraj Ghaywan's Masaan
Barbara Scharres at RogerEbert.com
Allan Hunter at Screen Daily

Roberto Minervini's The Other Side
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

CANNES REPORT - GUEDIGUIAN'S DON'T TELL ME THE BOY WAS MAD


A Special Screening at Cannes played host to the premiere of Robert Guediguian's Don't Tell me the Boy Was Mad. The film concerns the Armenian genocide, a fitting topic from the French-Armenian director; reviews have been fair and respectful, though not suggestive that Guediguian's latest will enjoy a significant international berth either with critics or audiences any time soon, unfortunately.

David Rooney at The Hollywood Reporter
Thomas Humphrey at Cineuropa
Andrew Pulver at The Guardian

CANNES REPORT - KURZEL'S MACBETH


Shakespeare's Macbeth isn't exactly all sunshine and roses, and thus it's somewhat fitting that the critical reaction toward Justin Kurzel's adaptation shouldn't be either. It's reportedly as brutal as one would expect a version of this play to be from the director of Snowtown; critics remark on the artistic risks of Kurzel's proposition, finding some more successful than others. There's mixed reaction on the whole toward the lead performances from Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, though most reviewers are typically impressed by the work of these two estimable actors.

Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian
David Jenkins at Little White Lies
David Sexton at Evening Standard
Guy Lodge at Variety
Leslie Felperin at The Hollywood Reporter
Robbie Collin at the Telegraph
Kaleem Aftab at IndieWire
Screen Daily

CANNES REPORT - PORUMBOIU'S THE TREASURE


Corneliu Porumboiu isn't the only Romanian New Wave filmmaker with a film in this year's Cannes selection - Radu Muntean already debuted One Floor Below in the Un Certain Regard segment, where Porumboiu's The Treasure is also showing. The film has drawn some pretty positive write-ups in from critics, who note a change of pace from the filmmaker which they broadly welcome.

Eric Kohn at IndieWire
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter
Screen Daily

CANNES REPORT - MENDOZA'S TAKLUB


Brillante Mendoza is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival, though there'll be no chance of him pulling off a shock Best Director victory in tomorrow's awards ceremony... because he won't be competing for it! His latest, Taklub, which means 'trap', screens in Un Certain Regard, and critics have responded to the Filipino auteur's bleak drama with mixed reactions. One element of the film that has united reviewers, however, is lead actor Nora Aunor's strong performances, and much of her native media has speculated regarding her shot at an award tonight. She certainly seems like the film's likeliest shot at winning any gold from Cannes.

CANNES REPORT - ZELEKE'S LAMB


Lamb is the first Ethiopian feature to screen at the Cannes Film Festival in its history. Hooray! And better still, the film has drawn some fantastic responses out of attending journalists. Showing in Un Certain Regard, reviewers note Lamb's impressive visuals and director Yared Zeleke's inherent sensitivity toward the presentation of his native land within the film. It could be a contender for awards at tonight's prize-giving ceremony.

CANNES REPORT - ABUNASSER AND ABUNASSER'S DEGRADE


Don't hate, but I'm late... Critics' Week screener Degrade focuses on a beauty parlour on the Gaza Strip, and uncomfortably straddles a line between comedy and drama, according to critics at Cannes this year. Reviews are mixed, though not particularly encouraging on the whole. The film is written and directed by brothers Arab and Tarzan Abunasser.

CANNES REPORT - JONES' HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT


Among a selection of new documentaries about film legends screening in the Cannes Classics sidebar at this year's festival is Kent Jones' Hitchcock/Truffaut. The latter filmmaker's interview series with the former's is explored here, with further interviews conducted with some of current cinema's leading figures. And critics enjoyed the result very much, noting its great potential to find an equally receptive audience among film buffs worldwide.

CANNES REPORT - PANAHANDEH'S NAHID


An Iranian socio-realist melodrama that's drawing reviews good enough to attract comparison's to 2011's Berlin Golden Bear winner, Asghar Farhadi's A Separation. Ida Panahandeh's film Nahid has shown at Cannes to excellent response from critics; the film actually stars A Separation's Sareh Bayat in its leading role, and the performances are Nahid's most valuable asset, according to reviews.

CANNES REPORT - HAKONARSON'S RAMS


Such a small country, and so isolated, yet Iceland's film production continues to impress. Grimur Hakonarson's Un Certain Regard entry Rams has screened at Cannes 2015 to some excellent, encouraging responses from critics. The film looks to have significant potential for international distribution, with the online reaction to the comedy one of the most positive of the entire Cannes Film Festival this year.

CANNES REPORT - MATANIC'S THE HIGH SUN


There's much praise coming out of Cannes for Dalibor Matanic's The High Sun. The triptych of stories is showing in the festival's Un Certain Regard segment, where it could be a strong contender for prizes tonight. The acting and visuals alike come in for particularly good write-ups, even if the structure doesn't reap equal benefits for viewers.

2015 DIRECTORS' FORTNIGHT WINNERS ANNOUNCED


The list of winners has been announced for Cannes 2015's Directors' Fortnight section, and it's a predictably faultless batch of honorees, considering the quality of this year's lineup. Prizes were distributed evenly between six different titles: three feature films and three short films. Check out all the winners below, and be sure to check these films out if they come to an arthouse near you.

SACD Prize
My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)

Europa Cinemas Label
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Erguven)

Art Cinema Award
Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra)

Illy Prize
Rate Me! (Fyzal Boulifa)

Special Mention
The Exquisit Corpus (Peter Tscherkassky)

Oceans Prize
Pape (Nicolas Polixene)

AND THE 2015 PALME DOG GOES TO...


Congratulations to Lucky! The Maltipoo from Miguel Gomes' Arabian Nights has won the 15th annual Palme Dog at the Cannes Film Festival. The extravagantly-attired cross between a Maltese terrier and a poodle won for portraying Dixie in the six-hour, three-part political epic from the Portuguese filmmaker, and follows last year's winners, the entire canine cast of Mundruczo Kornel's White God. This year's runner-up was Bob, the shepherd dog from Yorgos Lanthimos' competition title The Lobster.

CANNES REPORT - DIRECTORS' FORTNIGHT ROUNDUP


The 2015 Directors' Fortnight slate at Cannes has been very strong indeed, with many of the festival's standout features showing in the strand. Alongside high-profile defections from filmmakers Arnaud Desplechin and Miguel Gomes, there were also acclaimed titles from lesser-known ones such as Thomas Bidegain and Ciro Guerra. All of the reviews for films which didn't receive standalone posts are featured below, save those for Dope, which was sufficiently covered earlier this year in its Sundance debut.

Marcia Tambutti's Beyond My Grandfather Allende

Magnus von Horn's The Here After

Nabil Ayouch's Much Loved

Sharunas Bartas' Peace to Us in Our Dreams

Chloe Zhao's Songs My Brothers Taught Me

CANNES REPORT - FAUCON'S FATIMA


Philippe Faucon offers another alternative to the bourgeois portraits of French identity at Cannes with his new film Fatima. The immigration drama is described by critics as being moving and understated, though perhaps to a slight detriment. Alas, it looks unlikely to enable Faucon to break out on the international scene, though responses are generally fairly warm.

Friday, 22 May 2015

CANNES REPORT - FRANCO'S CHRONIC


Michel Franco is turning into something of a Cannes mainstay - his second feature, After Lucia, won the Un Certain Regard award at the festival three years ago, and his latest, Chronic, was entered into the main competition this year, albeit a little late. No doubt Thierry Fremaux is impressed with the filmmaker's stylistic similarities to another Cannes fave, Michael Haneke, and many critics are impressed with Franco too. Alas, in a clear demonstration of the selection criteria, the reviews for Chronic aren't quite as strong as those for After Lucia were, but they're generally pretty positive. In line for particular praise is lead Tim Roth, who joins a host of other strong contenders for Sunday's male acting award. An interesting detail: Roth was the president of the Un Certain Regard jury that rewarded Franco with his prize in 2012.

CANNES REPORT - MIIKE'S YAKUZA APOCALYPSE


Cannes' most acquired of acquired tastes arrives, a reminder that the festival isn't all about critic-courting arthouse austerity. Miike Takashi wasn't in attendance at the festival for the ovation that greeted his latest, Yakuza Apocalypse, since it won't be his latest for long - he's already filming another. But those who were seem to have been left delighted by the prolific filmmaker's typically gonzo action comedy... or some of them were. Reviews are as varied as the film itself, it seems, but isn't that as good a reason to seek it out as any?

CANNES REPORT - OSBORNE'S THE LITTLE PRINCE


It's one of the most hotly-anticipated films showing at Cannes this year, though as major international animated titles go, Mark Osborne's The Little Prince has taken a backseat, buzz-wise, to Pixar's Inside Out. And that secondary status holds up as reviews arrive online - there's plentiful praise for the independent feature's animation, though not quite as much for the film on the whole. It'll no doubt be a solid worldwide financial success if marketed well, regardless of the quality of reviews.

REVIEW - THE AGE OF ADALINE (LEE TOLAND KRIEGER)


You ever see a film and wonder if it only got made because the filmmakers fancied a Costume Designers Guild nomination? This one got made because they wanted three. Alas, The Age of Adaline is short on fantasy, and is hardly contemporary (its commercial banality isn't nearly as new as one often tends to think), but is wholeheartedly period in its dedication to straightforward romantic storytelling. If that means that the film misses out on dozens of ripe opportunities for idiosyncrasy and invention, it at least is able to substitute that with a romantic resolve that's very enjoyable to watch, in a wholly non-challenging way. I say 'able' because I'm not sure that director Lee Toland Krieger is 'able' to achieve both simultaneously - when The Age of Adaline is forced to spin off onto outrageous sci-fi tangents necessitated by the plot's central conceit, it does so only momentarily; much of the rest of the film feels like it's occurring in the wake of some unshakeable, fantastical event, although maybe that was just me projecting. If you can suspend your disbelief for an entire film and just look at the costumes, you'll probably find The Age of Adaline a delight... actually, given Blake Lively's anachronistic frump of a wardrobe (albeit a thoroughly chic frump), even that requires a hefty chunk of suspension too. Oh, and so does the plot, no matter whether you take it in context, with the daffy astronomical babble at either end, or just in bitesize pieces, where even then the coincidences stack up and soon reach mind-boggling heights. All as a straightforward romance, you see, because the tone here is 'restrained' and 'respectable'. Ah, ok. Put that disbelief on eternal suspension!

CANNES REPORT - NICLOUX'S VALLEY OF LOVE


Not only was Valley of Love one of the last additions to the competition lineup at Cannes this year, it's now one of the last films to show (alongside its fellow late entry, Michel Franco's Chronic). Reviewers aren't exactly in love with Guillaume Nicloux's drama, starring Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert, even if there's consistent praise through all the reports, in one form or another. In particular, the performances of the two leads, reuniting after a 35-year wait since their last pairing, Maurice Pialat's Loulou, attract admiration from critics. Still, a notable awards haul this weekend looks unlikely for the film.

CANNES REPORT - RUGELES' ALIAS MARIA


Moderate praise at Cannes for Jose Luis Rugeles second feature-length project, Alias Maria, which is screening as a part of the fest's Un Certain Regard stream. Only a few reviews have appeared online so far, despite the film's pre-existence as a theatrical release earlier this year in Colombia; critics are a little lukewarm on the film, which they generally find simplistic but inherently engaging. The bulk of the acclaim is reserved for lead Karen Torres, as a 13-year-old guerrilla coping with her pregnancy in the Colombian jungle.

PAULINA WINS CANNES CRITICS' WEEK TOP PRIZE


First awards out of Cannes come courtesy of the festival's smallest strand, the Critics' Week selection. And the choices mirror the critical acclaim bestowed upon many films in the ACID sidebar, with awards shared between a handful of well-received films. Although Cesar Augusto Acevedo's Land and Shade is the only film to win more than one award, it's Santiago Mitre's Paulina, a remake of La Patola, that claimed the Nespresso Grand Prize. The jury of five also gave prizes to short films; that jury was packed full of big names from the international arthouse scene, including jury president Ronit Elkabetz, alongside Andrea Picard, Katell Quillevere, Peter Suschitzky and Boyd van Hoeij. I'd trust their decisions, wouldn't you? Full details of their choices below:

Nespresso Grand Prize
Paulina (Santiago Mitre)

SACD Award
Land and Shade (Cesar Augusto Acevedo)

France 4 Visionary Award
Land and Shade (Cesar Augusto Acevedo)

Gan Foundation Support for Distribution
The Wakhan Front (Clement Cogitore)

Canal+ Award
Ramona (Andrei Cretulescu)

Sony CineAlta Discovery Prize
Varicella (Fulvio Risuleo)

CANNES REPORT - CRITICS' WEEK ROUNDUP


Here is a collection of reviews for the rest of the films showing in the Critics' Week sidebar at Cannes 2015. As a small, independent section of the famous festival, mostly featuring films from filmmakers in their very early years in the business, ACID generally attracts rather less attention than Cannes' other strands, though reviews for many of these films have been strong, and buzz around the filmmakers palpable.

Trey Edward Shults' Krisha

Cesar Augusto Acevedo's Land and Shade

Mathieu Vadepied's Learn By Heart
Charles Gant at Screen Daily

Santiago Mitre's Paulina

Clement Cogitore's The Wakhan Front