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« April 2007 | Main | June 2007 »

Pet Peeves

CarltonlunchIt seems I'm in good company in my disapproval of some of my fellow international journalists who ask questions like, "Do you think Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the most promising young actors of his generation"? (an actual question asked of David Fincher during a press conference for "Zodiac").

During a press conference for "To Each His Own Cinema," and omnibus collaboration from 33 directors celebrating the 60th Cannes Film Festival, Roman Polanski reprimanded the press for their insipid questions before storming off of the stage he shared with directors like Takeshi Kitano, Atom Egoyan, Walter Selles and Lars Von Trier.

I too had stormed out of a press conference earlier in the festival when the journalist sitting beside me not only left her cell phone on, so that its ringing would disturb everyone around her when it went off, but she had the nerve to actually take the call. I stood up and gently pushed her head back from her leaned-forward position so that I could exit the isle and escape the open insult which I refused to endorse.

Simpsons Cannes is filled with faux-journalists who have no idea how to compose or deliver a question (it should be a SINGLE specific question of 20 WORDS OR LESS). And, they have no regard for when not to use cell phones. I've had to change seats twice because the person next to me seemed to be doing their taxes by texting on their phone during a screening.

Personally, I don't use a cell phone when I'm in Cannes, preferring to do my communicating by e-mail or using a phone card at a proper telephone booth.

I'd love to see all press conferences in Cannes strictly moderated to prevent run-on double questions and asinine queries that the moderator could deny so that decent questions could be posed from journalists willing to do the heavy-lifting.

Cell phones and dumb questions are two of my biggest pet peeves.

Cole Smithey on May 23, 2007 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hitting Stride at Cannes

Coleincannes2 After bumbling though the first hours of the festival, I screened writer/director Celine Sciamma's lesbian coming-of-age story "Water Lillies," about three 15 and 16 year-old French girls (two of whom swim on a synchronized swim team). Tastefully directed and poignantly written, the film perfectly captures budding sexuality among three very different girls.

In a guilty little British horror experience, I screened the BFI's remastered print of the Hammer classic "Dracula" (known in America as "The Horror of Dracula") with Christopher Lee in the title role. Delightful.

Xan Cassavettes' "Broken English" features Parker Posey's best performance to date.

Michael Moore in in the house with "Sicko." Expectations are running high.

Cole Smithey on May 18, 2007 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cole In Cannes

Coleincannes After a chilly plane ride I landed in Nice with a barrage of fellow festival goers. Premiere.com's Glenn Kenny, who has an awesome blog called "In The Company of Glenn" (http://glennkenny.premiere.com/), was kind enough to share his taxi to the croisette where I picked up my badge and multi-colored bag, which is relegated to my hotel room closet for the duration of the festival.The Cannes Bag

A long nap later, and I purchased my standard sandveech formidable and peche iced tea before seting up shop in the "Orange" wi-fi cafe. I'll have to catch Wong Kar-wai's "My Blueberry Nights" later in the festival since sleep seemed like a better idea than watching Jude Law. --update: I just talked to one of my trusted fellow critics who saw "My Blubery Nights," and he said it was very "disappointing." He said, Jude Law is terrible, Norah Jones is not very good, but Natalie Portman steals the movie.

There's buzz about a party tonight with Moby taking over DJ duties, and Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock are scheduled to be yelled at by screaming paparazzi tomorrow morning for a photo shoot for their animated movie "Bee Movie."

The mood is surprisingly somber so far, with festival workers still setting up posters and loose ends that should have been completed yesterday when the festival officially opened. But this is all nothing new. It's always like this.

This is my 7th Cannes Film Festival, my 5th in a row, and they seem to come around quicker. In homage to Roger Ebert, I've decided to identify the most absurd movie title (a little game Ebert talks about in his enjoyable book "Two Weeks In The Midday Sun'). Possible nominees so far include "Doughboy Beware!," "The Bitch's Diary," "Nanny Insanity," "Undead or Alive: A Zombedy" and the oh-so-obvious "Strictly Sexual." Uh, yeah.

Cole Smithey on May 16, 2007 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Revving Up for Cannes

My tux is packed and I’m busy front-loading my deadlines to make way for the two-week spree ahead. I’m looking forward to all of the surprises the festival has in store, and to walking up and down the croisette. Here we go!

Cole Smithey on May 12, 2007 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Collins Bar

Forget that what is now The "Collins Bar" is featured in "Taxi Driver" as a '70s Hell's Kitchen Bar, the fact that this old school "long bar" is still one of Times Square's best kept secrets is plenty of reason to pop over to 8th Avenue (close to the corner of 46th street, on the west side of the street) when you're hanging out in NYC.

Hell, Ted Rall and I had some great conversation there just a few hours ago.

Great jukebox, great bartenders and plenty of great beer - this place is my favorite bar in New York. And, without naming names, it's a regular haunt of several other well-known film critics you might overhear dispensing opinions about movies they've just seen at press screenings in the area. This place rocks!

Cole Smithey on May 4, 2007 in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Summer Predictions: Highs and Lows

Reaching For the Clouds Highs:

"Rescue Dawn" - I have high hopes for the success of Werner Herzog’s latest effort – This movie rocks!

"Knocked Up" – This one promises to be the next "40 Year-Old Virgin."

"Sicko" - Michael Moore’s new documentary promises to explode expectations with this expose on America’s fucked up health care system.

"Hostel: Part II" – Eli Roth is the heir apparent to Tarantino with his wily sense of dark humor. There’s a good reason America is obsessed with torture with the sins of you know who, if not exactly where, and Roth promises to dig right into that nightmare.

"Death At a Funeral" – This is one very funny British black comedy. Nobody does black comedy like the Brits. Hell, they invented the genre with "Kind Hearts and Coronets."

"The Simpsons Movie" – I hope this live action Simpsons romp is twice as the animated show. It will either be really great or it will really suck. I’m voting on the former.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" – Yeah, I thought director Paul Greengrass "United 93" was a steaming pile, but Tom Stoppard co-wrote the script for this intelligent action thriller. We love to see Damon kick ass quick-style.

"Ocean’s Thirteen" – Soderbergh and the boys have learned from their mistakes. I hope.

Scraping the Bottom Lows:

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" – Is this really the best thing Gary Oldman has to do with his time? Come on Gary, you’re better than this. Remember "Romeo Is Bleeding"?

"Nancy Drew" – Nothing like the books. Need I say more.

"Evan Almighty" – Just no.

"Live Free or Die Hard" – Viagra anyone?

"Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" – More Viagra for the title?

"Mr. Brooks" – One word: Costner.

"No Reservations" – No more remakes. Please.

"Hairspray" – Travolta and Latifah – Noooooooooo.

"El Cantante" – J Lo needs to not make movies with significant others. The woman just doesn’t learn from her mistakes. "Gili"

"Rush Hour 3" – Unless Chris Tucker has become a baritone – no, no and no.

Cole Smithey on May 1, 2007 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack