58 posts categorized "Cannes Film Festival"

December 08, 2023

MAY DECEMBER — CANNES 2023

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.ColeSmithey.comThis ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

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ColeSmithey.comTodd Haynes has crafted the best movie of 2023.

Working from a flawless script by wife/husband screenwriting team of Samy Burch and Alex Machanik, Haynes deftly allows narrative resonance to expand in the mind of the viewer.

"May December" firmly establishes Todd Haynes as one of America's finest filmmakers. If there was ever any doubt that Todd Haynes is the heir apparent to the likes of Martin Scorsese, here is the proof.

Mind-blowing.

ColeSmithey.com

Using the story of convicted pedophile Mary Kay Letourneau as their inspiration, the screenwriters create a complex nesting doll story that addresses American society at its core. The experience is unforgettable, and profound.

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Natalie Portman portrays Elizabeth Berry, a B-list (Method) actress tasked with visiting ex-convict Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) at her home in Savannah, Georgia to prepare for her portrayal of Gracie in an upcoming movie.

ColeSmithey.com

Since her release from prison, Gracie has married Joe (Charles Melton), the boy she seduced when she was 36, and he was 13 years-old at the pet store where they both worked. A high school graduation party for the couple's twin girls coincides with Elizabeth's unethical mission of sense memory discovery. Gracie and Elizabeth are both emotional vampires, playing for keeps.

Each leaves behind a traumatic trail of misery in their wake.

ColeSmithey.com

What follows is a nuanced study in coldhearted narcissism, where victims continue to be victimized, and opportunists get their hands sticky by association.

ColeSmithey.com

Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore equally deliver tour de force performances that match relative newcomer Charles Melton's empathetic portrayal of Joe, this movie's troubled protagonist.

ColeSmithey.com

If ever there was, or is, a filmic antidote to the corporate gaslighting garbage that a movie such as "Barbie" represents, "May December" is it.

ColeSmithey.com

Prepare to be transformed.

Rated R. 117 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 11, 2019

PARASITE — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

Welcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

ColeSmithey.com

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comCannes film festival favorite Bong Joon-ho (“The Host” and “Mother”) is a gifted Korean satirist with an international sensibility for the many ways that capitalist oppression operates against citizens.

You don’t need to know a thing about the social mores of South Korea to empathize with a lower class family infiltrating a wealthy family’s home in the guise of private tutors, a personal driver, and a maid.

This is a familial interloper movie on a Robert Altman narrative scale.

ColeSmithey.com

If Americans feign condescension for welfare recipients, that knee-jerk class-aware prejudice is indisputably promoted through our capitalist propaganda that runs the gambit from movies, commercials, podcasts, news broadcasts, and from the oh-so-vocal (if inarticulate) editorial voices played on radio stations and online.

ColeSmithey.com

If there’s one thing the filmmakers here know, it’s that you can never underestimate people in control of their own minds. So it is that our entrepreneurial family of domestic interlopers make do in their ghetto basement hovel by folding pizza boxes to make their daily living. The Kim family fight an ongoing battle with bums who pee in their window sills. Yelling isn’t always the best option.

ColeSmithey.com

The family’s son Kim Ki-woo (persuasively played by Woo-sik Choi) learns from his college student pal about a family named Park in need of an English tutor for their teenage daughter Da-Hye (Jung Ziso). Ki-woo’s sister Kim Ki-jung (So-dam Park) employs advanced computer graphic skills to create a fake college diploma to assist in his job quest. Dog eat dog social-climbing strategies take hold. Behavioral skills are honed to a diamond edge as the Kim family work their way into the Park family household one by one. 

ColeSmithey.com

Bong Joon-ho deftly shifts perspectives between the characters, enabling the audience to digest the story’s themes of alienation with different motivations in mind. Some are more noble than others. “Parasite” is an evocative title for an onion-layered filmic essay about our (humanity’s) place in social systems that reward corruption and punish poverty in not so equal measure. Every house holds secrets that can send the whole thing crashing down at any moment. If you come out of this movie thinking that the capitalist system is the invisible parasite of the story, you just might be on to something.   

ColeSmithey.com

"Parasite" is a loving homage to interloper films such as Claude Chabrol's elegant "La Cérémonie" and Fred Schepisi's terrific adaptation of "Six Degrees of Separation." Suspense, danger, and humor are equal parts of the equation. No wonder "Parasite" won the 2019 Palme d'Or at Cannes, the film clearly deserved the honor.

Rated R. 132 mins.

5 Stars ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.com

 

April 12, 2019

THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE — CANNES 2018

Welcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. ColeSmithey.com

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comAfter decades of trying to make this movie, Terry Gilliam has done it. Sadly, it isn’t any good. All of our worst fears, about how Gilliam might inject some sorely needed filmic depth into Miguel de Cervantes’s famously shallow if picaresque novel, are proven just. Here is a movie in search of a story.

The 1605 source material might have inspired authors such as Alexandre Dumas and Mark Twain to write such gems as “The Three Musketeers” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” but Gilliam has lost the thread if he ever even had it.

ColeSmithey.com

My suspicion is that Gilliam never did have a grip on a story most famous for having its hero tilting at windmills with a jousting pole from atop his horse. It’s a slapstick image that spells deadly trouble for horse and man alike.

ColeSmithey.com

The hook of the book is that society is all wrong; only individuals willing to throw social mores out with the bath water, are able to realize the pure sense of freedom that nature intended. Good luck trying to cozy up to that principal watching “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.”

ColeSmithey.com

Billed as an adventure-comedy, this movie is a tragedy. Gilliam got it wrong from the start. Perhaps the filmmaker will learn from his mistake and a movie half as good as “The Fisher King” before his time runs out. For a self-reflexive narrative, complete with a film-within-a-film trope, the sequences don’t add up when the final credits roll. We could have at least had a sex scene. No such luck.

ColeSmithey.com

Adam Driver is squandered as Toby Grison, an ad director working on a commercial in Spain that features Don Quixote and his (frequently abused) squire (read manservant). Toby’s boss (Stellan Skarsgård) gifts the director with a VHS copy of a black and white student film Grison made (“The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”) a decade earlier. Revisiting his film sends Toby on a journey to rekindle connections with actors living in Los Sueños, a nearby Spanish town. Toby reunites with his Don Quixote (Jonathan Pryce); uninspired (would-be) comic set pieces ensue. Yawn. If only there were at least a few funny lines thrown in. Where is Mel Brooks when you need him?

ColeSmithey.com

For anyone like myself who holds Terry Gilliam in high esteem in spite of the fact that he hasn’t made a decent film since “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas” back in 1998, you will need to see this filmic atrocity for yourself. You too will know that, in the end, it was Terry Gilliam who killed Don Quixote.

Not Rated. 132 mins.

One Star

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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