A few days into the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, we have another big disappointment but also an out-of-nowhere favorite among the competition titles. Also, an anticipated sequel gets raves, as does Robert Pattinson.
Atom Egoyan's latest stars Ryan Reynolds as a man whose daughter has been abducted, and it seems to be another dud from the once-great Canadian auteur.
At Vanity Fair, Jordan Hoffman calls it a "weird disappointment that’s painfully reminiscent of his earlier, better work."
"May be his worst film," claims David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter. "There's no evidence of a personal investment in any of the characters or in the standard-issue dramatic themes, despite echoes of his earlier work."
"A further retreat from whatever gifts once made him a filmmaker worth our attention," adds Drew McWeeny at HitFix, "and it left me wondering if we'll ever see that guy again."
"So misjudged from start to finish it feels like a terrible dream," writes Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian.
But there's always one who's not like the others: "Egoyan’s best film for a very long time," proclaims Robbie Collin at The Telegraph. "A welcome return to the form of The Sweet Hereafter."
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The animated sequel we're all looking forward to this summer sounds like it satisfies expectations.
"This is how franchises are supposed to work," raves Drew McWeeny at HitFix. "A well-told story with characters worth our time and attention, set in a world that is rich with possibility."
Peter Debruge of Variety concurs, calling it "DreamWorks Animation’s strongest sequel yet — one that breathes fresh fire into the franchise, instead of merely rehashing the original."
However, The Playlist's Oliver Lyttelton says it won't disappoint fans of the original, but "It's just a shame that it doesn't quite have the same beating heart as its predecessor."
Pedro Almodovar produced this portmanteau film from director Damian Szifron, and it looks like it's going to be one of the big hits of the fest.
"A brilliant social satire," raves Eric Kohn of Indiewire. "the movie unfolds like a Buñuel comedy on speed, veering from one gasp-inducing instance to another."
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter calls it "a riotously funny and cathartic exorcism of the frustrations of contemporary life."
"A terrific film and a real find in Cannes," writes Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian.
"For pure viewing pleasure, the one wild card in the Cannes competition this year is unlikely to be beaten," adds Jay Weissberg at Variety.
David Michod's follow-up to Animal Kingdom is a postapocalyptic thriller starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, and it's been receiving mixed reviews.
Scott Foundas at Variety says the film "has a desolate beauty all its own, and a career-redefining performance by Robert Pattinson."
Drew McWeeny of HitFix has this to say about the former Edward Cullen: "While I'm not crazy about the film as a whole, if Pattinson keeps making choices like this... there may actually be a future for him where people are genuinely shocked to learn that he starred in the Twilight movies."
"Underwhelming" is what The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw calls it. "After a terrific start, the film begins to meander, to lose its way, and its grip."
The Blue Room - Actor Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace) directs this mystery film, which has been picked up by Sundance Selects.
Nightcrawlers - Open Road won the latest bidding war, taking rights to this crime journalism drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal for $4.5 million.
Wild Tales - Sony Pictures Classics has acquired this Argentinian film, raves for which can be found above.
The Captive - A24 has acquired the Atom Egoyan film, pans for which can be found above.
Son of a Gun - This Australian crime thriller starring Ewan McGregor has also gone to A24 in a partnership with DirecTV.
Sing Street - An Irish high school musical from Once director John Carney sold to the Weinstein Company for about $3 million.
Stations of the Cross - This German religious drama, which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, will be distributed by Film Movement in 2015.
Dark Blood - River Phoenix's final film has finally found a U.S. distributor after 20 years, with Lionsgate planning a VOD release.
Dior And I - Entertainment One picked up distribution for this fashion documentary that was also at Tribeca.
Beautiful Jim Key - Morgan Freeman will star in this true story about an ex-slave who trains a horse to read, spell and do math.
Kidnap - Halle Berry will become the female Liam Neeson for this action movie about a woman out to rescue her abducted son.
You Shall Know Our Velocity - Daniel Radcliffe will star as one of two young men on a trip to deliver a friend's ashes to the Great Pyramids in this adaptation of a Dave Eggers book.
The Yellow Birds - Tye Sheridan is growing up and joining the army/cast for this Iraq War drama, which also now stars Will Poulter (Son of Rambow) and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Hunters - John Moore (A Good Day to Die Hard) will direct the adaptation of this novel about a billionaire's mission to find a lost treasure.
Christ The Lord - Anne Rice's novel about a young Jesus is officially set for an adaptation from Passion of the Christ producer Enzo Sisti.
One - Djimon Hounsou and Alexis Knapp have been cast as the leads in this postapocalyptic action movie about separated racial groups trying to be the future of humanity.
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