The 2014 Cannes Film Festival began last night with one of the most panned openers in memory. Check out what critics are saying about that film and a few others that screened on the first day as well as news worth knowing from the event below.
Grace of Monaco
Nicole Kidman plays real-life actress turned princess Grace Kelly in this mostly fictional drama from Olivier Dahan, which debuted to near-unanimous thumbs down (and a dismal current score of 5% on Rotten Tomatoes).
"Even by the standards of recent Royal biopics W.E. and Diana, it’s something of a disaster," writes Oliver Lyttelton at The Playlist.
"A princess tale trumped for emotional engagement and sophistication by the likes of Frozen," adds Jason Gorber at Twitch.
But at Film School Rejects, William Goss claims that "at least it's more enjoyably florid than the featherweight hagiography of My Week with Marilyn or the self-important slog that was Dahan’s own La Vie en Rose."
Yet it does sound possibly worth seeing: "All this ridiculousness is still somewhat entertaining and watchable," argues Jordan Hoffman for Vanity Fair.
"Derek Jacobi’s whole performance [is] the gift that keeps on giving," admits Jessica Kiang in a list of unintentionaly hilarious moments for The Playlist, noting that he "really only gets a couple of distinctly Kings Speech-style montage scenes in which to make an impression, and seemingly the ormolu teapots and dandified cravats weren’t screaming 'frou-frou aristocrat' loudly enough, so he goes with... a parrot, on his shoulder, Long John Silver-style."
The one fully positive review comes from Geoffrey McNab, who gives it 4 out of 5 stars at he Independent. "This is a subtle and stylised character study... a film of considerable formal sophistication," he writes, adding that "Kidman excels."
Mike Leigh's latest, which is part of the Official Competition, is a period piece starring regular collaborator Timothy Spall as British artist JMW Turner. And as usual, the performances are notably strong.
"It's Spall's film," writes Oliver Lyttelton at the Playlist, "and he's remarkable in it, all snorts and snarls and grunts, hands often tensed into a kind of claw. There's as much animal in him as man, which only makes the beauty that comes from him the more impressive."
"Every scene in this film is expertly managed; every comic line and funny moment adroitly presented and every performance given with intelligence and love," praises Peter Bradshaw in a five-star review for The Guardian. "It is another triumph for Mike Leigh and for Timothy Spall.
Dave Calhoun also gives the film five stars at Time Out London. He calls it "an extraordinary film, all at once strange, entertaining, thoughtful and exciting."
"A perfect summation of Leigh's career," states Jordan Hoffman for Vanity Fair. "Bold, beautiful and a little cranky."
Story of Your Life - Paramount Pictures won a bidding war for Denis Villenueve's sci-fi film starring Amy Adams as a military linguist tasked with talking to alien invaders. The $20 million price tag is reportedly the new record high for Cannes.
Saint Laurent - Sony Pictures Classics picked up the in-competition biopic of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who is played by Gaspard Ulliel.
Kelly and Cal - Although not a Cannes premiere (SXSW showed it first), Jen McGowan's dramedy about a former riot grrl turned suburban mom, played by Juliette Lewis, was just announced for IFC Films as this fest began.
In the Name of My Daughter - Cohen Media Group has taken rights to Andre Techine's new drama for an early 2015 release in the U.S. The film stars Catherine Deneuve as a casino heiress who went missing in the '70s.
Elsa & Fred - Michael Radford's remake of the Spanish-language film of the same name will be put out by Millennium Entertainment. The romantic drama stars Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer as an older couple who fall in love.
The Mystery of Happiness - Another late-in-life romance movie from Argentina, this one is a comedy and was acquired by Strand Releasing.
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