With the first weekend of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival behind us, there is still no easy prediction for the event's top prizes, but critics are raving about one movie seen as a very likely contender in the Best Picture Oscar race, and comedic actor Steve Carell is also receiving buzz for his dramatic turn in the same movie. Meanwhile, reviews are mixed on the new movie from David Cronenberg.
Bennett Miller (Capote; Moneyball) directed this true-crime drama starring an unrecognizable Steve Carell plus Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Reviews are positive for the movie overall, but it's Carell's Oscar-caliber performance that is really worth notice.
Jessica Kiang at The Playlist calls Carell a "revelation," adding that "it’s seldom we’ve ever witnessed such a total erasure of self in a role, and it deserves to win him everything, everywhere."
"It’s not just the physical transformation that’s so impressive," claims Ramin Setoodah at Variety. "He seems to be living the character from inside his bones... He’ll certainly be nominated."
"An astonishing and utterly unexpected serious turn," praises Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter. "You can’t take your eyes off of Carell; as if by some secret alchemy, the actor makes you believe that his character is an entirely uncharismatic man while delivering a completely charismatic performance."
"As a means of disrupting his widely accepted image as a comedian, it allows for an impressive turn filled with understated desperation and domination," writes William Goss at Film School Rejects.
"While Carell may deliver the most transformative turn here, it’s merely one of three supremely accomplished performances that connect thrillingly on-screen," says Justin Chang of Variety, adding that "Tatum delivers what is easily the most emotionally complex performance of his career."
Map to the Stars
The latest from David Cronenberg is the other Robert Pattinson movie, a twisted Hollywood satire also starring Mia Wasikowska and Julianne Moore. Critics appear to be mixed on whether it's among the filmmaker's best or worst.
Drew McWeeny at HitFix calls it "a pretty crushing disappointment," prefacing that it's at least not the worst film Cronenberg's ever made.
"A meager offering," writes Jason Gorber at Twitch. "Cronenberg is now in a phase [of] cold and dreary cinema that's as dull as it is forgettable."
But Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian considers it "a gripping and exquisitely horrible movie... a further refinement of this director's gifts for body horror and satire."
And The Telegraph's Robbie Collin gives it five stars, calling it the director's "best film at least since Spider, in 2002, and could conceivably lead to his first Palme d’Or... Cronenberg has made a film that you want to unsee – and then see and unsee again."
"It's certainly the director's most twisted, and as a consequence, most deliciously entertaining film, in quite a long while," adds Oliver Lyttelton at The Playlist.
Lion - In the second biggest deal of the fest, the Weinstein Company is paying $12 million for an Oscar-hopeful adaptation of the book A Long Way Home, which will be directed by Top of the Lake's Garth Davis. Yes, that's right, this was a deal for a film not yet made let alone screened.
Room - Another movie that hasn't been made yet, this adaptation will star Bree Larson and has just been sold to A24.
Bastille Day - And another: Focus Features picked up this terrorism-based action thriller starring Idris Elba and Adele Exarchopoulos, which begins shooting this summer.
The Coup - The Weinstein Company is also picking up this thriller starring Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan, which isn't screening in full at the fest but which has been shot and had footage to present in the Cannes market.
Reach Me - Millennium Entertainment bought U.S. rights to this Sylvester Stallone movie that was partly funded through Kickstarter, and it'll release to theaters and VOD in October.
Belle and Sebastian - Film Movement has taken U.S. rights to this French family film, a new live-action version of the classic story of a boy and his sheepdog.
Extraterrestrial - IFC Midnight will put out this sci-fi horror film that previously played the Tribeca Film Festival.
Song One - Cinedigm will put out this drama starring Anne Hathaway that previously played the Sundance Film Festival.
Gerald's Game - Oculus director Mike Flanagan will next helm his own adapation of Stephen King's 1992 novel, about a woman handcuffed to her bed with no hope for help after accidentally killing her husband during sex.
Reagan - John Malkovich has been cast as a KGB agent assigned to track Ronald Reagan as the actor enters politics and eventually becomes the president of the United States.
The Long Ships - Stellan Skarsgard will reunite with director Hans Petter Moland for this ambitious viking epic from Lars von Trier's production company Zentropa.
Emperor - Adrien Brody has been cast in the lead in this Christianity-themed period biopic as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
Bus 757 - Robert De Niro is returning to the casino biz by playing the Andy Garcia role in this movie that sounds reminiscent of the Ocean's and Fast and Furious series.
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