As the 2011 Cannes Film Festival begins to wind down, we have the early word on three of its most anticipated premieres.
The Movie: Drive
In Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) returns to screens with an intense and thrilling drama starring Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for a heist gone wrong. Carey Mulligan joins in on the action as Gosling's main squeeze. Release Date: September 16th, 2011
"Drive is the most commercial picture in competition at the festival, and not just because it features medium- to big-name actors (Carey Mulligan, Ryan Gosling), but also because it mines a specific grindhouse genre: Existential driving movies of the ’70s like Vanishing Point, The Driver and Two-Lane Blacktop. These types of movies are near and dear to my heart: I love watching good stunt-driving shot cleanly, but I also love the long, potentially boring stretches that fixate on the glorious averageness of the American landscape, and the way driving can be a sort of Zen activity." -- Movieline
"Drive is my favorite film out of the 21 I saw at the festival. The entire movie I kept thinking to myself that it's an 'instant classic' and by the end the only word that stood out in my mind was indeed 'flawless.' It may have a few minor dents or scratches along its exterior, but I'm giving this near-masterpiece the edge and rounding up my score, as it deserves a perfect rating. Bravo Nicolas Winding Refn, you've won me over." - First Showing
"With Ryan Gosling ably incarnating a pent-up man of few words who goes to great lengths to make one positive gesture in a rotten world, Danish wunderkind Nicolas Winding Refn has fashioned an atmospheric and engaging glorified potboiler that nonetheless seems powered by a half-empty creative tank. Not the sort of film normally seen in the competition at Cannes, this moody and bloody entry should be promotable to good box office results from both discerning and popcorn audiences come September." - The Hollywood Reporter
The Movie: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
Takashi Miike brings the first 3D film to Cannes with Hara-Kiri, a remake of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 film about a bunch of out-of-work samurais (see, the recession hits everyone!).
"Lethargically paced, visually dull and with an emphasis on drama over action, “Hara Kiri” plays like a bad Merchant Ivory film with a lot of sonorous or off-key acting building up to very little." - The Playlist
"At the end of the day, the 1962 version is the superior one, but there are some admirable things attempted here, even if they are seemingly included to intentionally halt the progression and pace of the narrative. And, unlike most of my peers, I loved the final battle scene." - Film School Rejects
"Hot off his terrific actioner "13 Assassins," Takashi Miike draws less blood from a different vein with "Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai." A formally elegant, dramatically faithful retelling of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 black-and-white classic "Harakiri," this slow-burning tragedy will disappoint auds expecting a nonstop slash-'em-up from Asian cinema's most prolific purveyor of extreme violence." - Variety
The Movie: This Must Be the Place
Remember those pics of Sean Penn dressed in drag as an Ozzy Osbourne-esque ex-rocker? They were for this movie, about a bored rocker named Cheyenne who goes out looking for the ex-Nazi who killed his father and is hiding somewhere in the US. Sounds almost too horrible to be true, but let's see what others are saying ...
"Negotiating a consistent artistic path as steadily as a drunk walking a straight line, This Must Be the Place is all over the place dramatically, tonally and thematically. In his first English-language feature, Italian writer-director Paolo Sorrentino centers on a character even stranger (and stranger looking) than the main character of his 2008 Cannes hit Il Divo -- a goth rocker who emerges from a 30-year seclusion to take an unexpected road trip. Eccentric, misguided and occasionally charming and sweet, this curiosity item with Sean Penn in one of his nuttier performances is unlikely to be embraced critically or commercially." - The Hollywood Reporter
"Sean Penn is undoubtedly funny as Cheyenne, still in the Robert Smith Cure get-up after all these years, the only concession to middle age being the reading glasses on a chain around his neck. His quavery campy voice is Truman Capote meets Boy George meets Quentin Crisp. He is living on his royalties in a mansion, watching Jamie Oliver on the TV and wondering whether to sell his Tesco shares. For all Brits, the sound of "Tesco" on Sean Penn's lips is a surreal joy." - The Guardian
"Overall the film is a surprisingly touching character piece, a portrait of a lost soul finding redemption, with heart and an abundance of humor thanks to a very clever script and the various intriguing conflicts it presents." - Film School Rejects
Are you interested in seeing any of these movies?