Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 7:36 pm 
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(Same explanation I gave in 2012.) I will update this till the festival ends 25 May 2014. Toronto will follow in four months.

Mike D'Angelo ( has covered Cannes and Toronto for at least ten years. His Twitter thumbnail reviews come out shortly after he sees each film. You find them here: He writes day-by-day Cannes reports for AV Club.

Note: 50 is average in D'Angelo's system. W/O (walkout), presumably not worth rating, but this is somewhat like grading "on a curve." He says before he gives a "W/O" rating he stays through the second reel if it's a print or 40 minutes if it's digital. What follow are exclusively D'Angelo's words copied and pasted from his Twitter stream rearranged with highest rated first.

Summary comment:
Saw one 1st-rate film in each section: 2 DAYS, 1 NIGHT (Comp); BIRD PEOPLE (UCR); TU DORS NICOLE (Fortnight); IT FOLLOWS (Critics' Week).

Not yet rated:
Leviathan (Zvyagintsev): TBD. Easily my favorite of his; good vs. great hinges on what I decide the film implies about a specific event.

Au hasard Cotillard (Dardennes): 84. These guys may yet sell me on this whole "humanism" thing.
[Actual title is Deux jours, une nuit/Two Days, One Night.]

Bird People (Ferran): 80. Hated the last three minutes (which are crucial); adored everything else. Truly extraordinary. Read nothing.

It Follows (Mitchell): 74. Superbly creepy premise packs metaphorical punch, isn't executed quite as inventively as I'd hoped. But AIIEEE!

Tu dors Nicole (Lafleur): 71. Random French-Canuck Fortnight comedy blends various influences (GHOST WORLD, F. HA) into unique sensibility.

Mr. Turner (Leigh): 68. Much more a conventional biopic than TOPSY-TURVY, but featuring the same delectable wealth of period detail.

Clouds of Sils Maria (Assayas): 67. Relentlessly brainy, to the point where it's constantly interpreting itself. Really sharp, though.

The Salvation (Levring): 65. Old-school Western, nothing special but expertly done. Eva Green makes a great scarred, pissed-off mute.

In the Name of My Daughter (Téchiné): 63. Same deal as GIRL ON THE TRAIN: Would be superb as fiction, fizzles when real-life stuff intrudes.

Force Majeure (Östlund): 63. I much prefer the version of this film where the couple can't talk about it. Sharp on masculinity, though.

The Wonders (Rohrwacher): 62. Hard to believe this is the same woman who made CORPO CELESTE. Loved everything except the "German" kid.

Wild Tales (Szifron): 62. Wish the shorts had anything in common (besides being "wild"), but they're fun. Only 1/2 have a good punchline tho.

The Salt of the Earth (Wenders & Salgado): 62. Lets the elder Salgado's photographs and V/O annotations do the work, to oft-stirring effect.

Timbuktu (Sissako): 59. Does a good job for a long while of hiding its essential nature—social-justice tract—behind loose-limbed funkiness.

Coming Home (Zhang): 58. Shamelessly melodramatic amalgam of the returning-POW movie and the amnesiac romance. Enjoyably cornball.

The Homesman (Jones): 57. Briefly thought this was making a startlingly powerful feminist statement, but false alarm. Just a buddy flick.

Love at First Fight (Cailley): 56. Starts out like a French version of a mediocre Sundance romcom, winds up somewhere (a bit) weirder.

Winter Sleep (Ceylan): 55. Epic portrait of a prick, shot in an amazing location. Admirable, w/a magnificent lead perf, but sooo grueling.

Goodbye to Language (Godard): 54. Content is his usual gobbledygook (adjust as necessary), but holy shit he found ways to give 3-D a point.

Mommy (Dolan): 54. I'd watch Anne Dorval and Suzanne Clément in anything, but this just seems like a whole lot of random thrashing.

Foxcatcher (Miller): 50. MONEYBALL appealed to me with some spiky humor, but as a straight dramatist I find Miller intensely blah.

Saint Laurent (Bonello): 49. Alas, this is in fact a biopic, albeit one with some captivating interludes. Drug-addled downhill slide a drag.

The Captive (Egoyan): 46. Art-schlock at its art-schlockiest. Structural gamesmanship compels, but when the pieces come together, ye gods.

Amour fou (Hausner): 45. I'm as indifferent to this film as its protagonists are indifferent to life itself. Looks stunning, though.

Still the Water (Kawase): 44. Remember in 2007 when I saw PARANOID PARK and SILENT LIGHT back to back? That was awesome.

That Lovely Girl (Yedaya): 43. Old-school miserablism like I haven't seen in a while. Incest/rape + bulimia + cutting + just no letup.

Footloose (Loach): 41. Features the howler of the festival: The Lithgowian priest asking "What is this obsession with pleasure?!" [Actual film title is Jimmy's Hall.]

Maps to the Stars (Cronenberg): 35. Adjust upward if you thought SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN BEVERLY HILLS was brilliant satire.

Grace of Monaco (Dahan): 33. A non-hack might've done something interesting w/ idea that "Princess of Monaco" was Kelly's greatest role.

The Self-Importance (Hazanavicius): 25. This is what happens when you validate a guy like this with Oscars & convince him he's Major. [Actual title is The Search.]

Party Girl (three young first-time directors): W/O. Chances that your mom is really fascinating enough to build a feature around: very slim.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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