Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 4:14 pm 
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This year again his daily Cannes roundups/essays, "Postcards from Cannes," are on The Dissolve. I have been collating Mike D'Angelo's Cannes and Toronto tweet "reviews" for several years. This year he stopped listing "W/O's," walkouts after 40 minutes. Why I do this is obvious; he provides unique unusually thorough snapshots of the fests and though opinions differ and there are always gaps the evaluations are often very reliable and independent. I hope he does not mind my doing this.

That's it for me. Favorites: Sicario (Villeneuve; still can't believe it), Carol (Haynes), Mustang (Ergüven), My Golden Days (Desplechin).

Sicario (Villeneuve): 83. People are calling this conventional; it’s actually quite radical. I wrote some words.

Carol (Haynes): 76 Tough race for MVP among Haynes, Blanchett, Mara, Lachman, Burwell, the Clovers, and Noel Coward (for the BRIEF ENCOUNTER homage). [CAROL summary: "Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman." > Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt.

Mustang (Ergüven): 70. At first I was all Why are these 5sisters behaving like a single organism? Then I was all Ohhh. Ending wrecked me.

My Golden Years (Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse) (Desplechin): 69. [See D'Anglo's comments on The Dissolve.] "Kinda loved the Desplechin."

Green Room (Saulnier): 67. Boasts all the virtues folks claimed for BLUE ROOM [BLUE RUIN] without the accompanying idiocy. Good gory fun.

Rams (Hákonarson): 66. Easily the best movie about feuding Icelandic sheep farmers I have ever seen ever. Funniest sight gag of the fest.

Inside Out (Docter): 66. Some of the shtick gets a tad cute for my taste, but if we must have messages in cartoons, more like this please.

The Lobster (Lanthimos): 65. Struggling to find as much real-world resonance as I’d like, but this is much more DOGTOOTH than it is ALPS.

Yakuza Apocalypse (Miike): 64. Takes its time getting revved up, then hits GOZU levels of batshit insanity. Enjoy it in M. Madness, TIFFers.

Youth (Sorrentino): 63. Superb for as long as it keeps its touch light: then it starts straining for effect, and the spell is broken.

Son of Saul (Nemes): 61. Imagine if SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the greatest movie ever made, had been about Hanks trying to save one mother’s son.

The Measure of a Man (Brizé): 60. Ambitiously attempts to do TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT with a passive protag. Stacks the deck, but still potent.

Umimachi Diary (Kore-eda): 60. Extremely sentimental, even for him; needed more bite to offset the treacle. So many lovely moments, though.

Cemetery of Splendour (Joe): 58. More readily parsed and less visually ravishing than his best films. Mysterious on the surface level only. [Apichatpong Weerasethakul]

Irrational Man (Allen): 58. My favorite of the plots he recycles; shaky execution, but great fun as pure story once it kicks in. A+ Winston

Louder Than Bombs (Trier): 58. Loved the kaleidoscopic structure and disregard for tying up loose ends. Actual content less enthralling.

Trap (Mendoza): 52. Here’s an environment. Do you like my environment? Immerse yourself in the environment I offer you. That is all.

Mon roi (Maïwenn): 51. As in many dysfunctional-relationship films, the uphill part is a lot of fun, the downhill part a total drag.
Also Louis Garrel should exclusively play the funny best friend (+brother, here) for the rest of his career. He’s actually not bad at that.

One Floor Below (Muntean): 55. This felt less like Muntean to me than like CRISTI PUIU’S REAR WINDOW. Better that than Puiu’s actual films.

The Wakhan Front (Cogitore): 55. Intriguing, but never quite becomes anything more than that. Didn't need answers, exactly, but something.

The Assassin [Hou Hsiao-hsien] : 54. As usual w/Hou, I'd rather have spent 15 mins leafing thru a picture book of stills from this (stunningly gorgeous) film.

Valley of Love (Nicloux): 53. Has anyone observed that this is basically the same film as THE WAKHAN FRONT, despite no surface similarities?

Dheepan (Audiard): 50. What everyone else said about the ending that seems like it wandered in from a bad Bruce Willis movie. Damaging.

Tale of Tales (Garrone): 49. Liked one tale out of three. I think. It's hard to be sure given how poorly and pointlessly they're intercut.

Macbeth (Kurzel): 49. Maybe my love for Polanski's version (which I recently rewatched) is getting in the way? Seemed meatheaded to me.

Mountains May Depart [Jia Zhang-ke]: 47. Film Comment calls it "You had me at 'Jia Zhang-ke.'"

The Treasure (Porumboiu): 48. Like ADJECTIVE, a slow, l argely monotonous build to a final-scene "punchline." Not a mode I much enjoy.*

Chronic [Michel Franco]: 46. Or AMOUR 2: PLATONIC BOOGALOO. There’s a germ of a strong idea here, but it’s mired in pointless backstory, dumb provocation.

Love (Noé): 45. Might have worked had he been able to get Cassel, Bellucci and (say) Demoustier to do it. Even then, they’d have to improv.

In the Shadow of Women (Garrel): 44. Second film in a row where he treats infidelity as if it’s uncharted territory, unearths nothing new.

Marguerite & Julien (Donzelli): 44. Employs random gimmicks—anachronisms, frozen tableaux, &c.—to disguise its nonexistent point of view.

My Mother (Mia madre/Moretti) 41 "Meh."

The Sea of Trees (Van Sant): 37. Should be lower, but it’s so dumb that it’s kind of perversely touching. A “serious” Robin Williams film. He added this tweet: Oh, SEA OF TREES probably *is* more akin to a Nicholas Sparks flick, isn’t it? I didn’t think of that because I’ve only seen THE NOTEBOOK.

Journey to the Shore (Kurosawa): 22. The Sea of Trite. [Un Certain Regard.]

I'm running behind today, but briefly: walked out of Korean thriller THE SHAMELESS last night; meh on Moretti; kinda loved the Desplechin.

[CAROL] I guess I should throw Highsmith in there too, huh? (Oh, and for the ratings hounds: 76. Desplechin: 69. Moretti: 41.)

*Those who loved POLICE, ADJECTIVE should get excited about Porumboiu's THE TREASURE. Those who did not, however, should not.

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