"Code"…something? L, we know it begins with L!
Yes, so, as has been well-reported, Cannes critics are, for the most part, not fond of Mr. Howard‘s latest effort. Still, no one (and you can see most current reviews here at Rotten Tomatoes) seems to take as much pleasure in their pan as the New York Times A.O. Scott, who’s apparently been spending his "book leave" sharpening his long knives in anticipation of applying them to Dan Brown:
To their credit the director and his screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (who collaborated with Mr. Howard on "Cinderella Man" and "A Beautiful Mind"), have streamlined Mr. Brown’s story and refrained from trying to capture his, um, prose style. "Almost inconceivably, the gun into which she was now staring was clutched in the pale hand of an enormous albino with long white hair." Such language â€” note the exquisite "almost" and the fastidious tucking of the "which" after the preposition â€” can live only on the page.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Hee.
Scott may find the film too bland to be boycott-worthy, but at the Guardian‘s Culture Vulture blog, Charlotte Higgins calls for one on the basis of good taste:
Hitherto the reaction of people who should know better is a vague shrugging of the shoulders but this will no longer do. Affirmative action is required. The Da Vinci Code in both its forms, literary (literary!) and on screen, is brain-rotting rubbish. Where is our pride? Where is our dignity? Where, dammit, is our British pluck? Confiscate this book from family and friends. Boycott, nay picket, this film. And at all costs, banish it from your brain, which was built for better things. The time has come to man the barricades.
The more press stills we see, the more we’re convinced (this might also be lack of sleep) that Paul Bettany‘s albino monk Silas is rather attractive, in a murderous religious fanatic fashion. Surely that wasn’t the filmmakers’ intent? Or was it?
No, probably not.
Of other films:
Neither the Hollywood Reporter‘s Ray Bennett (who dubs it "Atmospheric but pedestrian") nor Variety‘s Derek Elley thinks much of Ken Loach‘s "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," thought Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere calls it "the first profoundly good film"of the festival (bearing in mind that it just started) and writes that "Loach’s left-wing social realist brush has never rendered anything this stirring or flat-out masterful."
Derek Kelly at Variety is lukewarm on Lou Ye‘s "Summer Palace" ("an occasionally involving but way over-stretched tapestry that plays like a French art movie in oriental dress"), Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Reporter is fond of the film, but thinks it’s "far too long."
Of omnibus film "Paris, Je T’Aime," Bennett writes that it’s a "charming collection of vignettes," and Lisa Nesselson at Variety calls it "uneven but quite pleasant," adding that "[i]nterstitial shots of Paris and coda in which certain characters cross paths don’t add much and veer dangerously close to saccharine. But project — four years in the making –avoided most pitfalls and turned out better than average." Much what you’d expect (how could it not be uneven?)…we’re curious as to what (if anything) prompted this recent spate of multi-director anthology films, which we thought had been kicked to the curb in the 60s when everyone realize they work far better in theory than in practice.
The best part of Cannes coverage (beyond when, a week in, everyone starts getting delirious and filing stories/saying things to journalists that in retrospect are unwise) are the odd, gossipy details, like Jeffrey Wells‘ observation on the infernal Cannes press passes system:
The next level below pink is blue, and the lowest-of-the-low are the yellow passes. Richard Schickel is here doing a Cannes documentary and not a a Time critic, so he has a yellow pass. (I saw him waiting last night to see The DaVinci Code and I went over and said, "Hey, Dick…is this the pink-with-yellow-pastille line?" Schickel kind of half-scowled in his usual charming way and said, "Uhnn…no.")
Anthony Kaufman lists his "9+ Films to See at 59th Cannes."
LA Weekly‘s Scott Foundas is blogging again, and has lengthy "Code" musings.
At the Filmmaker blog, Matthew Ross has turned up a "Fast Food Nation" trailer. The film premieres tomorrow, and Janet Adamy and Richard Gibson at the Wall Street Journal report on the dozens of food trade groups prepping a media campaign against the film "to counter what one groups contends is the ‘indigestible propaganda’ [author Eric] Schlosser is spreading."
And Xan Brooks at the Guardian shares various Cannes details (including, for all who’ve been dying to know, why Tom Hanks likes Iceland) while outlining (despite the lack of Asian films at the festival in general) what he sees as increasing Chinese dominance at Cannes, and slipping in a good review of "Summer Palace."
The general consensus before last night’s screening was that a lot of the journalists would stay for the first hour and then slip away to catch the Arsenal-Barcelona cup final. But when the lights came up, two-and-a-half hours later, the auditorium was still packed to the rafters.
+ A ‘Da Vinci Code’ That Takes Longer to Watch Than Read (NY Times)
+ Code haters unite! (Guardian)
+ The Wind That Shakes the Barley (HR)
+ The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Variety)
+ The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Summer Palace (Variety)
+ Summer Palace (HR)
+ Paris, I Love You (Paris, Je t’Aime) (HR)
+ Paris je t’aime (Variety)
+ There seems to be a general downgrading of press passes this year (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ 9+ Films to See at 59th Cannes (Anthony Kaufman’s Blog)
+ So Dark the Con of Hollywood (LA Weekly)
+ FAST FOOD NATION TRAILER (Filmmaker Blog)
+ Flak Over ‘Fast Food Nation’ (Wall Street Journal)
+ Cultural revolution (Guardian)