Cannes

Blood and Oil

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Apple TV+

MOVIE REVIEW
Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

What Martin Scorsese has done here is nothing less than subvert his entire career. For with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” he has made a movie about the same people he has almost always made movies about – immigrants scrabbling to make a living in an unforgiving nation – but for the first time, he is not on their side. For the immigrants in this film are the white people, guests of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, the richest people per capita on earth thanks to oil on their tribal lands. These immigrants are there to get their hands on that wealth by any means necessary; and their methods are horrible, all the more so for this story being broadly true.

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Just Wandering

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Slot Machine

MOVIE REVIEW
Eureka (2023)

“Eureka” has too many ideas and no shape for them. It's especially irritating as some of the images were the strongest of the Cannes Film Festival. But images need a plot; and a plot needs structure, or at least more than this.

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A Killing Spree

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Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
The Settlers (2023)

On a windswept pampas a group of English-speaking men are building a barbed wire fence in silence, until the machinery makes an awful noise and a man lets out a scream. It was only his arm, he says from the ground, as the severed stump pulses blood and the others watch in silence. He'll be up and back at work in just a moment, if someone would bandage it. No one moves, except the overseer, a Scottish lieutenant named MacLennan (Mark Stanley), who rides up on horseback. The injured man's affirmations that he’s absolutely fine reach a higher pitch as MacLennan sighs in frustration, unholsters his gun, and shoots the injured man in the head. That's how callously death arrived for you at the turn of the last century in Tierra del Fuego, the literal end of the world.

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Out of Her Element

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Disney/Pixar

MOVIE REVIEW
Elemental (2023)

Possibly the greatest piece of recent cultural criticism was the tweet which said all Pixar movies are about whether something has feelings. Cars, toys, fish, robots, planes, rats, feelings themselves. In “Elemental,” the newest Pixar/Disney movie and the closing film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this concept is taken one further. What if the basic elements of life (air, fire, water and earth) had feelings, and furthermore what if some of those feelings were racist? This is quite an extrapolation for a kids' movie, especially one that overlooks the fact that kids having parents of different races is not remotely unusual anymore. Some really stunning visuals, a refreshing attitude to gender roles, and the first explicitly gay women in a Disney movie go some way to make up for this throwback of a concept, but it's unfortunately not enough to make the movie any good.

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Recipe for Love

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Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
The Taste of Things (2023)

“The Taste of Things” is like a tender lover, leaving you both sated and ravenous for much, much more. It is a movie about the art of cooking and how food and its preparations are a gift for those you love. It’s set in the 1890s, features a character repeatedly and sincerely called “the Napoleon of gastronomy” and deserves every single possible plaudit for how respectfully it takes the art of pleasure. Writer-director Tran Anh Hùng won the best director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which should be the first of many, many awards for this exceptional film. Everyone it goes it should be thrown a parade, followed by a feast.

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Recipe for Love

The-pot-au-feu-movie-review-juliette-binoche-benoit-magimel-la-passion-de-dodin-bouffant-cannes-film-festival
Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
The Pot-au-Feu (2023)

“The Pot-au-Feu” is like a tender lover, leaving you both sated and ravenous for much, much more. It is a movie about the art of cooking and how food and its preparations are a gift for those you love. It’s set in the 1890s, features a character repeatedly and sincerely called “the Napoleon of gastronomy” and deserves every single possible plaudit for how respectfully it takes the art of pleasure. Writer-director Tran Anh Hùng won the best director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which should be the first of many, many awards for this exceptional film. Everyone it goes it should be thrown a parade, followed by a feast.

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The Portraits of a Lady

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Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
Bonnard Pierre and Marthe (2023)

Pierre Bonnard was a leading post-impressionist painter, an artistic revolutionary who never quite achieved international fame and prominence, though he is well-known in France. Director Martin Provost, who also wrote the script with regular collaborator Marc Abdelnour, has significant previous experience in shining a light on the personal lives of underappreciated French artists. The Cannes Film Festival is the natural home for this work, a solid piece of entertainment which demonstrates that life may imitate art, but art imitates the human heart.

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Leap of Faith

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Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
The New Boy (2023)

Cate Blanchett became a global superstar so quickly after her movie debut that it’s been a very, very long time since she has played an Australian. Evidently life in lockdown had her reconsider; and she worked closely with writer-director-cinematographer Warwick Thornton to bring “The New Boy” to the screen, starting with the Cannes Film Festival. She is one of its producers, as is her husband Andrew Upton, and their daughter Edith Upton is credited as a “morale officer.” It is a showcase for herself and the 9-year-old Aswan Reid as the new boy, in a parable of religion, duty and how rules for living both create and prevent happiness. It is a strange and sad experience, and unfortunately not imaginative enough to have its desired effect.

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Before Sunrise

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Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
Strangers by Night (2023)

Longtime readers of this site will know this critic has a serious weakness for the genre of romantic comedy where the couple spend the night walking around a city, talking and getting to know each other as they explore the world instead of each other’s bodies. The previous entry in this genre was the Toronto charmer “Stay the Night,” while “Strangers by Night” is set in Paris. Its couple is older, with less reason to get together than most, but the irresistible pull between them is something the movie does a wonderful job exploring, up to a point.

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Disappearing Act

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Festival de Cannes

MOVIE REVIEW
Close Your Eyes (2023)

Victor Erice made a stone classic of Spanish cinema with “The Spirit of the Beehive” back in 1973 but in the intervening decades has made only one other feature film and one documentary, until now. After a gap of 31 years “Close Your Eyes” delighted the Cannes Film Festival with the demonstration of a master at work, telling a sad and complicated story with patience and respect, as well as plenty of nuns. The trouble is that this movie has so clearly been fretted and fussed over that it has lost the freshness and spontaneity the best cinema hopes to capture. This sense of being over-rehearsed is perhaps understandable, but unfortunate, as it prevents this good movie from being a truly great one.

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