Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016 Cannes Film Festival: So Far

So far, Cannes has already exposed some strengths and weaknesses within this year's film crop. The big guys have had a middling showing at best. Money Monster has gotten mixed commercial and critical reception at best, although apparently the cast does a great job, which is not surprising. Cafe Society, Woody Allen's latest also is getting middle of the road reviews, but once again, the cast is getting a lot of praise. Of the bunch, I think Kristen Stewart is the one to watch. She has really started to make a name for herself on the indie circuit, has several roles this year that could catapult her to Oscar stardom. I don't think it will be for Cafe Society if her role in Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk is as good as we think it will be, but raves here will help her along the way, like it did for Alicia Vikander. Surprisingly, of the bigger films, it is The Nice Guys, with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe is getting the best buzz. Apparently it is a riot, both leads are fantastic, and it smartly plays into its own ridiculous. It's not going to rake in Oscar nominations (although Critics Choice and Golden Globes are not out of the realm of possibility), but it should do good box office this summer. 

The best review film of the bunch so far out of the fest is probably Andrea Arnold's fourth feature American Honey starring Shia LaBeouf and newcomer Sasha Lane. A24, which had a great year last year with Ex Machina, Amy, and Room, all Oscar winning films, is going to put this out right in the thick of the fall season. However, it might be too ethereal to really land with Oscar voters. That being said, it has impressed critics, and will probably do well on the indie circuit. The doc race gets a new entry with Bright Lights about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Probably too light for the Academy, but often (20 Feet from Stardom and Amy) entertainment docs do well. Finally, Ken Loach returns with I, Daniel Blake and Park Chan-wook with The Handmaiden, both hoping to continue their streak of well-reviewed films. So far it looks good for them. 

Cannes hasn't had a huge Oscar contender year, but there are still some interesting entries left. However, the fest looks like, as always, it is going to release some interesting films into our canon this year. 

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