Cannes Day 8: Defending Xavier Dolan

Gaspar Ulliel in Xavier Dolan's "It's Only the End of the World."
Gaspard Ulliel in Xavier Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World.”

I knew I’d be in the minority about French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s new film, “It’s Only the End of the World,” which premiered in competition Wednesday night.

I liked it, but it was savaged on Twitter moments after the press departed the Palais. It’s these kinds of things that are so disheartening, but part of the game these days.

What’s the movie about? A gay man returns home after a 12-year-absence to tell his mother, brother and sister that he’s going to die soon. It could be AIDS, or some other disease. It’s not specified. But the son, Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), is a successful playwright who’s gay, and it’s obvious that his brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel) is quite resentful of Louis and his success. Antoine makes tools for a living. Louis is featured in glossy magazines.

If you want to get literary, and that’s actually appropriate since the movie is adapted from a play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, it’s basically a story of The Prodigal Son who returns home but soon realizes that there’s no responsible adult parent. The father is dead. The mother (Nathalie Baye) is a kook. The older brother (Cassel) is vindictive; his wife (Marion Cotillard) is confused; and his sister Suzanne (Lea Seydoux) has never really known her brother well but is desperate to change things.

In case you didn’t notice, that’s an all-star French lineup of actors, and they’re quite good.

Most of the criticism has focused on the histrionics, the yelling, the claustrophobic scenes. But that’s typical of a play that’s being adapted into a film. (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” anyone?).

And yes, Dolan is gay, and yes, Dolan uses lots of closeups for Ulliel, whom he clearly thinks is gorgeous. But if you gotta pick a buy for closeups, you could do far worse than Ulliel. And that’s beside the point.

Here’s the deal. If you don’t think the controversial dialogue and rejection of the “prodigal son” is real, then you weren’t paying attention during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s onward. Many a “prodigal son” was rejected. And many went through this kind of scene.

So, the question is: Why are so many people hating this movie? Part of it probably has to do with Dolan’s early successes and his visual stylings. I’m sure many people will have reasoned judgments to contradict what I’ve said. That, too, is part of the game. But never underestimate envy.

Cannes Day 8: Revisiting Jim Jarmusch and a cat or dog’s death

Jim Jarmusch in Cannes. Please notice the artful placement in the lower left corner of my thumb. I'm starting a series called Charles Ealy's thumb meets famous people.
Jim Jarmusch in Cannes. Please notice the artful placement in the lower left corner of my thumb. I’m starting a series called Charles Ealy’s thumb meets famous people.

As I’ve written before, I once asked Jim Jarmusch about the notion of grace and whether Bill Murray was searching for it in “Broken Flowers.” Jarmusch replied that he didn’t believe in grace and that he stopped going to the Catholic Church when he was 12. At the time, his cat had just died, and he was mourning and asked his priest whether the cat would go to heaven. And the priest said cats didn’t have souls, infuriating Jarmusch.

I was talking to Jarmusch on Wednesday in Cannes because he has a fantastic new movie, “Paterson,” starring Adam Driver.

I explained that I realized I was probably wrong to think about Catholic notions such as grace and that I’d probably have been more correct if I’d used a Zen Buddhist term, and that’s certainly an undercurrent in “Paterson.”

This brought back memories for Jarmusch, although he said he couldn’t remember whether it was his cat or his dog that died. At any rate, he confirmed that he’s more of a Buddhist, although not a strict, practicing one.


He said he does tai chi, and that he’s currently reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead because his mother is old and ill, and he’s trying to prepare himself for her death, at least mentally.

And then he launched into a reverie about his respect for life and energy in all living things, including plants and animals, and said he thinks our big problem is that we have become to “human-centric.”

He does not, however, have a similar attitude toward inanimate objects. “I have a terrible time with them. I’m always breaking a teacup or something, and I have to stop and do tai chi so I can accept that my house is full of broken things,” he says.

He also spoke glowingly of Nellie, the English bulldog who stars in “Paterson,” saying that the initial impulse was to go with a Jack Russell terrier. “She was adorable and looking out for the film,” he says. Nellie passed away two months ago, and was in what Jarmusch considers to be a groundbreaking transgender role as Marvin in “Paterson.”

And, that folks, is the essence of Jarmusch’s droll wit.


Cannes Day 8: Five more weird moments at the festival


Julia Roberts on the red carpet in Cannes. (Getty Images)
Julia Roberts on the red carpet in Cannes. (Getty Images)

Cannes is always full of odd happenings and strange controversies. Here are few to savor:

  1. At the screening of “Carol” last year, keepers of the red carpet prevented women who were wearing flats to walk the stairs. Heels are supposed to be mandatory, and men must wear tuxes. But last year’s huff caused a couple of funny moments this year. Susan Sarandon, who is always outspoken, reportedly wore flats on her trip up the carpet. And Julia Roberts, who was here for the “Money Monster” screening, took off her heels and walked barefoot. It was probably more a matter of practicality than protest.
  2. After getting booed at a press screening of “Personal Shopper,” Kristen Stewart and director Olivier Assayas received a standing ovation at the official premiere at the Palais. Still, the jury is out on the film. Two critics, one from France’s Liberation and the other from Russia’s Afisha, gave the movie an “X,” which translates to F.
    MORE FROM CANNES: Austin director’s “Loving” takes human approach to civil rights case
  3. Lots of disputes still surround British director Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” which was shot in the U.S. and features mostly unknown actors, except for Shia LaBeouf. A Variety critic speculated that it could be a contender for the Palme d’Or. But others still dismiss the film as overlong and repetitive. It features a group of kids going around the country, selling magazine subscriptions. They have lots of sex, do a lot of drugs, and get drunk no matter the time of day. It offers a fairly dim view of young adulthood in America, And some Americans have been huffy that Arnold is misrepresenting life in the States. That’s not my concern. At nearly three hours, it’s simply too long and repetitive for me. Sasha Lane of Texas has the starring role, even though she’s a newbie to the film scene. She was reportedly discovered on a scouting trip by Arnold’s team to Panama City, Fla., during spring break.
  4. With all the glitz and glamour of the south of France, you’d think you might be able to go two weeks without thinking of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson. You’d be wrong. Robertson is in town to sell his new movie, “Torchbearer,” which had a screening in the market, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The trade daily reported that the poster for the film “shows Robertson clutching a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other, with a tagline that reads, ‘When man stops believing in God, he’ll believe in anything.’ ” He also reportedly misses Miss Kay’s cooking and predicts he’ll lose weight while here. No quiche for this dude.
  5. Since 2001, a group of dog lovers have picked the best performance by a canine in Cannes, and this year’s frontrunner is the English bulldog from Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson.” The bulldog plays a crucial role in the film’s plot and makes all sorts of weird noises throughout the movie. The dog’s name is Nellie, although he’s in a transgender male role in “Paterson.” And if the dog wins, she won’t be able to accept the honor. She died a couple of months ago, says the “Paterson” star Adam Driver. Rest in peace, Nellie.

Three essential sci-fi movies playing the Paramount this summer

So, here is the thing about the Paramount Summer Classics film series: They are all, by definition, good movies. Or at least interesting ones. But mostly extremely good ones. So there are lots to chose from.

Here is the first in an occasional series of posts exploring the Paramount offerings.

If you have never seen them in the theaters, here are three must-see science fiction films.

film_poster_1162“Metropolis” (1927, 148 min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP). Directed by Fritz Lang. There are a couple of versions of this 1927 classic. The 153 min. version hasn’t been seen since the 1920s. Various black and white (and one famously tinted and rescored version) edits floated around for years, most of them well under 100 minutes. Then, in the early 2000s, a 16mm reduction negative of the original cut was found in the archives of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Museo del Cine. Along with a few other prints, a 148 min. version was restored and debuted in 2010.

This is that version and it is essential viewing for anyone into sci-fi, film history, massive sets, Fritz Lang, pre-war German culture, class warfare, Expressionism, and robots that magically turn into beautiful ladies. July 12, 7 p.m. at the Paramount.




ThingPoster“The Thing” (1982, 109 min/color, 35mm). Directed by John Carpenter. Most remakes don’t work. This one, a reboot, as the kids say, of a 50s horror flick, is still insanely scary.  Helicopter pilot Kurt Russell heads to Antarctic research station to investigate some very weird goings on. There’s a Lovecraftian aspect to the proceedings that Carpenter explored more his literal Lovecraft adaptation “In the Mouth of Madness” in 1995. But this is the superior film and a modern classic of bone-chilling terror.  7 p.m. July 13, 9:15 p.m. July 14 at the Paramount.






2001_A_Space_Odyssey_Style_B(P) “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968, 160 min/color, 70mm) Directed by Stanley Kubrick.If you have never seen this movie on a big screen, you have never really seen it. And I am not someone who is precious about that sort of thing, but there are certain films that really do feel like different experiences projected as largely as possible. This is one of them. 7 p.m. Aug. 23, 7 p.m. Aug. 24.


The Paramount Theatre announces Summer Classic Film lineup; goes digital

It’s repertory season, also known as summer, which means the lineup for the 2016 Summer Classic film series at the Paramount and Stateside Theatres is out now.

2016 marks 41 years of Paramount’s signature classic films series, which goes from May 26 through September 4. Film tickets are on sale now at

This year, the Paramount unveils a new digital projection system, new sound system and  new screen (they will retain the capacity to screen 35mm and 70mm prints whenever available).

Before the series formally starts, look for the “Bridesmaids” Pub Run May 24. There will be booze and then a screening of Paul Feig’s modern comedy classic.

MPW-11602This year’s series once again kicks-off with Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca” as the opening night film with screenings May 26 and 27.

The popular Martinis & Manicures event returns July 10 with, as one might imagine, martinis and manicures before a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike.”

Additionally, Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam (a former Dripping Springs resident who moved to North Carolina in 2014) will return July 22 for a special screening of Austin filmmaker Andrew Bujalski’s”Computer Chess.”

There are a whole mess of anniversary screenings this year.

Look for 75th anniversary presentations of the 1941 classics “The Maltese Falcon” and “Citizen Kane” as well as the 100th anniversary of  D.W. Griffiths’ “Intolerance,” the 80th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s still-perfect “Modern Times,” and the 95th anniversary of Chaplin’s “The Kid,” which screen in a new digital restoration.

Also look for the 50th anniversary of Sergio Leone‘s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” the 20th anniversary of the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” and Baz Luhrmann’s  “Romeo + Juliet.”

The Family Film Festival series kicks off with a double feature of Joe Pytka’s “Space Jam” and Michael Pressman’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” on June 5, and a special 50th anniversary screening of Les Martinson’s “Batman: The Movie” (aka Batman ’66), July 30.

To celebrate the end of primary season, expect the Leo McCarey’s Marx brothers movie “Duck Soup,” Alan J Pakula’s “All the President’s Men,” John Fankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate” and more.

There are musicals and science-fiction, foreign films and  “Grease” sing-along. In late August, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean will be feted with screenings of Howard Hawks’ “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot,” Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden,” Nicholas Ray’s “Rebel Without a Cause” and George Stevens’ “Giant” (the latter turns 60 this year).  The Summer Classic Film Series closes Sept. 4 with “Gone with the Wind.”

There are a couple of ticketing options.

Tickets are available online, by phone, or at Paramount Box Office.  General Admission is  $12, Film Fan Admission is $7. The Film Fan program involves free admission to two member parties, reserved seating, discounted tickets and more. Full details available online at

The Flix Tix program gives you a book of 10 admissions, good in any combination to the Paramount’s Summer Classic Film Series for only $60 ($50 for Film Fans).


Here is a the full slate.  Films screening at the Paramount will be marked with a (P), while films screening at Stateside will be marked with a (S). DCP means the print is digital.


(P) “Casablanca” (1942, 102min/b&w, 35mm)  7pm Thurs 5/26, 9pm Fri 5/27.

(P) “The Maltese Falcon” (1941, 100min/b&w, DCP)  Directed by John Huston. 9pm Thurs 5/26, 7pm Fri 5/27.

(P) “The Third Man” (1949, 104min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Carol Reed. 3pm Sat 5/28, 4:15pm Sun 5/29.

(P) “Citizen Kane” (1941, 119min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Orson Welles. 5pm Sat 5/28, 2pm Sun 5/29.

(P) “The Thin Man” (1934, 93min/b&w, 35mm)  Directed by W.S. Van Dyke. 7pm Tues 5/31.

8be67ff49a859cf843760b167c5b7bc5(P) “Cabaret” (1972, 124min/color, DCP) Directed by Bob Fosse.  8:50pm Tues 5/31.

(P) “Labyrinth” (1986, 102min/color, 35mm) Directed by Jim Henson. 7pm Thurs 6/2.

(P) “Purple Rain” (1984, 111min/color, DCP) Directed by Albert Magnoli. 9pm Thurs 6/2.

(P) “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964, 94min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 7pm Fri 6/3.

(P) “The Shining” (1980, 144min/color, 35mm) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 8:55pm Fri 6/3.

(P) “Space Jam” (1996, 88min/color, DCP) Directed by Joe Pytka. 2pm Sun 6/5.

(P) “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” (1991, 90min/color, 35mm) Directed by Michael Pressman. 3:45pm Sun 6/5.

(P) “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939, 129min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Frank Capra. 7pm Tues 6/7, 8:25pm Wed 6/8.

(P) “Duck Soup” (1933, 70min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Leo McCarey. 9:25pm Tues 6/7, 7pm Wed 6/8.duck_soup_xlg

(S) “All the President’s Men” (1976, 139min/color, DCP) Directed by Alan J. Pakula. 7pm Thurs 6/9.

(P) “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962, 126min/b&w, DCP)  2:45pm Sun 6/12.

(P) “The Great Dictator” (1940, 126min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 5:05pm Sun 6/12.

(P) “Dumbo” (1941, 64min/color, DCP) Directed by Ben Sharpsteen. 1pm Sun 6/12.

(P) “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962, 123min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by John Ford. 7pm Mon 6/13, 9:15pm Tues 6/14.

(P) “The Searchers” (1956, 119min/color, 35mm) Directed by John Ford.  9:20pm Mon 6/13, 7pm Tues 6/14.

(P) “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (1966, 179min/color, DCP) Directed by Sergio Leone. 7pm Wed 6/15.

(P) “Shane” (1953, 118min/color, DCP) Directed by George Stevens. 7pm Thurs 6/16.

(P) “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by George Roy Hill.  9:15pm Thurs 6/16.

Stagecoach_US_half2(S) “Stagecoach” (1939, 96min/b&w, DCP) Directed by John Ford.  7pm Fri 6/17.

(S) “High Noon” (1952, 85min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Fred Zinnemann. 8:55pm Fri 6/17.

(S) “A Little Princess” (1995, 97min/color, digital) Directed by Alfonso Cuaron.  1pm Sat 6/18.

(S) “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975, 133min/color, DCP) Directed by Milos Forman.  3:15pm Sat 6/18, 4:35pm Sun 6/19.

(S) “A Clockwork Orange” (1971, 136min/color, DCP) Directed by Stanley Kubrick.  7pm Sat 6/18, 2pm Sun 6/19.

(P) “All About Eve” (1950, 138min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.   7pm Tues 6/21, 9:05pm Wed 6/22.full.allabouteve-24623__58879.1462509140.360.360

(P) “Double Indemnity” (1944, 107min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Billy Wilder. 9:35pm Tues Tues 6/21, 7pm Wed 6/22.

(S) “Laura” (1944, 88min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Otto Preminger. 7pm Thurs 6/23.

(S) “Fargo” (1996, 98min/color, DCP) Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. 8:45pm Thurs 6/23.

(P) “Blazing Saddles” (1974, 95min/color, DCP) 7pm Fri 6/24.

(P) “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984, 82min/color, DCP) 8:50pm Fri 6/24.

(P) “The Godfather” (1972, 177min/color, DCP)  Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.   3pm Sat 6/25.

Adventures_of_Robin_Hood_(1938) 1xs(P) “The Godfather Part II” (1974, 200min/color, DCP) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 7 pm Sat 6/25.

(P) “Ben-Hur” (1959, 212min/color, DCP) Directed by William Wyler.  3:30pm Sun 6/26.

(P) “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938, 102min/color, 35mm) Directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. 1pm Sun 6/26.

(P) “Intolerance” (1916, 170min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP) Directed by D.W. Griffith. 7pm Tues 6/28.

(P) “Modern Times” (1936, 87min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, 35mm) Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 7pm Wed 6/29.

(P) “The Kid” (1921, 53min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP) Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 8:45pm Wed 6/29.

(P) “Oklahoma!” (1955, 145min/color, DCP) Directed by Fred Zinnemann. 7pm Tues 7/5.

(P) “The King and I” (1956, 133min/color, DCP) Directed by Walter Lang. 7pm Wed 7/6.timthumb

(P) “Gigi” (1958, 115min/color, DCP) Directed by Vincente Minnelli. 7pm Thurs 7/7.

(P) “Moulin Rouge!” (2001, 127min/color, DCP) Directed by Baz Luhrmann. 9:15pm Thurs 7/7.

(P) “Dirty Dancing” (1987, 100min/color, DCP) Directed by Emile Ardolino. 7pm Fri 7/8.

(P) “Flashdance” (1983, 95min/color, 35mm) Director by Adrian Lyne 8:55pm Fri 7/8.

(P) “The Sound of Music” (1965, 174min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Wise. 3pm Sat 7/9.

(P) “Grease” (1978, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by Randal Kleiser. 7pm Sat 7/9.

(P) “Magic Mike” (2012, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by Steven Soderbergh. 2pm, 6pm Sun 7/10.

(P) “Metropolis” (1927, 148min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP) 7pm Tues 7/12.

ThingPoster(P) “The Thing” (1982, 109min/color, 35mm) Directed by John Carpenter. 7pm Wed 7/13, 9:15pm Thurs 7/14.

(P) “Blade Runner” (1982, 118min/color, DCP) Directed by Ridley Scott. 9:05pm Wed 7/13, 7pm Thurs 7/14.

(P) “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001, 228min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Jackson. 7pm Fri 7/15.

(P) “The Two Towers” (2002, 235min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Jackson. 2pm Sat 7/16.

(P) “The Return of the King” (2003, 263min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Jackson. 2pm Sun 7/17.

(P) ”Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986, 106min/color, 35mm) Directed by Woody Allen. 7pm Tues 7/19, 8:50pm Wed 7/20.

(P) “Annie Hall” (1977, 93min/color, 35mm) Directed by Woody Allen. 9:05pm Tues 7/19, 7pm Wed 7/20.

(P) “The Graduate” (1967, 106min/color, DCP) Directed by Mike Nichols. 7pm Thurs 7/21.Original_movie_poster_for_the_film_Who's_Afraid_of_Virginia_Woolf-

(P) “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, 131min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Mike Nichols. 9:05pm Thurs 7/21.

(S) “M*A*S*H” (1970, 116min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Altman. 2pm Sun 7/24

(S) “Nashville” (1975, 159min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Altman. 4:15pm Sun 7/24.

(P) “Computer Chess” (2013, 93min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Andrew Bujalski. 7pm Fri 7/22.

(P) “Adaptation” (2002, 115min/color, 35mm) Directed by Spike Jonze. 7pm Tues 7/26.

(P) “BBill_&_Tedarton Fink” (1991, 116min/color, 35mm) Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen  9:10pm Tues 7/26.

(P) “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975, 91min/color, DCP) Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. 7pm Wed 7/27, 8:45pm Thurs 7/28.

(P) “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989, 90min/color, DCP) Directed by Stephen Herek. 8:50pm Wed 7/27, 7pm Thurs 7/28.

(S) “Hoop Dreams” (1994, 172min/color, DCP) Directed by Steve James. 7pm Fri 7/29.

(P) “Batman: The Movie” (1966, 105min/color, 35mm) Directed by Leslie H. Martinson. 2pm Sat 7/30.

(P) “Goodfellas” (1990, 145min/color, DCP) Directed by Martin Scorsese. 3:30pm Sat 7/30, 6:55pm Sun 7/31.

(P) “Reservoir Dogs” (1992, 99min/color, DCP) Directed by Quentin Tarantino. 6:10pm Sat 7/30, 5pm Sun 7/31.

(P) “The Age of Innocence” (1993, 139min/color, DCP) Directed by Martin Scorsese. 7pm Tues 8/2.

(P) “Romeo + Juliet” (1996, 120min/color, DCP) Directed by Baz Luhrmann. 7pm Wed 8/3.Orlando_film_poster

(P) “Orlando” (1992, 94min/color, 35mm) Directed by Sally Potter. 9:15pm Wed 8/3.

(P) “The Italian Job” (1969, 99min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Collinson. 7pm Thurs 8/4, 9:20pm Fri 8/5.

(P) “How to Steal a Million” (1966, 123min/color, DCP) Directed by William Wyler. 8:55pm Thurs 8/4, 7pm Fri 8/5.

(P) “Aladdin” (1992, 91min/color, DCP) Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. 1pm Sat 8/6.

(P) “Jaws” (1975, 124min/color, DCP) Directed by Steven Spielberg. 3:15pm Sat 8/6, 4:30pm Sun 8/7.

(P) “Jurassic Park” (1993, 127min/color, DCP) Directed by Steven Spielberg. 5:30pm Sat 8/6, 2pm Sun 8/7.

Persona_Poster(P) “Persona” (1966, 84min/b&w/Swedish w/ English subtitles, 35mm) Directed by Ingmar Bergman. 7pm Tues 8/9.

(P) “Blow-Up” (1966, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. 8:40pm Tues 8/9.

(P) ”Beauty and the Beast” (1946, 93min/b&w/French w/ English subtitles, 35mm) Directed by Jean Cocteau.7pm Wed 8/10, 9:30pm Thurs 8/11.

(P) “The Red Shoes” (1948, 133min/color, 35mm) Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. 8:50pm Wed 8/10, 7pm Thurs 8/11.

(S) “Ran” (1985, 162min/color/Japanese w/English subtitles, DCP) Directed by Akira Kurosawa. 3:45pm Sun 8/14.

(P) “Annie” (1982, 128min/color, DCP) Directed by John Huston. 1pm Sun 8/14.

(P) “The 39 Steps” (1935, 86min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 7pm Tues 8/16, 9:15pm Wed 8/17.

(P) “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956, 120min/color, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 8:45pm Tues 8/16, 7pm Wed 8/17.

(S) “Notorious” (1946, 101min/b&w, digital) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 7:15pm Tues 8/16, 9:10 pm Wed 8/17.

(S) “The Lady Vanishes” (1938, 97min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 9:15pm Tues 8/16, 7:15 pm Wed 8/17.Strangers_on_a_Train_(film)

(P) “Strangers on a Train” (1951, 101min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 7pm Thurs 8/18, 9 pm Fri 8/19.

(P) “Suspicion” (1941, 99min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. T9:00pm Thurs 8/18, 7pm Fri 8/19.

(P) “Rear Window” (1954, 112min/color, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 4pm Sat 8/20, 4pm Sun 8/21.

(P) “Psycho” (1960, 109min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 6:05pm Sat 8/20, 2pm Sun 8/21.

(P) “Mary PoppinsIndiana_Jones_and_the_Last_Crusade_A” (1964, 140min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Stevenson. 1pm Sat 8/20.

(P) “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968, 160min/color, 70mm) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 7pm Tues 8/23, 7pm Wed 8/24.

(P) “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989, 127min/color, 70mm) Directed by Steven Spielberg. 7pm Thurs 8/25, 7pm Fri 8/26.

(P) “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962, 216min/color, 70mm) Directed by David Lean. 3pm Sat 8/27, 2pm Sun 8/28.

(P) “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953, 91min/color, DCP) Directed by Howard Hawks. 7pm Tues 8/30, 9:20pm Wed 8/31.

(P) “Some Like It Hot” (1959, 121min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Billy Wilder. 8:50pm Tues 8/30, 7pm Wed 8/31.

(P) “East of Eden” (1955, 115min/color, DCP) Directed by Elia Kazan.  7pm Thurs 9/1, 9:10pm Fri 9/2.338px-Kingkong33newposter

(P) “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955, 111min/color, DCP)  Directed by Nicholas Ray. 9:10pm Thurs 9/1, 7pm Fri 9/2.

(P) “Giant” (1956, 201min/color, DCP) Directed by George Stevens. 3:30pm Sat 9/3

(P) “King Kong” (1933, 104min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedstack. 1pm Sat 9/3.

(P) “Gone with the Wind” (1939, 238min/color, 35mm) Directed by Victor Fleming.

Cannes Day 7: Kristen Stewart and ‘Personal Shopper’


Kristen Stewart in "Personal Shopper."
Kristen Stewart in “Personal Shopper.”

Kristen Stewart has gotten a bum rap in the United States because of her role in the “Twilight” series, which wasn’t exactly Oscar material. In French director Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” she shows some of her overlooked acting talents.

It’ll be interesting to see how the movie plays in the United States. Its initial reception after the press screening on Monday night was not good. In fact, there were plenty of boos — something critics in Cannes are prone to do.

Part of that response was probably due to the ambiguity of the ending, which won’t be revealed here. But it’s safe to say that most audiences expect clear answers when watching a supposed genre horror film.

Still,  Stewart gives a fine performance as a personal shopper for a wealthy woman in Paris. There’s much more going on, however, than just buying fancy clothes and jewels. Rather, Stewart’s character is a medium who is trying to make contact with her dead twin brother, Lewis.

She’s also addicted to her iPhone. And that’s the source of much of the movie’s mastery. She gets a message from an unknown number, and the messages begin to escalate, indicating that whoever is behind those messages is tracking all of her movements.

Most of the buzz in Cannes was somewhat insipid, focusing on Stewart’s topless scene, where she tries on one of the fetishistic breastplate harnesses that she has bought for her client. (The harness is to be worn underneath a sheer black dress.)

And there are a few less-than-artful uses of CGI to indicate the presence of a ghost.

To tell you the truth, I’m still not sure what to make of the movie. My initial response was negative, but I was sleepy and not fully engaged. “Personal Shopper” probably deserves another viewing. And I suspect it might be a good candidate for Austin’s Fantastic Fest.

This is what it’s like to watch ‘Top Gun’ for the first time as a millennial

In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures, Tom Cruise is shown in a promotional image for the 1986 film, "Top Gun." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)
In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures, Tom Cruise is shown in a promotional image for the 1986 film, “Top Gun.” (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

One day in our little newsroom, my colleagues and I started talking about the movie “Top Gun.” I can’t remember how the conversation began, but the discussion grew more passionate after my co-worker and I confessed that after nearly a quarter century on Earth each, we had never taken the highway to the “Danger Zone.” I had never even seen a Tom Cruise film, a fact that emerged after a scroll through his IMDb page. Let me stress that I was surprised by how controversial this little factoid turned out to be on social media.

Conveniently enough, a few days after our lively discussion,  our fantastic movie critic Joe Gross received a copy of the 30th anniversary “Top Gun” DVD package, dropped it on my colleague Amanda O’Donnell’s desk and set us with the task of watching it together. After a couple weeks of scheduling conflicts (and lots of “You have never seen Top Gun?” remarks), we set aside a night to watch the film along some of her roommates, our fellow web desk staffers and my boyfriend. About half of the group had seen the movie before.

I think it’s important that everyone knows that my knowledge of this film comes almost 100 percent from the “I Love the ’80s” series on VH1 (RIP). This boiled down to:

  • Tom Cruise is a pilot named Maverick
  • “Danger Zone” was the soundtrack theme
  • Val Kilmer for some reason chomps his teeth at Tom Cruise
  • “Take My Breath Away” was a big hit
  • The characters play volleyball and everyone is sweaty and flexing
  • One of the pilots was named “Goose” (Anthony Edwards)

Here’s how our viewing party went:

“Cougar” was a pilot who had an episode of anxiety, and Maverick and Goose get his spot at Top Gun, which I learned was both a place and a distinction.

I probably missed something, but how did *no one* in the bar realize Maverick was trying to hit on a woman who was an instructor at Top Gun?

I just didn’t understand why Tom Cruise seemed to be the annoying class clown/guy who always made smart remarks, yet he gets rewarded. No matter: Iceman (Kilmer) will show him what’s up.

The volleyball scene … Volleyball is my absolute favorite sport to play, so I can’t blame anyone for getting sweaty. But there’s a lot of sweat, and it lasts the entirety of the movie. This scene also has a lot of not-so-subtle muscle flexing. And jeans?

As for the women of Top Gun, Kelly McGillis’ character, Charlie, is a strong, seemingly independent woman just trying to make it in a man’s world. She is too good for Maverick, and I was so over their love scene because “Take My Breath Away” had played probably 17 times leading up to it. Meg Ryan and her seriously bad hair, on the other hand, loves attention, basically shouting to everyone that Maverick has a thing for his instructor and that Goose needed to take her to bed ASAP.

Spoiler alert: Goose dies after ejecting his seat because of some risky flying, but everyone chalks it up as an accident and goes about their business while Cruise seems to brood over the loss of his buddy.

Everyone finishes Top Gun training, with Iceman taking home the trophy. From there, the pilots are put on an airship and go into battle. Maverick obviously saves the day and despite him and Iceman almost never getting along while at Top Gun, they smile and hug each other and it’s kind of beautiful in an almost-romantic-but-not-really way.

I learned there are a lot of emotional attachments to “Top Gun” from my colleagues who watched the movie when it was first released. One even said the film made him want to join the Navy.

All in all, I liked “Top Gun.” It’s extremely campy, with some odd dialogue, bad singing and lots of muscles, sweat and plane-flying.

That being said, I think I can go on without hearing “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away” ever again.



Here is the teaser poster for “Loving,” the next movie from Jeff Nichols


Here is the teaser poster for Austin director Jeff Nichols’ new film “Loving,” which premiered In Competition at the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival.  “Loving” is a look at the struggle of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), whose civil rights case, “Loving v. Virginia,” made Supreme Court history.

“Loving” will be in theaters across the country in November. Ruth Negga can also be seen in “Preacher,” which premiers Sunday on AMC.

Nichols most recent movie, “Midnight Special,” is terrific.

May “Loving” find a very different fate than its predecessor. I remain extremely cranky about how Warners rolled out “Midnight Special” and hope that it maybe makes a return to theaters in the late summer or fall, around Oscar-bat season.


Cannes Day 6: ‘Hell or High Water’ is rip-roaring West Texas crime tale

Ben Foster and Chris Pine in 'Hell or High Water.'
Ben Foster and Chris Pine in ‘Hell or High Water.’

British director David Mackenzie knows how to deliver a rip-roaring crime thriller, and he  has an ear for West Texas idioms, too.

The movie stars Chris Pine as Toby, a divorced father of two boys, who has taken care of his mother before she died. He’s a good guy, but the ranch and home had to be mortgaged to cover her care, and the “kindly” bank has set a deadline to pay off the debt. But here’s the catch: Oil companies have discovered oil on the ranch, and Toby wants to make sure he can pass the land along to his kids in a trust so that they’ll escape the family’s cycle of poverty.

Enter brother Tanner (Ben Foster), who has just gotten out of prison and is ready to help. They decide to rob various branches of the bank that holds the mortgage, then give the money back to the bank by paying off the debt.

It’s sort of like Bonnie and Clyde, but it’s a brother act. And wow, is Tanner the brother. He’s a wild man, and he’s way too eager to use a gun. Toby, meanwhile, tries to keep him in check, with little success.

Naturally, the Law has to make an entrance, as the bank robberies multiply. And that’s where Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) comes in. He’s old and wily and near retirement, and the spree of robberies gives him a chance to have a last bit of fun.

All three actors are fantastic, but Foster and Bridges have the showiest roles. Even then, they don’t own the movie. It’s pretty much stolen by a sassy waitress at a steakhouse, who asks the visiting Rangers what “they don’t want.” Turns out you’re gonna get a T-bone medium rare, and you need to decide whether you don’t want the corn or the beans. It’s hilarious. And I don’t have the name of the actress available, but she’s quite something.

The movie is scheduled to open in late summer in Austin, probably in August. It’s worth your time.

Cannes Day 6: Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson’ is a poetic ode to simple folks

Adam Driver in 'Paterson'
Adam Driver in ‘Paterson’

Jim Jarmusch, who has been to Cannes many times, just might have reached the apex of his career with the simple but moving “Paterson.”

It’s a poem with seven stanzas, taking us through the days of the week of a gentle bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver) and his eccentric wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), who live in Paterson, N.J.

Each day at 6:30 a.m., Paterson wakes up, kisses his wife and prepares for the walk to the bus terminal. He carries his lunch, which often includes one of his wife’s cupcakes, which are decorated in black and white frosting. In fact, all of the home is decorated in geometric black and white patterns.

When he’s not driving his passengers around town, he’s jotting in his notebook various poems, reflecting on such mundane matters as his preference for Ohio Blue Tip matches over those made by Diamond.

He’s also an avid fan of Paterson, N.J., poet William Carlos Williams, although most people in town much prefer to honor actor/comedian and Paterson native Lou Costello.

MORE FROM CANNES: Jeff Nichols puts heart at center of historic civil rights case. Our take

He walks his ornery dog every night, with a stop into a bar, where various love troubles play out among the customers. And he talks with the bartender, who’s having a few troubles at home as well. In fact, everyone he meets seems to have some sort of complaint. But Paterson just plods on, trying to find poetry in the small details of life.

The movie is full of repetition and internal rhymes, and it plays like a gentle, melancholy poem, filled with wry observations about daily routines. There’s not much action, unless you count a bus breaking down as a big moment. But that’s not what “Paterson” is about. It’s about the nobility of trying to create art, the importance of kindness and the savoring of everyday events.

With all the action and violence and screaming in many of this year’s movies at Cannes, “Paterson” is meditative and sweet. The dog, however, is another story.

MORE FROM CANNES: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are ‘The Nice Guys.’ Why it’s fun.