Sunday Thoughts: Will the Coens be Crowned Kings of Cannes?

Inside_Llewyn_Davis

Some thoughts on a sunny Sunday in Buffalo, New York:

  • I love it when a film screens at Cannes, and within hours, seems have drawn Twitter raves from just about every critic along the Croisette. Last year was “Amour,” this year, so far, at least, it’s the Coen Bros. sixties-set folk music odyssey “Inside Llewyn Davis.” This is exciting for many reasons, chiefly because it proves that it was not wrong to get excited about the film’s fantastic first trailer. It also makes one wonder if this could pull of the Palme d’or, which “Barton Fink” memorably did more than two decades ago. The bummer, of course, is that we may not see the film Stateside until December, although an appearance at TIFF is possible. In any event, raves have been plentiful, from the likes of one of my favorites, Sasha Stone (who Tweeted “#swoon), Jeffrey Wells (who called it “some kind of brilliantly sombre, wonderfully atmospheric, dryly hilarious, pared-down period masterpiece”), and Peter Bradshaw (“Oh mon Dieu. The glorious Inside Llewyn Davis (dirs. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) is the best thing at #Cannes2013! So far anyway”). There are many, MANY more; I saw a few mixed verdicts, but mostly rapturous praise. There are plenty of films left to screen, of course. But this Guardian quote seems to sum up the response nicely: “The explanation was simple: Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen brothers’ latest offering, was roundly greeted as a joyful masterpiece and a serious contender for this year’s Palme d’Or.”
  • I did not get a chance to see “Star Trek: Into Darkness” yet — is it odd that I feel I can wait? — but of course, many did; Deadline says JJ Abrams’ film is on track for $70 mill, under expectation but still pretty damn good.
  • Perhaps the bigger box office stories, though, involve two smaller films: Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha,” which I hope to see shortly, and one of my favorite films of the year so far, Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines.” (I wrote about “Pines” for buffalospree.com.) The opening for “Frances” saw a killer $33,000 per-screen average, while in its eighth week, “Place” crossed the $20 million mark. Expect much more from me on both of these films over the next few weeks and months.
  • I finally caught up with “Jack Reacher” this weekend, and found it an entertaining if forgettable potboiler. Except for one epic car chase, it almost felt like a Tom Selleck TV movie. Mind you, those are enjoyable, but the whole affair felt a bit slight. Considering how many options Cruise has, I wonder what drew him to this character, especially considering the casting controversy. It’s certainly worth a rental, but I can’t see this box office under-performer (in the States, anyway) kicking off another franchise.
  • A preview of what’s to come from FilmSwoon: I’ll be reviewing “The Hangover Part III” in Thursday’s Buffalo News, and I’m also hoping to share more Cannes news as the week goes, and perhaps start discussing the best film I’ve seen so far this year: Shane Carruth’s “Upstream Color.”
  • If you haven’t started following FilmSwoon on Twitter yet, get to it! I’ve been re-Tweeting a bumber of cool articles on Cannes etc., and see that as a nice addition to the site content.

Photo courtesy of CBS Films

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