The first-in-the-world hype accompanying Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's premiere at Cannes appears to remain the only story of interest to most festivalgoers, with everything from live-blogs of the screening to more meditative reads ("I was bored out of my mind," writes Manohla Dargis) peppering the spectrum of feedback. Of course there's always Harvey Weinstein, who continues his Cannes dealings with impunity despite our corporate death sentence leveled last week. And people actually seem to like Woody Allen's latest! It's the '80s all over again!
Really, we're able to enjoy nearly everything happening at this year's Cannes Film Festival without even leaving our offices: There's the eerie, 24/7 surveillance available from IFC. There are Hollywood Elsewhere's billboard glimpses of gay Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor and Jesus Christ straddling a US fighter jet. There's Andrew O'Hehir tempting us at Salon with his A Christmas Tale rave (headlined "Grief, cancer, Nietzsche and Santa") and Anne Thompson spilling the beans on James Toback's "juicy" documentary about Mike Tyson.
It was cute way back yesterday when we heard that Werner Herzog and Nicolas Cage are remaking Bad Lieutenant for a new generation of prurient cinephile wonks, but the novelty of Herzog's random-ass pairings requires a certain period of recharging to retain maximum effect. Which is perhaps why the potency of his other forthcoming, newly announced collaboration with David Lynch (!) on "a horror-tinged murder drama" doesn't have us positively reeling with anticipation.
The pandas have been euthanized and Sean Penn is still lighting up despite you on the first full day of the Cannes Film Festival, which we continue to study from our vantage point in the salt mines. We continue to wince at the reaction to the opening-night film Blindness, whose bad buzz we were nervous about back when the festival waited forever to announce its selection. Variety's Justin Chang piled on this morning — "Blindness emerges onscreen both overdressed and undermotivated, scrupulously hitting the novel's beats yet barely approximating, so to speak, its vision" — with an only slightly happier James Rocchi following suit at Cinematical.
Then there's the anticipation for Indiana Jones and Whatever the Fuck, whose anxious makers are taking precautions to dodge the lynch-mob on their own tail:
In keeping with the spirit of rebellion and resistance being commemorated this year at Cannes, jury chairman Sean Penn wasn't letting any snooty festival bosses or French government assholes tell him what to do. At this morning's opening press conference, Penn lit up a cigarette in conspicuously direct defiance of a new law prohibiting smoking indoors. Several of his fellow jurors followed suit, including Persepolis co-director Marjane Satrapi, who "asked to much laughter if anyone minded if she smoked 'for medical reasons.' " Ever the activist, Penn went on to praise Cannes for its essential work on behalf of wildlife, citing the festival's recently installed panda habitat as a progressive model of animal rights and ecological sensitivity. [Breitbart, Photo Credit: Getty Images]
Some day we'll bite the bullet and experience the magic of the Cannes Film Festival first-hand, but in the meantime, there are advantages to keeping one's distance. For starters, we're insulated from the horrors of marketing rituals like the one foisted on the international press this morning, when Jack Black strolled into Cannes with a few dozen
minimum-wage costume slaves panda bears in support of his upcoming Kung Fu Panda. As evidenced by the accompanying video, much hammy ass-kicking and a sort of loin-churning, interspecial sexual chemistry ensues.
The Cannes rumor mill is whirring at full speed again today as the trades pick up whispers that the Julianne Moore/Mark Ruffalo drama Blindness is likely to occupy the opening-night slot. The Toronto Star is saying it's a done deal, but it's not official, and we're not so sure; with barely two weeks remaining before the May 14th opener, word over the Defamer transom suggests that Blindness is bad enough to make festival programmers wait — and make distributor Miramax stall — before committing the plum spot to a stinker.