For once in a long, long time, Julianne Moore fans can rejoice. Though her work in Tom Kalin's Savage Grace is not in the runs to get her a Best Actress nod at the fest, critics have stated that it's her finest, juiciest performance in years. For those who just couldn't get enough Julianne after her performances in [Safe], Magnolia, and Far from Heaven, you can know wipe your minds clean of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio and Trust the Man. The film is the second feature from Kalin, who previously directed Swoon... and if she can shimmer with brilliance under the direction of one homo (Todd Haynes), why not another?
On a more disappointing note, critics have not been kind to Andrei Zvyagintsev's follow-up to The Return, entitled The Banishment. The word "morose" and "humorless" were thrown around a bunch, but I hardly consider these to be criticisms... so we'll have to wait until it comes to the US to decide.
In other news, Michael Moore's Sicko has been getting stronger acclaim than his previous Palme d'Or-winning doc Fahrenheit 9/11 (which I, honestly, wasn't wild about). Olivier Assayas' English-language Boarding Gate, which premiered at a midnight screening, was savaged -- though we all know those French critics can be a bit harsh. Christophe Honoré's musical Les chansons d'amour, with Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, and Chiarra Mastroianni, has also gotten some pretty poor reviews, but I still can't understand why anyone keeps thinking that the Ma mère director will ever make a good film is beyond me... though doesn't the photo of Mastroianni with an umbrella make you wish this was just as good as her mother's turn in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg? Kim Ki-duk's Breath and Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Flight of the Red Balloon (his first French-language film, with Juliette Binoche) have gotten solid, but unenthusiastic praise, so it looks like the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men is the front-runner for the Palme d'Or so far, which would make it their third top prize honor, after Barton Fink and Fargo.
There's about a week left, so expect more updates as I receive them. There's still excitement remaining from the likes of Catherine Breillat, Carlos Reygadas, Abel Ferrara, Asia Argento, Tilda Swinton, Béla Tarr, Alexander Sokourov, Angelina Jolie, Harmony Korine, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, and... of course... Quentin Tarantino and his Death Proof ladies. PS: I love how youthful and hot the ladies of the jury (Sarah Polley, Toni Collette, Maggie Cheung, Maria de Mederios) look in comparison to the old frumpy men (Stephen Frears, Marco Bellocchio, and Orhan Pamuk) on board. To be a true film fanatic, you gotta be a hot, young woman or an old fart with an extra chin or two. That's what I gather from this photo.