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Festivity

Guardian Critic Slams Cannes Film Festival Opener

Grace of MonacoA few lucky New York journalists are in the south of France today for the start of the Cannes Film Festival. Although if you go by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw‘s assessment of the opening night gala, not so lucky if they have to sit through Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman.

From Bradshaw’s one-star review of the forthcoming Weinstein Company drama:

It is a film so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk. The cringe-factor is ionospherically high. A fleet of ambulances may have to be stationed outside the Palais to take tuxed audiences to hospital afterwards to have their toes uncurled under general anaesthetic…

The resulting film about this fantastically boring crisis is like a 104-minute Chanel ad, only without the subtlety and depth. Princess Grace herself is played by Nicole Kidman, wafting around the Palace with dewy-eyed features and slightly parted lips which make her look like a grown-up Bambi after a couple of cocktails, suddenly remembering mother’s violent death in the forest.

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A Questionable Robert De Niro-Tribeca Headline

In bold, headline form, the word “admits” usually infers that someone has: A) Previously denied something, or; B) Been prone to dodging the topic altogether. In the case of today’s Ramin Setoodeh Variety Q&A with Tribeca Film Festival head honchos Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, there is no such prior context.

DeNiroVarietyHeadline

Are you click-baitin’ to me? De Niro told the reporter that he is “trying to see them [the movies] now” and that it is difficult for him to find the time. Especially, one assumes, in a young year that included the demands of finalizing a deal to sell 50% of the festival’s parent to MSG.

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GonzoFest, Hall of Fame: The Legacy of Hunter S. Thompson Lives On

ShutterstockHunterSThompsonStencilThe second paragraph of Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Joseph Gerth‘s item about the upcoming induction of the father of gonzo into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame contains a notable strand of relativity:

Thompson, who committed suicide in 2005, will be inducted April 29, along with six more traditional journalists including Mark Hebert, who reported for WHAS-TV before going to work in public relations at the University of Louisville, and Lee Mueller, the longtime Eastern Kentucky reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

More traditional… Less inebriated… State it any way you want, this is still fearsome, welcome news.

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Sacha Baron Cohen Body Double Set for LAFF World Premiere

A year after Karl Jacob’s off-camera doubling for Sacha Baron Cohen as Aladeen hit theaters in The Dictator, the Minnesota-minted artist is gearing up for a sold-out Friday world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival of his co-directorial debut Pollywogs.

The drama is set in Minnesota and derives its title partly from the idea that its two lead adult characters (Jacob, Kate Lyn Sheil) are emotionally stunted. Ahead of Friday night’s big debut, Jacob spoke with Twin Cities Daily Planet movie blogger Jim Brunzell III about the many references in the film to his (and Bob Dylan‘s) childhood hometown of Hibbing, MN, as well as the challenges the movie’s title may present overseas:

“Apparently in the UK it [Pollywogs] means something different. One of the co-producers is British, and she said, “We may want to consider changing the title if it goes to Britain.” I think it could be some type of slang word.”

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Robert Redford Silent Drama Makes Big Splash at Cannes

Robert Redford is 76; the Cannes Film Festival, 66. Over the course of these two cinematic lifetimes, the manner in which information flows out of a major film festival has dramatically changed. The once gentle print and TV ripple has been replaced by a social media and Web tidal wave.

Just hours after the debut on the French Riviera of Redford’s stranded-at-sea wordless drama All is Lost, Sundance hometown critic Sean P. Means is already suggesting that the film’s October 25 Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate release date is “one of the most anticipated moments of the Oscar season.” Echoing these sentiments are Roger Friedman and Sasha Stone. From Stone’s TheWrap review:

Redford is so good in this movie that if he didn’t already have such a long history of films behind him, this would launch his career late in life. Despite his 50-year history as an actor, he has been nominated for Best Actor just once, in 1974 for The Sting. Here’s hoping he sees a second, in 2014, at the age of 77.

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This Los Angeles is Just Steps from the Cannes Croisette

Here’s a new twist on the age-old SoCal commute. Big Time PR owner Sylvia Desrochers has traveled some 7,000 miles, by way of New York stopover for a wedding, to wind up in the south of France sharing this picture via Facebook:

“The address is 21 rue Pasteur, near the Carlton Hotel,” Desrochers tells FishbowlLA. “I have no idea why the building is called Los Angeles, but the one next door is called Santa Monica!”

“The rental agent couldn’t really enlighten me on the reasoning. The building is a typical Cannes apartment building: older, probably pre-war, with the original elevator with the gate and everything. So not very LA in the sense of history. But I do always feel like the weather here is similar to LA, especially Santa Monica or Venice. It’s warm when the sun is out but can turn chilly very easily – especially when it’s foggy or rainy, like this [Wednesday] evening.”

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Kenneth Turan Remembers When Cannes Was a Much Easier PR Ride

Those were the days. At the top of his reminiscence piece about covering the Cannes Film Festival, LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan paints a delightful, junk-the-junket picture:

Cannes was more casual back in 1971, of course. You could hang out with Italian director Luchino Visconti without much planning or go see Jack Nicholson in his hotel room and spend the afternoon discussing his first directorial effort, Drive, He Said, with no more preamble than running into a friend of his on the street.

There were 800 credentialed journalists back then; today, there are around 4,000. Turan cites the 1999 Greek sci-fi parody Attack of the Giant Moussaka as one of his all-time favorites from the less carpeted Marché side of the annual event.

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When Cannes Was the Playground of Moatessem Gadhafi

Sex slavery at the Cannes Film Festival is something we would have guessed would be restricted to the Grand Palais and other Croisette event screens. In the form of a documentary, short, tawdry “marché” title or marquee feature narrative sub-plot.

But sadly, this is something that some of the event’s richest attendees have helped abet in real life. From a Hollywood Reporter piece about the infamous illegal-solicitation activities of Elie Nahas on behalf of Muammar Gadhafi‘s late son Moatessem and other super-rich Middle Eastern attendees [bolding is ours]:

The women ran the gamut, from full-time escorts to models to beauty queens, and they serviced men in hotels, on yachts and in the palatial villas in the hills above Cannes, police said. Philippe Camps, a lawyer for a Paris-based anti-prostitution organization that was a civil plaintiff in the trial, tells THR that some of the women were brought to Cannes under false pretenses and coerced into prostitution.

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Here’s Looking at the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival

For classic film fans, there are many reasons to want to be in Key Largo, Florida this weekend following the close of TCM’s latest local celebration. Starting with the following Saturday May 4 lunchtime event:

Join Stephen Bogart and Leonard Maltin as they discuss the life and career of Humphrey Bogart. Topics will include Bogie’s breakout performances, Bogie’s signature acting style, discussion of stories behind some of the memorabilia items and the experience of growing up with Bogie and Bacall.

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Celebrating the Currency of a Great Newspaper Headline

If you click the Web version of a February 17, 2012 LA Times article by Devorah Lauter, the headline reads:”France’s Former Currency is Devalued to Zilch.” Not bad; and, as assistant managing editor for LAT copy desks Henry Fuhrmann noted during a fun Sunday afternoon presentation with colleagues at the Festival of Books, any time the word “zilch” can be worked into an article headline is usually a good thing.

But as the LA Times now does routinely, the print headline for this article was altogether different. Rather famously, here’s what copy editor Laura Dominick conjured up for the newspaper version:

This headline recently helped Dominick win second prize at the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) national conference in St. Louis. She beat out colleagues from the New York Times and Washington Post thanks to her cheeky franks-and-beans word play and several other headlines, including the equally memorable Gallic goof “Look, the Dark de Triomphe.”

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