High on my bucket list is attending a major international film festival.  The dream list includes Cannes, Toronto, Venice and Berlin.  While I wait here in Brisbane for the opportunity to present itself, some of my favourite critics and bloggers are currently in Cannes covering the most famous film festival of all.


It must be incredibly hectic for critics in Cannes right now.  There’d be a zillion of them trying to get one-on-one interviews with the stars.  They’d be battling hard with each star’s publicists.  There’s also differing credentials which can limit what films and parties you get into.  I’m sure Roger Ebert can see whatever he wants but I don’t know if I’d have the same luxuries.


On top of all the interviews and PR functions, the critics have to find time to see plenty of movies too.  You see a movie, you blog or write some notes, then you go see another one.  It’s an endless loop that keeps repeating until you get sick or burned out.


There are only 20 or so films in the main competition (for the Palm D’or) but there are heaps of other films being premiered (both short and long films) in other competitions.  That’s part of the appeal of these festivals – you get to be the first to see these films and then go forth and spread the word.  Many films have come out of Cannes with huge buzz and go on to bigger and better things.


So whilst I’m not in Cannes, I have been keeping up to date with things through some of my favourite columnists.  In this week’s blog, I thought I’d share a few of their thoughts since they pertain to films that may be released later this year in Australia.


If you want to have a look at the ups and downs of being a first timer in Cannes, check out Sacha Stone’s daily blog (with photos) at www.awardsdaily.com.


Will it be as good as the original? – Wall Street 2


Owen Gleiberman – “Stone has conceived the movie as an inventory of our current crisis, and on that level it seizes and holds you. As fiction, however, it’s competing, in an odd way, with the very events from which it takes off. For sheer dramatic impact, Money Never Sleeps can certainly hold a candle up to reality, but it can’t top it.” – Read more here.


Jeffrey Wells – “An intelligent, briskly paced, rat-a-tat financial tale that moves along nicely for the first 75% to 80% of its running time -- not brilliantly but sufficiently, offering a more-or-less decent ride. And then it blows itself up during the last 25 minutes or so.  Or so it seemed to me. Some have told me they disagree, but I know (or think I know) when a film is gutting itself emotionally.” – Read more here.


Anne Thompson – “The script by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff bears the earmarks of a sequel: bring back some old, bring in some new, and try to keep the whole thing timely and commercial.” – Read more here.


Woody Allen’s new movie – You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger


Owen Gliberman – “The atrociously titled You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is one of Woody Allen’s “fables” — which could almost be code, at this point, for the flavorless, dry-cookie thing that results when he writes and directs a comedy on autopilot. The film is notable, if that’s the word, for being the first movie Allen has made in London that is every bit as bad as his most awful New York comedies, like Anything Elseand Melinda and Melinda.” – Read more here.


Jeffrey Wells – “Set in London, it's a mildly amusing, somewhat chilly film with no piercing performances or dramatic highlights even, as if everything and everyone is on a regulator of some kind. And yet the undertone has a steady and persistent misanthropic flavour. And it leaves you with a kind of "uh-huh, okay" feeling at the end. It's not a bust -- there's food for thought and reflection -- but it's not my idea of enlivening material.” – Read more here.


I love Mike Leigh and it looks like he’s done it again – Another Year


Sacha Stone – “By the end of all of this madness, the standout film may remain Another Year.  It is Mike Leigh at his absolute best.  It is surely less irritating than Leigh’s recent films have been.  It is up there with his best female-driven films, like Secrets and Lies and Vera Drake.  How is it that Leigh can be so good and go so deep with these actors as he manages to do?  It is one of the great mysteries.” – Read more here.


A look at the global financial crisis – Inside Job


Jeffrey Wells – “A highly absorbing, meticulously composed hammer doc about the causes of the '08 financial meltdown. Most of us have some kind of understanding of the whys and wherefores, but Ferguson lays it all out like a first-class table setting and makes this titanic crime seem extra vivid.” – Read more here.


Owen Gliberman – “Years from now, if you want to know how the American (and global) economic crisis really happened, if you want to grasp the ins and outs of its peculiar hybrid of greed and cluelessness and corporate treachery and political enabling, then Inside Job, the new documentary written and directed by Charles Ferguson, will stand as a definitive investigative primer on the disaster.” – Read more here.


An appropriate title? – Shit Year


Jeffrey Wells – “The first couple of walk-outs happened about 15 minutes in. People weren't soon walking out in droves, but they did continue body by body. Some, I noticed, decided to take naps. Myself among them, to be perfectly frank. When I woke up I noticed that Roger Friedman, who'd been sitting across the aisle, had left. So had several others. So I stuck it out for another 15 or 20 minutes, and then I slipped out myself.” – Read more here.