As Cannes winds down and the movie world waits with baited breath to find out just what exactly the ramifications of being declared “persona non grata” for calling yourself a Nazi really are, it's a slow week for theatrical openings, headlined by two out-of-competition Cannes premieres.
4. Woody Allen's latest, the not-quite-sci-fi Midnight In Paris, was Cannes' opening night film, and Karina Longworth writes that its “high concept is a means, not an end: Allen sends Gil [Owen Wilson] traveling through time not because he's terribly interested in the mechanics and fantastic possibilities of interdimensional travel but because it's a backdoor way to investigate the problem of time — our inability to slow it down or stop it, to make anything good last or prevent inevitable misery — within ordinary life.”
3. The other big opening of the week, fresh from a horribly received out-of-competition screening at Cannes, is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which Nick Schager doesn't like any more than most of the critic reporting from the South of France: “With its hero a once-inspired creation now far less funny than he fancies himself, the swashbuckling series–from Depp's fey bon mots to a cameoing Keith Richards's scraggly visage–is showing its age.”
2. Rutger Hauer is the Hobo With A Shotgun in director Jason Eisner's exploitation pastiche, which for Mark Holcomb “exists solely to push buttons…[though] if the sainted Roger Corman used to make movies based on nothing but a title, why can't Eisener?”
1. Director Harry Shearer's post-Katrina doc The Big Uneasy sets out to show that the disastrous results of the 2005 hurricane had more to do with man than nature, and Ernest Hardy finds that Shearer, a New Orleans native, “builds an airtight case to prove his thesis…one of his most chilling arguments is a roll-call of brave souls whose lives and careers have been systematically wrecked in pursuit of the truth.”