May 28, 2007
On the other hand, several American films premiering at the Festival de Cannes are sure to be blockbusters, with "Oceans 13" the obvious choice for American moviegoers -- Al Pacino adding to a cast already favored among girls and women alike. Thankfully, 13- to 35-year-old males have "Transformers" and "The Simpsons" to look out for.
Now to the indie-art house films that are sure to bring tears and a profound worldview to American audiences...
First off, there's "Sicko," the project Michael Moore began just after "Fahrenheit 9/11." The film explores America's failing HMO system, and in typical Moore fashion, it follows lovable, patriotic Midwesterners through the process of denied health insurance claims.
Over the last several years, Moore's team documented tragic stories of death, sickness and financial ruin all thanks to the callous M.D. administrators running the country's multi-trillion dollar health insurance industry. In contrast, the second half of the film explores the universal health care systems of countries such as England, France and Canada. The real kicker comes when he escorts a group of 9/11 volunteers, invalid with respiratory problems and without insurance, past the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and into Cuba where smiling doctors provide care and medication for mere pennies.
Of course, Moore paints far to rosy a picture of these health care systems to cement his argument. The British will be the first to tell you that their experiences and Moore's conjecture don't exactly line up. Also, the Cuban doctors were way too nice -- it was almost as if the minister of health was looking over their shoulders.
Despite the criticism, which Moore has seen a fair share of on previous films, the movie has a good shot at winning over American moviegoers in both red and blue states. I mean, who doesn't have a HMO horror story that they're at least connected to on a secondary level. There's always the single mother who lost her job in retail after the chemotherapy left her wasted and frail. And, don't forget the independent carpenter who lost his fingers and his livelihood as well.
Oh, and Hillary Clinton, you might want to start the P.R. machine now. This film brings back some ugly memories -- and you thought Moore was a democrat.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
So, I unfortunately didn't get to see the next few films, the screenings can be pretty exclusive, but you can't help but pay attention to the buzz, so keep an eye out.
"No Country For Old Men," by Joel and Ethan Coen is a deconstructed crime drama that follows a man who happens upon a stash of heroin, $2 million and a bunch of dead thugs. A homicidal maniac follows him through the desert in search of his goods with plenty of violence and some typical Coen brothers dialogue.
For any former skate rat, this beautifully filmed feature by Gus Van Sant is a must see. It's about a skateboarder who kills, of course, a security guard. The movie is supposed to tap into the psyche of a generation without any real identity, but we'll see about that when it comes out. Everybody keeps talking about the cinematography.
In keeping with rebellious cinema, keep an eye out for "Persepolis," a French-Iranian animated film from Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. The feature follows a girl who grows up in Tehran and dreams of becoming a revolutionary. Sent to Austria for safety, the girl soon learns what repression is all about.
May 27, 2007
Our last night ended with a bang. Michelle exited the V.I.P. Room with none other than Quentin Tarantino, who was hosting the party for the European debut of "Death Proof." We met Tarantino earlier at the party and had no idea that Michelle would be blinded by the flash of papparazi outside the club. Other celebs include the three Rs -- Rosario Dawson, Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan.
Here's McGowan with the coolest bouncer ever, thanks Allen!
Communication is tough while on the road, so further postings are pending... Till next time.
May 21, 2007
The Festival de Cannes carries on, but who knows how long we will. Saturday was when everybody decided to show up, so the parties got a lot more exclusive and, for true film afficianados, it became time to get down to business.
First of all, we learned that Gerard Butler is slightly perturbed because the film "Watchmen" is still in the gutter due to creative differences with producers and the great Alan Moore. Butler really wants to work on the project but for the time being he's promoting "Nim's Island."
Just on the side, "Ender's Game" is in production.
I had an interview today with the director and writer of the soon to be released "Opal." Dina Ciraulo is a San Francisco film maker with a lot of promise. Hopefully, you'll read more about her soon in a Bay Area publication ala Brent Begin.
Also, we went to St. Tropez this morning for a little break. It was fantastic.
By the way, here's a shameless picture of Jessica Simpson. Nice tan...
We are still going out of course...
And this was a complete surprise, U2 played "Where the Streets Have no Names" and "Vertigo."
Au revoir, and don't worry, there's an editorial coming soon.
May 18, 2007
Bonjour, and happy Friday everyone. The Festival de Cannes is turning out to be everything it's cracked up to be and Michelle and I have so many stories to tell. From a Puccini recital to a sunrise on the yacht of Saudi royalty, the first two nights of the festival have been all about parties and celebrity sightings.
Wednesday was opening night and a black tie gala at the Palais attracted everyone from stars to film students. Unfortunately, we weren't invited, but it was a different story at the V.I.P. Room afterward where Moby entertained a chic jet-set crowd. Michelle had a chat with Gerard Butler, otherwise known as King Leonidas of "300," and he turned out to be more than congenial.
Thursday, Michelle's help for the San Francisco Film Society at the Cinecitta press conference landed us an invitation to their gala dinner. It began with a goose bump-inspiring recital of Puccini's La Boheme and Madama Butterfly. The singers, Tiziana Ducati and Giorgio Berrugi, as well as pianist Francesca Tosi filled the Hilton lobby with a few tear-jerking arias.
Afterward, we followed Maria de Medeiros, of "Pulp Fiction" fame into the bowels of the Carlton hotel for a Nikki Beach extravaganza with a live house vocalist and just few bottles of Dom Perignon.
Back at the aforementioned V.I.P. Room, Pamela Anderson was kissing on some bearded dude while Kid Rock showed off one of his hats.
Then we met three Saudi princes who invited us back to their yacht. While it wasn't as impressive as the Afghan prince's ocean liner anchored in the harbor, it did boast two Picassos and a few Chagalls. We spent most of our time with feet in spa. I'll let the pictures explain.
So now it's Friday night and I've got to go. We miss everybody and I heard San Francisco is beautiful right now. Au Revoir!!!
So, there are so many puns already out there for Cannes -- Cannes you dig it, etc. I'm turning it over to you, fair readers. Please help name the next blog entry using the word Cannes (pronounced can, with a softish a). The winner receives praise and, perhaps, international acclaim.
Just put your entry into the comments section, and let those creative juices flow!
May 11, 2007
While Dahan struggled to speak about the movie in front of such a large crowd, it was nice of him to give it a shot. He was considerably warmer at the party afterward at Mezzanine where a host of film industry types cruised the club in search of late-night companionship with not-so-film-industry types.
Couldn't make it to the after party at Tosca, I've gotta pack.
By the way, Mexican film "The Violin" stole the show this year, winning the $10,000 SKYY Prize and garnering the most audience votes.
Thanks, San Francisco Film Society for all your hard work. On to Cannes...
May 9, 2007
A vegan couple has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering their six-week old son by means of malnourishment -- damnnnnnnn.
The Atlanta pair fed the boy, Crown Shakur, a diet of merely apple juice and soy milk (I told you that stuff will kill). On top of murder and cruelty to children, the jury found Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31, guilty of an enhancement -- coming up with the worst name ever. If the kid didn't die of starvation, he would of died of shame once he hit the second grade.
Unfortunately for vegans, living on succotash and chickpeas doesn't qualify as a religion. So, while Christian Scientists can get away with letting their kids die due to the good grace of God, animal lovers have less of a chance of getting away with letting their pale skeletal children waste away.
May 5, 2007
Oh yeah, that's right. You're too late.
Tonight, the San Francisco Film Festival is hitting its mid point and there's a great screening of the movie "Delirous," and of course there's a party at Suite 181 for the "Centerpiece." More to come...
May 4, 2007
Strangely enough, the name of the movie's screenwriter is Jeff Begun -- maybe a past incarnation of myself. Anyway, much props to Mr. Begun. Hopefully there's still an original idea out there, so I can begin/begun this fair blog with a decent title.
Here’s the pitch for the water bottle recycling program:
“New for 2007...Recycle your empties. Bring us 10 empty water bottles you find laying around the polo field and redeem them for 1 new free bottle of water. Please help keep the polo field clean, Recycle and stay hydrated all at the same time.”
Well, good for you Golden Voice. Not only did you cut down on your energy bills, but you managed to turn me – and many others – into your own little MOOP bitches.
The actual execution of the bottle-recycling gimmick turned out to be nothing more than that, a novel way to get paying festival goers to clean up after the slobs who still haven’t learned to walk the extra ten feet to drop trash in a box.
Next time can you give us some equipment so we don’t have to bend over and strain our backs. I think the Park Patrol Trash Picker with a nice nylon bag would suffice.
After collecting 30 bottles outside the festival gates in 105-degree weather, I was told by security that I couldn’t bring them into the festival where eager Coachella employees were waiting to exchange them for three chilled Crystal Geysers. Security risk I guess... Attention Homeland Security! San Francisco man attempts to bring empty bottles into desert festival.
Luckily, there were recycle bins at the gate so I did succeed in slowing global warming. Once inside the festival, I began collecting again and, before you know it, I had 10 bottles within minutes. Unfortunately, when I dumped them at a water vendor next to the main stage, a friendly man told me there was no way in hell he would depart with one of those ice-soaked goodies.
It took me a while to figure out there was only one place to redeem the empty bottles, and after further lining my hands with gook and grime, I took my barter booty and waited in line – for a while. I got my water.
50 empty bottles = 1 free water, thanks.
Oh, and where the hell was I supposed to enter into the carpoolchella raffle? Nevermind, I just missed Tokyo Police Club.
Excuse me sir, is this where I recycle my bottles?
May 1, 2007
Competing against a rocking LCD Soundsystem set and a dull repeat performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s no wonder less than 3,000 people were there to see them. Among those who did, however, there were looks of astonishment as well as knowing smiles as the Argentine-Parisian group kept a steady, thumping beat. Nobody seemed to notice they went over their set time until they pulled the plug on their violinist.
For those who haven’t heard these songs already, check out “Diferente” and “Mi Confesion” on the band’s Myspace page. By the way, who knew you could dance the tango on grass? Well my wife Michelle and I succeeded. Que Bueno.
But don’t let that glowing review take anything away from Bjork’s innovative Friday performance. Unlike RHCP, her albums just get better all the time, and her 16-song set on Friday surpassed the memorable 2002 performance.
The little imp walked onstage in what looked like a sultan’s headdress made of jellybeans. She began with the entertainingly smug “Earth Intruders” and continued with a dizzy mix of electro-ballads. As the set moved forward, a gang of fans in front, all female and all under 5 feet 5 inches tall, wept and danced and pushed past anyone taller than themselves. It was incredible to see.
The ReacTable was an interesting attraction as well, but since the Website boasts that even a child can master the musical interface tool, maybe we shouldn’t be too impressed.
As far as Sunday goes, I opted for the pool, but according to correspondents Wade Jones (of Vomica fame) and Nicole Skillern, Rage Against the Machine had at least 50,000 people eating revolution pills from their hands.
Apparently, when all those sweaty fans left the gates with fists flung in the air, police assumed a stance of humble acquiescence. Probably the best decision Indio’s finest has ever made.I don't want to forget all the others who brought their A-game: Interpol, Brazilian Girls, Ozomatli -- was that the mayor of Indio? the Decemberists, Sonic Youth, Manu Chao, a surprising Tiesto, and all the others who were forgotten or missed.
Better luck next time to Air who seemed to think folks would wait around for their set. Just because it works for Madonna doesn't mean it'll work for you. And Felix da Housecat, what was that about? The last time I heard a full version of "Tainted Love," in its complete original state without remix, I was in an Irish pub in San Francisco and some jock spilled beer on me.
Biggest disappointment: Kings of Leon. They were just flat. Till next year...