Today in Cannes Hell: Bush Billboards, Early Favorites and Sean Penn Being A Dick


Really, we're able to enjoy nearly everything happening at this year's Cannes Film Festival without even leaving our offices: There's the eerie, 24/7 surveillance available from IFC. There are Hollywood Elsewhere's billboard glimpses of gay Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor and Jesus Christ straddling a US fighter jet. There's Andrew O'Hehir tempting us at Salon with his A Christmas Tale rave (headlined "Grief, cancer, Nietzsche and Santa") and Anne Thompson spilling the beans on James Toback's "juicy" documentary about Mike Tyson.

And why bother traveling thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars just to hear Glenn Kenny call Sean Penn a dick in person? Look at it this way: Spout's Karina Longworth is doing some of her best writing from the airport, and her subject — Vogue's recent Sex and the City issue — addresses a movie not even screening at Cannes:

The Vogue spread restores a bit of the legitimate, grown-up class that has seemed to be lacking from the SATC campaign all along. ... Cannes likely would have been able to accomplish the same thing; the Vogue spread is probably cheaper, and it has the affect of reaching an audience of comparable demographics as those who would be exposed to as Cannes coverage, without ever having to make the actual quality of the actual film an issue. ... New Line just fired hundreds of people. Such frugality on their part is almost respectable.

There are some actual reviews floating around as well — Jeffrey Wells loves Three Monkeys, while Manohla Dargis is over the moon about Waltz With Bashir, an animated documentary about a massacre at Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The grim gets grimmer at Variety, where Leslie Felperin has a long shrug over Hunger, which chronicles IRA leader Bobby Sands' imprisonment, hunger strike and eventual death in 1982:

McQueen really overeggs the pudding is in the final reel, where (and this is no spoiler for anyone glancingly versed in Sands' story) the protagonist wastes away, the camera focusing intimately on his bedsores and emaciated frame. Tawdry, cliched images include Sands' vision of himself as a child sitting in the room, topped by a near final image of a flock of birds — free at last! — that seemingly symbolizes his soul's last flight. It's a disappointing last gasp for a film that otherwise demonstrates confidence, guts and the abundant promise of its helmer.

And which will likely be coming to a theater near you as distributors kick its tires today and tomorrow. The busy weekend ahead brings the world premiere of Indiana Jones 4, followed by another throng of reviews carrying over into Monday. We'll have ours then as well — we know, we're not holding our breath either.

[Photo Credit: Hollywood Elsewhere]