Since Sunday, I have been at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The French Riviera is the perfect backdrop for a few weeks of work, networking, and mentoring of student filmmakers that are here for the first time. Campus MovieFest has brought 30 films that are screening in the Marche’ and Short Film Corner at Cannes. There are thousands of people that apply to get into this festival, meaning an incredible opportunity for our students that are looking to press forward in their careers.
In just two days, I have seen several films that were on my radar. It’s been an emotional roller coaster so far:
The Great Gatsby- I had zero expectations for this film as critics have destroyed it, but the fans are raving. The story is okay, with the set design and costume design trumping all; I expect Academy nominations to come in these areas. A $105 million budget shows in the Gatsby parties that exemplify the Roaring Twenties unlike anything I’ve ever seen. My largest critique is Producer Jay-Z’s collaboration into the era’s music. The cross made little sense (who does the Charleston to Big Pimpin’ anyways?) but the film is certainly a visual spectacle. I’d suggest it for anyone who has read the book or shows interest in this era.
Fruitvale Station- I’ve had my eye on this film since it won at Sundance this year. Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) does an incredible job as the lead actor, Oscar. The story is one that will leave you somber and still but the film is sure to catch some heads, especially in the San Francisco communities that know Oscar’s story quite well. It’s a must see as it comes out and hits the USA soon.
Red Obsession- This documentary speaks on the Bordeaux region wine in France that is quickly gaining popularity in China. There are bottles of wine that are being sold for $1.5 million at auctions with many people in Asia willing to take the price for their favorite brands. This film showcases the power of branding, product placement amongst a demographic, and the struggle for vineyards to keep up their supply of wine to meet this high demand. The film is shot very well, with some of the most dynamic aerial shots of chateaus and vineyards that I have ever seen. Grab a bottle of your favorite red and be sure to watch this Doc.
Free Samples– With a known name like Jesse Eisenberg (The Social network), you would expect a film to get a lot of attention and views. This isn’t the case with Free Samples, as I sat in a small theater with little hype or enthusiasm for this long and consistently boring film. The film follows a Stanford law school dropout who is trying to find herself while living in LA. A drunken night has her hung over and filling in for her friend in a food truck. The people she meets and the interactions that come with it make for quite the day, as new and old relationships come to pass the hours. Jason Ritter (Parenthood) plays a small role in the film but nothing to get too excited about. This was the Open Water film of food trucks, with very few unique shots and a consistently boring setting. It’ll be on Netflix in a few weeks, and it will die there.
More reviews to come.