Film intelligence: Surprises and disappointments at Cannes

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: movies are loved, movies are delayed, and people watching movies get smacked in the face.

1. ON THE ROAD to the Palme d’Or

The South of France is still the center of the independent film world for at least one more week as the Cannes Film Festival continues through this weekend. So far, the lineup has provided a mixture of surprises and disappointments. Critics were blown away by HOLY MOTORS, the first film from THE LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE director Leos Carax in more than a decade, and they were impressed, moved, and taken aback by AMOUR, the unusually emotional new film from Michael Haneke, the guy who scared the crap out of us with CACHE and two different FUNNY GAMES. Unfortunately, they were less enamored with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s UNCLE BOONMEE follow-up MEKONG HOTEL and the response to CERTIFIED COPY director Abbas Kiarostami’s LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE and BATTLE IN HEAVEN director Carlos Reygadas’ POST TENEBRAS LUX were similarly muted. Still to come: David Cronenberg’s COSMOPOLIS and Lee Daniel’s THE PAPERBOY. The 2012 Cannes Film Festival concludes this Sunday, when a jury headed by Nanni Moretti will give one movie the prestigious Palme d’Or. [Indiewire]

2. “Yuh-oh Joe!”

If you’ve been camping out for weeks in order to be the first one to see G.I. JOE: RETALIATION on June 29th, I have bad news for you: Paramount announced yesterday that just five weeks before the film’s scheduled release they were pushing back RETALIATION to March 29, 2013 in order to do a “conscientious” job converting the film to 3-D, which they claim will help it ensure it does better financially, especially overseas. What does this move mean for the indie film fan? Well for one thing it tells you just how important the international market has become to all movies, not to mention how risky the world of blockbuster filmmaking is getting. Whether or not RETALIATION’s move has anything to do with the film’s quality, the studio was concerned enough about its box office prospects to push it back 9 months just to add an extra dimension to The Rock’s pectoral muscles (and, potentially, to distance itself from the turd-like odor emanating from BATTLESHIP, another explodesploitation film based on a Hasbro toy). [/Film]

3. TERMINATOR Star Finds Salvation

Last week, we told you about the sad and ironic story of Nick Stahl, the second actor to play the TERMINATOR franchise’s John Connor beset by substance abuse problems. Thankfully, after going missing for more than a week, Stahl was found, alive and reasonably well and checked in to a rehab facility. Shortly after news of Stahl’s disappearance hit the Internet, the actor emailed friends and family and apologized for his behavior, saying he would be out of touch for 30 days while he sought treatment for his drug and alcohol problems. Stahl’s wife confirmed that he had indeed checked into rehab — and that he’d remained there for several days. Hopefully rehab does Stahl some good and he’s able to put his issues behind him. After all, the future’s gonna need him. [TMZ]

4. Pirates of the Cannes-ibbean

Shiver me timbers: the pirates have taken Cannes! Deadline reports on a troubling rise in piracy at the Cannes Film Festival sidebar, The Directors’ Fortnight, where spectators have been busted trying to record festival films with their cameras or cell phones. Even worse, Fortnight security barely batted an eye over the matter: in one reported incident, an offender was “admonished,” but not even kicked out of the theater; in another, it was left up to other patrons to “loudly scold” a perp (allegations that another pirate was gently slapped on the wrist could not be confirmed at press time). This personal piracy phenomenon is getting way out of hand; I recently sat next to a woman at a movie who was taking pictures of the screen and then posting them to Facebook with obnoxious comments while the movie was still going on (find her on Facebook –just do a search for THE WORST HUMAN BEING WHO EVER LIVED). People, do me a favor: if you find yourself at the greatest film festival on the planet, and you feel an urge to take out your cell phone and take a low-resolution video of the screen, just put your entire hand in your mouth and swallow it. [Deadline]

5. Slap (Un)happy Movie Patrons

You don’t need to go to Cannes to find rude patrons — a man in Seattle was recently charged with felony assault after he slapped a fellow moviegoer who was loudly interrupting a screening of TITANIC 3-D. There was just one problem: the fellow moviegoer was only 10-years-old, and the man, 21-year-old Yong Hyun Kim, allegedly hit him so hard, he knocked out his tooth (technically, that’s two problems, I guess). Kim, who doesn’t have a criminal record, was charged with second-degree assault, and could face several months in jail if convicted. Let this be a lesson to all of us: don’t hit obnoxious brats at the movie theater. And if you bring obnoxious brats to the movie theater, don’t let them act like assholes because someone might sock them in the jaw. And, above all else, never ever go see TITANIC 3-D. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]