Carly Rae Jepsen's best single since “Call Me Maybe” was almost never released. Reportedly one of over 250 songs written for 2015's Emotion, “Cut to the Feeling” was inexplicably left off that album—as well last year's Emotion: Side B—because it was reportedly deemed too “theatrical.” Now the track is finally seeing the light of day via the soundtrack to the Canadian animated film Leap!, for which Jepsen voices the character Odette.
Sony Pictures Classics
Roman Polanski’s Based on a True Story, contrary to its title, isn’t: It’s a fiction film about a successful author who avoids her past and an eerily obsessive fan who pushes her to write the “hidden book” her previous work seemed to promise. Of course, Polanski’s film is also transparently about the director himself—as well as about his co-writer, French filmmaker Olivier Assayas. And there’s an almost incredible arrogance to that.
Polanski surrogate Delphine (Emmanuelle Seigner) is enjoying great success with her new autobiographical novel but also burned out from the promo tour. Elle (Eva Green)—whose name, as is often commented on in the film, literally translates to “Her”—is a supposed super-fan who ingratiates herself into Delphine’s life as a “good listener” before gradually moving into the author’s flat and taking over her work, deleting slanderous Facebook posts, responding to emails, and even attending a face-to-face gig in her place. Elle also impresses on Delphine the importance of “reality” and tries to dissuade her from writing the fictional book she’s pitched to her publisher.
A few week's ago, Alexis Michelle relished that the latest cycle of RuPaul's Drag Race was reaching the point where the filler queens were falling by the wayside. What she must not have realized was that once any season of Drag Race separates the chaff, the next chapter always sees the editors dividing the remaining pile of wheat into heroines and villainesses. And Alexis stands virtually alone in the latter regard this time around.
In the six years since her last feature, We Need to Talk About Kevin, which also premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Lynne Ramsay seems to have come very close to figuring out a mode of experimental but psychologically lucid filmmaking that almost completely eluded her before. You Were Never Really Here, adapted from a Jonathan Ames novella of the same name, is every bit as oblique as its lengthy title makes it sound. It's a character study conducted primarily through an aesthetic vision: Heavy-for-hire Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) stumbles through his daily existence in an expressionistic haze of prescription drugs and disturbed memories, his mind flashing on images of childhood abuse and former lives as a military soldier and an F.B.I. agent.
The first 15 minutes of part three of Twin Peaks: The Return play like one of David Lynch's hermetically sealed surrealist short films. Agent Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) plunge through space-time comes to an abrupt end when he crash-lands on a rivet-studded metal balcony overlooking a dark purple sea. He enters a sparse, fire-lit room where a woman in a red dress with her eyes sealed shut signals alarm when something massive begins pounding on a metal door. She leads Cooper up a ladder, and they emerge atop a black metal cube that clearly must be bigger on the inside to contain all the spaces we've just traversed. Atop the cube stands a bell-shaped structure that the woman activates by throwing a lever, and at the cost of being cast off into the interstellar space that surrounds the cube.
Robin Campillo had a breakout moment at this year's Cannes Film Festival with 120 Beats Per Minute, which has been widely tipped as the film to beat for the Palme d'Or. It's only Campillo's third film as a director, following 2004's They Came Back and 2013's Eastern Boys, but as a writer he's already penned one Palme d'Or winner: Laurent Cantet's 2008 docudrama The Class, which relied heavily on the real-life dynamic between a teacher and his racially diverse students. Inspired by Campillo's true-life experience as a member of AIDS activist group ACT UP Paris in the 1990s, 120 Beats Per Minute feels like a close cousin to The Class, as it similarly spends much of its runtime on lengthy debates between a close-knit community's various members.
Bungie has been teetering on the thinnest edge of control over what it tried to do with Destiny since the day the game was released in September 2014. Even in the face of truly impressive DLCs (The Taken King, in particular, is the game's creative apex in almost every respect), Destiny will ultimately go down as a rough work, sweating and straining under its own ambitions.
With Destiny 2, the game developer has the unenviable task of having to advance something that only barely got to this point feeling like a complete, compelling, inviting experience. It's appropriate that it isn't going to be a game trying to polish cracked goods, but an attempt to get things right the first time out. And there was no better way to state that purpose than to literally and metaphorically burn the first game to the ground.
Josh and Ben Safdie's Good Time is another one of the brother filmmakers' harrowing odysseys of the marginalized. The plot, kicking off in New York City before moving to the suburbs, spins out from a failed bank heist, as the mentally handicapped Nick (Ben Safdie) is arrested and jailed at Riker's Island before then being moved to Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. Nick's resourceful brother, Connie (Robert Pattinson), the mastermind of the heist, works on a scheme to get him out. If this premise sounds like typical genre fare, the Safdies get that and they deliver: Good Time is an action-packed, neon-streaked rush, all elaborate scenarios, racing against time, and police in hot pursuit. But this is also a film from the same people that made the emotionally devastating Heaven Knows What, and underneath this film's barrage of incident and its screaming score (composed by Oneohtrix Point Never) is a sense of intimacy and emotional vulnerability.
Cannes Film Festival
In 2015, while working on Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong Sang-soo began an affair with his lead actress, Kim Min-hee. The news came out later, at one of the film's press conferences. Eventually, Hong filed for divorce from his wife of 30 years—and in the time since, he and Kim have chosen to openly explore the nature of their ongoing relationship through his films. First came 2016's On the Beach Alone at Night, and now the Cannes competition entry The Day After and festival special screening Claire's Camera.
Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, the writer-director’s adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s 1966 Civil War-set novel A Painted Devil, begins as a straightforward Southern Gothic psychodrama. The filmmaker, though, distinguishes her version of the source novel from the 1971 Don Siegel-helmed adaptation starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page by treating Union soldier Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) as a more enigmatic catalyst for the changes that take place inside Miss Martha Farnsworth’s Seminary for Young Ladies upon his arrival. Rather than primarily focus on McBurney and the horrifying consequences of his unchecked horniness, Coppola intensely homes in on her heroines’ conflicted feelings about sex.
Siegel’s film pulpily fixates on McBurney and his outsider status, and how his unchecked lust drives him to monstrously stalk the seminary—like a fox in a hen house. But Coppola’s take is more interested in the boarding school’s all-female residents’ personal struggles to accept that they’re allowed to be sexually attracted to an enemy soldier. Women like headmistress Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) and her school’s head teacher, Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst), are obviously drawn to McBurney, though they go to great lengths to avoid admitting that attraction. The film is set, after all, in Virginia in 1864, and McBurney is, as Edwina cautions, the kind of man they’ve been warned about: one with a predilection for raping Southern women.