Cannes Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

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Cannes Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

A24

Cannes Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

A blackly comic performance by Colin Farrell provides the emotional anchor for Yorgos Lanthimos's The Killing of a Sacred Deer. As clinically detached surgeon Steven Murphy, Farrell effortlessly switches from arch, quasi-robotic line readings to frantic, plate-smashing furor. His skillful transition from deep-in-denial emotional repression to manic rage is crucial to the film's success, as Lanthimos and co-screenwriter Efthymis Filippou's characters don't talk like anyone you've ever met in real life.

When Steven, his family, and a mysterious friend, Martin (Barry Keoghan), speak to each other, they fixate on nothing of real importance. They dwell on trivial subjects, and the questions they ask each other—about everything from gauging someone's fondness for lemonade to whether or not someone else prefers leather or metal as a watchstrap—are bleakly funny when you consider that the film begins with a confrontationally gross close-up of a beating human heart, exposed during one of Steven's characteristically dangerous procedures. It's clear right away that this atmospheric horror-thriller's dramatic stakes are as high as life and death. So why is it that these characters can't stop talking about food and household chores?

Cannes Film Review: Redoubtable

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Cannes Film Review: Redoubtable

StudioCanal

Cannes Film Review: Redoubtable

Michel Hazanavicius never has trouble coming up with bad ideas, and turning the romantic life of Jean-Luc Godard into a screwball comedy will be hard for him to beat. One good thing comes out of this, at least in part: the casting of Louis Garrel as the Nouvelle Vague pioneer. His is a credible on-screen representation of JLG, though less because of the actor's performance than his look, which incorporates a falsified receding hairline and a pair of dark eyeglasses. But each time Garrel's pop facsimile deviates from that look, especially when he takes off those shades, the illusion is instantly broken.

The comedic action is superficially entertaining at the start, with Garrel lisping his way through a self-aware imitation of Godard and Hazanavicius playfully stitching together scenes of marital discord and sociopolitical bickering with brisk editing rhythms and rapid-fire dialogue. But as that effort continues to reduce the bold ideas and philosophies of Godard's “revolutionary” period—as well as the toll his ideologies took on his personal and professional relationships—into fodder for dopey, simple-minded parody, Hazanavicius once again outs himself as a shallow opportunist, and Redoubtable as another empty exercise in borrowed style.

Cannes Film Review: Happy End

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Cannes Film Review: Happy End

Sony Pictures Classics

Cannes Film Review: Happy End

The latest slow-burn drama from Michael Haneke, Happy End, initially appears to strain for focus. Haneke takes an otherwise compelling theme—every member of the affluent Laurent family is unhappy, most of them unwilling to admit or dwell on their loved ones' pain—and develops it through sketch-thin characterizations. But as it becomes increasingly clear, Haneke is showing us the various familial influences that contribute to the alienation felt by troubled 13-year-old Eve Laurent (Fantine Harduin), a despondent loner who's forced to live with her estranged father, Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz), after she poisons her biological mother. By juxtaposing various bite-sized vignettes of Eve's family as they confront various moments of personal grief or weakness, Haneke tells us all we need to know in order to make up our own minds about why Eve behaves the way that she does.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Parts 1 & 2

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Parts 1 & 2

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Parts 1 & 2

Just like that gum you like, Twin Peaks is back in style. And that style is unadulterated, late-period David Lynch. Sometimes it's the casting of seemingly minor parts, sometimes just a bit of stray imagery, but Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost somehow manage to evoke moments from Lost Highway and, in particular, Mulholland Drive at least as often as they do the original TV series, which ran on ABC from 1990 to 1991. The central irony of the first two parts of Twin Peaks: The Return is that the show thus far has relatively little to do with the town of Twin Peaks. Then again, if Lynch proved anything in past episodes like “May the Giant Be with You,” with its protracted nose-thumbing at audience expectations, it's that he is indeed a fan of delayed gratification.

Silicon Valley Recap Season 4, Episode 5, “The Blood Boy”

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Silicon Valley Recap: Season 4, Episode 5, “The Blood Boy”

John P. Johnson

Silicon Valley Recap: Season 4, Episode 5, “The Blood Boy”

Tonight’s episode of Silicon Valley, “The Blood Boy,” probes the disconnect between worthiness and success in a world where sizzle almost always trumps substance. Exhibit A is Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), whose brittle ego may be collapsing under the weight of a bad case of imposter syndrome—unless he’s a talented programmer who got promoted to a position of grandiose ineptitude. In the cluttered old garage that Gavin has preserved as a museum to “the spirit of innovation,” he shows the Pied Piper team the workstations where he and Peter Gregory created Hooli. It’s a startling moment, partly because it may be the first time we learn that Gavin and Peter’s bitter rivalry was initially a partnership, but mainly because it conjures up an unfamiliar image of Gavin as a hardworking programmer with more to offer than Machiavellian maneuvering and unfathomable wealth.

American Gods Recap Season 1, Episode 4, "Git Gone"

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American Gods Recap: Season 1, Episode 4, “Git Gone”

Starz

American Gods Recap: Season 1, Episode 4, “Git Gone”

“Git Gone” playfully refutes our expectations of American Gods, opening on Egyptian wall paintings and leading one to assume that the show’s traditional god-centric prologue will be set in Egypt, perhaps as a complement to the introduction of Anubis (Chris Obi) in “Head Full of Snow.” But these paintings are revealed to be fake, existing as part of a backdrop of a gaudy casino where Laura Moon (Emily Browning) once worked. There’s no supernatural prologue in this episode, which is concerned with sadder and more trivially human affairs, offering a series of flashbacks that recount the meeting of Laura and Shadow (Ricky Whittle). “Git Gone” recalibrates portions of the series, so far, from Laura’s point of view, telling a story of a relationship tragically governed by imbalance of power.

Cannes Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

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Cannes Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Netflix

Cannes Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Centered around a bitter patriarch and his three alienated children, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) feels lived-in despite its glaringly mannered dialogue and charmingly eccentric characterizations. After all, there aren’t that many people like bitter also-ran sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman), clingy musician turned stay-at-home father Danny (Adam Sandler), depressed control freak Benjamin (Ben Stiller), and Danny and Benjamin’s pushy but kind step-sister, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel).

The Meyerowitzes are rich oddballs: Danny somehow can afford to not work for long stretches of time; Harold tellingly quibbles about the merits of his colleagues’ work right before he beams proudly about bumping into a celebrity (Sigourney Weaver!); and Harold’s fourth wife (Emma Thompson) secretively combats alcoholism while binging on expensive hummus, and serving rarefied dishes like shark and pigeon. But while these individuals may not talk like the people you know, they obsess, kvetch, and ache in ways that make it seem as if you’ve known them for years.

Cannes Film Review: Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc

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Cannes Film Review: Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc

Memento Films

Cannes Film Review: Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc

Bruno Dumont follows his oddball 2016 Cannes competition entry Slack Bay with the bold and more divisive rock opera Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc. And as with Slack Bay and 2014’s Li’l Quinquin, Jeanette’s provocations—sacred subject matter paired with pounding death-metal bass drums—add to its sense of humor. A sample scene: a sheep bleating off screen while an earnest hymnal is sung into the camera. Even the frequently out-of-tune singing and chintzy synthesizer soundtrack add to a sense of levity and play, a tone Dumont’s never pulled off as comfortably as he does here.

Doctor Who Recap Season 10, Episode 6, "Extremis"

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 10, Episode 6, “Extremis”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Season 10, Episode 6, “Extremis”

Tonight’s Doctor Who is a turning point for the season. After a run of standalone adventures for the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Bill (Pearl Mackie), by the end of “Extremis” we’re suddenly in the middle of a big multi-part tale. It feels quite similar to the way 2011’s mid-season finale, “A Good Man Goes to War,” finally resolved the long-running mystery of River Song’s identity, only for that resolution to send the season’s plot arc off in a whole new direction. Ever since “The Pilot,” we’ve been teased with the riddle of who or what is in the secret vault that the Doctor and Nardole (Matt Lucas) have been guarding, and why the Doctor took up this duty. “Extremis” fills in the answers to those questions, but it’s clearly only the prologue to a much larger story.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 9, "Your Pilot’s On Fire"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 9, “Your Pilot’s On Fire”

VH1/Logo

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 9, “Your Pilot’s On Fire”

Girl, call Tilda Swinton. Because we need to talk about Nina Bo’nina Helen Gurley Brown. And, because really only one significant thing happened in this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race (namely, one of the most tragic lip-synch misfortunes in human record), be aware that spoilers are higher up in this rucap than usual. Having said that, we really need to talk about Nina Bo’nina del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Brown.