It’s hard to remember exactly when being promoted to the Cannes competition ceased to mean much—the actual moment when festival director Thierry Fremaux decided that giving a platform to the likes of, say, Pedro Costa, Lucrecia Martel, or Apichatpong Weerasethakul (the latter bafflingly downgraded to Un Certain Regard this year) was simply not good for business. The decision to elevate such dully competent, glossily empty fare as Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs to premier-league status serves, if nothing else, as a sobering reminder that those days are gone for good. Yet this isn’t the only artistic downfall that Trier’s film marks, as Isabelle Huppert’s previously sure hand at picking the crème de la crème of contemporary cinema has clearly also gone awry, the venerable French actress coming off here like a profile-hungry Madonna in desperate search of a new Mirwais.
Devin Druid (#1–10 of 2)
The first part of “Pamela” ended with a disturbing attempted rape that dealt a severe blow to Louie’s (Louis C.K.) image as an awkward yet ultimately benign man. Instead of moving on to the final two parts of “Pamela” to see how Pamela Adlon’s character now views her friendship with Louie, the series diverts to the extended two-part episode “In the Woods,” in which Louie catches his daughter, Lilly (Hadley Delaney), smoking pot. Soon, however, his parental fury gives way to an extended flashback about his own youthful indiscretion, complete with his own dalliance with drugs.