By Craig Hubert | Cannes is almost finished, and things are only getting weirder: Leonard DiCaprio is auctioning off trips to space as his wingman, while Shirley Bassey is “urging Cannes Festival luminaries to pull out their Goldfingers,” which sounds gross. The awards are this weekend, but right now, everybody is talking about Arnaud des Pallieres’s “Michael Kohlhaas,” a revenge story starring Mads Mikkelsen (star of NBC’s “Hannibal”), and James Grey’s “The Immigrant,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cottilard, which many are already claiming is a masterpiece on par with the films of Francis Ford Coppola and Elia Kazan. Below, the snap judgements of critics.
SPOTLIGHT: Sweeping Culture Daily
By Bryan Hood | TUNE: “Empty Thought Over a Shallow Ocean,” a restrained dose of euphoria (the tinkling synths at the half way point, the warm pulse throughout, in particular) that’s a little too subdued to get the dance floor going. It does make for the perfect come down track to end the night with, though.
BY: Canadian Internet wizkid, Ryan Hemsworth, proving that his own material is just as lovable as his remixes.
CURRENTLY: This is off his latest EP, “Stay Awake,” the follow up to last year’s quite enjoyable “Last Words.” Download it for free via Fader.
By Craig Hubert | If you had to guess what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney does when he’s not dealing with the multiple scandals currently surrounding the president, would you guess it was listening to lo-fi indie rock? If you said no, you’d be wrong, because, according to a story in the Washington Post, Carney is a superfan of Dayton, Ohio’s prolific and alcohol drenched Guided By Voices — like, he has a their album “Bee Season” hanging on the wall of his office, singed by singer Robert Pollard, placed next to a picture of the Berlin Wall collapsing. “I just think Pollard is brilliant and funny and has a level of creativity in abundance that is just astonishing. It’s all essential listening if you can keep up with his production,” Carney told the paper. “I used to until I had this job.” And what does the notoriously down to earth Pollard think of his biggest fan? “Of course, anyone who likes my music means a lot to me but it’s even a little more special when it’s coming from a very seriously high echelon of thinkers like those cats in the White House.”
In Five: Gael Garcia Bernal Joins Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater,” Neil LaBute Recruits Cast For “Full Circle,” and More Culture News
1. Gael Garcia Bernal is set to star in his feature directorial debut “Rosewater,” the directorial debut of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart. The film “follows Bahari (Bernal), a journalist who leaves his pregnant fiancée behind in London while he travels to Iran to spend a week covering the country’s presidential elections. Instead, he winds up spending 118 days in a notorious Iranian prison where he is brutally interrogated by a man whose defining characteristic is the smell of rosewater.” Stewart wrote the script, an adaptation of Maziar Bahari’s 2011 book “Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.” Stewart will take off most of the summer to shoot the film. [The Wrap]
By Craig Hubert | So, Cannes is still happening. Films are still playing, red carpets are still being walked on, jewelry is still being stolen — wait, what? Yes, that’s right: there has been another jewelry theft. Also, there is a guy dressed like “Gangham Stlye” singer Psy, conning celebrities into getting their picture taken with him, and Jerry Lewis is still acting like an old crank. Oh yeah, and Nicole Kidman and Ang Lee are dating (we totally just made that up, but only in Cannes can something like that happen, right?). Today, as the week is that much nearer to a close, everybody is talking about Alexander Payne’s stark “Nebraska,” Ruairi Robinson’s “The Last Days of Mars,” and French auteur Serge Bozon’s detective-comedy “Tip-Top.” Below, the quick reaction from critics.
By Bryan Hood | TUNE: “When a Fire Starts to Burn,” which proves, yet again, that all a dance track needs to get stuck in your head are some exuberant drums, strident synths, and, if there are any vocals, some simple, mantra-like lyrics (here in the form of a sample). It’s an approach that favors the group’s club roots, rather than the pop approach that’s filtered into their recent singles.
BY: The brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, or as music fans know them, Disclosure, London’s current electronic duo of note.
CURRENTLY: Along with “Latch,” “White Noise,” “You & Me” (three of this year’s most danceable songs), this track will appear on the pair’s debut LP, “Settle,” due out June 4 from Cherrytree/Interscope.
In Five: Paris Hilton Signs With Cash Money Records, Lydia Davis Wins Man Booker International Prize, and More Culture News
1. You’ve been warned: Paris Hilton is recording another album. Yes, of music, and yes, she already has a record out. How could you forget this? The kicker, though, is that Hilton has signed a deal with Cash Money Records, home to artists such as Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil’ Wayne. Does this mean Hilton will be skateboarding with Wayne? Let’s hope so. “This is a lot different than my first album,” Hilton told an interviewer in Cannes, where she is promoting “The Bling Ring,” although nobody asked her to. “It’s really going to be house music.” The album will reportedly be produced by Afrojack, and Hilton plans on doing a residency in Ibiza, because it’s 1996. [Showbiz 411]
By Craig Hubert | We’re just past the halfway mark of the Cannes Film Festival and, we’re sad to say that our worst nightmare has come true. “The best-dressed set has taken over the French Riviera,” reports the New York Times, “where the promise of great films is rivaled only by the number of enviable parties at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival.” Can it be true? Are most of the people at Cannes more interested in the yacht parties than the actual films? They certainly seemed interested in “Only God Forgives,” the new film starring Ryan Gosling — that is, until Gosling didn’t show up and the crowd booed the film (the first of the festival!). According to reports, audiences seem split on Claire Denis’s new drama, “The Bastards,” while critics are generally raving about Robert Redford in J.C. Chandor’s man in the sea epic “All Is Lost.” Below, a quick rundown of the critical reception is below.
By Bryan Hood | TUNE: “And Now for the Wild,” a somber and eerie song about — you guessed it — nature. It may not be particularly season-appropriate, but that doesn’t make the expansive track any less effective.
BY: London-based four-piece Grass Houses, who favor a sort of frontier-flavored style of rock that bares little resemblance to other contemporary British bands.
CURRENTLY: This is half of an upcoming 7-inch from the band (listen to the B-side, “Spinning as We Turn,” here) currently available for pre order from Marshall Teller Records.