Hollywood goes dark, Western goes east at Cannes
By Michael Roddy
CANNES France (Reuters) - Canadian David Cronenberg presented a director's take on a Hollywood infected by taboo sex and backstabbing, plus a few ghosts, while Tommy Lee Jones turned the Western around for a perilous eastward trek with madwomen at Cannes on Sunday.
Jones's "The Homesman" and Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" screened the same day that Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and other cast members from "The Expendables 3" rode in tanks in the Mediterranean seaside town, lending star power to the festival.
"Crash" and "The Fly" director Cronenberg's look behind the tinsel of Hollywood was the second competition film shown on the fifth day of the 12-day festival, giving it a heavily North American flavor.
One critic for a major trade publication, who did not want to be quoted by name before a review appeared in print, said Cronenberg's film was "very disappointing and very uneven". It stars "Twilight" idol Robert Pattinson as a Hollywood wannabe working as a chauffeur and Mia Wasikowska as a schizophrenic.
The Hollywood Reporter trade publication called Jones's film "an absorbing, melancholy look at the hard lot of women in the Old West". It co-stars Jones and two-time Oscar best-actress winner Hilary Swank as a team escorting the madwomen.
The Cannes awards, including the top Palme d'Or prize for best picture at the world's most prestigious film festival, will be given on May 24.
Of the main competition films shown since the festival opened on Wednesday, Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Winter Sleep" and British director Mike Leigh's "Mr Turner" are tied with the highest rankings in a compilation of opinions of international critics by Screen International magazine. Both get ratings of 3.6 stars out of a possible 4.