The Best & Worst of Cannes 2014

Surprise breakouts, weird movie pitches and more...

For 12 days, two valiant TF-ers (Matt @spliggle Risley and Jamie @jamie_graham9 Graham) have camped out in the heart of crazy, chaotic Cannes to bring you all the latest breaking news, movie reaction reviews and more.

There have been a host of breakout hits, the odd disappointment and a whole bunch of bonkersness inbetween.

For the full rundown of festival winners, just click here. Here however, we bring you the more irreverent, behind-the-scenes look at the best and worst moments from the starriest and most stylish movie festival of the year.

BEST: THE EXPENDABLES 3 TAKE OVER THE CROISETTE

 

 

From the moment we arrived in Cannes, we knew The Expendables 3 would be making itself known.

The infamous Carlton Hotel was strewn in big name paraphenalia (also seen: giant Transformers: Age of Extinction banners, a gargantuan and continually distracting Sex Tape billboard, and a giant Angelina Jolie spreading her Maleficent wings on the lawn).

But topping all these were 16 Expendables banners spelling out the name of the movie with a little help from its macho posing celebrity friends.

That was all mere fanboy/girl foreplay for the main event however - and on Saturday morning, two tanks rolled down the Croisette with Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Ford, Statham, Banderas, Snipes, Lundgren, Grammer, Couture, Lutz, Rousey, Powell, Ortiz and director Patrick Hughes all aboard.

It was utter chaos, and a hark back to the ridiculous publicity stunts Cannes used to do so well.

WORST: GRACE OF MONACO FLOPS 

On paper, Grace of Monaco had everything a great Cannes opener needs - a big star name, an exotic locale, a biopic with as much political as personal intrigue, and a stunningly realised production design and costumery.

But mere days before the festival opened, there were rumours that the Weinstein Company was contemplating dropping the movie, sparking consternation that the project may not be the most illuminating of premieres.

Alas, while it wasn't quite the travesty many have suggested (at one point we heard someone say it was 'worse than Diana' - it's not), it was definitely a case of aesthetics over content.

Read our reaction review here.

BEST: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 PARTY

Cannes parties are legendary in Hollywood circles.

The opulence, free champagne and star-studded soirees have been in comparatively short supply in recent years, but The Hunger Games brought it back in style, throwing a bash with all the secrecy and magnificence of the Capitol at its most stunning.

The Mockingjay: Part 1 shindig was situated in a mansion way out of town, and stuffed full with the franchise's mega A-List cast (J-Law, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin and many more all in attendance), endless rivers of fizz, and had some amazingly Hunger Games-ian decor (Mockingjay symbols adorned the residence, while servers were dressed up in Capitol Couture).

Not only that, but you had to show your snazzy rebellion pin to gain access...

WORST: THE WEIRDEST MOVIE PITCH WE'VE EVER HEARD

Cannes is an experience for many, many reasons. But undoubtedly one of the most surreal is that for just a couple of weeks in the year, almost every single living person wandering around the area is either writing about movies, in a movie, wanting to sell a movie or just plain obsessed with movies.

The through thrust is that everyone there has one thing in common, leading to almost always easy-going - and often illuminating - conversations.

Take one besuited fellow who started chatting to Team TF as they munched their lunch. What started out as a very sober and impassioned documentary pitch soon swerved into the 'Cannes he be serious?' realm of describing a documentary which would definitively prove that you can talk to ghosts through a special phone box.

When quizzed on why the world wasn't already aware of this, everything was all-too-explained in the reply "well, that's where the conspiracies come into play..."

 

BEST: IT FOLLOWS

Every year there's always one breakout genre film that manages to blow everyone away.

This year it was It Follows, a brilliant, disturbing and electrifying horror in which teenagers pass on a scary sexual death wish. Imagine the video tape from The Ring in the form of a succubus STD and you're not too far off.

If that sounds schlocky, the execution (fnar) is anything but - delivering a scary horror with a whole host of subtext (sex being used as a weapon etc etc).

While it's still awaiting distribution, we can all but guarantee this as the breakout genre hit of the year.

WORST: IMPROMPTU NARCOLEPSY

Whether it was your first Cannes or your 31st, there's one thing guaranteed to take you by surprise. And that is cinematic narcolepsy (by way of extreme exhaustion).

With many critics and cinemagoers pulling 16 hour long day shifts watching film after film (and then writing and/or interviewing people about said films), the snooze factor can take even the hardiest of film fans by surprise.

Whether the 8:30am or the 11pm screenings, if you're facing a three and a half hour foreign film after four hours sleep, you were always guaranteed to doze off - or make snore-booming besties with the person next to you.

BEST/WORST: RYAN GOSLING'S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT CONFUSES AND ENTERTAINS

Ryan Gosling's directorial debut was always going to be an enormous critical target.

So when it was announced as a Cannes entry, expectation only doubled. As the credits rolled, and faint applause echoed around the cinema, we braced ourselves for the backlash.

And so it came, with a simple opening of Twitter leading to reactions suggesting Gosling was the directorial Antichrist, delivering an abomination so hideous, so horrendous that Louis Lumiere himself would drag himself up from his grave to lambast the Gozzles personally.

As our initial reaction review attested, Lost River is far from a wash out; and while it has its issues (the stylistic references are many), there's a lot to intrigue too, and enough to suggest that with time and experience, he could become every bit as renowned a director as those he's aping.

 

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