You Didn't See Me Here: Naomi Watts -- here walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Fair Game -- stars as outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in Doug Liman's drama.
The Cannes Film Festival, that glamorous swirl of celebs and sand and cinema, draws to a close this weekend, and critic Kenneth Turan has been in the South of France taking in all the movies — not to mention the sights and sounds. He tells NPR's Lynn Neary that the weather's been excellent, and some of the films on offer have been, too. Here, an edited overview of Turan's thoughts on the good, the bad and the merely perplexing on the Croisette — with selected links to his longer reports for the Los Angeles Times:
• Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, directed by Oliver Stone — "There are so many arty films [at Cannes] that to have one of these big, juicy Hollywood movies here, where everyone's licking their chops and the bad guys are being evil, was kind of refreshing in some way."
• You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, directed by Woody Allen — It "follows several couples in London who are unhappy in their marriages and their relationships, and things just go from bad to worse with them. It's really not a happy film in any sense of the word."
• Another Year, directed by Mike Leigh — "He goes very deeply into character. ... You see people on screen being alive and human in ways that no other director can really manage. He follows a couple here, and a friend of theirs, through the course of a year, and you just see kind of what life does to them — what happens, how they react to life's circumstances. And it's a very rich, very involving film — very, very moving, actually."
• Fair Game, directed by Doug Liman — "It stars Sean Penn and Naomi Watts ... telling a story ripped from not today's headlines, but yesterday's" — the story of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her ex-ambassador husband, Joe Wilson. "It's not just a political film; it's a film that's engaging about relationships — about the marriage between these two people, and what getting caught up in the Bush White House shenanigans did to them."
• Inside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson — "The best [documentary] here, I think most people would agree. ... [Ferguson] did a film a couple of years ago that was Oscar-nominated, called No End In Sight, which was a look at not why we invaded Iraq, but what went wrong once we got to Iraq. He's very good at analyzing things that have fallen apart. ... He's an academic, not your usual filmmaker, and in this film he looks at the financial collapse. ... For people who don't think they've really been able to understand it, don't know what happened, don't really know who's to blame, this film really lays it out in really good detail. ... It's quite fascinating, quite astonishing, and really I think it's as riveting as documentary work gets."