In the now classic spoof of the Hollywood star-making machine, film producer Sy Lerner (Seymour Cassel) makes a bet with a fellow film executive that he can turn any nobody into a star at the Cannes Film Festival. A New York cab driver who is visiting the festival is chosen as the test subject to settle the bet and Sy uses his skills of hype and manipulation to turn the cab driver, Frank (Francesco Quinn), into the talk of the town.
Set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean during the world’s most celebrated festival, industry professional’s mix with starlets, wannabes and paparazzi followed by the backroom dynamics of over-hype, deal-making and manipulation. Director Richard Martino’s film is as relevant today as when it was first released and also features laugh out loud appearances by A-listers including Johnny Depp, John Malkovich, Benicio del Toro, James Brolin, Jim Jarmusch and Harvey Weinstein, just to name a few.
Whenever I want to watch a movie about the music industry I automatically think of 'Spinal Tap' even though it was a mockumentary. Still, 'Spinal Tap' nailed the eccentricities of the music industry and remains to this day one of the greatest comedies out there.
Now, whenever I think about watching a movie about the way the movie industry works I'm going to automatically think about 'Cannes Man'. 'Cannes Man' ridicules the film industry in the same light-hearted but witty way.
'Cannes Man' is a mockumentary set at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Cannes is all about the hype. Whoever can leave Cannes with the most hype surrounding them or their movie is in good shape to see success at the box office. Producers, directors, and actors schmooze with each other, often making their projects sound much better than they are. It's a gang of charlatans and they're all out to defraud each other. The chief charlatan is a man named Sy Lerner (Seymour Cassel). He's touted as one of the biggest producers in Hollywood. This is a man who can get anything done. If he's behind a movie, that movie makes big bucks. Simple as that.
Sitting at an outside café, Sy and a producer friend of his are discussing how Cannes is all about the hype. It doesn't matter how good someone or some film is, if they have the hype from the festival they'll go a long way. So, Sy and his friend make a bet where Sy says that he can turn any person there into the biggest star at Cannes. Sy's friend picks a scrawny guy down by the beach. Sy, lets out a groan and then takes on the challenge. (Incidentally, this is also the way Steven Seagal is rumored to have become a star.)
The guy's name is Frank Rhinoslavsky (Francesco Quinn), but Sy immediately changes his name to Frank Rhino to give him a coolness factor. Sy decides that he's going to make Frank into the most famous writer at Cannes. Everywhere the two of them go Sy keeps mentioning Frank Rhino's name. He talks to Johnny Depp and John Malkovich, and finally people start to talk about Frank. They start to think he's a big Hollywood name and soon people are lining up to be in Frank's new movie, which is called 'Cannes Man,' which everyone pronounces 'Con Man'. Get the double meaning? Sy signs producers, actors, distributors, everyone wants a piece of this pie. Even without a script Sy gets huge names on board and starts holding press conferences. I laughed when Treat Williams was the only actor who demanded to see a script before he signed on to do the movie.
'Cannes Man' is a witty, bizarre look into what it takes to get a movie made in Hollywood. Sy is a masterful bullshitter and is able to sell a movie based completely on conjecture and fanciful thinking. It's actually quite spectacular.
If you liked 'Spinal Tap,' you'll love 'Cannes Man'.
'Cannes Man' on Blu-ray is one of those experiences where you find yourself asking, "Why exactly was this title picked for the high-def treatment?" The movie is presented in 1080i, and is murky, hazy, and grimy. Con indeed.
Much of the softness of the picture can be attributed to directorial choice to make the movie look aged and untreated. It has that look of a movie that you're watching on an ancient print in a smoke-filled theater. Noise abounds, as hairs, specks, and flecks pop up with hurried frequency. The top corners of the frame are rounded off much of the time, giving the movie blackish corners that grow and then recede, only to grow back as the movie continues. Clarity isn't clear at all. Fine detail is non-existent. The entire movie looks soft and washed out.
Again, the way this movie looks is almost entirely because the filmmakers wanted it to look this way, but still when it comes to Blu-ray this is one of those presentations that I just couldn't give a decent score to.
'Cannes Man' is accompanied on Blu-ray with an equally anemic stereo presentation.
Not much to talk about here. Two channels is all you're getting with 'Cannes Man.' Truthfully, it's all you need, but this isn't even a lossless track. Voices are muffled and hard to hear a lot of the time. They have that tinny sound that older movies seem to have (again most likely a filmmaker choice). The music in the soundtrack sounds hollow and uninviting. All treble and no bass.
This is as flat as stereo presentations come
There are no special features provided.
'Cannes Man' is a hilarious look inside the inner-workings of Hollywood and the world's most famous film festival. It's a niche movie for sure, but if you love mockumentaries then you'll probably enjoy this one. It's funny, it's clever, and watching Johnny Depp and Jim Jarmusch interact while they're meditating is uproariously funny. Sadly, the video and audio are horrendous. They may be were meant to be that way, but 'Cannes Man' doesn't ever show noticeable benefits from being on Blu-ray. A rental recommendation is the best I can give this.