Paris Hilton, Sharon Stone and Star Wars storm troopers (dressed in gleaming, clanking white plastic armor) all mingled through packed photo calls at the Cannes International Film Festival this weekend, bringing to mind the old Sesame Street song lyric: "One of these things is not like the others..."
The one common thread that brought the disparate group together: They were all hyping upcoming projects. Hilton was here to promote Pledge This!, a yet-to-be-released campus comedy that's her follow-up to House of Wax. Ditto Sharon Stone, who is finally going to star in the long-delayed Basic Instinct II: Risk Addiction. The Star Wars soldiers, who lined up on the red carpet leading to the Grand Palais, the massive movie multiplex where films unspool during the festival, were trumpeting Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the final film in George Lucas's six-part series. The movie screened to cheers on Sunday and was one of the hardest-to-score tickets at the festival.
Wacky celebrity-spotting aside, there is a sense that now, six days into the festival, Cannes is hitting its stride cinematically. The movies that screened in competition the first several days generally were met with unenthusiastic receptions. Director Gus Van Sant's Last Days proved an inert look at the final days of a Kurt Cobain-like rocker (played by, Michael Pitt, who mumbles unintelligibly throughout the movie. If not for the French subtitles, viewers would've had no idea what he was saying). Also in the dud column was Where the Truth Lies, a drama looking at the seamy underbelly of show business that stars Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth. It was marred by the disastrous miscasting of Alison Lohman, who seemed too young and insipid for her role as a ruthless reporter digging into a musty show-biz scandal.