Not alright, alright, alright. That was more or less the universal reception to “Sea Of Trees,” Gus Van Sant’s drama starring Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, and Ken Watanabe, when it premiered at Cannes this year. Much anticipated, given its prestigious Competition slot, McConaughey’s recent hot run, and Van Sant’s Palme d’Or-winning track record, the film bowed back in May to a chorus of boos, and has been notably absent from the fall festivals, and the release calendar.
Following McConaughey’s depression-stricken American to Japan’s famous “suicide forest,” where he meets a similarly distraught Japanese businessman, our review said that the film “mixes the thrills of ‘Gerry’ with the subtlety of ‘Finding Forrester’ and the originality of the ‘Psycho’ redo,” and that the title was appropriate, because “it makes you feel like you’re drowning, and it’s full of sap.” But the reaction doesn’t seem to have bothered the film’s director and star, because they’ve just reunited.
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And on something that’s already been much-mocked: follow-ups to McConaughey’s endlessly-parodied, nonsensical Lincoln ads from last year. Nicholas Winding Refn directed the original batch, but Van Sant’s taken over for a new series, which will air during football on Sunday, but a brief 30 second preview has emerged thanks to The Hollywood Reporter. You can watch below, and trust us when we say that it’s already more rewarding a project than “Sea Of Trees.”