Cannes Preview 2014
As summer movie season kicks off so does the biggest, glitziest film festival in the world, and this year Cannes is delivering early as we already have a smutty situation brewing around French director Olivier Dahan’s awful-looking Grace Kelly biopic Grace of Monaco, which will open the festival. The release of Grace of Monaco has been up in the air since a fight broke out last year between Dahan and producer Harvey Weinstein over the final cut of the film—pretty regular occurrence with Harvey these days.
Variety alleges that Weinstein may drop Grace all together, while The Hollywood Reporter says that he is trying to work out a deal to keep it. I don’t see him giving up his rights—he didn’t give up his rights to Snowpiercer and that disagreement got really ugly behind the scenes. He’ll keep Grace, he’ll just release it in like, fifty theaters. Harvey basically only has two plays in his book: Cut the film to ribbons or screw it out of an audience.
Anyway, here’s what to look for throughout the year, including the first roster of potential Oscar candidates. It’s never too early to start eyeing the field. After all, it was Cannes where I first predicted Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar. (I WILL NEVER STOP GLOATING.)
The title I was most excited to see is Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Not only is it based on the totally bananas true-crime story of John DuPont (of THOSE duPonts) murdering Olympic wrestling coach Dave Schultz, but it stars the totally bananas cast of Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum. This movie was held out of last year’s uber-competitive Oscar season and will try to get a jump on this year’s race by premiering early.
Mike Leigh wrote and directed a biopic of British artist JMW Turner, called Mr. Turner, and Leigh, like Woody Allen, always seems to get a screenplay nod. And Michel Hazanavicius follows up The Artist with The Search, starring Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening. It’s about war orphans in Chechnya. It might as well be called Oscar Porn.
Another movie that got pushed into 2014 looking for a more favorable Oscar field is The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, retitled for Cannes as Eleanor Rigby. Harvey Weinstein scooped it up after last year’s TIFF and while he did have director Ned Benson cut a two-hour commercial release, he’s also committed to putting the original four-hour dual Him and Her films into arthouses at some point. At TIFF critics raved about James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain’s performances. McAvoy is starting to feel a little bit due—if he’s really that good, and with the aid of his BONKERS performance in Filth, this could be the year he gets an Oscar nod.
Jean-Luc Godard has a new movie, Goodbye to Language. It involves an affair, a dog and a dead robin, and it’s in 3D. French New Wave in 3D? I’m into it. The Dardenne Brothers are also returning, with Two Days, One Night starring Marion Cotillard. The Dardennes leave me cold but they are actors’ directors and are sure to get a great performance from Marion. British director Ken Loach, who may or may not be retiring, brings what could be his last film to Cannes with Jimmy’s Hall. And Canadian director Xavier Dolan, who is TWENTY-FIVE, brings his FIFTH film to Cannes, Mommy. He premiered his first film in Cannes in 2009, when he was TWENTY. They’ve been going nuts for him ever since. Dolan is basically the cinematic equivalent of a First Book Bitch.
Odds & Ends
The big non-competition, Hollywood premiere this year is How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is poised to be a MONSTER this summer. The first Dragon was legit delightful and the sequel actually looks better than the first movie. It also contributes to the general Canada theme of Cannes this year—a lot of Canucks are representing all over the festival—as Jay Baruchel will be on the Croisette. Other Canadians showing films are Atom Egoyan with The Captive, starring Ryan Reynolds, and David Cronenberg with Map to the Stars. And The Return of The Gos continues as Ryan Gosling premieres his directorial debut, Lost River.
Twihards are all a-shiver at the prospect of a Robsten reunion since Kristen Stewart stars in Olivier Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria and Robert Pattinson has double-billing at this year’s festival with Map to the Stars and David Michod’s The Rover, but personally, I’m watching to see if human Grumpy Cat Tommy Lee Jones cracks a smile. He’s there to screen his latest directorial effort, The Homesman. If anyone can turn summer on the Riviera into a miserable experience, it’s Jones. And also Twihards.