It’s that time of year again, time for the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a Brange-free Cannes this year, which is a bummer because Cannes Brange is Best Brange, but there are a LOT of good looking movies on the festival slate. It’s not the same as Brange porn, I know, but it’s still something. Here are some movies screening at Cannes that mark the beginning of Oscar prognosticating for 2015, plus some stuff that just sounds cool.
The most Oscar-ready title at Cannes is Carol, director Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel about a 1950s department store clerk who falls in love with an older woman she meets at her department store. Starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and
Coach Taylor Kyle Chandler, Carol is being released by The Weinstein Company. Their last fancy Cannes period drama¸ Grace of Monaco, is being dumped on Lifetime later this month, so undoubtedly Harvey is hoping for better reviews this time around.
Pixar is back this year to reclaim their annual Oscar with Inside Out, a movie featuring personified emotions—Pixar has made a cartoon for children about depression. I really can’t wait to see this; when Pixar goes high-concept the results are always spectacular (see also: WALL-E). And Matthew McConaughey angles for Oscar #2 with Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees, co-starring Ken Watanbe, about two men who become lost in Japan’s “suicide forest”. You had me at “suicide forest”. Finally, the 2014 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Paolo Sorrentino, follows up The Great Beauty with Youth, starring Michael Caine as a retired conductor. I really loved The Great Beauty, so I’m on board with Youth. Plus there’s bonus Rachel Weisz.
Joachim Trier, cousin of Lars, had a breakout moment at the 2011 festival with Oslo, August 31st, a film that was immediately and almost universally adored (he’s like the Norwegian Xavier Dolan). This year he’s moving toward the mainstream with Louder Than Bombs, which has been obnoxiously mystery boxed but which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Amy Ryan, and Isabelle Huppert. All that’s known about the plot is that it’s about widower and children of a war photographer discover a secret about her past. Okay, fine. That’s a helluva cast.
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard premiere Macbeth, which everyone seems into but recently Shakespeare adaptations haven’t been doing well, so there’s no telling how this will be received. I am more confident in the prospects of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent involved in an ethically sticky drug cartel take down. Villeneuve had to fight to keep the central role female, so I hope this movie is a huge success just so those unnamed backers who wanted the part re-written for a man have to eat sh*t—I really want this movie to be so successful they have to keep eating it throughout the year. And always getting a mention is Catherine Deneuve, who stars in Emmanuelle Bercot’s film, Standing Tall. This is actually the opening film of the festival, and it’s about a juvenile delinquent and the judge (Deneuve) presiding over his case. Catherine Deneuve is awesome. People should talk about her more.
Just Sounds Cool
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien is arguably one of the greatest directors in the world and he has a new martial arts film, The Assassin, about a ninth century girl who is trained to be an assassin by a nun. SOLD. The Assassin just sold its US rights at the Marche du Film, the business side of Cannes, so hopefully it won’t be a long wait to see it. I care less about seeing Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness—f*ck this pretentious title—but I fully support her right to make artsy-fartsy turd piles to her heart’s content. Every second white bread actor in Hollywood is a director now—time to let a few ladies make fart-smelling movies, too.
I am SUPER EXCITED about The Lobster, from Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, who made the incredibly disturbing Dogtooth. Starring Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, Rachel Weisz, and Lea Seydoux, The Lobster is about a future in which single people must find mates or else they’re turned into animals. Dogtooth is demented and this sounds bonkers and I can’t wait to see it. This is my #1 title of the entire festival.
And finally, Mad Max: Fury Road is premiering at the festival this week, which means that Charlize Theron will be on the Croisette, probably with Sean Penn (ugh). The movie is already getting very enthusiastic reviews and even with its hard-R rating, it ought to challenge the Avengers for the top spot this weekend. Despite Tom Hardy playing the title character, everyone says this is Charlize’s movie. I’m legit wondering if we’re going to have a Dark Knight problem with Mad Max come award season.
Here’s Charlize arriving in Nice ahead of tomorrow’s festival gala opening and Tom Hardy at Heathrow.