Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cannes Film Festival // Seven Films to Watch

An article from The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” starring Russell Crowe as the outlaw archer, launches the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. Over the next dozen days, jury president Tim Burton, along with such film luminaries as Kate Beckinsale and Benicio del Toro, will be deciding on the winner of the Palme d’Or, the prestigious French festival’s top prize, among a slate of 18 films hailing all the way from Hollywood to Thailand. While “Robin Hood” opens on Friday, most of the festival’s highly anticipated films won’t show up in U.S. theaters for some time. Here’s seven that we’ll be watching:

Mexican director Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu (“Babel”) made a splash at Cannes in 2000 with his debut film “Amores Perros.” He returns this year in competition with this gritty drama about a man (Javier Barden) struggling to protect his family in a down-and-out neighborhood. No U.S. distributor as of yet.

This French epic, screening out of competition, chronicles the life of Carlos the Jackal, the infamous terrorist who headed a worldwide organization responsible for multiple killings, hijackings and bombings throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. Directed by French art-film director Olivier Assayas (“Summer Hours”), the film was shot in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Lebanon and Morocco, and will air in the U.S. as a three-part mini-series on the Sundance Channel in Fall 2010.

“Fair Game”
Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”) directs this political thriller based on the real life controversy surrounding Valerie Plame, the CIA agent whose identity was leaked to the press in 2003. The film stars Naomi Watts as Plame and Sean Penn as her husband Joe Wilson, a staunch critic of the Bush Administration. Just weeks before its Cannes premiere, Summit Entertainment (“The Hurt Locker”) announced it had picked up the film for U.S. release.

A teenage assassin (Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan) is sent on a mission to Europe, while eluding agents sent out to stop her by a ruthless intelligence operative (Cate Blanchett). If this one doesn’t sound like the usual Cannes movie, it’s because it’s not actually screening at the festival. The buzzed-about thriller, directed by Joe Wright (“Atonement”), is currently shooting in Europe and distributor Focus Features will unveil teaser footage for international buyers and press at this year’s Cannes marketplace.

“Inside Job”
Filmmaker Charles Ferguson, who directed the Oscar-nominated Iraq War documentary “No End in Sight,” digs deep into the causes of the global financial crisis and contends that corrosive relationships have corrupted politics, regulation and academia. Narrated by Matt Damon, the film will be released by Sony Pictures Classics later this year. While documentaries are rare in Cannes, the festival will also host “Countdown to Zero,” a hair-raising look at nuclear proliferation from the producers of “An Inconvenient Truth” (set to open this July).

“Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps”
After more than two decades, Gordon Gekko – the infamous trader embodied by Michael Douglas – is back in this sequel directed by Oliver Stone, who also made the original. Douglas reprises his role as Gekko, a reformed man who tries to help Wall Street on the verge of the 2008 crash. After some scrapped release dates, 20th Century Fox will start the buzz in Cannes, followed by a September 2010 bow.

“You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger”
Woody Allen’s nearly annual film exercise—this time set in the U.K.—centers around Josh Brolin, a struggling writer battling with issues of marriage, career and romance. As usual, Cannes regular Allen (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” played in ‘08) has lined up a top-notch cast of supporting players, including Antonio Banderas, Naomi Watts and Anthony Hopkins. Sony Pictures Classics opens the film in September 2010.

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