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The Playlist's 15 Most Anticipated Films Of The Cannes Film Festival

by Oliver Lyttelton
May 9, 2012 1:13 PM
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Amour Haneke
"Love" - dir. Michael Haneke - Austria
Synopsis: Long term love will be put to the test when the elderly Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a paralyzing stroke, which affects both her husband George (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and daughter (Isabelle Huppert).
What You Need To Know: Once known as "These Two" and originally cancelled by the director when he saw a Canadian film with a similar premise (most likely Sarah Polley's "Away From Her"), the Austrian great finally got underway on the retitled "Love" last February. It's an exciting prospect for the veteran director to not only amass this kind of talent (a who's-who of French auteur cinema), but also to tackle a new topic thoroughly different, and seemingly more humanistic, from his mainstays of violence, media, and video/film, even if we're not exactly expecting it to be much more fun than "The White Ribbon." The film has already been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, which bodes well, although the 2009 win for his last picture probably means he won't be in serious contention for the Palme d'Or this time around (acting prizes may be a better bet).

Moonrise Kingdom Jared Gilman Kara Hayward
"Moonrise Kingdom" - dir. Wes Anderson - USA
Synopsis: Set during the 1960s, a young boy and girl (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) run away together and their small New England town is turned upside down looking for them.
What You Need To Know: Though "Moonrise Kingdom" is technically Wes Anderson's first period piece, his films have always seemed set in an indeterminate point in history. Mixing disparate influences from Martin Scorsese to Satyajit Ray has always been part of the director's playbook, but no matter where he sets his stories -- a fairytale NYC, the high seas, a train in India -- they always seem to take place in diorama-like Anderson-land. His latest takes place on an island off the coast of New England during the 1960s and from the looks of what we've seen, will sit very close visually to his previous work, but also branch out into fresher territory with a coming-of-age story. While he's assembled perhaps his most star-studded cast since "The Royal Tenenbaums," including first-time Anderson colaborators Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel alongside Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, the film will likely rest on the shoulders of its two young leads, and for a director often criticized with staying within his comfort zone, this sounds like a commendably risky move to us. After a bit of a career slide that saw audiences and critics starting to turn on their formerly celebrated auteur, Anderson put himself back on top with his stop-motion fable, "Fantastic Mr. Fox." From early buzz, it sounds like he might have reclaimed his live-action form too.

Matthew McConaughey Tye Sheridan Mud
Synopsis: An unlikely friendship is formed between a fugitive and a 14-year-old boy who helps him escape off an island in Mississippi, evade the law and bounty hunters, and reunite him with his sweetheart, Juniper.
What You Need To Know: “Mud” will see a director and a star each meeting at a high in both of their careers. Director Jeff Nichols is coming off a great year thanks to the excellent “Take Shelter,” and combined with the continuing word-of-mouth praise for his debut feature “Shotgun Stories” (a must-see), he is one of the most exciting new voices currently working. As for Matthew McConaughey, he’s been revitalized of late taking a diverse array of roles in films like “Bernie,” “Magic Mike,” and “Killer Joe” (he’s gonna have a helluva 2012), and this, which marks one of two films in competition at Cannes this year, is another leftfield choice from an actor suddenly challenging himself. Wrap that all up in a film described as a “fairytale about love” with supporting turns from Reese Witherspoon, “The Tree of Life” star Tye Sheridan and Nichols’ regular collaborator Michael Shannon, and it’s a recipe for something potentially delicious.

"No" - dir. Pablo Larrain - Chile
Synopsis: A black comedy centering on an ad executive's campaign to oust Augusto Pinochet in Chile.
What You Need To Know: For some reason the distribution deities haven't been kind to Pablo Larrain. Both "Tony Manero" and "Post-Mortem" were stark, harrowing and darkly funny movies cut from the same cloth of our favorite 1970s renegade new wavers, yet the former barely blipped in theaters and the latter only just made it into the U.S. last month. But with Gael García Bernal in tow and a picture described by producer Juan de Dios Larrain as "an epic David and Goliath story (and) a black comedy with attitude," this closing film in the director's Pinochet trilogy, which focuses on the 1988 referendum that finally got rid of the dictator, should be a rousing one, unlikely to be given the same short shrift as the others. It'll be interesting to see how much of Larrain's aesthetic survives with such an optimistic-sounding crowd pleaser, but we're excited at the prospect of him reaching a wider audience when he returns to the Directors' Fortnight, where "Tony Manero" premiered back in 2008.

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  • loco73 | May 20, 2012 3:54 AMReply

    Interestig list, I'm loking forward to seeing some of them whenever possible. I share the same concern about Robert Pattinson's staring role in David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis". The guy cannot act, a fact which he has amply proven with the terrible "Twilight Saga" movies, and his other failed projects. He has a one-note tone and look in pretty much all his roles. That moronic demeanour and constantly constipated look does not bode well for "Cosmopolis", which is a shame because that seems to be "Cronenberg's most interesting work since "A History Of Violence" and "Eastern Promises". I will put my trust in his directorial abilities and the incredible supporting cast for pulling this movie through inspite of its biggest handicap, namely the lead actor..

    The movie I'm most looking forward to is the new colaboration between Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt. Originaly the movie was to retain the novel's title "Cogan's Trade" which seems more appropiate to the nature and tone of the movie, and made for a much more interesting title in my opinion. But for some very dumb reason, the idiotic step was taken to re-name it "Killing Them Softly", which makes me think of Roberta Flack's song...not a bout a professional enforcer investigating the mob being ripped-off. In spite of all this, I'll still see the movie, its just too tempting of a cinematic bit to ignore. The cast is terrific and the premise really catchy. This can be a great one, and I hope it is!

  • Isaac | May 12, 2012 11:51 AMReply

    Let's not be to hard on TAOJJBTCRB. The film was good, and considering that it was meant to be a little alienating because of Jesse James own sens own alienation, a wonderful take on his life. Killing Them Softly will very likely be an academy nominated film, and if you have actually scene the first clip then there may be more action than you'd like to say. besides the best movies use action when it's necessary and sometimes its necessarily to have a lot. Like Drive for example.

  • James | May 12, 2012 3:44 AMReply

    Most looking forward is Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg, next Rust & Bone by Jacques Audiard, Lawless by John Hillcoat, No by Pablo Larrain, & Post Tenebras Lux by Carlos Reygadas.

  • jingmei | May 10, 2012 3:30 AMReply

    Anticipate The We and The I, L'amour, Mud, et especially On The Road. It's juste kinda not quite objectively speaking of "ill-fated Hollywood experiment The Green Hornet", since as long as if shoot any Hollywood's blockbuster by a french director, gonna be something complex, another example is Mathieu Cassovitz's Babylon A.D.

  • Arch | May 10, 2012 7:09 AM

    Nooot really sure what you mean here, but in any case Kassovitz would be among the firsts to say that Babylon A.D. was a wreck. He even went on to say that F*ckin Kassovitz (the making-of he released himself on the Internet, although in a "short" version) was better than Babylon !

  • Greg | May 9, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    Nicole Kidman is great actress and don't deserves to be lumped together with Efron just a bad actor, can't act for his life.

  • John | May 19, 2012 1:28 PM

    That's exactly what I was thinking, thanks Greg. Rabbit Hole was pretty recent and she was great in that, so I found that comment mostly to be rather confusing.

  • Jamie | May 15, 2012 4:55 PM

    If you've only seen High School Musical, then your argument about Efron's acting is invalid. Until you have seen Miracle Run, 17 Again, Me and Orson Welles, or Liberal Arts (all of which got excellent critic reviews for the movies and Efron's performances), then you don't have a solid basis to judge his acting.

  • gonad | May 9, 2012 9:09 PMReply

    Killing Them Softly clip

  • AF | May 9, 2012 6:59 PMReply

    I was so taken with the Rust and Bone trailer, that I truly cannot wait!

  • Michael | May 9, 2012 6:49 PMReply

    I scrolled down to the comments to write pretty much exactly what Casey Fiore said! I don't think Nicole deserves to be lumped together with Efron, McConnaughey and Cusack in regards to recent performances. Her performance in one of her most recent films, 2010's 'Rabbit Hole' was one of the greatest performances given by an actor - male or female - in a long time in my opinion. I think Nicole is in top form, and I'm sure she will continue with The Paperboy (as well as Hemingway & Gellhorn).

  • Casey Fiore | May 9, 2012 2:21 PMReply

    I think it's a major stretch to place Nicole Kidman's career in the same conversation as Efron, McConnaughey, and Cusack. She might have taken a couple ridiculous paycheck jobs but she was Oscar nominated 2 years ago for Rabbit Hole and she's certainly been one of the most adventurous and accomplished actresses of the past decade and a half.

  • Arch | May 9, 2012 2:20 PMReply

    I realize that casting is always a sore spot when it comes to book adaptations, even more so when characters are based on actual persons.
    Yet I just can't get used to the two lead actors from On the road !

  • Carson Wells | May 10, 2012 1:09 AM

    A negative comment made respectfully. That makes a nice change.

  • BubbaJoe | May 9, 2012 1:45 PMReply

    If you're expecting a violent and bloody action-based thriller out of Killing Them Softly, you can forget about all that. The book is 90% thought-provoking dialogue with very little action. This should be somewhere along the lines of TAOJJBTCRF that audiences will be alienated by in the same way.

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