Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cannes lineup: Clash of the Titans + the opening of "The Brothers Bloom" "

Though I've thoroughly enjoyed the Atlanta Film Festival 365 and look forward to returning to it tomorrow, there's really just nothing better for daydreaming than imagining spending two weeks or so sunning in the south of France and just watching movies.

Well, I can't deliver you that, of course, but here to perhaps set your mind reeling to far-flung locales are the highlights (as I see it) of the just-announced lineup for the 2009 Cannes Film Festival (the "L'Avventura"-themed poster for which is at right), which kicks off May 13 with the opening night screening of Pixar's "Up" (not too shabby a starting point.)

In the competition, I can't imagine it will win, but the big, loud dog in the room who will attract the most attention will almost certainly be Quentin Tarantino's World War II flick "Inglourious Basterds," assuming he finishes it on time, of course. I don't think he's gonna get hissed like poor Sofia Coppola did a few years ago with "Marie Antoinette," but the reaction to any movie in which Eli Roth is decapitating Nazis with a baseball bat should be fascinating.

Also on the domestic front, Ang Lee will be in competition with "Taking Woodstock," a biographical comedy starring Comedy Central's Demetri Martin as Elliot Tiber, who played a key role in launching the hippie fest. I have a feeling this one will just be goofy as hell but, assuming its get any of proper distribution, I could also easily see it becoming the sleeper hit of the summer.

If I were on the jury or even somehow just in attendance, though, the single competition movie I'd most be looking forward to is Park Chan-wook's vampire movie, "Thirst" Among other crazy things, as far as I can tell, it's about a priest who goes to Africa to participate in a medical experiment but instead, of course, finds himself turned into a bloodsucker. Bring it on! In the same vein (get it?), Sam Raimi will be screening his return to "real horror," "Drag Me to Hell," as a midnight movie, and one I'd certainly stay up well past my school night bed time for.

Joining Tarantino, Lee and Chan-wook will be a lot of heavy hitters, starting with Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces." I know his movies are, well, often extremely gay, but I've always just loved them, and this one - apparently an homage to filmmaking with a puzzling plot and, thankfully, Penelope Cruz - just sounds like a real winner.

Michael Haneke will begin his path of atonement for that "Funny Games" trailer that I must have had the misfortune of seeing 150 times (or at least it certainly felt like it) with his new feature film, "The White Ribbon," about which I know nothing more than that. Also on the prestige front will be the U.K.'s Angry-but-not-so-young-man Ken Loach with "Looking for Eric," which sounds like a surprising amount of fun. Described as a movie about "football fanatics and life," it's apparently about a football-mad postman who gets life advice from Eric Cantona. Wild.

Jane Campion will return with "Bright Star," a suitably high-minded tale about the poet John Keats and his affair with the girl next door, and I can only imagine Lars von Trier will be stirring up all kinds of trouble with something simply called "Antichrist."

And though this has probably gone on well long enough, it's certainly worth mentioning one last oddity, Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," which is screening out of competition and still, rather amazingly, looking for a U.S. distributor. If you've got a movie you can market as Heath Ledger's last that also just happens to star Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell but you still can't get any real distribution, you've either got to have something simply awful or just extremely bizarre. My guess? A mix of the two, tilted to the latter, but either way I can't wait to see this one if I ever get the chance.

The first seven minutes of "The Brothers Bloom"

Anyone who sat through all that certainly deserves a reward, and anyone who's been here before (there are amazingly at least a few of you) knows that I've already christened Rian Johnson's con-men flick "The Brothers Bloom" as the single movie I'm most looking forward to for all of 2009 (nothing like a little hyperbole to start the day, but I'm serious here.)

Knowing it comes from the creator of "Brick" (rent that one already!) and stars Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi in a good, old-fashioned con game was enough to get me hooked, and now the first seven minutes - which you can watch below courtesy of the glorious Hulu - just have me salivating for when this finally opens (hopefully very wide!) May 29 against the aforementioned "Drag Me to Hell" and "Up." As expected, the opening sequence, narrated by Ricky Jay, is just a treat to watch, and in spirit it reminds me a lot of Wes Anderson's "Bottle Rocket," never a bad reference point in my book. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Thursday. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Ever since I saw Tideland, my love for Gilliam has waned. I even went back and watched the imagination trilogy and the only one that holds up is Baron Munchausen. Dr. Parnassus could be, to borrow a phrase, a hot mess.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think you're right there, Jeremy, but I often enjoy watching bad movies to see just how bad they can be ...