Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cannes lineup a sign of great things to come

Though I'm not headed to the Cannes Film Festival and probably never will, I am off to the Atlanta Film Festival 365 for the second year in a row beginning Friday (for me, though the opening night movie, "Freedom Riders," is tonight), and you can count me as thoroughly geeked up for it.

Unlike the star-studded froggy festival, Atlanta's gathering is a much more homespun and genuinely Southern affair, heavy on documentaries, this year with an accent on comedians and musicians. Two highlights are sure to be James Franco's "Saturday Night," which goes behind the scenes of "Saturday Night Live" (which I admittedly haven't actually watched live in at least five years), and the closing night movie, "The Secret to a Happy Ending," a doco about the Drive-By Truckers which will be followed by an "intimate" concert by the band. Yeah, that's gonna rock, and I'll be there.

If you're anywhere near Atlanta, I can't recommend an event higher than this one. The opening night movie is being shown tonight at The Carter Center and the grand finale is at the 14th Street Playhouse next Friday, April 23, but in between all the action takes place at the Landmark Midtown Cinema. To see the schedule and purchase tickets, click here.

But for the rest of the world, I suppose the biggest news out there today is that the Cannes Film Festival, returning in mid-May (without me), has unveiled its nearly full lineup, so far featuring 16 films in competition, three screening out of competition, 18 films in the Un Certain Regard slate and two midnight movies. Add to that the opening night flick, Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" (3-D comes to Cannes - sheesh) and a special screening of "Abel," directed by "Y Tu Mama Tambien" star Diego Luna, and you've got just about everything.

And I say just about because up to seven movies could still be added to the lineup, and at least two marquee titles are as yet missing. I had really been hoping for the return of director Bruce Robinson with "The Rum Diary," based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson and starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard and Reel Fanatic fave Richard Jenkins. If you haven't seen Robinson's sublime "Withnail and I" from way back in the day, I implore you once again, please do so. He is truly a lost master.

Another movie expected to be announced but absent was Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life," set to star Brad Pitt. Malick, of course, wasn't snubbed - his movie, not shockingly at all, simply isn't finished yet. There's still hope that it will be by the time the festival rolls around.

The full list is at the bottom of the post, and it contains plenty of movies by directors that better-educated movie buffs may be more familiar with than me, so if you recognize any you like please let me know. Today, I'll simply stick to what I'm looking forward to most, which would have to start with the return of "Babel" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with something called "Biutiful," screening in competition.

All I know about the movie so far is that it is about a policeman who is forced to confront a childhood friend who is now involved in drug dealing, and that Javier Bardem stars in this somehow, most likely as the cop, I'd imagine. Definitely sounds like one I want to see as soon as possible.

Screening out of competition will be movies from three big-name directors, Oliver Stone's "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" and Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe."

Fox must really think it has something good in the Stone sequel starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan, because the studio pushed it from a release next week until September so that it could screen at Cannes. The Frears movie, however, is the one I'm really jazzed for. It's apparently based on a Guardian comic strip by Posy Simmonds which is a modern reworking of Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd." Nothing but fun there.

And back in competition, there's at least one movie that might actually make it out to my little corner of the world, Doug Liman's "Fair Game." Liman, you might remember, made his debut way back when with the sublimely silly "Swingers," but he's certainly on to much more serious material here with the story of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame, to be played by Naomi Watts.

But best of all in my book will be a new flick by Mike Leigh, "Another Year," which will be screening in competition. And yes, I say that knowing nothing at all about this except that it stars Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. Leigh is just one of those directors whose work I take on faith, and if you want proof of why, look no further than his last movie, "Happy Go Lucky," which starred a radiant Sally Hawkins as the irrepressibly and thoroughly annoyingly cheerful title character. I love that flick.

OK, before we get to the full movie slate, as promised, anyone who makes it this far deserves a reward, so here goes. The folks over at EgoTV have come up with a series of Team Leno posters using the Team CoCo fonts, and they're all pretty damn funny. And I really have nothing at all against old people, just Jay Leno, who is dead to me. Enjoy this sample poster, stick around for the full Cannes lineup after that, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.



Cannes 2010: IN COMPETITION
"Another Year," U.K., Mike Leigh
"Biutiful," Spain-Mexico, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
"Burnt by the Sun 2," Germany-France-Russia, Nikita Mikhalkov
"Certified Copy," France-Italy-Iran, Abbas Kiarostami
"Fair Game," U.S., Doug Liman
"Hors-la-loi," France-Belgium-Algeria, Rachid Bouchareb
"The Housemaid," South Korea, Im Sang-soo
"La nostra vita," Italy-France, Daniele Luchetti
"La Princesse de Montpensier," France, Bertrand Tavernier
"Of Gods and Men," France, Xavier Beauvois
"Outrage," Japan, Takeshi Kitano
"Poetry," South Korea, Lee Chang-dong
"A Screaming Man," France-Belgium-Chad, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
"Tournee," France, Mathieu Amalric
"Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," Spain-Thailand-Germany-U.K.-France, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
"You, My Joy," Ukraine-Germany, Sergey Loznitsa

Out Of Competition
"Tamara Drewe," U.K., Stephen Frears
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," U.S., Oliver Stone
"You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," U.K.-Spain, Woody Allen

Un Certain Regard
"Adrienn Pal," Hungary-Netherlands-France-Austria, Agnes Kocsis
"Aurora," Romania, Cristi Puiu
"Blue Valentine," U.S., Derek Cianfrance
"Chatroom," U.K., Hideo Nakata
"Chongqing Blues," China, Wang Xiaoshuai
"The City Below," Germany-France, Christoph Hochhausler
"Film Socialisme," Switzerland-France, Jean-Luc Godard
"Ha Ha Ha," South Korea, Hong Sang-soo
"Les Amours imaginaires," Canada, Xavier Dolan
"Life Above All," France, Oliver Schmitz
" Los labios," Argentina, Ivan Fund, Santiago Loza
"Octubre," Peru, Daniel Vega
"Qu'est-il arrive a Simon Werner?," France, Fabrice Gobert
"Rebecca H.," France, Lodge Kerrigan
"R U There," Taiwan, David Verbeek
"The Strange Case of Angelica," Portugal, Manoel de Oliveira
"Tuesday, After Christmas," Romania, Radu Muntean
"Udaan," India, Vikramaditya Motwane

Special Screening
Diego Luna - "Abel"

Midnight Screening
Gregg Araki: "Kaboom"
Gustavo Hernandez: "The Mute House"

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Wow, lots of good stuff. I'm excited to hear about the DBT documentary.

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I'm hoping it rocks, Mr. Marquis .. From what I understand, the gist is that they came a lot closer to breaking up a couple of years ago than most of us know about ... I'll certainly let everyone know if it's as good as I'm assuming it will be

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