Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cannes lineup a sign of great things to come

Actually, before I get into any of that, there are two bits of very good news out there today, so let's get right to it.

First up, pretty easily the best coup that PBS' "American Masters" documentary series has pulled off so far: Two nights with Woody Allen, coming this fall. At least two hours on Woody's career, with his participation? Yeah, I'm definitely in.

And even better, one of my favorite books is being made into a movie this summer, and it's even being filmed right here in Georgia. If you've never read Warren St. John's "Outcasts United," I really can't recommend a piece of nonfiction much higher, even if you're not as big a soccer fan as I am.

The book tells the story of a team of mostly African refugee kids whose families, if they have one, have been relocated to Clarkston, Ga., a community very happy to take the government money that comes with them, but not always as keen for the new residents that come with it. It's just a great story about modern America, and it should make for a fantastic flick.

"Under the Tuscan Sun" (which I haven't seen) director Audrey Wells is the helmer for this, which is somehow being financed by Universal, even though it will of course star a group of unknown African kids. And who knows? If I finally get off my ass and answer one of the calls for extras that go out for all the movies filmed here (hey, we even had "Zombieland"!), you might even see me sitting in the stands watching one of the games. Definitely keep an eye on this one.

OK, on to the main event, before we wrap things up with a couple of great videos. The full lineup for the Cannes Film Festival has just come out, and as usual it features a lot of movies from directors I've never heard of and a few that stand out immediately.

The biggest player is Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life," starring one Brad Pitt, but Pedro Almodovar should also garner plenty of attention with "The Skin that I Inhabit," as should Lars Von Trier with "Melancholia," starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. One other that stands out to me is "The Kid With a Bike," the latest creation from the Belgian Dardenne brothers, who made the simply sublime "L'Enfant" and "Le Fils," among other movies.

The Un Certain Regard category features Gus Van Sant's latest, "Restless," starring Mia Wasikowska. And the Out of Competition list has plenty of star power, with Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," starring that wacky Mel Gibson, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, and even "Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom." Here's the complete list:

In competition:
* The Skin That I Inhabit – Pedro Almodovar
* L’Apollonide – Betrand Bonello
* Foot Note – Joseph Cedar
* Paterre – Alain Cavalier
* Once Upon A Time In Anatolia – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
* The Kid With The Bike – The Dardenne Brothers
* Le Havre – Aki Kaurismaki
* Hanezu no Tsuki – Naomi Kawase
* Sleeping Beauty – Julia Leigh
* Tree of LIfe – Terrence Malick
* La Source de Femmes – Radu Mihaileanu
* Polisse – Maïwenn Le Besco
* Harakiri – Takashi Miike
* We Have A Pope – Nanni Moretti
* Melancholia – Lars Von Trier
* This Must Be The Place – Paolo Sorrentino
* Drive – Nicholas Winding Refn
* We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay

Un Certain Regard:
* Restless – Gus Van SantMartha Marcy May Marlene – Sean Durkin
* The Hunter – Bazur Bakuradze
* Halt auf freier Strecke – Andreas Dresen
* Skoonheid – Oliver Hermanus
* Hors Satan – Bruno Dumont
* Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro – Robert Guédiguian
* The Days He Arrives – Hong Sang-Soo
* Bonsai – Christian Jimenez
* Tatsumi – Erik Khoo
* En maintenant, on va ou? – Nadine Labaki
* Ariang – Kim Ki Duk
* Loverboy- Cătălin Mitulescu,
* Toomelah – Ivan Sen
* Yellow Sea – Na Hong-Jin,
* Miss Bala – Gerardo Naranjo,
* L’exercice de l’Etat – Pierre Schoeller,
* Oslo, August 31st Joachim Trier
* Travailler fatigue – Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra

Out of Competition:
* The Beaver – Jodie Foster
* The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
* Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Rob Marshall
* La Conquete – Xavier Durringer
* Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom Of Doom – Jennifer Yuh

Special Screenings:
* Labrador – Frederikke Aspock
* Le maître des forges de l’enfer – Rithy Panh
* Un documentaire sur Michel Petrucciani – Michael Radford
* Tous au Larzac – Christian Rouaud

OK, now as promised, on to the videos, starting with Peter Jackson's first production diary for "The Hobbit," and at 10 minutes it's a real treasure. With shooting about to begin, he offers a tour of some of the sets and introduces some of the cast. As great as the "Lord of the Rings" movies are, I've always had a very soft spot for "The Hobbit," both because it's just much more of a kids story and because I learned to play the pianos to those great songs from the animated flick. Enjoy the clip.

And to wrap things up today, just a silly little clip leftover from the most recent new episode of "Parks and Recreation," featuring Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones. If I'm not mistaken, all four of NBC's Thursday night comedies will be new tonight, with the beginning of Will Ferrell's short run on "The Office" a definite highlight. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Thursday. Peace out.


Bob said...

Oh it does my heart good to see Martin Freeman walking around Bilbo's Hobbit hole. Even if he's not in costume yet. I just kept hoping that Sir Ian would start to explain his acting process. You see Keith, he's going to pretend to be a wizard when Peter Jackson says, "Action," and go back to being Sir Ian upon hearing the word, "Cut."

Reel Fanatic said...

That Sir Ian thing in Extras is indeed sublime comedy, and I'm with you on Martin Freeman .. I would have been geeked up for this anyway, but he's absolutely the perfect choice, since he already pretty much looks like a hobbit anyway

Bob said...

According to Gareth he looks like a "Fisher Price man."