Over the past week I've been asked by a number of peers why I'm not at this year's 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Besides the fact HitFix is being more than adequately covered by Drew McWeeny and Guy Lodge, there are a number of reasons from personal to professional. Moreover, when this year's field was announced I wasn't that disappointed in what I might be missing. A number of films such as "On the Road" and "Lawless" look like they are favors to filmmakers (the former already confirming that after it's positive, but mediocre reviews). "Moonrise Kingdom" will soon screen in Los Angeles. I'm a huge fan of Lee Daniels' "Precious," but "The Paperboy" looks like it could be a mess (fingers crossed it isn't). The love by cinefiles for David Cronenberg is understandable, but I personally don't worship at the altar and "Cosmopolis" looks like a greatest hits package to me. And as much as I appreciate Michael Haneke (back at Cannes with "Amour") and Jacques Audiard (following 'The Prophet" with "Rust & Bone"), their new films will likely screen at Telluride and/or Toronto just a few months from now. That being said, there are two films I'm very curious about.
The first is Jeff Nichols' "Mud." Nichols' Sundance standout "Take Shelter" got a disappointing marketing campaign and release date from Sony Classics last year and wasn't appreciated as much as it should have been. "Mud" is Nichols' largest budget to date (still relatively small) and you wonder what that little bit of extra scope will allow him to bring to the table.
The second is Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly." Dominik's last feature, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" was my no. 3 movie of 2007 and featured a shattering performance by Casey Affleck for which he earned a well deserved Academy Awards supporting actor nomination. Based on George Higgins 1974 novel "Cogan'sTrade," "Softly" appears to be a return to the same criminal thriller genre that brought Dominik to global critical prominence with 2000's "Chopper." Happily, it will be hitting theaters at the end of September.
In the meantime, enjoy this stark and provocative new teaser poster as well as the first clip from the film which debuted a little over a week ago. The Weinstein Company might make a hit out of "Softly" yet.
"Killing Them Softly" opens nationwide on Sept. 21.