(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun with "Grisgris.")
There's really only one thing to report out of today's big AMPAS conclave: the entire membership of the Academy will now be able to participate in the final vote for all 24 categories at the Oscars. And that wasn't even part of the business at hand, it was something the Board of Governors had decided upon, so they just went ahead and announced it in tandem.
Scott Cooper's slate of upcoming projects is about as impressive and varied as fellow Cooper Bradley's as of late. Three years removed from his debut film, "Crazy Heart" (which earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor), the writer/director is set to traverse the nation, from the streets of New York to Depression Era Central California, the Tidewater of Virginia to the blast furnaces of Pittsburgh.
The Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" was picked up by CBS Films some time back and the course was set for a Cannes debut, which it will receive later this month. Oscar Isaac is on the rise and has the leading role, supported by the likes of Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund, among others. Bruno Delbonnel has filled in for the Coens' usual cinematographer, Roger Deakins (who has been nominated five times for Coen endeavors), and the trailer promises lush production value.
So…how will the film figure into the awards scheme later this year? We'll know in due time, but for the distributor's part, eyes are clearly on the circuit as it has just been announced the film will receive a December 6 limited release with plans to expand wider on December 20. That puts it right in the thick of it, though it's also a frame that didn't pan out so well for Paramount's period music drama "Not Fade Away" last year, financially speaking.
Seven Coen films have been recognized by the Academy to date. A brief history lesson...
(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, James Gray with "The Immigrant.")
If you followed along with our summer movie countdown over the last few weeks, you saw that Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim" was #1 on the list. It beat out stiff competition from the likes of "Iron Man 3," "Man of Steel" and "Star Trek Into Darkness," and that's no easy feat given that those are all films derived from intellectual properties with built-in fan bases. "Pacific Rim" is brand new, thought up out of clear blue sky from the mind of screenwriter Travis Beacham. That it was made at all is already a huge win. That excitement is at such a fever pitch is gravy.
My hunch is that the freshness of the concept could hold it back a bit at the box office, though. That's just how these things work. It's part of the "formula" that goes into the Hollywood machine that, ergo, cranks out familiar cookie-cutter product year in and year out. But of course I hope my hunch is wrong, and come what may, nothing will top "Pacific Rim" for sheer scale this year, of that you can be sure.
So it's understandable, then, that Warner Bros. would cook up a bit of promotion that attempts to match that scale. Indeed, the tagline of the film is "Go big or go extinct," and a new banner promotion embodies that spirit, to say the least. I mean…does this thing exist outside of a JPEG? Can you put it on a wall? It's HUGE! If I was Beacham I'd have a room in my house dedicated to just wrapping this thing around all four walls. It's a dazzling piece of promo art to whet the appetite as we await the film's release.
I'm struggling with using the "Iron Man Three" title, I just noticed. That's how it's written in the film's credits, but is that going to take hold? I'm also curious why the choice. Anyway, way off on a tangent here, so let's get down to brass tacks. Marvel's latest hits US theaters today after already crossing $300 million worldwide. It is likely to dominate the summer box office with ease (I'm betting "Man of Steel" won't touch these numbers and "Pacific Rim" will probably struggle more than people are willing to admit). The reviews are in and they're mostly positive.
We've had tons of coverage here at HitFix, most of it over at Drew McWeeny's Motion/Captured blog. He loved the movie. I was more reserved. We can all agree it's a great way to kick-start the season. If you want something a little more low key, I recommend "The Iceman," starring upcoming Superman baddie Michael Shannon. But if it's octane and high concept you're after, this is your best bet -- though ironically enough, it's not a movie built on set pieces so much as character. (Our picks for Robert Downey Jr.'s best characterizations can be found here.) In any case, when you get around to seeing the film, head on back here with your thoughts. And feel free to vote in the poll below.
Bradley Cooper has been moving right along with his post-"Silver Linings" playbook. He's currently shooting David O. Russell's "American Hustle" and smartly backed away from the on-going circus that is "Jane Got a Gun" this week. Earlier today it was announced that Steven Spielberg will be tackling "American Sniper" with Cooper in the lead role as the most lethal sniper in US military history, while he attached himself to the Steven Knight-scripted "Chef" not too long ago.
On the latter, it's a fantastic script and an unbelievably meaty role. For a time David Fincher was looking into it with Keanu Reeves in the starring role as a high-strung two-time Michelin Star chef dodging drug dealer debts and mixing it up from Paris to New York.
In March, we talked about some of the rule changes the Academy is making to the short film categories -- one of which is that Student Academy Award winners will qualify for Oscar consideration. So it's worth keeping an eye on this year's Student Academy Award competition; some of the films selected could pop up at the big show next year.
Tomorrow Robert Downey Jr. suits up once again as Marvel's keystone in Shane Black's "Iron Man 3." It's expected to be the end of a trilogy, though we'll surely see Tony Stark again (as the film's closing credits promise). It's also a bit of a door closed on the actor's rebirth which began, in no uncertain terms, with his return to insurability in the 2008 original. What better time, then, than to look back on his finest work over the last three decades?