With today's announcement of the Directors' Fortnight lineup, the slate for next month's Cannes Film Festival is officially complete. (Bar any stray late additions, of which there are usually a couple.) And the Fortnight programmers haven't made it any easier to plan one's viewing in an already stacked festival, serving up a selection rich in unexpected names and welcome genre diversions.
When actor Matthew McConaughey was doing the awards circuit press rounds last year for his Independent Spirit Award-winning work in "Magic Mike," he was strikingly thin. The reason for the physical transformation was his role in Jean-Marc Vallée's upcoming "Dallas Buyers Club," which has just found a home at Focus Features.
Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 19 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 -- meaning actress-turned-director Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi is first up with "A Villa in Italy."
The slate for next month's Cannes Film Festival is just about complete: the Official Selection was announced on Thursday, Ari Folman's "The Congress" was announced as the opening film for the Directors' Fortnight section on Friday, and the rest of the fortnight lineup will be revealed tomorrow. Today, meanwhile, came the announcement of the films selected for the Critics' Week sidebar -- a parallel independent strand focusing on new filmmakers.
I'm out in LA for a wedding this week so I haven't gotten around to seeing Tom Cruise's latest, "Oblivion," from "TRON Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski. The film is shaping up to be one of the star's biggest box office debuts, which is saying a lot. I've heard a bunch of different reactions and despite the negative takes, I'm still looking forward to settling in and seeing the movie soon.
For now, though, tell us what you thought of it. Is it a great new sci-fi entry? Does Cruise's work touch his best? Or is it, well, not so much? Let us know in the comments section and feel free to vote in our poll below.
When the Official Selection for this year's Cannes Film Festival was announced on Thursday, the film I was perhaps most surprised to see left out was Ari Folman's "The Congress." The film was ready in time for the festival, advance whisperings were positive, it has red carpet-friendly stars in Robin Wright and Jon Hamm -- and, of course, Folman's last film, the Oscar-nominated "Waltz With Bashir," was a hit in Competition five years ago. What gives?
Well, now we know: "The Congress" has been selected as the opening film for Directors' Fortnight, the independently programmed sidebar that runs parallel to the main festival on the other end of the Croisette.
Recently Academy president Hawk Koch made his mark on the 2014 Oscar ceremony, despite the fact that he's only serving one year in the position and probably shouldn't be making decisions on the next Academy Awards, by tapping producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to come back on board. Citing a need to maintain "consistency," Koch sang the producers' praises, despite the production being criticized for tastelessness in many quarters.
If consistency is what they're after then it only stands to reason that Zadan and Meron would like to bring host Seth MacFarlane back on board. But that'll never happen, right? From the horse's mouth, MacFarlane said "no way" when asked if he would ever come back to emcee the show. Well, not so fast…
I imagine like everyone else, you've been glued to the TV and the internet watching the events of the last 14 hours or so unfold. I flew into Los Angeles from New York yesterday and was watching all the news about the FBI's release of video and photos featuring the Boston Marathon suspects, asking for help in identifying them. Then just a half hour before landing, the news break on shots being fired at MIT hit. An hour or so later I'm in the car on the way home watching Twitter explode with the hard work of newspaper reporters on the scene in Watertown unfold in real time. This situation has obviously dominated our attention.
And today comes news that it affects our little, insignificant sliver of the world. David O. Russell's latest film about the 1970s ABSCAM FBI sting, recently re-titled "American Hustle," has shut down production because of the on-going manhunt for 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Deadline reports that "the production is heeding the Governor's request to remain indoors," those words coming from a Sony spokesperson.
Zal Batmanglij is building a solid rep and career so far with co-collaborator, actress Brit Marling. Marling starred in his 2011 Sundance hit "Sound of My Voice," which landed a pair of Independent Spirit Award nominations last year (it was held for an April 2012 release). And "The East" took goodwill from Sundance this year right into SXSW as it aims for an early summer release.
"I very much understand people's frustration that I think most are feeling right now in our society," Ellen Page told HitFix back in January, "about corporate greed, about what we're doing to the environment. I think the film asks a lot of questions and does it in this way that is ethically sticky and murky, which is great."
Fox Searchlight has passed along a new set of production stills from the film, featuring Page, Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård and "Batman" himself. Click on through to take a look.
"The East" opens in limited release on May 31.
Harvey Weinstein has been using the Cannes Film Festival to position The Weinstein Company's awards hopefuls nicely the last few years. How are things shaping up for the 66th annual? First, a brief history...