Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up: the second of four French entries: Bertrand Bonello's "Saint Laurent."
With the summer movie season right around the corner (the release of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" this Friday pretty much marks the occasion), it's time to look ahead and see which actors' careers are primed for lift-off.
Welcome to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on a different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- starting with Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria."
It's been an up-and-down journey for "Grace of Monaco," the Nicole Kidman-starring biopic of Grace Kelly that was originally set to open last year. Negative buzz circled the European co-production following that delay, as word spread of intense friction between The Weinstein Company and French director Olivier Dahan over the edit of the film. "Grace" seemed to have been granted a reprieve when it was announced as this year's Cannes Film Festival opener -- not a guarantee of quality, of course, but a helpful publicity boost.
With Jane Campion -- the only female director ever to win the Palme d'Or -- serving as jury president at this year's Cannes Film Festival, some were anticipating a greater female presence in the Competition. With two women showing up in the eventual lineup, the festival wasn't too generous on that score, but they've made up for it with female-dominated jury -- with Oscar-winning director Sofia Coppola one of four women joining Campion on the nine-person panel. We run through the full group after the jump.
As you know, Richard Linklater has been crafting "Boyhood" for 12 years. He and Ethan Hawke started filming this thing the year before they made "Before Sunset." It has been, in so many words, a long time coming.
If nothing else -- which is not to say, mind you, that it is nothing else -- Steven Knight's "Locke" must surely rank among the most doggedly literal road movies of all time. So many titles within that famed subgenre stray far from the defining location: into motel bedrooms, into exterior shootouts, into any number of off-road travel routes. Not "Locke," which plants its eponymous protagonist behind the wheel and keeps him there for 80-odd minutes -- not a challenging stretch of time for any car trip, but an imposing test for filmmaker and actor alike.
Last year was a slightly quieter one than usual for Sony Pictures Classics on the prestige film circuit -- the studio had a number of strong titles, from Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" to Ralph Fiennes's "The Invisible Woman," but only a couple that really connected with audiences. Their strongest Oscar contender, Woody Allen's surprise hit "Blue Jasmine," ruled the Best Actress race but didn't make it all the way to Best Picture. Meanwhile, Best Foreign Language Film -- the category that they normally have on lock, with four consecutive wins between 2009 and 2012 -- didn't go their way at all, with several surprise omissions keeping them out of the final five.
It's nearly that time of year. The hot months, when popcorn fare tear through the multiplex on the way to massive box office receipts. The result, for most, is a shortlist of must-sees throughout the next couple of months, lists typically dominated by franchise entries, anticipated sequels and high concept spectacle. But as always, there are a number of counter-programming options, if you will, gems — or potential gems — lurking beneath the radar.
If there was one Cannes Competition entry you could absolutely set in stone before the announcement last week, it was Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall." The 77-year-old king of British social realism has been in Competition 11 times before, making him the most-tapped filmmaker in the festival's history. So there was no way Thierry Fremaux and his team weren't going to make it an even dozen with the film that Loach has stated will be his final narrative feature.