Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux sent out mixed messages in his -- very long, as usual -- preamble to announcing this year's Cannes Film Festival lineup. First he mentioned a focus on newer, fresher filmmakers, but mentioned elsewhere that "Cannes is an event for the regulars." Predictably enough, the latter statement turned out to be closer to the truth: of the 18 films competing for this year's Palme d'Or, 13 have been to the dance before. (And of the Competition virgins, Bennett Miller and Xavier Dolan are hardly unknowns.)
Early on, meanwhile, Fremaux made the initially bold statement that 15 women were in the Official Selection, promising a bounty of female directors for jury president Jane Campion to consider. It turned out to be a slight manipulation of the truth: several of those women are involved in portmanteau films, while only two of them -- Naomi Kawase and surprise inclusion Alice Rohrwacher -- are in the Competition. (Hey, it's twice as many as last year.)
So, as ever, Cannes giveth and Cannes taketh away. But for fans of A-list auteurism and Hollywood royalty alike, this year's lineup is a rich and generous one. Star-watchers will line the red carpet to see the likes of Channing Tatum ("Foxcatcher"), Kristen Stewart ("Clouds of Sils Maria") and -- twice -- Robert Pattinson ("The Rover" and "Maps to the Stars") strut their stuff, with Cannes regular Ryan Gosling returning to present his directorial debut "Lost River" (formerly "How to Catch a Monster").
Meanwhile, arthouse acolytes will be salivating over new works from Mike Leigh, Jean-Luc Godard, the Dardenne Brothers, Olivier Assayas, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and many more. At first glance, it may not be the most adventurous selection Cannes has ever assembled, but it's a sparkly one all the same.
Anyway, Cannes has long left the job of identifying and rearing new talent to other festivals, picking up on their discoveries when they're a little more seasoned. It says a lot that a director like Austria's well-regarded Jessica Hausner scored a critical smash with "Lourdes" in the Venice competition five years ago, but is here deemed ready only for an Un Certain Regard slot. Meanwhile, 77-year-old British social realist Ken Loach returns to Competition for the 12th time with his period political drama "Jimmy's Hall." The Cannes hierarchy is not easily shaken.
Loach is one of three former Palme d'Or champions returning for more; another is his fellow British elder statesman Mike Leigh, whose long-cherished passion project "Mr. Turner" -- his highest-budgeted film to date -- brings him back to the fold four years after "Another Year." Two-time Palme winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne came very close to winning a third in 2011 in "The Kid With a Bike"; they're returning with "Two Days, One Night," their starriest effort to date. The Marion Cotillard-led economic-crisis drama was described by Fremaux as a "Belgian western," though that could mean pretty much anything.
Certain things may have been lost in translation, but Fremaux's own descriptions of the films were often amusingly offhand or cryptically dismissive. Lisandro Alonso's Un Certain Regard entry "Jauja" was helpfully sold to us as "very strange," while he listed the running time of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's latest Anatolian epic -- and sight-unseen Palme d'Or favorite -- "Winter Sleep" as 196 minutes, before adding, "We'll put it near the start of the festival, so you can recover." Sold.
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
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