CANNES, France—In 2007 it was No Country for Old Men and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. In 2009 it was Inglourious Basterds and A Prophet. A bit more than halfway through this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it’s not too early to predict which films will endure long after the last beachside-club guard dog scampers to different pastures.
Here are six movies you didn’t know before that you’re almost certainly to know about after the festival shuts its doors.
—Steven Zeitchik - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
The Artist. Probably the most crowd-pleasing of this year’s entries, competition or otherwise. The story of a silent-film star worried about getting left behind as Hollywood moves to talkies is told with high-concept brio: it’s a black-and-white film set in the silent film world. The movie is a serious contender for the Palme ‘dOr and will get a big ride from distributor The Weinstein Co., while the warm reaction suggests a media inescapability when the film comes out later this year. It may even make its star Jean Dujardin, already a French A-lister, a big name in the U.S., though his patchy English skills could prove a hindrance.
We Need to Talk About Kevin. Lynn Ramsay’s film had its detractors, and not everyone will want to watch a tale of a mother losing control of her bad-seed son. But Tilda Swinton’s performance and the ongoing topicality of teen violence—not to mention a director with a strong sense of visual style—means this will be one of the talked-about movies come awards time. The only question is which awards time—nervous about the commercial prospects, distributors have yet to make a compelling offer.
The Skin I’m In. Pedro Almodovar’s latest hasn’t even premiered here yet. But the director’s reliable following among a certain foreign-language set, coupled with the fact that he’s now moved into the new territory of a revenge thriller, means that it’s almost impossible for the movie not to get noticed long after the Croisette rabble-rousing quiets down.
Footnote. It may not have the crackling politics of Waltz With Bashir or other military-themed Israeli pictures of years past. But the black comedy and strong reviews of Joseph Cedar’s latest will ensure this academia-set tale of father-and-son rival professors stays around in the fall and maybe ends up in the mix as a foreign-language Oscar contender to boot.
Midnight in Paris. It’s not clear yet that this will be Vicky Cristina Barcelona,—that is, a movie that gets everyone talking about Woody Allen again. But in terms of charm and escapism, this comedy about a struggling writer who mysteriously ends up in 1920s Paris will earn goodwill and maybe even some good box office when it begins rolling out this weekend. It’s also a chance to see Owen Wilson try something other than broad-ish comedy.
The Tree of Life. Love or hate its grand imagery and big-canvas questions, and there certainly have been sturdy numbers from both camps, the Terrence Malick magnum opus will be a conversation piece in the weeks to come. Whether it will be something people see is another matter.
// Notes from the Road
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