Cannes Film Festival: The post mortem

The movies I’m excited for (and a few I’ll be avoiding) later this year:

The red carpet has been rolled out in the south of France, and it’s officially one of my favourite times of the year. Cannes Film Festival is when the biggest directors and regular Oscar contenders put on their fanciest gowns and tuxes and show their newest films to the press and critics from all over the world. It’s lavish and ridiculous with deep-set politics and old traditions. Some of the best (and worst) movies of the year show here, and knowing what’s coming down the pipeline now will help you make smarter movie-watching decisions in the autumn.

The Beguiled (Dir. Sofia Coppola)

Sofia Coppola is back for the first time since 2013’s campy comedy “The Bling Ring”, and we all hoped this would be her first dive into a Southern Gothic Horror. Alas, the reviews out of Cannes have been disappointing. Reviewers have called it too campy to be scary and as a revenge movie, “too polite to feel rewarding”. The performances are all solid, especially Nicole Kidman in a career re-launch that appears to be going pretty well for her. But boredom sets in and the story paints-by-numbers when it should shock and surprise. This movie has a release scheduled for 30th June in the US and mid-July everywhere else.

Okja (Dir. Bong Joon Ho)

The drama about Netflix and Okja at this year's festival has been one of the few interesting things coming out of Cannes this season. In short, the festival is mad at Netflix, Netflix doesn’t seem to care, so the festival is making sure they can’t show movies there next year. Anyway, despite some boo’s because of Netflix’s involvement in the festival, this eco-terrorism action movie about a genetically engineered pig and his best friend are getting rave reviews. Lands on Netflix internationally on 28th June.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

Not much is known about Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up to last years bonkers love story “The Lobster”, besides it’s a suspense thriller about a surgeon and his wife, and that it’s Nicole Kidman’s 4th movie at the festival this year. The reviews so far have been great, with high praise to Kidman and early talks about her eventual Oscars nomination. I for one am very excited for this early November release here in the US.

Wonderstruck (Dir. Todd Haynes)

A deaf girl in the 1920’s and a deaf boy in the 1970’s have more alike than the 50 years between them would have you believe. Excellent director Todd Haynes explores this by telling their stories, one in black & white, simultaneously. According to early rave reviews, the movie is getting intense awards buzz for technical awards, direction, and screenplay, but because the minimal screentime of the major actors in the movie (Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams), I’m hearing less about them and more about the picture as a whole. This movie has a limited release starting in October and November, which I can’t wait for.

Good Time (Dir. Ben and Joshua Safdie)

Ever since a certain YA Vampire series that I won’t name here finished up in 2012, Robert Pattinson has been trying to reinvent himself into the go-to for indie and art-house directors as a good leading man. In this movie, he plays a bank robber whose mentally handicapped brother gets sent to jail, and so he kicks his crime spree into high gear so he can help his brother make bail. His performance is being called the best in his career, and I imagine awards buzz will follow very soon. Limited release is scheduled for August in the US and in the autumn elsewhere.

Redoubtable (Dir. Michel Hazanavicius)

It takes a bold director to take on a biopic of one of France’s most esteemed Directors, Jean-Luc Godard. It takes an even bolder director to make a movie that focuses on that man’s love life while both parties are still alive. Michel Hazanvicius, who had great acclaim in 2011 for his silent Old Hollywood homage The Artist, seems to think he’s that director. Reviews have been positive, but Jean-Luc Godard has called the film “a stupid idea” which is either high praise or a death knell. The movie releases in France in September, with no international distribution yet.

Beats Per Minute (Dir. Robin Campillo)

This movie landed at Cannes with little fanfare but the early morning press screening was said to be filled with intense crying followed immediately by boisterous applause. The film takes place in Paris during the HIV/AIDS’s crisis of the 1990’s and follows members of ACT UP, who are trying to get the French Government to take the crisis seriously. The love for this movie has been intense from the international press and it’s said to have a very good chance at the Palme D’Or, Cannes highest honour. The movie will be released in France in August, with no international distribution yet.

The Meyerowitz Stories (Dir. Noah Baumbach)

It’s been a long time since I’ve read positive reviews for an Adam Sandler movie, but this is not your ordinary mindless schlock. Noah Baumbach is a pro at these Hyperlocal (Read: New York) stories about families getting down to their emotional business over the course of the film. This is one of the other thorns in Cannes side, as it’s also distributed by Netflix and also not getting a theatrical release, but the reviews I've read were mostly positive anyway. This releases on Netflix, but a date hasn’t been made public yet.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties(Dir. John Cameron Mitchell)

This was one of the most reviled movies out of the festival this year. Starring Elle Fanning as an alien that romances a punk rocker in London in the 70’s the reviews have been scathing and relentless. Critics are calling it “unreleasable” and that trailer looks like it was made by a high school Film student. I love Nicole Kidman and Ruth Wilson and will tolerate them in most things, but you have to draw the line somewhere. No release date or distribution has been made public, so hopefully, we’ll never need to worry about it.

Happy End (Dir. Michael Haneke)

If you haven’t seen a Michael Haneke movie before, I dare you to start with “Funny Games”, a horror movie about 2 bored rich boys that terrorise an upper-middle class family on summer vacation. It’s excruciating to watch, but it’s a nice lead-in to Happy End. This movie is also about a bourgeois family, but with the evil, sociopathic relative living with them. Reviews have been so far mixed but I’d watch Isabelle Huppert read from the phone book so I’ll be catching it once it crosses the Atlantic this Autumn.

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