Film Festivals

2014 Cannes Film Festival re-Cap


The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival began on May 14th and has already started to garner some Oscar buzz for a few select films and its stars.

Here is a brief rundown of some the most hyped films and others that have garnered a significant amount of attention.

At the top of the list is Bennett Miller’s FOXCATCHER (his two previous films Capote and Moneyball went on to Best Picture nominations at the Oscars), starring Steve Carrell as John Du Pont, who in 1988 establishes his own stable of world class wrestlers at the mammoth DuPont estate engaging in a twisted relationship with two brothers that ended in murder. contender for Best Actor for sure. Also starring Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum. Chronicling the true story events that let to the 1986 murder of Dave Schultz…the Olympic wrestling champion who tragically found the wrong benefactor in the PA. multimillionaire John E. DuPont. Carrell is considered at this moment to be one of the prime contenders for the Best Actor Oscar when nominations are handed out.

David Cronenberg’s – MAP TO THE STARS is a sharp Hollywood satire that turns dark starring Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson and John Cusack. At a certain point in their career, nearly all actors are “waiters”. They “wait” tables, they “wait” for callbacks, they “wait” for that moment when they become famous enough that American knows them on a first name basis. Onetime wannabe Bruce Wagner did his time in that waiting zone, writing the script for Maps To The Stars, while working as a limo driver in Beverly Hills.

Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut at Cannes with the film LOST RIVER, a violent fairy tale about a fractured family trying to survive among the ruins of a city overrun by thugs, sexual predators and other demons, nearly all of them cribbed from the surreal cinematic imaginations of other, vastly more intuitive filmmakers.

8 years after the disappearance of Cassandra, some disturbing indications seem to indicate that she’s still alive. Police, parents and Cassandra herself, will try to unravel the mystery of her disappearance.

NIGHTCRWLER – Director/writer Dan Gilroy. Starring Rene Russo, Bill Paxton is about a young man who stumbles upon the underground world of LA freelance crime journalism.

SEA OF TREES – Director Gus Van Sant
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanab and Naomi Watts deals with a suicidal American who befriends a Japanese man lost in the forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out.

DARK PLACES – Director and writer: Gilles Paquet-Brenner.
Starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Chlöe Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks.
The sole survivor of a violent home invasion, Libby Day lives with the knowledge that her testimony as a 7-year-old sentenced her brother to life in prison for the horrific crime. Twenty-five years later, crime enthusiasts convince her to re-examine the events. Based on the Gillian Flynn novel.

QUEEN OF THE DESERT -Director/writer Werner Herzog
Starring James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Nicole Kidman, Damian Lewis. Kidman plays Gertrude Bell, the Lawrence of Arabia of female diplomats and political attache for the British Empire at the dawn of the 20th Century. Kidman’s other film Grace of Monaco was the festival opener and rumor has it they are awaiting a distribution deal from The Weinstein Company.

THE WATER DIVINER- Directing and Starring Russell Crowe
An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and located his three missing sons.

ASHBY – Director Tom McNamara
Starring Mickey Rourke, Emma Roberts and Sarah Silverman. Focuses ont he relationship between a high school student and a retired CIA assassin who only has months to live.

KIDNAP – Director Luis Prieto
Starring Halle Berry
A mother tries to stop the kidnapping of her child in a thriller that plays out in real time

THE SEARCH – Director: Michel Hazanavicius, Starring Berenice Bejo, Annette Bening. Chechnya-set adaptation of 1948 Oscar winner The Search, which follows an NGO worker who bonds with a small boy who’s been separated from his mother in the war-torn nation.

EQUALS – Director: Drake Doremus.
Starring Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart. Emotion is forbidden in the near future, but two young people begin to fall in love and attempt to escape.

ROOM – Director: Lenny Abrahamson.
Cast: Brie Larson.
A young mother shelters her 5-year-old son from the truth that the tiny shed they inhabit is in fact the site of their incarceration after she was kidnapped years ago as a teenager. Sales: UTA / FilmNation

UNTITLED LANCE ARMSTRONG CYCLING SCANDAL PROJECT – Director: Stephen Frears. Cast: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Guillaume Canet.
Three studios struggled to make a movie about the rise and fall of cyclist Lance Armstrong, and this one crossed the finish line first.

THE COBBLER – Director and Writer: Thomas McCarthy,
Cast: Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, Melonie Diaz, Ellen Barkin.
Fourth generation shoemaker finds a magical sewing machine in his father’s basement that enables him to experience life as other people when he wears their shoes.

99 HOMES – Director and Co-Writer: Ramin Bahrani.
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon.
A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who’s the source of his frustration.

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS – Director and Writer: Natalie Portman.
Drama based on Amos Oz’s memoir about his mother Fania, who struggles with postwar realities while raising her son in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. Dealing with a married life of unfulfilled promises and integration in a foreign land, Fania battles depression and can only escape in a world of daydreams. Portman also stars, and who wouldn’t be interested in what this bright young actress has to say as a director.

A STORM IN THE STARS – Director: Haifaa Almansour. The circumstances that led Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein.

I AM LOVE – Director: Luca Guadagnino. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Shoenaerts and Margot Robbie.
Its a sexy thriller a la Ripley, set on an exclusive island in Italy off the coast of Sicily called Pantelleria.

SUFFRAGETTE – Director: Sarah Gavron. Cast: Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Ann-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson.
Focus is UK suffragette movement in 1912 England, culminating in the notorious Derby Day when Emily Davison died after leaping out in front of the King’s horse.

KNOCK KNOCK – Director and Writer: Eli Roth. Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ana de Armas, Lorenza Izzo.
Two femme fatales seduce and then wreak havoc on the life of a happily married man left homebound on a weekend.

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING – Director and Writer: Tom Tykwer. Cast: Tom Hanks, Tom Skerritt.
In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great.

HANDS OF STONE – Director and Writer: Jonathan Jakubowicz. Cast: Edgar Ramirez, Robert De Niro, Usher Raymond, Ana De Armas. Story of Roberto Duran, the welterweight champ thought unbeatable until he shocked the boxing world by quitting in a rematch against Sugar Ray Leonard.

GOOD KILL – Director and Writer: Andrew Niccol. Cast: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz.
A fighter pilot-turned-drone pilot, based in Las Vegas, fights the Taliban by remote control for 12 hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other 12. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he’s killing?

THE END OF THE TOUR – Director: James Ponsoldt. Cast: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Joan Cusack. A magazine reporter recounts his travels and conversations with author David Foster Wallace during a promotional book tour.

JOHN WICK – Director: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski. Cast: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Adrienne Palicki.
Former assassin goes after the men responsible for his stolen car and dead dog.

KNIGHT OF CUPS – Director and Writer: Terrence Malick. Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Joel Kinnaman, Imogen Poots, Natalie Portman. The story of a man, temptations, celebrity and excess.

LOVE & MERCY – Director: Bill Pohlad. Cast: Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, John Cusack.
A look at the life of troubled musical genius Brian Wilson, the heart and soul of The Beach Boys.

LIFE – Director: Anton Corbijn. Cast: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton. A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

PAWN SACRIFICE – Director: Ed Zwick. Cast: Tobey Maguire, Live Schreiber, Lily Rabe, Peter Sarsgaard.
Enigmatic American chess champion Bobby Fischer prepares for a legendary match against Russian Boris Spassky.

SLOW WEST – Director: John Maclean. Cast: Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Kodi Smit-McPhee.
A love-struck teenager from an aristocratic Scottish family journeys to the American wilderness in 1870 to find his heart’s desire, a farmer’s daughter on the run from the law with a large bounty on her head.

MISSISSIPPI GRIND – Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn, Sienna Miller.
Gambler in debt sets off on a road trip through the Southern U.S. with a young gambling addict in an attempt to change his luck.

Z FOR ZACHARIAH – Director: Craig Zobel. Cast: Chris Pine, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
After surviving a nuclear war in a small American town, a 16 year old encounters two other survivors.

JIMI – Director: Ol Parker. Cast: Anthony Mackie, Thandie Newton, possibly Noomi Rapace. Mackie plays Hendrix in the last nine days of the guitar great’s life.

TRUMBO – Director: Jay Roach. Cast: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren.
Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo sees a great career end when he’s blacklisted in the 1940s for being a Communist.

A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND – Director: Bill Condon. Cast: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney. An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.

MONEY MONSTER – Director: Jodie Foster. Cast: George Clooney. Lee Gates is a television personality whose insider-trading tips make him the guru of Wall Street. That is, until he’s held hostage on air by a man who has lost all of his family’s money because of a bad tip. Ratings soar as the entire country tunes in to find out just how much a man’s life is worth.

IN HER EYES – Director: Billy Ray. Cast: Chewitel Ejifor, Gwyneth Paltrow. Remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian thriller The Secret In Their Eyes.

ALONE IN BERLIN – Director: Vincent Perez. Cast: Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl, Mark Rylance. True story of a German couple whose son was killed at the front in WWII. They began a quiet rebellion by dropping anonymous postcards in mailboxes around Berlin that decried the actions of Adolf Hitler.

LARRY’S KIDNEY – Director: Richard Linklater. Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis. True story of how Daniel Asa Rose found himself in China with his black-sheep cousin and his mail-order bride, skirting the law to get him a transplant … and save his life.

THE LAST FACE – Director: Sean Penn. Cast: Javier Bardem, Charlize Theron, Adele Exarchopoulos. A talented and charismatic doctor is forced to choose between his love for an American relief worker or his dedication to saving lives in war-torn African nations.

ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING – Director: Terry Jones. Cast: Simon Pegg, Gemma Arterton, John Cleese, Michael Palin. Chaos ensues when hapless teacher Neil Clarke is given God-like power for 10 days. Little does he know that the planet is being tested by a council of supremely odd ‘world destroying’ aliens and his actions will determine the fate of Earth.

THE DIG – Director: Susanne Bier. Cast: Cate Blanchett. Set in a riverside village in Suffolk on the eve of WWII, a widowed farmer has her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure.

AUTOBAHN – Director: Eran Creevy. Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley. An American backpacker becomes a pick-up driver for a pan-European drug cartel. Involved in a rival gang’s scam that goes wrong, he is forced to flee at breakneck speed down Germany’s high-speed freeways while preventing his girlfriend from being taken hostage.

BEASTS OF NO NATION – Director: Cary Fukunaga. Cast: Idris Elba. A young child in an unnamed African country learns to become a soldier under the tutelage of a Commandant. Sales: WME / IM Global. Fukunaga coming off True Detective, Elba Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom. The film is expected to play Toronto or possibly Sundance, and deal might not happen until then.

Directors to watch:

Jonas Alexander Arnby – When the Animals Dream. Features a young woman who turns into a werewolf

David Robert MItchell – It Follows – a horror pic

Alice Rohrwacher – Le Meravigile

Matthew Warcus – Pride – an ensemble based on a true story of gay and lesbian activists who decide to raise money to support the families of striking miners in 1984 Britain

Daniel Wolfe – Catch Me Daddy – a western set on the Yorkshire moors where a British Pakistani girl is on the run from her family with her drifter boyfriend

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic-Expert, I am a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY,, Maltin on Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, NPR, Good Day LA, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand and Cherry Picks. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Mondays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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