In refreshing contrast with some of the more ambitious, high concept or just plain abstract films playing in competition at Cannes, Michael Haneke proves that less is more with “Amour,” a simple yet emotionally rich story of how a sudden stroke affects an aging couple and their daughter.
“The Paperboy,” Lee Daniels’ dreamy 1960s drama about a pair of reporters determined to revoke a prison inmate’s death sentence in small-town Florida is more style than substance, foregoing a rich historical and cultural context for a messy adaptation of Pete Braxton’s novel that not even a brave performance by veteran actress Nicole Kidman can save.
Following in the dense intellectual style of last year’s “A Dangerous Method,” David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” is heavily dialogue- and theory-driven, only this time the psychoanalysis has been replaced with economic and financial jargon in an eerily dystopian retelling of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Adapted from Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name, this riveting commentary on capitalism could not have come at a more appropriate time.
Based on Matt Bondurant’s historical novel “The Wettest County in the World,” the latest collaboration between director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave brings to life the story of a bootlegging family during the final years of the Prohibition era. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke as the Bondurant brothers, “Lawless” is an action-packed yet character-driven tale of gangsters, corruption and survival in the backcountry of Virginia.
For the average cinephile or celebrity gawker, the word “Cannes” probably conjures up images of svelte actors and gowned actresses posing on the red carpet silhouetted against a blue sea, speckled with fancy yachts, and the occasional renegade director.
One of the hottest In Competition films so far is Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone,” a dynamic relationship drama centering on a whale trainer and a struggling single father who moonlights as a small-time boxer. Starring Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts as the leads, this atypical love story is set to make waves once it reaches overseas.
Part coming-of-age story and part comedy of manners, Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” chronicles the adventurous romance of two young lovers on a fictional island off the coast of New England. Newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman lead a star-studded supporting cast including Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton.
As anyone who ever had to endure AP U.S. History knows, Prohibition was a brief period in post-WWI America when the sale, manufacture and transport of alcohol were illegal. What the textbooks probably didn’t elaborate on was how, well, badass the bootleggers who defied the law were. Enter “Lawless,” an adrenaline rush of a film inspired by the real-life Bondurant brothers, who made a killing in the illicit whiskey trade during the Great Depression.