CANNES CHECK: ‘Drive’

Posted by · 3:34 pm · May 10th, 2011

The director: Nicolas Winding Refn (Denmark) The talent: Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan — the latter making her first significant foray into multiplex territory — are the star attractions here, but the supporting cast isn’t too shabby, either: Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and current TV darlings Christina Hendricks and Bryan Cranston are all on board. […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Melancholia’

Posted by · 8:40 am · May 10th, 2011

The director: Lars von Trier (Denmark) The talent: After the lonesome two-hander that was “Antichrist,” von Trier is back to the all-star ensemble form of “Dogville” — and an eclectic ensemble at that. Taking on the traditionally punishing duties of von Trier’s female lead (though the man maintains she got off lightly) is Kirsten Dunst. […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘This Must Be the Place’

Posted by · 5:02 pm · May 9th, 2011

The director: Paolo Sorrentino (Italy) The talent: Sean Penn (a Best Actor winner at Cannes back in 1997 for “She’s So Lovely”) pops up in his second film of the Competition, though this time in a clear lead role. Frances McDormand makes it two Oscar-winners on board, while the eccentric supporting cast includes Harry Dean […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Michael’

Posted by · 2:44 am · May 9th, 2011

The director: Markus Schleinzer (Austria) The talent: An actor and accomplished casting director — whose credits in the latter field include several films by his compatriots Michael Haneke and Jessica Hausner — 39 year-old Schleinzer has cast his debut feature as writer-director with several actors he previously tapped for other directors’ films. Lead actor Michael […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’

Posted by · 5:54 pm · May 8th, 2011

The director: Lynne Ramsay (United Kingdom) The talent: Reigning arthouse-crossover queen Tilda Swinton leads the cast of Scottish director Ramsay’s third feature; filling the other two key roles are John C. Reilly, shifting gears from his recent run of comedy roles, and 18 year-old Ezra Miller, an effectively gangly presence in “Afterschool” and “City Island.” […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘We Have a Pope’

Posted by · 3:00 am · May 8th, 2011

The director: Nanni Moretti (Italy) The talent: As in most of his films, writer-director-producer Moretti also takes one of the leading roles, but the film is principally a showcase for 85 year-old French legend Michel Piccoli, playing the Pope of the title. A previous Best Actor winner at Cannes (for 1980’s “Leap Into the Void”) […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai’

Posted by · 3:14 pm · May 7th, 2011

The director: Takashi Miike (Japan) The talent: Leading man Ebizô Ichikawa is a well-regarded Kabuki actor with a short screen résumé. International audiences are likelier to recognize his more senior co-star, Kôji Yakusho (“Shall We Dance,” “Babel”), who worked with Miike on the recent “13 Assassins” (currently in US theaters, reviewed here). Also returning from Miike’s […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Source’

Posted by · 9:28 am · May 7th, 2011

The director: Radu Mihăileanu (France) The talent: Two hotly-tipped young French actresses head up proceedings: Leïla Bekhti, who made an eye-catching breakthrough in “A Prophet,” and Hafsia Herzi, who won a slew of newcomer awards in 2007 for “The Secret of the Grain.” (Herzi looks to be one of the faces of this year’s Competition […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 6:30 am · May 6th, 2011

The director: Terrence Malick (USA) The talent: Do you need reminding by this point? The Competition’s most high-profile film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Jessica Chastain; the name I’m most pleased to see in the supporting cast, meanwhile, is Irish stalwart Fiona Shaw. The technical crew is, obviously, first-class: DP Emmanuel Lubezki, […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Polisse’

Posted by · 5:08 pm · May 5th, 2011

The director: Maïwenn (France) The talent: Actress-turned-writer-director Maïwenn Le Besco (who prefers going by her first name, and whom US viewers might remember as the blue-tentacled soprano from “The Fifth Element”) takes the lead role herself, starring opposite French rapper-turned-actor Joeystarr. Supporting them, a host of familiar French faces, including Nicolas Duvauchelle (“White Material”), Frédéric Pierrot […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Posted by · 11:47 am · May 5th, 2011

[Due to my usual sloppy planning, we’re doubling up on this series with two entries a day, so as to be finished in time for next week. Catch up with all the Cannes Check posts so far here.] The director: Julia Leigh (Australia) The talent: With novelist Leigh making her directorial debut here, the name […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Artist’

Posted by · 4:03 pm · May 4th, 2011

After the announcement of 19 Competition titles at last month’s Cannes press conference, some insiders suggested that as many as three films could be added to the lineup before the festival kicks off — and through a kind of online Chinese-whispers game, that number became accepted as truth, without any such promise from Thierry Frémaux […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Hanezu’

Posted by · 5:02 am · May 4th, 2011

The director: Naomi Kawase (Japan) The talent: Details on Kawase’s film are so thin on the ground that I can’t find so much as a DP credit. This much we know: Kawase wrote the screenplay from a novel by female Japanese novelist Masako Bando, and the film’s little-known stars are Tohta Komizu and Hako Oshima. I […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Le Havre’

Posted by · 7:23 am · May 2nd, 2011

The director: Aki Kaurismäki (Finland) The talent: Writer-director-producer Kaurismäki’s latest features a gaggle of names that should be familiar to his fans. Veteran French actor André Wilms, whose association with the filmmaker dates back to 1992’s “The Bohemian Life” (for which he won a European Film Award) takes the lead here, while other Kaurismäki alumni in […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Kid With a Bike’

Posted by · 10:40 am · April 30th, 2011

The directors: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Belgium) The talent: Dardennes regulars Jérémie Renier and Olivier Gourmet (who won Best Actor at Cannes for the brothers’ 2002 film “The Son”) return in supporting roles, but “The Kid With a Bike” is headlined by perhaps the most established star they’ve yet worked with: Cécile De France, the […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’

Posted by · 4:09 am · April 28th, 2011

The director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey) The talent: By this point in his career, auteur-photographer Ceylan is a self-standing arthouse brand — which is just as well, since the other names involved are unlikely to ring many bells with non-Turkish viewers. Leading man Yilmaz Erdoğan, a 43 year-old actor-writer-director, is a hugely popular figure in […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Footnote’

Posted by · 1:49 am · April 27th, 2011

(Thanks to Israeli film critic Yonatan Doron for chipping in with extra information about this title. If any readers think they can help with further entries in this series, do get in touch.) The director: Joseph Cedar (Israel) The talent: Good news for fans of 2001’s wonderful arthouse hit “Late Marriage”: that film’s leading man, […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Pater’

Posted by · 8:11 am · April 25th, 2011

(Apologies for the break this feature took over the Easter weekend — blame the holiday spirit and the London sunshine.) The director: Alain Cavalier (France) The talent: The internet is currently not rife with details on this entry, but we do know that the film is a two-hander of sorts, headlined by the veteran director […]

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