How could I call this a film blog and make no mention of the currently running Festival de Cannes, unarguably the most important festival of them all? Although I’d love to report directly from the south of France, I’m not. (Some day!) But here are 10 films I’d try to see if I were there …
(All images and synopses are courtesy of festival-cannes.com.)
Hollywood, 1927. George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller, it seems the sky’s the limit—major movie stardom awaits.
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenwriter: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle
Michael Sheen and Maria Bello play Bill and Kate, a married couple that learns its son committed a mass shooting at his university before taking his own life. The two struggle through the grief and confusion as the media spill into their lives. Beautiful Boy is the winner of the 2010 Toronto Film Festival International Critics’ Award.
Upon reading the synopsis and watching the trailer, this chilling film is reminiscent of last year’s Rabbit Hole (John Cameron Mitchell) with threads of 2005’s American Gun (Aric Avelino) interwoven. Both Beautiful Boy and Rabbit Hole explore a couple’s relationship as it struggles over the death of a son. In Beautiful Boy, however, the stakes are higher, as that son is also responsible for taking the lives of several others, which is a subplot in the heavy-handed message film American Gun.
This film’s got “Oscar performances” written all over it for both Sheen and Bello, two highly underrated actors who have been aching for and deserving of that spotlight.
Director: Shawn Ku
Screenwriters: Michael Armbruster, Shawn Ku
Producers: Lee Clay, Eric Gozlan
Cast: Michael Sheen, Maria Bello, Alan Tudyk, Moon Bloodgood, Kyle Gallner, Meat Loaf
Distributor: Anchor Bay Films
Official Site: beautifulboythemovie.com
Runtime: 100 min.
Release Date: 6.3.11
I’ve been volunteering with the Tribeca Film Festival for the past three years. I started off in 2009 as a “key volunteer,” working 14 shifts in 11 days (the entire length of the festival). Working in the Screenings department, I worked inside by scanning tickets and outside by managing rush lines and answering questions. It was a great year and definitely broke up the monotony of my unfortunate unemployment at the time. In 2010 and this year, I was only available to volunteer during the festival’s closing weekends. Typically, I’m not a huge fan of closing weekend. The energy is mostly gone. Everyone’s seen the films. The hype is dead. Nonetheless, I love volunteering with Tribeca and plan to continue doing so, though, ideally, I would be attending the festival in the future as a filmmaker or industry professional. Continue reading 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival Cuts to Black
Buck is the winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award—Documentary. Below is the official poster and synopsis.
“Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.” So says Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country for nine grueling months a year helping horses with people problems.
Buck, a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life “horse whisperer,” he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses—and people—with his understanding, compassion, and respect. In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life. A truly American story about an unsung hero, Buck is about an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.
Director: Cindy Meehl
Producers: Julie Goldman, Andrea Meditch
Cast: Buck Brannaman, Robert Redford, Dan Gunter
Distributor: IFC Films
Official Site: buckthefilm.com
Runtime: 88 min.
Release Date: 7.17.11