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THEY'RE IN A FESTIVE MOOD, AND THEY CERTAINLY CAN CANNES CANNES!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moviemakers in the poster above are clearly in a mood to celebrate the 60th birthday of what is arguably the world’s classiest film event. This year's festival began on May 16 with Wong Kar Wai’s “My Blueberry Nights.” To read the Variety review, click here. For details on several other festival films, browse below.


IN COMPETITION

 

MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS: (Hong Kong-France-China) Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn (Written and directed by Wong Kar-wai; The Weinstein Company) We all know that Grammy winner Norah Jones is an extraordinary singer-songwriter. But can she act? We’ll find out when Wong Kar-wai, the Hong Kong director of the breathtaking “In the Mood for Love” and “2046,” unspools his first English-language film--a quirky road movie in which Jones plays the central role. Her character, a dreamy single New Yorker, binges on a blueberry-and-whipped-cream creation in a Chinatown café and falls asleep with her head upon the bar. And that’s when the adventurous café manager (Jude Law) leans across the bar and steals an especially sweet kiss. We don’t know if the kiss is the start of something big, but we do know that before long Jones comes down with a bad case of the jitters and attempts to calm down by taking a cross-country journey. Maybe she’ll return for another blueberry binge, and maybe she won’t. To read the Variety review of "My Blueberry Nights," click here.

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY: (France) Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Emmanuelle Seigner (Directed by Julian Schnabel; Written by Ronald Harwood; Miramax) It makes perfect sense that Jean-Dominique Bauby’s stunning book, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," should carry the subtitle of "A Memoir of Life in Death.” Bauby, a dynamic, articulate, happily married father of two, was the widely admired editor-in chief of France’s Elle Magazine in 1995 when, at the age of 44, he suffered a stroke that left him in a coma for 20 days. It was assumed that he would never again share thoughts and impressions with his loved ones and former colleagues. And when he did finally awake, the only part of his body that appeared to be functioning was his left eye. Soon, however, with the blink of that eye, he was able to make it understood that his brain had not been impaired. Amazingly, a system was devised by his family and friends whereby he would blink when a particular letter of the alphabet was read aloud to him. From there, it was a matter of his forming words, structuring sentences and conveying the complex, passionate ideas and images that filled his mind and ultimately shape them into a unique manuscript. Bauby died in 1998, just two days after the publication of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” It was thought that Johnny Depp, who worked with director Julian Schnabel in "Before Night Falls," would play Bauby, but that plan fell through. So Depp's loss is Mathieu Amalric's gain. To read the Variety review of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," click here.

4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS: (Romania) Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alex Potocean, Luminita Gheorghiu, Adi Carauleanu (Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu; Mobra Films) It’s 1987 in Romania, and a college student, with the help of her roommate, tracks down a man whose line of business is performing illegal abortions. What the pregnant woman and her friend do not bargain for is the abortionist’s demand for more money than previously agreed upon, as well as his insistence that they submit to his cold-blooded rape. And so it went during the brutal Ceausescu regime. To read the Variety review of "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," click here.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: (USA) Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Tess Harper, Stephen Root, Barry Corbin (Written and directed by Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen; Miramax Films) It’s 1980, and somewhere in a wild, rough region of Texas, a young Vietnam vet named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes to an abrupt halt in his early-morning hunt for antelope. What stops Llewelyn is the discovery of a bundle of heroin, a suitcase containing two million dollars, and several bloody corpses. And what Llewelyn does is this: he takes the money and runs, followed closely by deranged drug dealer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). If this man-on-the-run has any hope for survival, it rests with Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), a smart, stubborn World War II vet who’s convinced the world has gone bonkers. This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel sounds chilling and oddball enough to stand beside such Coen Brothers shockers as “Blood Simple,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Fargo” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” To read the Variety review of "No Country for Old Men," click here. Opens 11/21/07

PARANOID PARK: (France-USA) Gabe Nevins, Jake Miller, Taylor Momsen, Lauren McKinney, Daniel Lui (Written and directed by Gus Van Sant) More than any other contemporary filmmaker, Gus Van Sant seems obsessed with telling tales of men, for the most part very young men, who are saddled with major stress. Sometimes they are innocent victims of an unjust society; sometimes they are total weirdos waiting for the right moment to pounce; and sometimes they are a blend of the two. To see what we mean, think about the troubled males at the center of Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho,” “To Die For,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Gerry,” “Elephant” and even the remake of Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” Soon you will be able to think about still another Van Sant study of a boy in bad shape. This time it’s Alex (Gabe Nevins), a restless, 16-year-old skateboarder who, without bothering to buy a ticket, hops aboard a train headed for Paranoid Park, a Portland hangout for alienated street kids. Somewhere in transit, Alex is spotted and pursued by a billy-club-wielding security cop. Without thinking, Alex swiftly turns his skateboard into a lethal weapon, thereby dumping his stalker on the fast track to eternity. The rest of Van Sant’s story, based on the novel by Blake Nelson, may best be described as a quirky, child-friendly American spin on Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.”

WE OWN THE NIGHT: (USA) Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Eva Mendes, Tony Musante (Written and directed by James Gray; Universal Pictures) A fierce crime wave, whipped up by ruthless drug dealers, raged through New York during the late eighties, nowhere more out of control than in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn. This drama--written and directed by James Gray, who roamed similar turf in the memorable “Yards”--centers on the dilemma of Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix), the manager of a Brighton Beach night club that’s a favorite of the dope-dealing Russian mafia. Bobby doesn’t want to ruffle the Ruskies, but he has to do something when his brother Joseph (Mark Wahlberg), a cop who keeps his relationship to Bobby a secret, is brutally wounded by the drug-thugs. Don’t be surprised if the brothers reconcile their differences and take back the New York night from the dopesters. Whatever the case, it’s good to see Phoenix and Wahlberg, two of today’s more forceful performers, reunited with “Yards” director Gray. Let’s hope the results are as striking on this outing as they were the first time around.

ZODIAC: (USA) Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Gary Oldman, Anthony Edwards (Directed by David Fincher; Written by Jamie Vanderbilt; Warner Bros. and Paramount) David Fincher, who proved he knows all there is to know about coaxing audiences to pay the price of admission for nerve-shattering punishment in “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “Panic Room,” is at it again. This time he’s zeroing in on a true crime--make that crimes--story, the still unsolved mystery of the Zodiac, the fiendishly playful serial killer who deliberately left “clues” behind after murdering at least 37 San Franciscans during the 1960s and ‘70s. Based on Robert Graysmith's "Zodiac" and "Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed," the thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Graysmith, the young San Francisco Chronicle journalist who cut his reportorial teeth covering the grisly stages of the case. Gary Oldman plays Marvin Belli, the ace attorney who, in 1969, received a lengthy, revealing--but not revealing enough--Christmas greeting from the Zodiac. The film has already opened to enthusiastic reviews--and lackluster box office--in the U.S. Now Playing


OUT OF COMPETITION


A MIGHTY HEART: (UK) Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Sajid Hasan, Will Patton (Directed by Michael Winterbottom; Written by Michael Winterbottom and Laurence Coriat; Paramount Vantage) In “A Mighty Heart,” Mariane Pearl wrote movingly of the kidnapping and murder of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, by Muslim terrorists in Pakistan. Now, in the adaptation of her book, Mrs. Pearl will be played by activist-actress Angelina Jolie. A strong indication that the film will be both tough and compassionate is the fact that it will be directed by Michael Winterbottom, currently represented on screen by “The Road to Guantanamo.” Winterbottom collaborated on the screenplay with Laurence Coriat, author of the screenplay of his wonderful “Wonderland.” To read the Variety review of "A Mighty Heart," click here. Opens 6/22/07

OCEAN’S THIRTEEN: (USA) George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Bernie Mac, Ellen Barkin, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Elliott Gould, Casey Affleck, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Shaobo Qin, Eddie Jemison (Directed by Steven Soderbergh; Written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien; Warner Bros.) Danny Ocean, the coolest, most mischievously macho crook we know, will be back with his law-defying pals, and of course he will be played by the peerless George Clooney. We won’t have the pleasure of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ company this time around the Vegas block, but we will have Al Pacino as a slick--but perhaps vulnerable--manager of a trendy casino. Now Playing

SICKO: (USA) (Written and directed by Michael Moore; The Weinstein Company/Lionsgate) What could be sicker than the United States health care system? Nothing--which is a point Michael Moore surely makes in his latest documentary. Anyone who has seen “Roger & Me,” “Bowling for Columbine” or “Fahrenheit 9/11” knows that Moore is not timid when digging for the wormy truth beneath corporate posturing and political double talk. The targets topping his must-expose list on this occasion are unscrupulous, money-crazed pharmaceutical companies and HMOs. And to bare the facts of shoddy medical treatment provided on--and immediately following--9/11, Moore reportedly interviewed numerous duped heroes who toiled on the poisonous World Trade Center debris pile. He also traveled to Cuba in his determination to demonstrate that Castro’s health care program is superior to that of the Bush administration. Nobody can say that “Sicko” doesn’t sock it to ’em. To read the Variety review of "Sicko," click here. Opens 6/29/07