The Cannes Film Festival kicks off today and signs are good that deals will start popping quickly. Here are the titles that could make 2017 memorable. Some of these are finished films, some are promos and others are pre-buys. The intel here is raw, and some of the projects might not have come together in time for the Cannes market.
BUBBLES — Director: Taika Waititi, Mark Gustafson. Writer: Isaac Adamson. The Black List-topping script looks at the story of iconic singer Michael Jackson from the perspective of his beloved chimp Bubbles. Film is being mounted in stop-motion animation.
WHY WE’RE KILLING GUNTHER — Director Taran Killam. Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cobie Smulders, Taran Killam, Hannah Simone. Former SNL castmember Killam makes his feature helming debut.
BEL CANTO – Director: Paul Weitz. Cast: Julianne Moore, Ken Watanabe. Famous opera singer becomes trapped in a hostage situation when she’s invited to perform for a wealthy industrialist in South America.
BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 – Director: S. Craig Zahler. Cast: Vince Vaughn, Don Johnson. Boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.
CHAPPAQUIDICK – Director: John Curran. Cast: Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms. Ted Kennedy’s life and political career become derailed in the aftermath of a fatal car accident in 1969 that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN – Director: Xavier Dolan. Cast: Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain. Ten years after the death of an American TV star he corresponded with as a teenager, a young actor recollects the pen-pal relationship he used to have with his past idol.
UNTITLED SEBASTIAN LELIO PROJECT – Director: Sebastian Lelio. Cast: Julianne Moore. A re-imagining of Lelio’s 2013 title Gloria. Lelio will write the adaptation of the script, which is set to shoot by the end of the year.
REDOUBTABLE – Director: Michel Hazanavicius. Cast: Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Berenice Bejo. French-language romantic drama set in Paris 1967 during the production of “La Chinoise,” where director Jean-Luc Godard falls in love with 17-year old actress Anne Wiazemsky.
Pic is in competition.
1st Screening – Friday May 19, 12 PM – Arcades 2 (Market)
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY – Director: Mike Newell. Cast: Lily James, Michiel Huisman. A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.
1st Screening – Tuesday May 16, 5:30 PM – Arcades 1
BEAUTIFUL BOY – Director: Felix van Groeningen. Cast: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan. Based on the memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, story chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring journey of survival and recovery in a family coping with addiction.
HARD POWDER – Director: Hans Petter Moland. Cast: Liam Neeson. Remake of Norwegian film In Order Of Disappearance. A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son.
1st Screening – Tuesday May 16, 5:30 PM – Arcades 1
GEORGETOWN – Director: Christoph Waltz. Cast: Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave. Based on the true story of Albrecht Muth who was convicted in 2011 for murdering his much older socialite wife in Washington DC.
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT – Director: Lars von Trier. Cast: Bruno Ganz, Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Riley Keough. Thriller following Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of 12 years and depicts the murders that truly develop Jack as a serial killer.
1st Screening – Wednesday May 17, 9:30 AM – Olympia 3
I KILL GIANTS – Director: Anders Walter. Cast: Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots. Barbara Thorson struggles through life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters.
KINGS – Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven. Cast: Halle Berry, Daniel Craig. Drama about a foster family in South Central a few weeks before the city erupts in violence following the verdict of the Rodney King trial in 1992.
THE LAST FULL MEASURE – Director: Todd Robinson, Cast: Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer. 34 years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger Jr. is awarded the nation’s highest military honor for his actions on the battlefield. One of the great untold stories of the Vietnam era.
LIGHT OF MY LIFE – Director: Casey Affleck. A father and his young daughter find themselves trapped in the woods.
ON CHESIL BEACH – Director: Dominic Cooke. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Emily Watson. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan. Drama set in the early 1960s and centered on Florence and Edward, a young couple very much in love on their honeymoon, but unbeknownst to them, the decisions they make that summer will resonate throughout their lives.
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN – Director: Farhad Safinia. Cast: Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Steve Coogan, Natalie Dormer. A professor begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century and receives over 10,000 entries from a doctor at an insane asylum.
1st Screening – Tuesday May 16, 3:30 PM – Olympia 1
STAN AND OLLIE – Director: Jon S. Baird. Cast: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly. Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song — a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.
ALL THE OLD KNIVES – Director: James Marsh. Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Williams. Two CIA operatives, and former lovers, reunite at idyllic Carmel-by-the-Sea to re-examine a mission six years ago in Vienna where a fellow agent might have been compromised.
ARC OF JUSTICE – Director: Jose Padhila. Cast: David Oyelowo. True story of a racial incident in Jazz Age Detroit that puts a pillar of the African American community on the stand for murder.
THE BEACH BUM – Director: Harmony Korine. Cast: Matthew McConaughey. A rebellious stoner named Moondog lives life by his own rules.
BOOK CLUB – Director: Bill Holderman. Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen. Four lifelong friends see their lives turned upside down after reading the infamous 50 Shades Of Grey catapults them into a series of outrageous life choices. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they’re each inspired by the scandalous text to hilarious ends.
THE BURNING WOMAN – Director: Jake Scott. Cast: Sienna Miller, Aaron Paul, Christina Hendricks. A woman raises her young grandson after her daughter goes missing.
BRUISED – Director: Nick Cassavetes. Cast: Blake Lively. Disgraced mixed martial arts fighter Jackie is a single mother working two jobs but when authorities threaten to take her young son away from her, she must get back in the cage for one last chance to fight for redemption and give her son the life she always wanted.
COLETTE – Director: Wash Westmoreland. Cast: Keira Knightley, Dominic West. French novelist, Colette, overcomes an abusive marriage to emerge as a leading writer in her country and a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
ESCAPE FROM SARAJEVO – Director: Colm McCarthy. Cast: James McAvoy. Based on the author’s father’s escape from Sarajevo in 1992, the harrowing and heartbreaking tale of one man’s mission to get back to his family.
FARMING – Director: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Damon Idris. Based on Adewale’s childhood, when he was sent by his Nigerian parents to live with a working-class white foster family in England.
FIRST CHAIR – Director: Reed Morano, Writer: Stuart Blumberg, Cast: Jeff Bridges, Diane Lane. Producers: Alexandra Milchan, Scott Lambert. Drama about an accomplished violinist who must cope with a brain tumor and his descent into losing his ability to play, which we have previously read.
FREAKSHIFT – Director: Ben Wheatley. Cast: Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer. A band of misfits hunt down and kill underground, nocturnal monsters.
FROZEN – Director: Susanne Bier. Cast: Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson. A woman comes to terms with her past and gains closure by forgiving the man who brutally murdered and raped her 10-year-old daughter. Based on the play of the same name by Bryony Lavery.
GALVESTON – Director: Melanie Laurent. Cast: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning. Adaptation of novel by True Detective’s Nic Pizzolato as a terminally ill hitman goes on the run to his hometown of Galveston with a rescued runaway teenage hooker, where he plots revenge against the mob boss that betrayed him, and ultimately redemption.
H-BLOCK – Director: Jim Sheridan. Cast: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Pierce Brosnan. True story of the Maze Prison escape in Northern Ireland in 1983, where 38 prisoners escaped with only 19 re-captured, that became a source of propaganda used by the IRA.
HIGH LIFE – Director: Claire Denis. Cast: Robert Pattinson, Patricia Arquette, Mia Goth. A group of skilled criminals, in a bid to escape their long sentences or capital punishment, accept a likely fatal government space mission to find alternative energy sources.
I FEEL PRETTY – Director: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein. Cast: Amy Schumer. After suffering a minor head injury, a formerly insecure woman suddenly believes she’s as beautiful as the models she glorifies, despite not looking any different than she was before.
A KID LIKE JAKE – Director: Silas Howard. Cast: Jim Parsons, Claire Danes, Octavia Spencer, Priyanka Chopra. Drama about a couple trying to raise a 4-year-old son who prefers to dress up as a princess instead of G.I. Joe.
KING OF THE JUNGLE – Director: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra. Cast: Johnny Depp. The story of software engineer and former NASA programmer John McAfee. After making a killing with his anti-virus software, he sold his company, moved to Belize and became a survivalist and became a murder suspect.
THE LITTLE STRANGER – Director: Lenny Abrahamson. Cast: Domnhall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson. In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house is now in decline. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life?
LORO aka THEM – Director: Paolo Sorrentino. Drama about Italian media tycoon-turned-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his inner circle.
OPHELIA – Director: Claire McCarthy. Cast: Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, George Mackay. When Ophelia captures the attention of the handsome Prince Hamlet, a forbidden love blossoms. As war brews, lust and betrayal are tearing Elsinore Castle apart from within and Ophelia must decide between her true love or her own life in order to protect a very dangerous secret.
PARTY OF THE CENTURY – Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. Cast: Jack O’Connell, Chloe Grace Moretz. Inspired by the 1960’s Manhattan party Truman Capote threw, generally considered to be the party of the century. Told through the eyes of the doorman who ends up attending and falling in love with a young starlet. Pic shoots in the fall.
POMS – Director: Zara Hayes. Cast: Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver. Comedy about a group of women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community.
A PRIVATE WAR – Director: Matthew Heineman. Cast: Rosamund Pike. Biography of American war correspondent, Marie Colvin, who reported from conflicts including Kosovo, Chechnya, East Timor and the Middle East, before tragically dying in early 2012 during a rocket attack covering the civil war in Syria for the U.K.’s Sunday Times.
THE SISTERS BROTHERS – Director: Jacques Audiard. Cast: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed. When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.
SOME ARE BORN GREAT – Director: Michael Mitnick. Cast: Jason Segal. After a near-death experience, a depressed comic starts to have incredible good fortune — eventually realizing that everyone makes their own luck.
THE TRACKING OF A RUSSIAN SPY – Director: Nima Nourizadeh. Cast: Logan Lerman, Olivia Cooke. A man searches for a woman he loves after she is arrested for being a Russian spy.
UNTITLED ASGHAR FARHADI PROJECT – Director: Asghar Farhadi, Cast: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Ricardo Darin. Drama about family and family relationships.
WHAT THEY HAD – Director: Elizabeth Chomko. Cast: Michael Shannon, Hilary Swank, Taissa Farmiga. A woman must fly back to her hometown when her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother wanders into a blizzard. The return home forces her to confront her past.
CROOKED HOUSE – Director: Gilles Pacquet-Brenner. Cast: Max Irons, Christina Hendricks, Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close. Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, private detective Charles Hayward is invited to solve a gruesome crime where nobody is above suspicion, including Sophia, his client and former lover. Pic was with Sony but might come unglued because the studio might not be able to release this year. .
1st Screening – Wednesday May 17, 12 PM – Olympia 8
THE FLORIDA PROJECT – Director: Sean Baker. Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto. The story of a precocious 6-year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.
1st Screening – Tuesday May 23, 12 PM – Olympia 5 (Market)
THE WHITE CROW – Director: Ralph Fiennes. Cast: Adele Exarchopoulos, Oleg Ivenko, Sergei Polunin. David Hare-scripted drama/thriller about famed Russian ballet Rudolf Nuryev and his defection to the U.S.
ZOE – Director: Drake Doremus. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Lea Seydoux, Theo James, Rashida Jones. Two colleagues at a revolutionary research lab design technology to improve and perfect romantic relationships. As their work progresses, their discoveries become more profound.
DUMPLIN – Director: Anne Fletcher. Cast: Jennifer Aniston. A girl with the nickname “Dumplin'” enters a beauty pageant in order to win over the boy she likes and stick it to the other girls at school.