Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014 Cannes Check #11: The Americans

Last from the directors in competition, a group that includes the two directors born in the USA. Quite surprising to notice that spontaneously I believe that the best actor award could come from these two movies.

#10.1 Tommy Lee Jones

Born in San Saba, Texas he is a very well-known Academy Award winner actor that also happens to have a Cannes Best Actor award thanks to his feature film directorial debut The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, a film that was in competition in 2005 Cannes. The Homesman is his second feature film (he also has two TV movies) and he is again in competition with a western in which he also performs, so my first initial reaction is to wonder if there is a second Cannes acting award for him, as there is no doubt in my mind that he's an excellent actor.

Still is a major accomplishment when the second feature film that he directs makes it to the main competition and maybe I should pay more attention to him as a director. My main problem is the genre as not really a western fan, but The Homesman has such an incredibly good cast that it is must be seen for me and will try to see film more as a directorial work of a good director than a great cast performing well. As of May 9th, film has an 18/1 odds to win the Palme d'Or, which is not bad as there are 7 films below; but it is hard for me to imagine nowadays a western winning the Palme d'Or even in the year that Cannes is honoring the genre.

His production company is The Javelina Film Co which also produced this film.

Basic Info The Homesman
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Scriptwriter: Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley Oliver
Language: English
Runtime: 122 min
Production countries: USA (if you read French sites it is ALSO produced by France)
Production companies: EuropaCorp, Ithaca, The Javelina Film Company,
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep and her real-life daughter Grace Gummer, Sonja Richter (remember TVmovie Selma? - she's also in another Cannes movie: When Animals Dream), Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader, Miranda Otto, John Lithgow, and many more.
I highly doubt Meryl will go to Cannes BUT wouldn't be a huge, great, very welcome, refreshing surprise?

Plot Summary
A claim jumper and a pioneer woman team up to escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa.
Longer summary by French producer: En 1854, trois femmes ayant perdu la raison sont confiées à Mary Bee Cuddy, une pionnière forte et indépendante originaire du Nebraska. Sur sa route vers l'Iowa, où ces femmes pourront trouver refuge, elle croise le chemin de George Briggs, un rustre vagabond qu'elle sauve d'une mort imminente. Ils décident de s'associer afin de faire face, ensemble, à la rudesse et aux dangers qui sévissent dans les vastes étendues de la Frontière américaine.

The Trailer

#10.2 Bennett Miller

Born on December 30, 1966, Miller is best known for his feature film directorial debut Capote with late Philip Seymour Hoffman and his multiple Academy Award nominated second feature film Moneyball . If you think about these films, then seems natural that his third feature film, Foxcatcher made it to the Cannes Official Selection in Competition. This will be Miller's first time ever in Cannes and if he continues to do films as all of the above I am sure he will be back.

The film absolutely calls my attention not for story but to see what Steve Carell does with the incredible makeup that absolutely "smells" like Academy Award nomination but have to see his performance to be sure IF he will get a Best Actor nod. Obviously IF he has a great performance and wins the Best Actor in Cannes then the Oscar nod will come swiftly. But have to admit that I like Steve Carell in serious roles and believe he is a good dramatic actor that needed a break, let's hope this role will give him the break that will establish him as the great actor he is.

Do not know much about the director but have seen and enjoyed his two previous feature films - has two more documentaries- then I should pay more attention to him as a director and know I will after he made it to Cannes. Sigh. Worth to mention that his debut film, a documentary, The Cruise, was at 1999 Berlinale where won the Wolfgang Staudte award. No idea if film could win the Palme d'Or but odds are not good as film is in the one before last group of films with odds in the twenties to one.

Basic Info for Foxcatcher
Director: Bennet Miller
Scriptwriter: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Language: English
Runtime: 130 min
Production countries: USA
Production companies: Annapurna Pictures, Likely Story, Media Rights Capital
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and many more.

Plot Summary
The story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John duPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz.

The trailer

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