The Weinstein Company‘s annual presentation has become as much a Cannes staple as terrible questions from European journalists at press conferences, the kids holding up cardboard signs on the street asking for tickets, or a Naomi Kawase movie. Regardless of what they have in competition or otherwise (over the next week they’re premiering both Todd Haynes‘ “Carol” and the Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard-starring “Macbeth“), every year the indie-film giants gather press and distributors in a hotel ballroom and show off their upcoming wares while plying them with canapés and white wine.
But it’s not always obvious awards bait. Some of what was screened this year has already made its way online: a trailer for “The Little Prince,” which the company is distributing in some territories; the trailer for the Jake Gyllenhaal boxing flick “Southpaw“ (which Harvey announced will be having a secret screening in Cannes, so keep an eye out for our review before the festival is out); and a trailer for the Owen Wilson/Lake Bell/Pierce Brosnan actioner “No Escape,” unpromisingly set for a Labor Day release.
But there was some good stuff, too. First up was an extended trailer for “Adam Jones,” a new culinary-themed comedy starring and produced by Bradley Cooper, hoping to extend his recent stellar run. A one-time David Fincher project, penned by “Locke” writer Steven Knight, it stars Cooper as a hot American chef in London, who having quit the “drinking, smoking and sniffing,” sets out to mount a comeback with a new restaurant. Directed by “August: Osage County” helmer John Wells, it’s a glossy-looking film that foregrounded some glitzy London locations and the romance between Cooper and his sous chef, Sienna Miller. It’s nice to see the latter getting some proper screen time after being mostly absent in “Foxcatcher” and “American Sniper.”
It’s not clear if it’s going to be the next “Silver Linings Playbook,” but it looks like a definite crowdpleaser in the making, and not just because we’re fond of cooking-themed movies. Daniel Bruhl, Omar Sy, Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander, Jamie Dornan, Lily James, Uma Thurman, Sam Keeley and Matthew Rhys also star, and it’s opening on October 2nd.
We’re only a couple of days away with the first screening of Todd Haynes‘ much-anticipated “Carol” at Cannes, and the trailer we saw only managed to make us more excited (watch two clips from the film here). With a classical, colorful look very reminiscent of Haynes’ “Far From Heaven,” the film looks like classic melodrama territory with potentially great turns from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, even if it gave away a little more than we’d like. Haynes makes excellent use of a model-train motif and some stunning costume and production design. It looks to be a potential tear-jerker in a big way. Our review will be with you on Saturday.
The first footage from “Macbeth” was equally strong. We’ve been expecting big things from “Snowtown Murders” director Justin Kurzel‘s new take on the Shakespearean classic, but even more so now: it’s very much a “Macbeth” for the “Game Of Thrones” generation, with a moody and visually stunning approach that marks it as very distinct from previous screen adaptations. Michael Fassbender, sporting a thick Scots burr, looks like a force of nature in the lead role, and Marion Cotillard appears to be more than his match as his lady wife. Keep an eye out for our review of that one, too, towards the end of the festival.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, at least in trailer form, was “Tulip Fever.” The long-in-the-works adaptation of a novel by “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” author Deborah Moggach, adapted by Tom Stoppard, is set during the tulip boom in Holland in the 17th century, and follows the romance between a young painter (Dane DeHaan) and the wife (Alicia Vikander) of a wealthy merchant (Christoph Waltz). It sounds like a familiar period piece, but while the footage didn’t do a great job at setting up the time and the place, it succeeded in making it look like a costume drama with a bit of attitude, thanks to the high passion of the ludicrously attractive young leads, and a diverse and appealing supporting turn, including Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench and, for some reason, Zach Galafianakis. With “Mandela” director Justin Chadwick at the helm, we’re a bit cautious, but it definitely looks better than expected.
Not expected in the line-up, but screening footage nevertheless, were two other movies, “Hands Of Stone,” and “Lion.” The former’s only a very recent acquisition, a boxing movie that, to give “Southpaw” some space, won’t be released until April or May next year, according to Harvey Weinstein. Directed by Venezuelan helmer Jonathan Jakubowicz (“Secuestro Express“), it’s a biopic of Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), and his trainer, Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro). Colorful and seemingly covering a broad sweep of Duran’s career, it doesn’t otherwise look wildly different from other boxing movies, but hopefully it has something a little different in its corner.
“Lion,” meanwhile, came across as a blend of “Philomena” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” as a young Indian-born man (Dev Patel) sets out to reunite with the family he was separated from as a child. It’s a little more intriguing than it looks: Patel, brooding and bearded, seems to be more adult than he’s played before, and the film seems to focus as much on how his search affects his relationship with his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and adoptive parents (Nicole Kidman, David Wenham). It seems to be well directed: Garth Davis, Jane Campion‘s co-helmer on “Top Of The Lake,” is responsible, and it was shot by Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty“), which can only be good news, too. Weinstein wasn’t spilling the beans on whether the film is set for release this year, but it could be a potential Oscar dark horse, if so.
And then there was “The Hateful Eight,” which you can find more about here. Will any of these films be big awards-players? We’ll be finding out in the days, weeks and months to come. In the meantime, thanks for the macaroons, Harvey.