CANNES, France — The MTV Movies team has landed in the South of France, where the water sparkles beneath the Mediterranean sun, the temperature is expected to hit the high-70s by midweek and some of the biggest movie stars in the world are jetting into town.
It’s the 64th Cannes Film Festival, and the action is set to kick off on Wednesday, when we’ll be forced to put aside the crêpes and the red wine and turn our attention to motion picture matters. With Hollywood blockbusters opening next to indie movies from legendary auteurs, the festival has got it all this year. Though it’s hard to choose, here are our picks for the five most anticipated films heading into Cannes this year.
5. “Midnight in Paris”
A favorite of the Euro set, Woody Allen opens Cannes this year with his 41st film. “Midnight” stars Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and others in a romantic comedy about an American family traveling abroad. The director has misfired during his last two outings at the cinema — the promising but ultimately forgettable “Whatever Works” and the blink-and-you-missed-it “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” — so we’ll be looking for Woody to bounce back this year among the French who so ardently adore him.
One never knows what one is going to get from Danish helmer Lars von Trier. “Melancholia,” we know, tells the tale of a wedding shortly before the destruction of Earth. Kristen Dunst stars as the gloomy bride opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgård and Kiefer Sutherland. What actually will transpire, though, when this dismally romantic story butts up against a hallucinatory sci-fi backdrop in the hands of von Trier is anybody’s guess.
3. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides“
Following the fourth “Pirates” film’s premiere at Disneyland this weekend, Johnny Depp takes his swashbuckling hero overseas for Cannes. With a new director in Rob Marshall behind the scenes and fresh faces in Penélope Cruz and Ian McShane in front of the camera, we’re hoping that “Stranger Tides” brings back the popcorn pleasures of the franchise after a lackluster and overly long third installment.
2. “The Skin I Live In”
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar brings his formal inventiveness and emotional fearlessness to Cannes once again with this Antonio Banderas-starring drama about a plastic surgeon who attempts to create a new skin years after his wife was burned in a car crash. Almodóvar won best director at Cannes in 1999 for “All About My Mother” and Sony Pictures Classics has already slated “Skin I Live In” for an awards-season-friendly November release, so the hype is high headed into the festival.
1. “The Tree of Life“
Long delayed, wickedly buzzy and starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn as a father and son in a time-hopping story line that boldly flits across generations and reaches back to the time of the dinosaurs, “Tree of Life” has almost nowhere to go but down once its first frame flickers across the screen. Unless, that is, director Terrence Malick has a true winner on his hands. If that’s the case — and we hope it is — this is a film we’ll be talking about a lot come Oscar season.
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