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2009 Cannes Line-up

Posted by: Matthew Turner 24/04/2009 @ 20:59
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 117
Films seen last week: The Last Thakur, Soi Cowboy, Sleep Furiously, The Grocer's Son, Dogging: A Love Story, City Rats, Adventureland

2009 Cannes Line-up
As I mentioned last week, this week saw the official announcement of the 2009 Cannes line-up and, as always, it's killing me that I won't be going. As predicted, the line-up this year is incredibly strong, with new films by -deep breath- Pedro Almodovar (Broken Embraces), Lars Von Trier (Antichrist), Jane Campion (Bright Star), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Ken Loach (Looking for Eric), Gaspar Noe (Enter the Void), Ang Lee (Taking Woodstock), Bong Joon-ho (Mother), Terry Gilliam (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), Michel Gondry (L'Epine dans le Coeur) and Sam Raimi (Drag Me to Hell), alongside premieres of both Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (the spelling STILL annoys me) and Pixar's hotly anticipated 3D feature, Up. Hell, all it needs is a new David Lynch film and a new Coen Brothers film and it would be the greatest Cannes EVER.

I'm equally excited about the new films by Andrea Arnold, Isabel Coixet and Alejandro Amenabar, while it'll be interesting to see if something other than one of the films mentioned above nabs the Palme D'Or (as happened last year, when absolutely no one predicted that The Class would win, partly because most critics had left before it even screened). Top tip for Cannes coverage: the always excellent Greencine Daily, which collects excerpts from all the main Cannes reviewers. Appropriate, too, since I'll be going greencine with envy...

Trailerwatch: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Of course, if you're a massive Harry Potter fan, then you'll probably already know this but last week saw the release of the latest trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and it's a doozy. Confusingly, it's the penultimate book, but not the penultimate movie, as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is being released as two films. At any rate, the trailer for HP and the HBP is a vast improvement on the teaser (see previous blog) and the film looks very exciting indeed – I particularly love the attack on London's Millennium Bridge glimpsed towards the end. The effects look incredible this time round, as well they might, given the film's delayed release, which hopefully gave the effects boffins the time to get everything perfect. It certainly seems to have paid off - the flying sequences alone just look amazing. I've been led to expect greatness (and been subsequently disappointed) by Potter trailers before, but for now, colour me officially excited.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change in the top ten this week, with several high profile contenders (Watchmen, The Class, The Damned United, Slumdog Millionaire) disappearing from cinemas altogether, coupled with a particularly strong week for new releases. The pick of these is feelgood French drama The Grocer's Son, which is also likely to be the first to disappear, so catch it while you can. (The same goes for Werner Herzog's Antarctica documentary Encounters at the End of the World). Also making it into the list are low budget Brit flick Shifty (read our interview with star Daniel Mays here) and scruffy British sci-fi comedy Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (read our interview with star Dean Lennox Kelly here), as well as bigger budget offerings State of Play and Outlander. Finally, the fact that so many films disappeared this week means that there's room for two of last week's releases to make the list, namely In The Loop and Crank 2: High Voltage.

1. Let the Right One In
2. I Love You, Man
3. The Grocer's Son
4. Encounters at the End of the World
5. Shifty
6. State of Play
7. Outlander
8. In The Loop
9. Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel
10. Crank 2: High Voltage

DVD of the Week: Dean Spanley (released 27th April, RRP £17.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is delightful shaggy dog tale Dean Spanley, starring Jeremy Northam, Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill. Set in 1904, the film centres on Northam and Bryan Brown as two gentlemen who become fascinated with Imperial Tokay-quaffing Dean Spanley (Neill) and his apparent recollections of a previous life. If you've managed to make it to the DVD release without anyone spoiling any more of the plot than that, then you must watch it immediately, because much of the joy comes from the decidedly unexpected turns in the script. Overall, it's funny, clever and ultimately, extremely moving, with terrific performances from Neill, O'Toole (as Northam's aging father) and Northam. Extras include a 15 minute Making Of featurette and shortish interviews with both cast and director Toa Fraser.


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