Top 19 Films I'm Excited to See at Cannes

by keithsim | last updated - 1 week ago

I'm shocked at how many of the films on my list are from the Directors' Fortnight selections including my #2 film, AN EASY GIRL, from Rebecca Zlotowski, (GRAND CENTRAL). In the past Fortnight had been largely tyro directors from far-flung corners of the earth. Nothing wrong with that it just turns attending a film you nothing about, from a director you know nothing about, more of a crapshoot. Fortnight's new delegate general (read=creative director), Paolo Moretti, has brought in old and new blood while Cannes' In Competition committee continues to default to directors that haven't inspired me in years including the Dardennes and Ken Loach, all absent from this list. - by Keith Simanton, Senior Film Editor

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1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

159 min | Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.8/10 X  

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Margot Robbie, James Marsden, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt

Votes: 922

In Competition - The most anticipated film at Cannes is Tarantino's return to the festival 25 years to the day that his classic, PULP FICTION, premiered and conquered the fest. I'll admit that I'm plenty queasy about seeing anything about the Manson murders particularly as no one can make you squirm quite the way that Quentin does.

2. An Easy Girl (2019)

92 min | Comedy, Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Naima is 16 years old and lives in Cannes. While she gives herself the summer to choose what she wants to do in life, her cousin Sofia, with the attractive way of life, comes to spend the ... See full summary »

Director: Rebecca Zlotowski | Stars: Benoît Magimel, Clotilde Courau, Nuno Lopes, Zahia Dehar

Votes: 6

Directors' Fortnight - Zlotowski wrote and directed a 2013 Un Certain Regard entry, GRAND CENTRAL, that should have won the category that year (yes, even over another great film that year that didn't win, FRUITVALE STATION). She handles both intimate and momentous moments with the same dexterity.

3. The Dead Don't Die (2019)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
57 Metascore

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Alyssa Maria App, Carl Arcilesi

Votes: 631

Opening Night - Not only does the opening night slot assure that it's at least pretty good but Jarmusch has had such a solid track record over the last few years including 2016's Un Certain Regard entry PATERSON and his elegant vampire film, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

4. Rocketman (2019)

R | 121 min | Biography, Drama, Music

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
69 Metascore

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.

Director: Dexter Fletcher | Stars: Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Stephen Graham

Votes: 785

Out of Competition - Director Fletcher's trailer makes the film look more like Julie Taymor's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE than a straight-forward BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, which is a good thing. Plus, Egerton burns excess charisma and talent on the weekends behind his pool shed just to keep it in check.

5. A Hidden Life (2019)

173 min | Biography, Drama, War

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
73 Metascore

The Austrian Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector, refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Michael Nyqvist, Matthias Schoenaerts

Votes: 77

In Competition - I know, I know. I saw KNIGHTS OF CUPS and SONG TO SONG too. But perhaps my most enriching experience attending Cannes was seeing Mallick's THE TREE OF LIFE in the Lumiere. So I'm in.

6. Pain and Glory (2019)

113 min | Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
79 Metascore

A film director reflects on the choices he's made in life as past and present come crashing down around him.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Asier Etxeandia

Votes: 1,618

In Competition - This feels like Almodovar slipping into the shoes of Fellini and I can't wait.

7. Parasite (2019)

132 min | Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

All unemployed, Ki-taek's family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.

Director: Joon-ho Bong | Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-Jeong Cho, Woo-sik Choi

Votes: 22

In Competition - I realize that I'm in the minority here but while I was utterly impressed with the scrappiness and edge of THE HOST I found SNOWPIERCER to be a one-note exercise in tedium, a political science class I didn't sign up for. But, besides my misgivings that this will be another soft-core societal lecture a la LA CIENEGA the man can make movies.

8. Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo (2019)

240 min | Comedy, Romance | Post-production

It's the end of summer vacation for Amin. The young photographer spends cozy evenings with Charlotte, the ex-girlfriend of his Casanova cousin. She talks to him about literature, he ... See full summary »

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche | Stars: Shaïn Boumedine, Ophélie Bau, Salim Kechiouche, Alexia Chardard

In Competition - I never saw the first MEKTOUB, MY LOVE but I did see Kechiche's BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, which won the Palme (and several other awards) under Spielberg's jury in 2014.

9. The Swallows of Kabul (2019)

80 min | Animation

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Summer 1998, Kabul in ruins is occupied by the Taliban. In love despite the daily violence and misery, Mohsen and Zunaira want to believe in the future. But a senseless act by Mohsen will upset their lives forever.

Directors: Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec | Stars: Hiam Abbass, Simon Abkarian, Swann Arlaud, Zita Hanrot

Votes: 34

Un Certain Regard - Some films you have to see because they look so beautiful. That applies here.

10. The Best Years of a Life (2019)

90 min | Drama

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Add a Plot

Director: Claude Lelouch | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Anouk Aimée, Souad Amidou, Antoine Sire

Votes: 11

Out of Competition - Lelouch comes around one more (maybe the last?) time with another entry in the story of A MAN AND A WOMAN. Watching Trintignant and Aimee assay their roles again should be worth it.

11. Diego Maradona (2019)

130 min | Documentary, Sport

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
73 Metascore

Constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary centers on the career of celebrated football player Diego Armando Maradona, who played for S.S.C. Napoli in the 1980s.

Director: Asif Kapadia | Star: Diego Armando Maradona

Votes: 15

Out of Competition - Who wants to watch a documentary about a famous footballer? When it's from the director who made AMY, among other good docs, I guess me.

12. Too Old to Die Young (2019– )

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama

Explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles, following characters' existential journeys from killers to samurais.

Stars: Miles Teller, William Baldwin, Celestino Cornielle, Nell Tiger Free

Out of Competition - Refn has a special place in my heart even though I typically warn anyone I know and love far away from his films. I'm curious and excited to see what he's done with a serialized format.

13. Family Romance, LLC (2019)


Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
61 Metascore

A man is hired to impersonate the missing father of a young girl.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Mahiro Tanimoto, Ishii Yuichi

Votes: 7

Special Screening - It's Herzog so, if I can catch it, I will.

14. The Specials (2019)

Comedy | Completed

The story of two men, educators of children and adolescents with autism.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano | Stars: Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb, Aloïse Sauvage, Mirabela Vian

"Last Screening" = "Last Screening" is the new term for the old Closing Night Film and this is from the guys who did the smash hit, THE INTOUCHABLES which then became THE UPSIDE. Frankly, I'm glad that this nod to commercial filmmakers is happening at Cannes. God knows they've avoided such acknowledgments in the past.

15. The Lighthouse (2019)

110 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.5/10 X  
94 Metascore

The story of an aging lighthouse keeper named Old who lives in early 20th-century Maine.

Director: Robert Eggers | Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 80

Directors' Fortnight - Eggers made the very creepy THE WITCH

16. Wounds (2019)

R | 94 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
50 Metascore

Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.

Director: Babak Anvari | Stars: Dakota Johnson, Armie Hammer, Zazie Beetz, Brad William Henke

Votes: 117

Directors' Fortnight - I haven't seen anything by Anvari but this is a crazy-talented cast. They must have seen something they liked.

17. Red 11 (2019)

77 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Based on the research hospital where Robert Rodriguez sold his body to pay for 'El Mariachi'. 'Red 11' is the shirt color and number he was assigned.

Director: Robert Rodriguez | Stars: Carlos Gallardo, Roby Attal, Pierce Bailey, Jasmine Balais

Votes: 24

Directors' Fortnight - Rodriquez has been kinda-telling this story for most of his career. He should have it down to a science at this point.

18. Matthias & Maxime (2019)

119 min | Drama | Completed

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A drama focusing on a group of friends in their late 20s.

Director: Xavier Dolan | Stars: Xavier Dolan, Harris Dickinson, Anne Dorval, Gabriel D'Almeida Freitas

In Competition - Ah, Mssr. Dolan, I give you yet another try with an open heart and a trusting soul. Please don't beat me up.

19. First Love (2019)


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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
77 Metascore

A young boxer and a call girl get caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Becky, Sakurako Konishi, Masataka Kubota, Jun Murakami

Votes: 13

Directors' Fortnight Does the old ronin/last good cop have one last great film in him? Here's to hoping.

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