Cafe Society [PG-13] – Ambition and disillusion in Hollywood society of the 1930’s. Directed by Woody Allen, with Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell. [trailer]
Hunt for the Wilderpeople [PG-13] – Overweight orphan (Julian Dennison) forms unlikely alliance with New Zealand bushlands loner (Sam Neill). [trailer]
Snowden – Director Oliver Stone retells the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) with an abundance of sympathy and a lack of skepticism. [trailer]
Sully [PG-13] – Tom Hanks portrays Chesley Sullenberger, the unassuming pilot who landed a stricken jetliner on the Hudson River, as he endures a post-crash NTSB investigation. Crisply directed by Clint Eastwood from a script by Todd Komarnicki, adapting Sullenberger’s book, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters. [trailer]
1. The Magnificent Seven [PG-13] – Lukewarm remake of classic western, with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, and Vincent D’Onofrio [trailer]
2. Storks [PG] – Animated fantasy about storks who deliver everything but babies, until one day… [trailer]
3. Sully [PG-13] – Pilot Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), who safely landed a stricken jetliner on the Hudson River, endures a post-crash NTSB investigation. Directed by Clint Eastwood, script by Todd Komarnicki [trailer]
4. Bridget Jones’s Baby [R] – News producer Bridget (Renee Zellweger) finds herself pregnant but knows not by whom. With Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey [trailer]
5. Snowden [R] – Director Oliver Stone retells the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) with sympathy and without skepticism. [trailer]
October 7 – The Birth of a Nation – Brutal drama of Nat Turner slave rebellion.
October 21 – Moonlight – Three-part story of an African-American coming of age in Miami’s inner city. Directed by Barry Jenkins.
November 11 – Arrival – Sci-fi brainbender with Amy Adams as a linguist called to communicate with aliens. Directed by Denis Villeneuve.
December 9 – Jackie – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) struggles through grief and trauma after her husband’s assassination. Directed by Pablo Larraín.
November 18 – Manchester by the Sea – Casey Affleck plays a young father haunted by family tragedy.
December 16 – La La Land – Retro jazz musical directed by Damien Chazelle, with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
December 16 – Neruda – Chilean poet/senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) delights his public and taunts a policeman who pursues him in political exile. Directed by Pablo Larraín.
December – The Founder – Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s.
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U.S. Grand Jury Prizes – Weiner (documentary) – A behind-the-scenes look at scandal in Anthony Weiner’s New York City mayoral campaign. The Birth of a Nation (drama) – Brutal historical drama of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South.
U.S. Audience Awards – Jim: The James Foley Story (documentary) – Examines the public execution by ISIS of American journalist James Foley. The Birth of a Nation (drama).
Last year’s winners –Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Wolfpack, Meru
Richard Linklater’s poignant college drama Everybody Wants Some!! opened the film portion of the festival. Adam Pinney’s quirky film about eccentricity and obsession, The Arbalest, won the narrative grand jury prize. Keith Maitland’s Tower, which reconstructs the 1966 sniper shootings at the University of Texas at Austin, won the top documentary prize.
Opening night: The First Monday in May, Andrew Rossi documentary goes behind the scenes as fashion mogul Anna Wintour mounts a benefit show at the Met Museum in New York.
Best Narrative Feature: Dean, directed by Dimetri Martin.
Best International Narrative Feature: Junction 28, written and directed by Udi Aloni. Best Documentary Feature: Do Not Resist, directed by Craig Atkinson. The feature slate included an anniversary celebration of Taxi Driver. The new TV track included screenings of The Good Wife, Six Feet Under, Roots and Broad City.
Palme d’Or: I, Daniel Blake, from British director Ken Loach, about a British carpenter struggling to keep his benefits after a heart attack. Notable screenings out of competition: Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, set in 1930s Hollywood, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG starring Mark Rylance, and Jim Jarmusch documentary about Iggy Pop, Gimme Danger.
Last year’s Palme d’Or winner was Dheepan, French crime drama about three refugees who flee to France from war-ravaged Sri Lanka.
Patron preview: La La Land – “Writer-director Damien Chazelle revives the all-singing, all-dancing MGM musical” (Larry Gross) with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and composer Justin Hurwitz.
Premieres: Clint Eastwood’s Sully with Tom Hanks and Laura Linney, and Moonlight from writer-director Barry Jenkins.
Tributes: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Amy Adams (Arrival) and Pablo Larrain (director, Neruda).
Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the retro musical with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, dominated the festival chatter. Arrival and Moonlight built momentum, and Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, made a high-profile debut.
Opening night: The 13th, documentary by Ava DuVernay (director of Selma in 2014) about America’s sky-high prison incarceration rate.