Cannes Film Festival: Our Top 10 Must-See Movies

Films from Robert Pattinson ('Cosmopolis') and Kristen Stewart ('On the Road') have us pumped, along with eight others.
By Kevin P. Sullivan

Robert Pattinson in "Cosmopolis"
Photo: Alfama Films

Hollywood is officially headed to the French Riviera for the 65th Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off Wednesday. With so much of the attention Stateside focused squarely on the "Rob and Kristen Factor," we thought it would be helpful to take a look at the lineup and share the films we are most excited about at the upcoming festival.

Here are our top 10 most anticipated movies at the Cannes Film Festival:

10. "The Paperboy"
This adaptation of the Peter Dexter novel marks Lee Daniels' first film since making it big on the indie scene with "Precious." "The Paperboy" promises a different direction for Daniels, telling the story of a reporter (John Cusack) who travels back to his home town to investigate a death-row case.

9. "Reality"
Director Matteo Garrone made waves at Cannes in 2008 with his hyper-real look at Neapolitan organized crime, "Gomorrah," which won the Grand Jury Prize that year. For this year's festival, he returns with "Reality," a look at the way we perceive life since the dawn of reality television.

8. "Cosmopolis"
Robert Pattinson's name alone has drawn much attention to this in-competition film, but the true nature of its intrigue lies with its director, David Cronenberg. With his adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel, Cronenberg, with the help of Pattinson, of course, looks to be revisiting the bizarre aesthetics and subject matters that made him famous in the 1980s. We've been waiting for this one ever since it won the MTV Movie Brawl 2012 back in January.

7. "Like Someone in Love"
"Certified Copy," the previous film from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, earned Juliette Binoche a best actress award at Cannes in 2010, but the film itself is one of the best examples of pure art-house filmmaking in the past few years. With "Like Someone in Love," Kiarostami shifts his focus from Italy to Japan but keeps the same entry point of a man and a woman who may or may not know each other.

6. "Amour"
"The White Ribbon," Michael Haneke's previous film tangentially about the saplings of fascism in Germany, wowed audiences on the Croisette in 2009, and "Amour" seems poised to do the same. The film tells the story of Georges and Anne, an octogenarian couple whose bond comes under strain after one of them suffers an attack.

5. "On the Road"
Similar to "Cosmopolis," "On the Road" has drawn a great deal of attention because it features a "Twilight" star, in this case Kristen Stewart, but she only makes up an element of this insanely star-studded Jack Kerouac adaptation, which also stars Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Terrence Howard.

4. "Lawless"
Formerly known as "Wettest County," this Southern-set prohibition crime film boasts a cast featuring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce and a critical darling of a director, John Hillcoat. The recently released trailer looks strong, and Hillcoat's pedigree alone (his previous films include "The Proposition" and "The Road") make this a must-see for the festival.

3. "Rust and Bone"
A film about a whale trainer who loses a leg to an orca doesn't necessary seem like Palme d'Or material, but "Rust and Bone" comes from director Jacques Audiard, who took the Grand Jury Prize in 2009 with the impressive "A Prophet," and it stars Marion Cotillard as the unfortunate trainer.

2. "Killing Them Softly"
It wouldn't be surprising if you haven't seen "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," but it would certainly be unfortunate. The western starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck debuted and left theaters quietly, but since 2007, the film has slowly gained a reputation as a modern classic. As director Andrew Dominik's first film since "Jesse James," "Killing Them Softly" stands out as both his reunion with Pitt and his much-anticipated follow-up.

1. "Mud"
A writer/director may take a few films to nail down their voice and storytelling identity, but with his first two movies, Jeff Nichols has not only established himself as a serious filmmaker, but also one of the most exciting auteurs working today. Those films, "Shotgun Stories" and "Take Shelter," are two genuine masterpieces of American filmmaking, and we look forward to his third feature film "Mud," starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.

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