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Cannes 2012: Bruce Willis, Matthew McConaughey, Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt Among the Festival Stars

New Wes Anderson flick "Moonrise Kingdom" opens

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy star in this Depression Era film about a bootlegging brothers caught between the law and the mob. Co-stars Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Mia Wasikowska, opens Aug. 31. (Published Monday, Jul 2, 2012)

    The 2012 Cannes Film Festival opened Wednesday with a screening of "Moonrise Kingdom," one of the 22 films showing in competition for the coveted Palme d'Or.

    But before "Moonrise" could unspool, Sacha Baron Cohen once again made a spectacle of himself, cavorting aboard a ship off the coast of Cannes in an effort to promote his new film "The Dictator," which opened Wednesday. Joining the underwear-clad "dictator" was supermodel Elisabetta Canalis, whom he slathered with sunscreen.  And he wasn't done, hopping aboard a camel for a trip down the famous Croisette promenade, with armed model guards standing on either side of him.

    While Cannes has become a massive promotional machine and supermarket for films hoping to get made, it remains primarily a showcase for some of the world's greatest filmmakers. Here are the nine movies at this year's festival that we're most eager to see. Let's run them down:

    Cosmopolis
    From director David Cronenberg comes this adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel, starring Robert Pattinson as a 28-year-old billionaire in a limo on a day-long trek across Manhattan, as the madness of the city unfolds all around him. The trailer, which is inappropriate for a family website, is an assault on the senses, featuring a soundtrack that pulsates with menace from Oscar winner Howard Shore. And while we're not fans of R-Patz' he's getting help from great actors like Juliet Binoche, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Samantha Morton and Paul Giamatti.

    Holy Motors
    From writer-director Leos Carax comes this bizarre sounding narrative about a day in the life of a man (Denis Lavant) who skips around Paris from one parallel existence to the next, with a beautiful blonde (Edith Scob) serving as his wheel (wo)man. And to heighten the rando-weirdness, the film also stars Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue.

    Killing Them Softly
    Previously known as "Cogan's Trade," this crime thriller reunites Brad Pitt and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" director Andrew Dominik for the story of a mob string man called in to investigate the robbery of a poker game. Co-stars Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard and Ray Liotta.

    Lawless
    Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf star as bootlegging brothers in this Depression Era tale, formerly known as "The Wettest County in the World," about a family's fight for survival in the face of rivals and lawmen. Co-stars Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowksa and Jason Clarke.

    Like Someone in Love
    1997 Palme d'Or winner Abbas Kiarostami finds himself in the running for the top prize at Cannes for a fifth time, with this story about an encounter in Tokyo between an older man and a younger woman putting herself through school by selling her body.

    Moonrise Kingdom
    Wes Anderson's latest is about a couple of kids on an island off New England in the summer of '65 who fall in love and decide to run away together, sparking a massive search. Stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwarzman.

    Mud
    Matthew McConaughey's career resurgence hits full steam with this starring role as an escaped convict who enlists the help of two young boys to help him get back to his true love, played by Reese Witherspoon. The film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols, the genius behind last year's "Take Shelter," which was a thinking man's art-house "Inception"


    Rust and Bone
    Marion Cotillard stars as a marine animal trainer who has a one-night stand with a bouncer/struggling boxer who leaves his number on his way out of her place. But she doesn't call him until after she loses her legs to a killer whale bite. The film was directed and co-written by Jacques Audiard, the man behind the brilliant 2009 prison gangster epic "A Prophet."

    The Taste of Money
    One of our favorite films of 2010 was South Korean Im Sang-soo's remake of "The Housemaid," a whacked-out psycho-sexual thriller about a maid who has an affair with her boss and finds herself being hunted by the women of the house. Now he's back with "The Taste of Money," which he wrote and directed, a film he calls "an extension of 'The Housemaid.' You can say that it’s the story of the children of 'The Housemaid' who’ve grown up."