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Highlights from the 60th Cannes Film Festival

Highlights from the 60th Cannes Film Festival — Big-buzz movies like ”Sicko” and ”A Mighty Heart” offset a tepid nightlife scene

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”Cannes is like fight week in Vegas: all these people waiting around for something big to happen,” said Chris Rock at the 60th annual film festival, where he and costar Jerry Seinfeld presented footage from DreamWorks’ animated Bee Movie. Boy, did Rock nail it — at least as far as nightlife on the Croisette goes. Save for U2’s mini-concert on the Palais des Festivals steps, by the midpoint of this year’s gathering (which runs May 16-27), the only sign that the world’s most glamorous celebration of cinema had reached a milestone was a fireworks display over the Mediterranean. Pretty? Oui. Unforgettable? Non!

Thank God, then, for the movies, which, after a tepid opening-night premiere for the Norah Jones-Jude Law road-trip romance My Blueberry Nights, began to stir up some buzz. Two hugely anticipated, headline-making projects — Michael Moore’s health-care doc Sicko and A Mighty Heart, starring Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl — bowed to largely positive reviews. And at press time, the most talked-about film competing for the Palme d’Or was the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men. (For a look at three films that had critics and audiences chattering the loudest, see below.) The ultraviolent drama starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin screened on May 18 and quickly launched speculation that the filmmaking fréres could bag the top prize, which they last won in 1991 for Barton Fink. Were the nine-time Cannes vets excited by the prospect of more honors? Displaying the trademark Coen cool, younger sibling Ethan said: ”It’s nice that it played well. It’s just…being here again feels oddly routine.” — Additional reporting by Daniel Fierman

No Country for Old Men
In this taut adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, a drug runner (Javier Bardem) terrorizes a small Texas town.

The Orphanage
Pan’s Labyrinth visionary Guillermo del Toro exec-produced this scary Spanish flick about kiddie ghosts.

A Mighty Heart
A docu-style drama with Angelina Jolie as the widow of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter tragically beheaded in Pakistan in 2002.