Cinefile: Movie industry comes to the end of its winter doldrums

The most anticipated new film is the Indiana Jones sequel, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The movie industry has come to the end of its winter doldrums - that period in which all the movies the studios felt would definitely not win Oscars or make much money were released - and the spring/summer season is beginning. Several long-awaited films will be coming out soon, and there's something for everyone. Probably the most anticipated new film is the Indiana Jones sequel, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Once again, directed by Steven Spielberg, the film stars Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Indy. But the now 65-year-old Ford (yes, you read it right, he was born in 1942), will be joined by newcomer Shia LaBeouf, a 21-year-old who starred in last summer's big blockbuster, Transformers, as well as Disturbia and several other highly praised movies. He is rumored to be playing Jones' long-lost son, and Karen Allen, who appeared in the first film, is back on hand in this movie, presumably playing LaBeouf's mother. The exhaustive coverage of this film (there was already a Vanity Fair cover story devoted to LaBeouf), has gotten a little tiresome, but I know there are many people for whom this is the movie event of the year. Cate Blanchett, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt and Ray Winstone will appear in supporting roles. For others, the prospect of the Sex and the City movie, which will also be opening in May, generates a bit more excitement. The fab four will be back, and judging by the much-played trailer, the film will be exactly like an extended episode of the series, which is good news for fans and probably not such good news for everyone else, who will be dragged to this film by their fan friends. The filmmakers have been very cagy about releasing, then denying details of the plot, but apparently Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) decide to get married, but things don't go so smoothly. Episodes of the series usually ended on an upbeat note, so there's no reason to think that the movie won't as well. As a fan of the original New York Observer column on which the book and the series were based, I've long thought Carrie could do better than Big, so a truly happy ending might be her ending up single again. A lot of the publicity about the film centered on a wedding scene in which Carrie is jilted, but chances are, there's more to it than that. Anyway, you can expect the usual snappy dialogue, great clothes, beautiful apartments and expensive shoes. The full line-up for the 61st Cannes Film Festival, which will run this year from May 14-25, will only be announced a week before the opening, but a preliminary list of most of the programs was announced earlier this week (although, alas, after this column went to press). Israeli films have been doing exceptionally well at Cannes in recent years. In fact, Israeli movies have won a top category, the Camera d'Or for new filmmakers, twice in this decade: Keren Yedaya's Or in 2004 and Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret's Jellyfish (Meduzot), last year. Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit, won several prizes as well. In 2005, Hanna Laslo was the unexpected winner of the Best Actress Award for her performance in Amos Gitai's Free Zone. So, it's quite possible there will be a significant Israeli presence at this year's festival as well, although a number of the country's top filmmakers, including Eytan Fox (Walk on Water) and Joseph Cedar (Beaufort), are working on their next projects and are not releasing anything new this year. Amos Gitai, the hardest-working director in Israeli show business, has completed a new film, Plus Tard (One Day You'll Understand), less than a year after his last, Disengagement, was released. Plus Tard was made in France and tells the story of a businessman who becomes obsessed with understanding the decisions his mother (Jeanne Moreau) made during World War II. It's based on a bestseller and sounds very similar to the recent Claude Miller film, Un Secret. Variety called it "historically reverent to the point of dramatic inertia," which may well mean that it will end up winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year, since dramatic inertia is something the juries tend to reward.