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Cannes specialty: Big names in B-movies

May 16, 2008 |  6:56 am

The Cannes Film Festival is all about discovery, and one of the more amusing findings is how many recognizable, and sometimes award-winning, actors slink into (almost certain) direct-to-video B movies.
In addition to the latest Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts movie, the Cannes market overflows with low-budget erotic thrillers, sex comedies and creaky dramas whose biggest marketing hooks, outside the occasionally clever title, are the boldface names who clearly needed some cash in starring roles.

Here are some of the stars who won’t be appearing on “The Tonight Show” to tout their breakout work:

JAMES BROLIN. The movie is called “Mysterious,” and the log-line (with its tortured punctuation) for Mr. Barbra Streisand's movie says it all: “A mysterious and beautiful woman appears on the Eleuthera in the Caribbean, to avenge a murderous act, by deadly seduction.”

TOM SIZEMORE. The troubled “Saving Private Ryan” veteran’s movie “Double Duty” has this stream-of-consciousness pitch: “Funny, action-packed coming of age story. Hilarious dynamic. Keeps us laughing as well as touches our hearts.”

LEELEE SOBIESKI. Here’s the set-up for the “Joan of Arc” performer’s “The Elder Son”: “To hide from the cops, Bo presents himself as Max’s long-lost son. Complications ensue when he falls for his ‘sister.’”Shoot_on_sight_is_it_a_crime_to_be_

CHARLES DURNING. The “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” star is everywhere. He appears opposite DAVID CARRADINE, RIP TORN and BRUCE DERN in “The Golden Boys”: “Three retired sea captains, a beautiful woman and a tossed coin…It all comes together in ‘The Golden Boys.’”

TIMOTHY HUTTON. The “Ordinary People” Oscar-winner turns up with ELIZA DUSHKU and CARY ELWES in “The Alphabet Killer,” which is being sold “as a thriller based on a true story.”

MARIAH CAREY. It’s unclear if she’ll be singing the blues after "Tennessee" arrives. She plays “a waitress who dreams of becoming a country singer.”

DARYL HANNAH. From “Splash” and “Kill Bill Vol. 2” to the Cannes “Vice,” where she plays opposite MICHAEL MADSEN. The drug drama, which had a limited U.S. theatrical release in early May, is pitched this way: “Trust is compromised, comradeship dissolves and friends turn their guns on one another until the last man is standing and the truth is revealed.”

BRIAN COX. The “Deadwood” and “Zodiac” veteran is set to appear in “Shoot on Sight,” whose tag line asks the question “Is it a crime to be a Muslim?”

--John Horn