Thursday, June 30, 2011

War Horse Trailer/Film4/Not Forgotten

"War Horse" first look below


I mentioned in this space earlier this week that, if pressed, I could make a case for Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" as a possibility for Telluride.  Admittedly, I think it's a weak case, that's why it isn't remotely close to the top ten most likely films that I posted earlier this week as well. 

Nonetheless, yesterday the first teaser trailer for the intriguing film leaked online and in an effort to be a full service blog (and also because it's gorgeous) and seriously going to be all in for Oscar time), here's the link to a YouTube version of that trailer:

Here is the "War Horse" IMDB page:


I've been spending some time this week looking at some of the film production/distribution companies that seem to always have a presence at the Telluride Film Festival as a prism for trying to lay odds about what films could unspool (what an archaic term in a world of digital projection!) in the San Juans.  today let's take a gander at British film company Film4.

Here are the films over the past few years that Film4 has had a hand in that have played at Telluride:
2007: "When Did You Last See your Father?" "Brick Lane" and "Happy-Go-Lucky"
2008: "Hunger" and "Slumdog Millionaire"
2009: No Film4 at TFF
2010: "127 Hours," "Another Year" and "Never Let Me Go"

Film4 has 4 films that I feel might have some designs on a Telluride appearance: "The Iron Lady," "On the Road," "Wuthering Heights" and "Shame."  Of these four, I'd say that the greatest chances are "Shame" and "Wuthering Heights" as both films have directors that have appeared previously and recently with films at Telluride; Steve McQueen (Shame) with "Hunger" in 2008 and Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights) in 2009 with "Fish Tank"  I think there's a slight chance that we might see "The Iron Lady" (Streep is a past Telluride tributee, so it's not impossible that she might return) and I have the highest odds against "On the Road" which hasn't much Telluride pedigree.

Which leads me to today's final segment...


"On the Road" is an example of a film that sounds like it should have a profile for Telluride, bit on closer inspection, doesn't have many connections or clues that suggest it would actually be a part of the program or a sneak.  As a matter of fact, it's Film4 connection gives it more of a leg up than these other films that we expect to see released before the end of the year and which seem like Film Fest bait, but have very little Telluride "tells":
"The Rum Diary" Johnny Depp as a Hunter S. Thompson-like character base on the book by Hunter S. Thompson.
"The Help" Big cast dealing with race and class issues set decades ago.
The aforementioned "On the Road."
and I've added "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" to this "unlikely" list.  I had listed it earlier as a possible TFF film but it's generally the kind of BIG movie that doesn't play Telluride.

So, could any of these be at Telluride?  Sure.  But I don't think it's likely.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Big Day/The WeinsteinCo./Steven Soderbergh Maybe?

Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" Could it be at TFF #38?


Yesterday turned out to be a crazy day for this blog.  Very busy.  I was planning two separate posts anyway.  One, a long piece focusing on the presence over the last 5 years of Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight at the Telluride Film Festival. 
The second post, also lengthy, was a review for the new film "Missing Pieces" (so new that it's still looking for distribution).  So it was going to be the most involved day of the summer insofar as the blog was concerned to begin with. 
Then, mid-afternoon, the surprise word that the Festival had chosen and announced their Guest Director for this year...Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso.  Suddenly, I had a third post to get out quickly and a re-write of the first big post to include the breaking story. 
Whew!  Got it all done but it was a strain.  At the end of the day, it was one of the "most viewed" days in the three year history of this endeavor.  Thanks!


After looking at Fox Searchlight and SPC yesterday, I thought we might evaluate another company that has been something of a player at Telluride.  I reference none other than The Weinstein Company...Harvey Weinstein's shingle now that he's not with Miramax.  There participation the past 5 years hasn't been as involved as SPC, but the films they have had as a part of past TFF's have made a mark.  Look:

2007: "The Band's Visit," "Persepolis," "My Enemy's Enemy" and "I'm Not There"
2008: No TWC at TFF
2009: "The Road,"
2010: "The King's Speech"  (Won 4 Oscars: Picture, Actor, Director, and Screenplay)

Harvey has learned to come to Telluride and play with one or two films and you have to believe after the rousing success that was TKS last year that he'll try to repeat that with one or two pictures.
Currently it seems that there are 5 TWC films that could fit the bill ( with a caveat of a possible 6th or even 7th): "The Iron Lady," "My Week with Marilyn," W.E." "The Artist," and "Coriolanus."  The possible 6th could be "The Wettest County in the World." but IMDB lists it as a 2012 release.  The 7th could be "Le Havre"  which had a hint last week that it would be picked up by TWC, but to the best of our knowledge, that hasn't happened yet. 
What are the chances for each of these? 
At this point I'm guessing Harvey goes for two to play at TFF #38 but if he pushes only one there, my best bet is Cannes favorite "The Artist."   It's a mostly silent, black and white film but from all reports, it's a charmer.  There is even a good deal of early speculation that it could be in the Best Picture mix come Oscar night.  I really think it makes the cut.
After that I have no strong feelings about the rest of the TWC field.  At this point I'd say the next most likely is "Coriolanus" followed by "My Week with Marilyn,"  and "The Iron Lady."  I think there is virtually no chance that we'll see Madonna's "W.E." at Telluride.  Of course this guestimate could all change in a flash.  I personally think there's an excellent chance that "Le Havre" makes the list whether its under the TWC banner or not.

I haven't mentioned Soderbergh's two films ("Contagion" and "Haywire")  that have been bandied about as possible awards fodder because Soderbergh has no history with Telluride.  A report from The Playlist at Indiewire on the Soderbergh films has underscored the fact that this year is likely to be no different.  Reports are that "Haywire" has been bumped to 2012 for release and that "contagion" will be released Sept. 9...just 4 days after the Festival closes. 
That story is here:

Though it doesn't mean it's impossible for "Contagion" to be a part of Telluride's may make it less likely.  It may mean that the film doesn't play at any of the big three festivals.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011







The Story: A man at a crossroads in his life following a catastrophic car accident that has left him mentally and emotionally changed tries to put his life back together again.

Writer/Director Kenton Bartlett’s first time attempt at making a feature film offers far more positive than negative and provides indications that he is a talent to be watched in the next few years. Bartlett has taken an intriguing concept and has been fortunate enough to get a couple of solid professionals to lead his cast. Made for less than $100,000, you’ll be amazed at what Bartlett has gotten on the screen. It looks like a much more expensive film.

The title of the film tells you what you upfront what the film’s focus will be. David Lindale is not the same man he was before the car accident that changed him. At the most immediate level, the film is focused on his attempt to replace or repair those missing pieces within himself. Beyond that, however, you find that all four of the central characters have “missing pieces” and those absent “pieces” are revealed through the process David uses to attempt to fix himself and inadvertently the other characters that inhabit his world.

One reviewer has likened Bartlett’s style to the approach that Christopher Nolan used in “Memento.” I think it’s much more like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s style in “Babel” and “21 Grams.” Disjointed and temporally non-sequential, the framing and editing choices work very well to act as an underscore to the emotional and psychological challenges that David is facing.

It doesn’t all work, though. I had questions about the location shooting that (for me at least) made geographically little sense. I recognized some of the locales and the characters’ access to them strained credibility. On the upside, the locations looked great on film…some very nice exterior even beautiful shots pepper the film.

Additionally, plot developments just seem to come too easily and glibly without what I would judge the kind of strife that they would engender. Also, David’s skill set to make the things happen that he needs or wants to happen, while necessary to moving the story forward, seem difficult to believe.

In the featured role of David Lindale, Bartlett has long time character actor Mark Boone, Jr. Boone, Jr. has a long, long resume as primarily a heavy in any number of films. He’s perhaps most recognizable from his continuing role on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” but he also has a lengthy list of feature film credits as well including roles in: “Frozen River,” “30 Days of Night,” “Batman Begins,” and (perhaps tellingly) “Memento.” It’s refreshing to see the big man get a chance to act in a character context that we are not accustomed to seeing from him and Boone, Jr. pulls it off well. It’s a sharp performance in a challenging role.

Also featured is Melora Walters who is best known for the role of Claudia Gator in Paul Thomas Anderson’s brilliant 1999 “Magnolia” and her recurring role on HBO’s “Big Love.” Walters plays Boone Jr.’s estranged girlfriend and is one of the titular “missing pieces”. Walters is fine here. Her character provides the necessary impetus for the plot that forms the basis of the film. One wish-that she had had more to do, more presence in the film. I would have liked to have seen more of her.

Rounding out the main cast are Daniel Hassel and Taylor Engel as Daylen and Maggie (Magnolia is the character’s full name in a shout out from Bartlett to PT Anderson) both of which are making their feature film debut. Both of the novices turn in surprisingly well rounded performances.

But it’s Boone, Jr. performance that is the glue that holds the film together and makes you want to stay with his journey.

A Guest Director/A Tale of Two Companies/Rudderless Casting/A Tease

Caetano Veloso is this year's Guest Director


Telluride organizers have named Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso this year's guest director.  Veloso will program a selection of films as a part of his duties as Guest Director and will serve as a panelist during the Festival's run.  Veloso joins a long list of enigmatic choices for the position. Past Guest Directors have included novelists Michael Ondaatje, Composer Stephen Sondheim, Philosopher Slovaj Zizek, and author Salman Rushdie among others.

The official announcement form the festival is here:

The Movie City News story with details is here:


Regular readers of this space know that it's primary purpose is to attempt to ferret out the films that could play as a part of the Telluride Film Festival each year.  Secondary purpose: analyze those films, third purpose: track them through film awards season.

Telluride is, arguably, one of the 5 most influential film festivals on the planet and it's importance seems to be growing.  Look at its impact in terms of the last few years as measured by the film awards season... premieres of "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" (that's 12 Oscars between them including 2 Best Pictures, 2 Best Directors, 2 Screenplay Oscars and a Best Actor) both of which got the Oscar buzz rolling out of the "little" Labor Day fest in the old mining town. 

One of the quirks of Telluride is that they do not announce their lineup of films in advance.  Nobody knows whats playing until the day the festival starts (always Labor Day weekend).  Well, that's cool, because you really have to trust the festival organizers to program it well (and do they ever) but it also seemed like a challenge to me to see if you could make any kind of educated guesses about what might be there.  Thereby, the genesis for this blog.

I've been doing this for three years now because I thought it would be fun to play film detective.  It allows me to piddle with the research skills a lifetime of debate coaching has honed, in a world I love: film and because of the incredible generosity of 2 of my former debate kids, I get to attend the Festival each year.

All that is the preface to this, again, if you've read this space at all, you've become privy to some of the "tells" that I think are out there that give some guidance to a guy trying to figure out what's going to show at The SHOW.  One of those "tells" is the frequent appearance of films that are affiliated with two American film companies: Sony Pictures Classics and to a lesser extent Fox Searchlight.

Let's look at each and discuss.  Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) seems to be represented very well at the Telluride Film Festival in the time I have been attending (since 2006).  To wit: SPC films at recent TFF's
2006 (TFF #33): "Volver," "Jindabyne," and "The Lives of Others.
2007 (TFF#34): "The Counterfeiters," "The Band's Visit," "Persepolis," "When Did You Last See Your Father?" "Brick Lane," and "O"Horten."
2008 (TFF#35): "I've Loved You So Long" and "Waltz with Bashir."
2009 (TFF #36): "An Education," "A Prophet," "Coco Before Chanel," "The White Ribbon," and "The Last Station."
2010 (TFF #37): "Incendies," "Of Gods and Men," "Tamara Drewe," "Another Year," "The Illusionist" and "Inside Job."

The point being that SPC is a player at Telluride most years.  This year SPC has 5 films that could reasonably be in play to be programmed at T-ride: "Carnage," "A Dangerous Method," "The Skin I Inhabit" (or "The Skin I Live In" depending on your translator), "Restless" and "Hearat Shulayim" (Footnote).  And if you look at SPC's extended presence at Telluride, especially in 2007 and each of the last two years, you'd think maybe all 5 show up there.  But they all have "problems' for "Telluride" fare.

"Carnage":  It's almost certainly Venice bound.  That lowers it's chances.  Roman Polanski's the director...he won't be coming to the U.S. with it...normally director's do accompany their films at Telluride. On the upside: maybe it gets Jodie Foster to the San Juans...would love to meet her.

"A Dangerous Method":  David Cronenberg's take on the conflict confronting Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) from a young female patient (Keira Knightley).  I am very high on this film right now, but it also has big buzz for Venice and you have to believe native Canadian Cronenberg will play it in Toronto...decreasing its chances of a Telluride bow.

"The Skin I Inhabit": The latest from Telluride favorite Pedro Almodovar.  Normally being a film from Almodovar would mean we'd think it was a lock to play Telluride.  He's had many films there over the years.  However, his last "Broken Embraces" did NOT play and this latest is said to be more of a thriller/genre piece than what we'd usually expect to see from the auteur.  So, maybe not.

"Hearat Shulayim/Footnote": Played Cannes, which is also a decent precursor for Telluride but it didn't set the critical world on fire when it showed, again, maybe not.

And finally, Gus Van Sant's "Restless":  Van Sant films have played as a part of Telluride's lineup more than once and "Restless" did play at Cannes, out of competition.  But like "Hearat Shulayim" it didn't get a uniformly glowing critical it also has some question marks about whether it plays in TFF #38.

5 films...all of which could be at Telluride, but also none of them a lead pipe cinch either.  My guess is that 3 of the 5 end up in T-ride, but your guess is as good as mine which ones.  Forced to predict, here's the five listed in order from what I'm guessing is most likely to least likely: 1) "The Skin I Inhabit" 2) "Hearat Shulayim/Footnote, 3) "A Dangerous Method" 4) "Restless' and 5) "Carnage."

The other company to mention has had a smaller profile over the last few years, but when it plays, it plays big.  Fox Searchlight's imprint at T-ride over the last five years looks like this:
2006: "The Namesake," "The Last King of Scotland" (Best Actor Oscar for Forest Whitaker).
2007: "The Savages" and "Juno" (Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Diablo Cody)
2008: "Slumdog Millionaire" (8 Oscars including Picture, Director, and Screenplay)
2009: Not represented at Telluride
2010: "Never Let Me Go," "127 Hours" and "Black Swan" (Best Actress Oscar for Natalie Portman)

In 2011, Fox Searchlight has 2 films that could play:  Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" (his first film since 2004's "Sideways") starring Geroge Clooney and John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" starring a huge cast including Slumdog's Dev Patel, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy.
I think "The Descendants" is a lock for Telluride.  Payne is on record as saying he was going to submit and clearly Fox Search is positioning it for Oscar consideration.  As to "Marigold," I think it's a 50/50 shot about whether it gets included on the playbill.  It wouldn't surprise me either way.


The crew at "Rudderless" has announced that singer/songwriter Ben Kweller will be joining the cast and perhaps writing some of the music for the film.  That announcement came via the films Facebook page which you can find here:


We'll have the review for Kenton Bartlett's "Missing Pieces" up later this afternoon.

Coming tomorrow...Could Stephen Soderbergh be repped at TFF #38? and a look at another film company that may play in the San Juans on Labor Day.


The Telluride Film Festival has announced the Guest Director for this year's festival.  According to Movie City News it is Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso.  The MCN story is here:

More later in today's regular post.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ten Bets/Diablo's Dream Deferred/War Horse???/12,000 Views

Any chance we'll see this at Telluride?


The Telluride Film Festival's 38th edition starts in just a hair over 2 months (Sept. 2 to be exact) and I thought I'd take a whack today at a list of the ten films that I think have the most likelihood of playing as a part of the festival.  Then, over the next 8 weeks I'll try to update it each week and see how close we can actually get to the films that show at The SHOW.  In order of greatest likelihood (at least according to me):

1) The Descendants
2) The Artist
3) The Kid with a Bike
4) Young Adult
5) Le Havre
6) A Trip to the Moon
7) Gazing Into the Abyss
8) Dark Horse
9) We Have to Talk About Kevin
10) Shame

Check back next Monday and see if there are any changes.


Last week (June 20) I passed on the information that Oscar winning writer Diablo Cody dreamed of penning a screenplay based on the life of Beach Boy Brian Wilson.  Now, it seems she's been beaten to the punch.  News this week that River Road in the person of Bill Pohlad in addition to John Wells were going forward with the same idea with Oren Moverman  (The Messenger) to do the script.  You can find that story from The Wrap here:

Telluride chances for #39 or #40 would be pretty good as Pohlad has been a prime supporter of the Festival over the years. 


Made you look.  Seriously, I don't really think it's a likely candidate to show during Labor Day Weekend, but if I had to I could make a case for considering the possibility and here it is:
1) Wants to be Oscar Bait
2) But has no "names"  in the cast to speak of (biggest "name" is probably Emily Watson)...
3) Based on a play...with big horse puppets in the movie, so it's dicey...
4) The Kennedy/Marshal Company is involved (no surprise, they often are involved in Spielberg's projects)
5) Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are big supporters of the Telluride Film Festival
6) No other Festival buzz that I've tripped to...So...

Still, I'd be stunned if it's playing at The Chuck...


Watched Kenton Bartlett's very personal film last night and am still mulling it over.  Review to come shortly...


Over the weekend this blog passed it's 12,000th view.  You can tell that TFF #38 is getting closer because my traffic is picking up...

Among items in tomorrow's blog...a focus on two companies and what they may have for The SHOW this year.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Coens Musical Info/Rudderless Producer/More Oscar Voting Detail

"The function of the artist is to make people like life better than they have before."
-Kurt Vonnegut
Is this the next Fargo?


I passed along last week that Joel and Ethan Coen had let slip that their next project might be heavily "musical" which sent me a on a toot last week as I reimagined some of their body of work as musical versions (including songs for "Raising Arizona," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "No Country for Old Men" among others; check some of last week's posts...I though they were kind of funny).  Now comes word this morning from The Playlist that the film is likely to focus on the emergence of the folk music scene circa 1960 or so in New York City.  Specifically on Dave Van Ronk.  Sounds very cool.
You can find the entire post here:


I've been mentioning "Rudderless" the last two weeks or so in this space as that film wends its way through the thicket of development.  The film is set to be the directorial debut of Oscar nominated actor William H. Macy.  Word now is of the likely involvement of producer Tracee Stanley.  Stanley has a lengthy list of credits as a producer and executive producer including: "The Whole Nine Yards," "The Whole Ten Yards," "The Caveman's Valentine," "3000 Miles to Graceland," and the remake of "The In -Laws." 
Her entire IMDB profile is here:


Last week The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced some changes for the upcoming Oscars.  The most notable had to do with altering the number of Best Picture nominees from a guaranteed 10 to anywhere between a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10.  Now comes a lengthy explanation of the new process that will be used from Brad Brevet at rope of Silicon (with detailed assistance from Steve Pond at The Wrap).  It won't surprise many of you to hear that the new process is labrynthical. 
Here it is:

Have a great weekend everyone.  Back on Monday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Peter Falk/Small World/Danny Boyle!/More Beatty

RIP Peter Falk (1927-2011)..."As you wish..."

Sorry for the late post today...busy, busy!


You know, I've always heard the cliche that Hollywood is a small town and everybody knows everybody in the "Biz" but I've always kind of thought that that statement was probably more apocryphal than real.  However, in the last month I've started to thunk there's more truth to the claim than I thought possible.  Allow me to explicate...(and all of this revolves around my good fortune to get to play at the Telluride Film Festival for the past five years).

1) Made a friend  (Casey Twenter..."Hi Casey, if you're reading this") who is an aspiring screenwriter after he reached out to me following TFF #36.  You've read about his project in this space the last couple of weeks.  "Rudderless" is the screenplay currently set to be the directorial debut for Oscar nominated actor William H. Macy (remember this for later).  Casey has been kind enough to keep me in the loop and correspond over the past 2 years as this project has been moving forward.  It's been fun.  This week, we were catching up and as a part of that conversation, he asked me if I had seen or heard anything about a film called "Girlfriend".

2) Last year at TFF #37 I sat next to and struck up a friendly conversation with a fellow named Seth Chatfield (Hi Seth, if you're reading this).  I asked Seth the normal..."What do you do?  Why you here?" type questions.  Seth said he's there as part of a group that's the producing team for a film that's going to debut  a week or so later at Toronto.  The film..."Girlfriend".  So, as you might imagine, when Casey asked me about it yesterday, I was stunned..."What are the chances?"  I thought.  Seth and I have also kept up something of a correspondence the last ten months.  "Girlfriend" was well received at Toronto and has its premiere in NYC on July 15.  But wait, there's more...

3) Another friendship I forged a couple of years back came as a result of being on line for some film with  my mom and dad and as we were waiting we struck up a pleasant conversation with a nice couple from California.  Again, asked them the routine questions.  She says he's an editor and director.  She's an arts advocate.  We smile and nod.  My wife and I teach arts in the public schools.  We have a very nice conversation about that and what films might be "sneaked" later in the weekend.  They seem to know some things.  So, I get back to the room that evening and curiosity forces me to search the IMDB.  He turns out to be the real deal and I feel like an idiot that I had no idea (at the time, I do now).  His name: Mark Helfrich (her name: Alexandra.  "Hi Mark and Alexandra, if you're reading this").  Mark has edited a ton of stuff...BIG TIME STUFF.  Currently he is editing "Tower Heist" the next big thing from director Brett Ratner.  Yes, he edits Ratner's stuff.  All the time.  His other editing credits include: All three "Rush Hour" films, "Red Dragon," "X-Men: The Last Stand," and the original "Scary Movie" among others.  He has directed for television and the feature film "Good Luck Chuck." (remember this for later as well).  Mark and Alexandra and I have also kept in touch over the past two years...

4) Most readers know that I am a speech/debate/drama teacher and have been for a good long time.  I have former student who has just graduated from college and is working to set aside money and head for the west coast in January.  She's interning this summer  in Oklahoma City with a local casting director and as a result has gotten extra work on the Nick Cassavetes film that is lensing in that vicinity.  It's title: "Yellow."  As a part of all that she met the casting director, a fellow named Matthew Barry.  He has along list of credits including casting for...wait for it..."Good Luck Chuck".  Yeah...I know.  Mark confirmed it was the same guy late last week.  Also, "Yellow" features, among others, Sienna Miller.  Sienna just dropped out of the film adaptation of Elmore Leonard's "Freaky Deaky".  Also dropping out...wait for it...William H. Macy.  Again...I know.

5) And finally, I got asked to review a new independent film this week by writer/director Kenton Bartlett. The film is called "Missing Pieces" and features, among others, Melora Walters perhaps best known for roles in two Paul Thomas Anderson films "Boogie Nights" which I like and "Magnolia" which I love.  Both films co-star...William H. Macy.  And as a topper, I sat behind Paul Thomas Anderson at Telluride in 2007 in a screening of Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding."

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?  I feel like I'm this close (I'm holding my thumb and index finger on my right hand a half an inch apart) to knowing almost everyone in the film industry.

"Rudderless" IMDB page:
"Rudderless" Facebook page:!/pages/Rudderless-The-Movie/194390831736
"Girlfriend" IMDB page:
"Girlfriend" Facebook page:!/pages/GIRLFRIEND/247774270511
"Good Luck Chuck" IMDB page:
Mark Helfrich's IMDB page:
"Yellow" IMDB page:
"Missing Pieces" IMDB page:
"Missing Pieces" Facebook page:
"Missing Pieces" website:
Matthew Barry's IMDB page:
William H. Macy's IMDB page:
Sienna Miller's IMDB page:
Melora Walters IMDB page:


The word last night was that Danny Boyle's next project will feature actor James McAvoy in a film called "Trance."  It appears to be under the Fox Searchlight banner.  All of these factors make it a film that should be considered likely as a Telluride prospect.  To wit: Boyle has attended the festival with his last two films, "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours," to great success critically.  McAvoy hasn't physically been present to my knowledge but he has had films with high profiles at Telluride recently.  McAvoy's "The Last King of Scotland" (for which Forest Whitaker won the Best Actor Oscar) and "The Last Station" (nominations for Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren) played at Telluride.  And Fox Searchlight seems to always be represented strongly at the Festival.
Sources indicate that 2013 is the prospective release date.   Of course, Boyle has his hands full currently as he is set to direct London's opening ceremonies for next year's summer Olympics.

Here are posts about  "Trance" from both Rope of Silicon and The Playlist.


Rope of Silicon also has more details concerning the announced film from Warren Beatty that broke this week.  The picture will be directed, written produced and feature Beatty as Howard Hughes.  And maybe it's a comedy.  Check the story at:


Mark Heyman who wrote the screenplay for "Black Swan" is reported to have a new script that he's shopping around and has Darren Aronofsky attached to produce.  The Playlist reports that the film titled "XOXO" is something of a mashup between "Swan" and "The Social Network."  Heyman and Aronofsky are said to be looking for financing and distribution.  Assuming that they find that, you'd have to think that the finished product would also be on a future Telluride watch list.  No word on director (maybe Heyman himself) or cast.  Check The Playlist's story at:

Coming up tomorrow...more detail on the new Oscar voting rules...maybe clarification, maybe more confusion?  And also, more on Casey Twenter's "Rudderless".

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Oscar Rules/Warren for Howard/Macy Not Freaky

Oscars With New Rules

"The truth is, we know so little about life, we don't really know what the good news is and what the bad news is."  -Kurt Vonnegut


Last week The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a big change for the Best Picture category...specifically that there will now be between 5 and 10 nominations in that category each year.  The see-saw over the last three years about number of pictures reportedly reflects a schism in the Academy.  The impulse three years to expand to 10 Best Picture nominees was popularly believed to stem from the fact that Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" was shut out of the Best Picture nomination that many Academy members thought it deserved.  Now, comes this latest tweaking of the rules that appears to be a backlash against the "Winter's Bone" nomination that occurred this past year.  Many Academy members ( at least this is the way the story goes) didn't believe that "Bone" was deserving of a Best Pic nomination.  Count me among their number.  My view was John Hawkes' nomination made a lot of sense and after that...meh.  It's a good film.  Jennifer's a nice performance, but not earth shaking. 

Interestingly (at least to me) is this story from The Wrap that suggest that the new rules will make a significant number of Oscar Best Picture ballots meaningless.  See it here:


The last few days have seen an announcement from Paramount hat Warren Beatty was going to write, direct, produce, and star in a new project.  Speculation as to its content has been running at a slow boil for a couple of days.  Now comes word from multiple sources that Beatty will play iconic billionaire whack job Howard Hughes.  Not a lot more is known other than it's supposed to be a comedy and a lot of A-listers are rumored to have a potential involvement.  The best take I've run across is from The Playlist yesterday.  Their post is here:


We mentioned last week that William H. Macy is set for his first gig as a director as he is set to direct a friend's screenplay.  The film title: "Rudderless." 
Now comes word that Macy has dropped out of an announced role in the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's superb novel "Freaky Deaky."  Charles Matthau is set to direct the film which has also had to replace Sienna Miller.

The Playlist has the dope:

One or two quick observations: 
1) I'd like to believe that Macy's departure means that my friend's film is one step closer to happening.  No news from my back channel source on that, though.  It does seem, however, that The Playlist doesn't have a real idea as to Macy's reason for leaving the project, so....

2) Sienna Miller has been in Oklahoma lately shooting Nick Cassavetes "Yellow" (which apparently will have a brief cameo from one of my former students).  That might explain Miller's dropping out of the "Freaky" project.  Also, in a weird twist of coincidence, it seems that Cassavetes is also named in the Online Poker lawsuit that currently has Tobey McGuire ensnared.  Here's that story from The Hollywood Reporter:

George Clooney's Facebook status: Single.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dangerous Trailer/Venice Confirms/The Master at 65/Missing Pieces

Fassbender and Knightley in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" (via

An interesting peek at the latest Cronenberg/Mortensen collaboration leads us off today...


The Internet was rife with links yesterday to the trailer for David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" starring Viggo Mortensen (as Sigmund Freud), Michael Fassbender ( as Carl Jung) and Keira Knightley (as neither Freud or Jung, but a patient of Jung's).  I think the conventional wisdom remains that this film plays at Venice and then Toronto, but as I pointed out last week, there is at least some sentiment that it could additionally play Telluride (or T-ride rather than Venice).  Nevertheless, it looks fantastic.  If you haven't sen it, here's the link to one of the trailer's YouTube incarnations: (thanks to VisoTrailers and Twitter)


Yesterday, the web was also lousy with the news that George Clooney's "The Ides of March," would open that festival.  Today, the Venice Film Festival made it official.  Their online announcement is here:

Eric Lavellee at Ioncinema seems relatively certain that "Ides" will then go to Toronto and tacitly implies that it's likely that the other Clooney awards bait, Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" will go Telluride then Toronto pitting the Oscar winning actor against himself.  The Ioncinema story is here:

For what it's worth, at this point, my guess is that is exactly what happens.

And again, as I said yesterday, it doesn't absolutely take "Ides" off the Telluride list of possibles, but it probably reduces the chances that we see it there.  The previous 5 years the Venice openers were: "Baaria," "Burn After Reading," "Atonement," "Black Dahlia," and "Seven Swords."  So, as you can doesn't happen often.


I've already gotten obsessive about Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix (it's on the Telluride film 2012 wish list).  It reportedly is shooting as I write in Central and Northern California.  News the last day or so that Anderson is shooting (perhaps exclusively) in 65 mm and that he's using the same camera for that that Stanley Kubrick used for 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1967-68.  If true, that would make "The Master" a potential feast of cinematic eye candy.  Think about Anderson's cinematographic sensibility from "There Will Be Blood" with the use of that kind of equipment.  Check the report from the PT Anderson fan site Cigarettes and Red Vines:


I've only dabbled at film criticism in this space (and the obligatory "reviews" I put on Rotten Tomatoes at the end of each Telluride fest) but, through a series of e-communication, I've agreed to give it a whirl.  Director/writer Kenton Bartlett's "Missing Pieces" will get the full "review" treatment (whatever that turns out to be) in this space sometime in the next few days.
"How do you justify this in a blog that purports to be about the Telluride Film Festival?" you ask.  Turns out that Bartlett and company have submitted it to Telluride for consideration for inclusion at TFF#38.  So, who knows, maybe readers of this space will get a jump on a film that unspools in the San Juans this Labor Day.

Looking forward to it.  Hope you are as well...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Ides In August/Dark Horse/Warren's New Movie/Full Herzog/Fall Fest Wish List

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling on the set of "The Ides of March" (thanks to:

A lot of focus on the Venice Film Festival in the last 24 hours


Multiple sources have reported that George Clooney's "The Ides of March" will open the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 31.  I have included links to couple of those posts:
and the Playlist:

So what does this mean?  Well, it doesn't take "Ides" out of the Telluride conversation.  Last Year the Venice Fest was opened by a little film called "Black Swan" that ended up sneaking in Telluride with Darren Aronofsky present.  So, it's not a killer.  BUT it does reduce the odds of other films that are likely to be at Venice also being at Telluride.  As we have noted, the overlap between these two festivals is usually pretty small.  Other films that are on my Telluride watch list that have been getting a lot of heat as probable Venice entrants are: "Carnage," "A Dangerous Method," "Wuthering Heights," "Shame," "Faust," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," and "The Descendants" (though I'm still really confident that "Descendants" will be a part of the Telluride program).  The Playlist also put together their list of films that they think are Venice-likely last month.  Here's the link to that:

Included on their list is the first mention I have seen of Todd Solondz's new film "Dark Horse" featuring Justin Bartha, Selma Blair, Donna Murphy, Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow.  Solondz goes on our Telluride watch list as a result.  He has had a significant presence at Telluride for a number of years including a presentation of "Life During Wartime" in 2009 that skipped from Venice to Telluride without Solondz accompanying the film.  It was one of my favorites of that festival.

Warren Beatty is ready to get back into the director's chair (and writing and producing and starring).  And almost nothing is known about the project.  It wasn't but a few weeks ago that there was some buzz that Beatty was contemplating a "Dick Tracy" sequel but I haven't found anyone who thinks that this is that.  The Playlist speculates that it is an original comedy.

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere thinks it may focus on Howard Hughes:

Guess we'll wait and see...


I mentioned the last day or two that I think that it's a good possibility that we'll see some of Herzog's Death Row documentary at Telluride.  IMDB still had its title listed as "Death Row."  But we know that the title has been undergoing a change.  The Playlist at Indiewire now says we have a complete title. It is: "Gazing Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life."  Thats' a mouthful.  The post is here:


Indiewire has a list of 50 films that they'd like to see/think will be at one, two or three of the triumvirate of film festivals that includes Telluride (and Venice and Toronto).  You can view it here:

Usual suspects on their list (not already listed above in the Clooney portion of this post) are: "Albert Nobbs," "Chicken with Plums," "The Congress," "Gazing Into the Abyss," "The Iron Lady," "Moneyball," "My Week with Marilyn," "Shame," and "Young Adult."

Interestingly the article includes occasional predix for both specific films for either Venice or Toronto..but not once does it venture to guess a film for Telluride save for one mention (and hold onto your hats), Madonna's directorial debut "W.E."   Variety has reported that it has been submitted to Venice.  Hey, It's a Weinstein Company deal, Abbie Cornish is in it ("Bright Star in Telluride in 2009) so, you know, it's not impossible. 

I'm not sure how I feel about the notion of running into The Material Girl at The New Sheridan...  

"W.E's" IMDB page is here:

Final note:  How weird is it that I have a post that includes Warren Beatty and Madonna???

Monday, June 20, 2011

Herzog on Death/Moneyball Trailer/Skin/Diablo's Dream/Noah

Charlize Theron starring in "Young Adult"

After a quiet Sunday, a number of items to pass on to you today:


Variety reported this morning that  German Production company ZDF has signed onto the Werner Herzog documentary "Gazing into the Abyss."  The doc is being produced by The Discovery Channel folks for American television.  But I would not be surprised to see at least some of it on the playbill for TFF #38.  Herzog is a constant on the Telluride Film playlist and the festival likes to have docs on the bill of fare.  As for it being developed for TV rather than theatrical release, well, TFF has peeked at some of Ken Burns TV documentary projects over the years.  So it wouldn't be out of line for Herzog's doc to show there.
The project focuses on interviews with Texas death row inmates.  The IMDB site for the Herzog project (where it's still listed by the title "Death Row') is here:


Last week we saw the first bits of the trailer for "Moneyball," the baseball film from Bennett Miller starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Here's the full trailer without the Entertainment Tonight stuff:

The "Moneyball" IMDB page:


Speaking of trailers, here's the teaser for Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Inhabit (or "Live In"...depending)."  Thanks to Anne Thompson:

Skin's IMDB:


Oscar winner and former Telluride guest (2007/Juno) Dibalo Cody was a guest on a panel yesterday where she revealed that her dream gig/screenplay would be a Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) biopic.  Cody (who I met in 2007 at the festival thanks to an introduction from Jason Reitman) is set to see the releases of her next film "Young Adult" this fall.  It's another collaboration with Reitman and stars Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson.  I think there's a reasonable chance that we'll see it in T-ride.  The Playlist has a nice post about the panel:

The "Young Adult" IMDB page:


Darren Aronofsky was the toast of last year's festival with his "Black Swan" for which Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Oscar.  Now he says that his NEXT BIG THING  may be his magnum opus...a re-telling of the story of Noah.  The IFC website has some interesting tidbits along those lines here:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Anderson's"The Master" Caster/Weinstien's Oscar Play Dates/Barton Fink:The Musical

Early art for a poster for "The Master"

Just a couple of notes to pass along today.


Variety reported last night additions to the cast for what apparently is now officially entitled "The Master," Paul Thomas Anderson's first film since 2007's brilliant "There Will Be Blood." (Best Film of the Aughts).
Already cast were Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in the film that explores the genesis of a modern day belief system said to be not unlike Scientology.  Added cast members announced last night are Josh Close and Fiona Dourif.  The post from the PT Anderson fan site Cigarettes and Red Vines is here:

Various sources have it released in 2012 or 2013.  I'll be following it as I think it will be on the short list of Telluride possible films for TFF #39 or #40...
It's IMDB page is here:


The Weinstein Company has established release dates for four films that it has and I expect will be pushed in various ways for Oscar success.  The four films: "The Artist," "The Iron Lady," "Coriolanus," and "My Week with Marilyn."  All four are on our Telluride watch list and,  according to the article from The Playlist, all four have dates that would accommodate a Telluride screening.  I would expect that 2 of the 4 will end up in the San Juans and that the most likely is "The Artist."  As to the other three...I'd bet one of them also shows at The SHOW, but at this point I don't have any feel for which of the three is the most likely.
The Playlist article is here:

Song titles from this sure to be a crowd pleaser: "That Barton Fink Feeling," "It's a Wallace Beery Wrestling Picture," "Wall Paper Melancholy," and "If the Girl in the Picture Would Just Turn Around."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dangerous Method/More Reitman News/Tree of LOOOOOONG Life/Another Coen's Musical

Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin...The Cast of "Labor Day"? 
Maybe I spoke too soon...


Earlier this week, I all but wrote off the chances that we'd see David Cronenberg's study of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung starring Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender as a part of the program at Telluride this year.  My thinking: Cronenberg's film is in place for a Venice unveiling and, acknowledging Cronenberg's Canadian roots, I expect that the film will be front and center at Toronto.  That, I assumed would probably be enough as far as the fall fests are concerned. 
Until yesterday, that is...
Multiple sources reported a Sony Pictures Classics release saying that the specialty film house has nabbed the U.S. rights for the film.  I have included the link to the Kris Tapley/ version of the story here:
That, alone, would have made me pause to reconsider my thinking as SPC has had a very good relationship with the Telluride Film Festival.  but there was more...
Tapley tweeted just a little while after posting the story the following:

Kristopher Tapley (@kristapley)
Can't wait to see Dangerous Method at Telluride. Surely it'll play peek-a-boo there (but maybe @guylodge will get a look in Venice first).

Now, I'm not saying that Tapley already has some inside dope, but...his guess is always going to be better than mine because he's wired "A Dangerous Method" back on the list of possibles..
And, parenthetically, I'm really glad too, because this film is high on my list of Oscar contenders to see this year.


Yesterday we had the story that Jason Reitman was positioning himself to direct "Labor Day" and was in pursuit of Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin to star (with various sources reporting the two stars participation at varying levels of certitude...[Weiner reference]).  A higher level of certitude came from Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon this morning that Winslet and Brolin are on board, but (like me) less certitude that we'll actually see "Young Adult" at Telluride.  The link to the Brevet article is here:
Now comes this nugget, again from a number of sources, that Reitman is about to become a script doctor.  He's expected to take a stab at working on the script for Steve Carell's "magician" film project tentatively titled "Burt Wonderstone."  I've included the link to the version of that story here:
So sounds like Reitman will be very, very busy in what's left of 2011.

News from The Playlist this morning that Terrence Malick is STILL not done tinkering with "The Tree of Life."  The film, which we were talking about in terms of release and Oscar potential 2 years ago was the Cannes Palme D'Or winner last month and officially went into release on May 27th with the nationwide rollout continuing through June.  The Playlist post this morning says Malick wants to do a 6 hour version of the film.  Check the story at:

Featuring the hit showtunes: "Call It, Friendo!" "The Ultimate Badass," "Agua!" and "Hard to Take Its Measure."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jason Reitman News/Moneyball/Oscar Calculations and BIG LEBOWSKI:THE MUSICAL

Jason Reitman's next project: "Labor Day."  Will we see it Labor Day 2012?

Always looking ahead is where we start today...


I'm obviously including Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" on the 2011 Tellruride Film Festival "probable" list.  After all, he's had such great success with "Juno" (4 Oscar noms including Picture and Director, Diablo Cody wins Original Screenplay, makes a bazillion dollars) and "Up in the Air" (6 Oscar Noms including Picture, Actor, Original Screenplay and Director) at TFF that I'd be goofy not to think it'll play this fall (though I'm not as sure of that as you might think).  Now, The Playlist is reporting this morning that Reitman's next project is set.  Entitled "Labor Day," The Playlist says that Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet are attached to star in the adaptation of the book by Joyce Maynard.  The link for The Playlist story is here:
And, as I'm sure you've guessed...put it on our Telluride 2012 speculation list.

Bennett Miller's "Moneyball" has been on my radar as a Telluride film possibility for some time and with the peak at it via Entertainment Tonight that has happened this week, interest elsewhere has been heightened.  Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere is the latest to comment.  His take is here:,+wisdom,+tin+foil,+attitude

Over this past week, I've tumbled across a couple of Oscar Best Picture predictions since we're about half way through the year.  I've started the process of compilation and put it together, because I'm a little crazy?  Herewith your early, early line on the Best Picture race with information drawn from, Scott Feinberg, Film Misery and The Envelope at the LA Times (and roughly using each sources top 20 or so and what I think are Telluride possibles in CAPS AND BOLD):

ON ALL FOUR LISTS: 9 films..."THE DESCENDANTS," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo Cabret," "THE IDES OF MARCH," "THE IRON LADY," "J. Edgar," "The Tree of Life," "War Horse," "YOUNG ADULT."


ON TWO OF THE LISTS: "Super 8," "We Bought a Zoo," Contagion," "Like Crazy," "TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY," " THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL."

ONE VOTE WONDERS: "50/50," "Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows #2," "CORIOLANUS," "DRIVE," "The Help," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Midnight in Paris," "One Day," "Take Shelter," and "THE WETTEST COUNTY IN THE WORLD."

And with yesterday's announcement from the Academy peeps, who knows how many Best Picture nominations we will ultimately see (somewhere between 5 and 1o under the new rules).

Hit songs will include: "Gutterball of Love," "Not on the Rug, Man," "I'm the Dude, Duder, Duderino," "You Want a Toe, I Can Get You a Toe," "Not on the Shabbos," and "Nihilists on Parade!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How Many Nominations?/Moneyball/Rudderless/COENS MUSICAL #4

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling on the set of "The Ides of March" (thanks to

A busy 24 hours in terms of news and such that may or does have a bearing on the Telluride Film Festival. 

First, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS...the Oscar people) announced in the middle of last night that beginning this year there will be between 5 and 10 Best Picture nominees.  For most of its existence the Academy had nominated 5 films each year.  Then the last two years, they have nominated 10 (they used to nominate more than 5 way back in the beginning days of Oscar as well). 

Well, now, this year if will be at least 5, not more than 10 and could be any number of films in between.  So in a "down" year...(like 2008) maybe only 5 get nominated.  In a good year (like last year) maybe 7 or 8 or 9.  In a great year you might get 10.  Apparently it will all hinge of the percentage of first place votes a picture gets during the nominating process.  The threshold is going to be 5% if I'm reading their press release correctly.  You can read that release here:

Most critical reaction this morning seems generally positive, but it will make prognostication a bit trickier...

Next, The LA Times is out today with its list of 15 films it says are possible Oscar contenders.  That list and descriptions of the films are here:
TFF#38 suspects on The Envelope's list are: "The Artist," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Carnage," "The Descendants," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Ides of March," "The Iron Lady," and "Young Adult."
Also on their list that I don't realistically think will be at Telluride (and why):
"War Horse"-Spielberg doesn't need to festival and hasn't "Tellurided" (though his compadres Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are both members of the festival's Board of Advisors and are frequently in Telluride for it).
"The Tree of Life"-Terrence Malick's film was released May 27.
"Like Crazy"-a Sundance Festival hit...which almost totally precludes it (though not 100%- "An Education" played both Sundance then Telluride, but it's unlikely).
"J. Edgar"-Clint Eastwood's biopic about the former FBI director starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It's been a long time since Clint has been to Telluride and he doesn't need to "festival" for people to pay attention to this film.
"Hugo Cabret"-Martin Scorsese also doesn't need the T-ride exposure..and it's in 3D...which I'm guessing is not something that Telluirde has prepared technically to project.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"-Despite the fact that director David Fincher was a tributee in 2008, I have to doubt that he'll return with this American adaptation of the Swedish phenomena..if he didn't pop "The Social Network" at Telluride, I have a difficult time believing he'd bring "Tattoo" to the San Juans.
"A Dangerous Method"-David Cronenberg's film about Freud and Jung starring Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender.  I believe Cronenberg will play Venice and Toronto and be happy with that (despite Viggo being a Tributee in 2009).

One film NOT on the LA Times Envelope list today is Bennett Miller's "Moneyball."  I think it has a shot to play at Telluride because it IS Bennett Miller's first feature since "Capote" which was at Telluride in 2005.  The Playlist has a nice story about its trails and tribulations and a set of clips shown on last night's Entertainment that is:

Yesterday we teased our minuscule connection to the film "Rudderless."  We already know that William H. Macy is set to direct, but perusing the IMDB entry we also find that casting director and music supervisor (and the music is crucial to the film) are signed on as well.  Casting is in the hands of Ronnie Yeskel whose previous credits include: "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," and "The Long Kiss Goodnight" among others.  The music supervisor is Debra Baum who has been involved with the music for "The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood," "A Walk to Remember," and "3000 Miles to Graceland' again among others.

Despite the fact that I'm pretty sure most of you are tired of the's till making me laugh, so, with you are now  aware the next Coen Brothers film may be a musical.  I've had some fun this week with suggesting that we go back over the Coen canon and re-make all their films as's example: "Burn After Reading: The Musical" featuring such hit tunes as: "Intelligence is Relative,"  "Raw Data," "Osborne Cox:Secret Agent Man" and "I Did Not See That Coming."

The Playlist has an article about David Lynch and his opening a "Mullholland Drive" based theme night spot in Paris...and what they think would be a better use of Lynch's time.  It's kind of funny.  Here's the link:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Early Oscar Predix/Le Havre Goes Weinstein/Rudderless/AND ANOTHER COEN MUSICAL!

Poster for Simon Curtis' Telluride possible: "My Week with Marilyn"

Ioncinema is hinting this morning that The Weinstein Company will be picking up "Le Havre."  It was a critically and publicly popular film at Cannes last month and a film that I think has a better than average chance of being at this year's Telluride Film Festival.

Also, The Playlist is reporting that Christian Bale and Darren Aronofsky may be getting together for Aronofsky's "Noah" project.

Film Misery has its first stab at Oscar predictions up this morning.  You can find those here:
On the list there are these TFF#38 possibles: "The Descendants," "The Iron Lady," "The Ides of March," "We Need to Talk About Kevin," and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."  Other TFF #38 "maybes" on his list of other possible Best Picture nominations would be: "Drive," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Artist," "Moneyball," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," (John Madden's new film, Fox Searchlight is involved) "Young Adult," "My Week with Marilyn," and "Carnage."

I also discovered that Scott Feinberg had his first attempt up a couple of weeks ago.  You can find that here:
Added films from the Feinberg list of Telluride interest that are not included in Film Misery's list: "Coriolanus" and"The Wettest County in the World."

And now for something completely different (and I feel OK about including this in the blog because it is such a Telluride Film Festival story)...In November 2009 I received an email from someone who actually read this blog in the run-up to TFF#36.  He said he enjoyed it and was an aspiring screenwriter, had some things working, etc. etc.  His name: Casey Twenter.  Would I want to read the script he was currently working on?  Me...I said sure.  Entitled "Rudderless," I read it, liked it and we struck up an email, twitter, facebook friendship.  Got to meet Casey last summer in Kansas City (during the National Speech Tournament).  We had lunch and a really pleasant discussion about film, and the background about how "Rudderless" had come to be up to that point.

Back in 2009, Casey (and his writing partner Jeff Robison) were looking for financing to independently produce the film.  Over the last year and a half, that effort has ebbed and flowed and taken on a number of different forms.  Now, it looks increasingly like the film will get made and not just out of Casey and Jeff's pockets and fund raising.  Some big, BIG names are already on board and there are other names in the mix.  Some of them I can talk about, some not.

The biggest reveal that I am allowed to pass on is that veteran actor/writer/director and Oscar nominee (for Fargo..which fits right in with this week's Coen Brothers musical rant that I've been on) William H. Macy has signed on to direct and produce.  You read that right.  WILLIAM H. MACY!

There are other Oscar nominee/winner types in talks for the male lead and the main female supporting character that I can't get into...yet. But it is all terribly exciting.  As things progress I'll pass it on when I can.

My hope is that "Rudderless" gets made, is great and in a Kharmic full circle ends up at Telluride's 39th Film Festival next year.

You can find the "Rudderless" IMDB page here:
The "Rudderless" facebook page is here:!/pages/Rudderless-The-Movie/194390831736

Again, as more information becomes available, I'll pass it along in this space. you're almost certainly aware, we've had hints the last few days that the Coen Brothers next film might be a musical, which necessarily has caused me to speculate that if it were successful that we should go back and re-imagine their body of work in that light.  I've already made some suggestions for "Raising Arizona:The Musical" and "Fargo:The Musical. 

And now...the next Coen Brothers musical..."O Brother, Where Art Thou?" which is already got some music that you'll just have to include like: "Down to the River to Pray," and "Man of Constant Sorrow."  But because it'll be a big Broadway style musical it will have to include new musical numbers such as: "I'm with you Fellas," "Gopher, Everett?," "I'm a Dapper Dan Man," "Dumber than a Bag of Hammers," and "Damn, We're in a Tight Spot."

More Coen's musicals to come...

Monday, June 13, 2011

A New Gig for Salman/More Coen's Musicals

Potential TV mogul Salman Rushdie???

One of the cooler things that happens at the Telluride Film Festival is that you actually have the opportunity to meet and interact with many of the people that are there as a part of the festival.  I've, unbelievably, had real conversations with Oscar nominee Laura Linney, film critic Leonard Maltin, documentarian Ken Burns among others.  One of those others was award winning author Salman Rushdie (he of "Satanic Verses" fame and the survivor of an Iranian Ayatollah's fatwa).  Rushdie is a member of the Telluride Film Festival's Board of Advisors, so he's there most years.  We talked about the film he was introducing in 2008, Nadita Das' "Firaaq."

All this preamble is to get to the story we found today on Anne Thompson's "Thompson on Hollywood" blog today..that Rushdie is going to be producing a television program for American television.  Called "The Next People," Thompson reports that its headed for Showtime and will be a science fiction series.  So how about that?  I don't know if you've ever read any of Rushdie's work, but if the series is remotely in the mode of his will be challenging.

You can find Thompson's complete article here:

Incidentally, Thompson (with whom I've also had a conversation in Telluride) also seconds The Playlist story from yesterday concerning the Coen Brothers next project being a musical or heavily musically oriented. Today's thought: "Fargo: The Musical"  featuring such musical numbers as "Three Dead in Brainerd," "Lundegaard's Lament," and "The Wood Chipper's Waltz."

And finally, tomorrow I'm going to start talking about a new film that's currently in development.  A film that I know some scuttlebutt about because of...(you guessed it) the Telluride Film Fesival.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Wettest County???

Shia LaBeouf and extras on the set of "The Wettest County in the World"

A really interesting post from The Hollywood Reporter yesterday about the upcoming Oscar race.  That article necessarily includes a ton of films that I've put on the Telluride film watch list.  Including: "The Artist'" "Young Adult," "The Descendants," "The Ides of March," "The Iron Lady," "Moneyball," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "My Week with Marilyn," "Carnage," and new to the discussion in the article is John Hillcoat's ("The Road'" "The Proposition,") "The Wettest County in the World."

 "Wettest County" is listed by IMDB ( as having a 2012 release date but author Greg Kilday apparently thinks there is at least some possibility that it might be in play for a 2011 Oscar qualifying run.  Hillcoat's presence at Telluride in 2009 and The Weinstein Company's participation make it a possibility if it's ready for a run at TFF #38.

You can see all of Kilday's article here:

Meanwhile, as obsessed as I am becoming with the new Paul Thomas Anderson project, I noticed this post from The Playlist yesterday which hints that the next Coen Brothers project may include a serious music component...a Coen Brothers Musical?  What would that be like?  Here's a link to that article as well:

Another film to stalk incessantly for the next few months...YES!  And maybe I can compose the score  for some of the Coen's past films.  After all, if this new thing is a success, why not "Raising Arizona:The Musical"  featuring such hits as: "Boy, You Got a Panty on Your Head," "Not Unless Round is Funny,"  "The Huggies Shuffle," and the show stopping closer, "Maybe It Was Utah."

I can see it now...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Shame" at Venice???

Oscar nominee and Telluride regular Carey Mulligan on the set of "Shame" (thanks to

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood  Elsewhere yesterday had a moderately detailed story about the plans for British director Steve McQueen's "Shame."  He claims that it's a lock for the Venice Film Festival which runs from Aug. 31-Sept. 10 this year.  Last year "Black Swan" made the leap from Venice to be a "sneak" at Telluride and was the only film cross entered between the two festivals last year. (and in a turn of film synchronicity this year's jury president at Venice is "Black Swan" helmer Darren Aronofsky).  In 2009 the two festivals shared "The Road'" "Bad Lieutenant:Port of Call New Orleans," and "Life During Wartime."

I still think there's  reasonably good chance that could also happen with the McQueen film, but admittedly, the window for films being at both festivals is rather small.  "Shame" stars Michael Fassbinder (McQueen's lead in "Hunger" the director's 2008 film that appeared in Telluride),  Nicole Behaire (a Telluride guest in 2008 with "American Violet") and TFF regular the past 2 years, Carey Mulligan.

You can find the Wells article here:

Also, for a look at some other titles that may play Venice check this post from Shadow and Act via Indiewire:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Back after a 10 day lay off due to a bum knee...not mine, but the wife's.  Also, not a lot going on since Cannes closed up shop. 

Nevertheless, MTFB/OC is back today noting that there is a fair amount of buzz the last day or so about the trailer for Errol Morris' new doc "Tabloid" which played at last year's film festival in Telluride.  I saw it there and thought it as really, really good.  You can find an article and a link to the trailer here (thanks to The Playlist):

Also on The Playlist today, a pretty good story about the latest info on Paul Thomas Anderson's next project that is scheduled for a late 2012 release and which I think has a really good shot at being at TFF #39.  Called "The Master" (at least for now) it features Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joquain Pheonix and will almost certainly take the place for my obsessiveness that has been left open by the actual opening of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life".  You can find that story here:

TFF #38 is just 83 days away!