Friday, September 9, 2011

Reviewing TFF #38/Awards Season Seriously

Here are the films I saw at The 38th Telluride Film Festival:

1) Shame:  A difficult movie to watch.  All signs point to an NC-17 rating.  Both things mean it will difficult to find any audience for it but Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan are both fantastic in it.  My hope is that they get some Indie Spirit love and that the Actor's branch of the Academy takes notice...but I'm not holding my breath.

2) The Artist: A big crowd pleaser last weekend.  It's bold gamble to make a black and white silent film but Michel Hazanavicius has done amazing things here with his collaboration with French actor Jean Dujardin.  The execution is beautiful.  The Weinstien Company probably wanted this in Telluride to continue the film's buzz into Toronto after taking Cannes by storm and consequently continue its momentum into awards season...mission accomplished.

3) The Descendants:  This might have been the best received film overall from last weekend.  If there is a true T-ride film that could end up with multiple Oscar noms, this is it.  Descendants is good not great.

4) Albert Nobbs:  I was more taken by this film than a good portion of the T-ride audience.  Close is fantastic in the title roll.  I think Janet McTeer is also very good in support.  Close appears on the road to her sixth Oscar nom.  In a perfect world McTeer would get her first.
5) A Separation:  Beautifully crafted and acted film about domestic strife in modern day Iran.  My hope is the Iran gets out of its way and the Academy nominates it for Best Foreign Language Film.
6) Le Havre: The deadpan approach works...sometimes.  Frankly, I wanted the film to have a little more warmth.  Also, Kaurismaki's composition is awfully static.

7) We Need to Talk About Kevin:  I'm not as blown away by Tilda Swinton's performance as many others.  It's good but it doesn't hit greatness in my estimation.  However, she doesn't appear to have harmed her chances at an Oscar nomination.  Ezra Miller, however, is a revelation as the Kevin in the title.
8) A Dangerous Method:  A film that's pretty to look at.  But the film's structure starts out with a bang and then proceeds to get quieter and quieter Knightley is annoying and Fassbender and Mortensen seem to be wasted.
9) The Kid with a Bike:  Not bad, but also not what I expected.  Biggest problem for me was how easily and quickly the decision was made to foster parent the child here.
10) Butter:  A mess that can't decide what it wants to be.  It's like director Jim Field Smith decided that if he tried enough approaches, one of them would work...not so much.


And down the stretch we come...Telluride 2011 is done and Venice is winding down.  Toronto started yesterday.  All that means that Oscar speculators have begun to recalibrate the race based on what has been happening on the ground in the Colorado Rockies and on the Lido.  That will continue through the next week and a half as the Toronto folks unspool somewhere around 300 films.

This morning, quick peak at an Oscarologist who have already updated his view in the wake of Telluride...

First, Kristopher Tapley of  Tapley predicts 10 nominations with Telluride ties in the Big 8 Oscar categories (Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Actor, Adapted and Original Script).

The Artist with 4 (Picture, Director, Actor, and Original Script)
The Descendants with 4 (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Script)
Nobbs with 1 (Actress)
Dangerous Method with 1 (Supporting Actress)

A look at more Awards season re-calibration tomorrow...

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