Saturday, June 29, 2013

Best of the Week/Llewyn Davis Sounds

Good Saturday to everyone.  Here's a look at the best material I posted this past week on MTFB:



For the third straight year here is the first stab at guessing ten films that will play at Telluride this year.

Last year's initial "Ten Bets" had 5 films that actually made the grade: "Amour", "Rust and Bone", "No", "Midnight's Children" and "Hyde Park on Hudson".  The 2011 list was actually much better with 8 of that initial list showing at the SHOW: "The Descendants:, "The Artist", "The Kid with a Bike", "Le Havre", Restored : "A Trip to the Moon", "Into the Abyss", "We Have to Talk About Kevin" and "Shame".

So, with hope that I can return to my 2011 form, here are "Ten Bets":

1) "Nebraska": Alexander Payne's road dramedy with Bruce Dern and Will Forte.  Payne's "Descendants" was the #1 bet to start 2011's "Ten Bets" and his follow up starts in the same position for 2013.

2) "The Past":  My bet is that Asghar Farhadi (and SPC) return to Telluride with this relationship drama follow-up to his brilliant "A Separation".  Berenice Bejo stars...and could be a Best Actress contender.  Perhaps she'll come to T-ride as her husband Michel Hazanavicius did with "The Artist" 2 years ago.

3) "Daughter of the Dawn":  A silent film restoration starring a cast of Native Americans that was reported as set to play Telluride last August. Telluride regular and hondo Ken Burns is mentioned in the Indian Country News story as helping with distribution.  The story is here:

I also have to mention that its connection to my home state of Oklahoma makes me a little prideful.

4) "Aguirre: The Wrath of God": Friend of the blog Christopher Schiller mentioned this as a possibility and it makes too much sense.  The new restoration of the 1972 film played at Cannes and, of course, was directed by Telluride legend Werner Herzog.  Additionally, Herzog will have the new 650 seat theater (hockey pavilion converted to cinema) named in his honor as part of this year's 40th wing ding.  What do you bet that "The Zog" (my name for the new theater) opens with this as its first film?  Sounds about right to me.

5) "The Immigrant": James Gray directs and co-wrote the script.  It stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix.  TFF #39 attendees saw a few minutes of this last year as part of the tribute to Cotillard with Mr. Gray in attendance.  My bet is that they had this year's fest slot settled on at that point.  Further evidence?  Gray's presence at Telluride's Hollywood soiree a few weeks back.

6) "Life Itself":  Based on Roger Ebert's autobiography you can bet that with Mr. Ebert's passing and his long association with TFF in mind,  that the festival programmers have nabbed the Martin Scorsese produced documentary for The SHOW.  Here's the original story that flat out says it will be a part of this year's program:

7) "The Invisible Woman":  Earlier this week as I was analyzing Sony Pictures Classics slate of potential films I mentioned Ralph Fiennes "The Invisible Women" was iffy since its announced release date is Feb. 2014 in Britain.  My speculation was that seemed like a long time after TFF...but I did conclude by saying that I hadn't completely ruled it out.  Good for me as you will see below.  For this spot in the blog...let's just say, the film that focuses on Charles Dickens and his secret lover looks likely now

8) "Labor Day": I'm betting that Jason Reitman returns.  After "Juno" and "Up in the Air" both played here, Reitman's last film "Young Adult" did not.  I'm guessing that Reitman returns to the San Juans with this latest film that stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.

9) "12 Years a Slave":  I admit, my guess here is based purely on the fact that Steve McQueen's previous efforts, "Hunger" and "Shame" both appeared at Telluride.  It's also in the Fox Searchlight wheelhouse.  A lot of smart people think it will play Venice and I haven't found anyone, besides myself, who has it going to Telluride.  But remember, "Shame" played both Venice and T-ride.  So put it at #8 and hope.

10) "Like Father, Like Son":  Well received at Cannes and under the Sundance Selects umbrella.  The film focuses on the choice one man must make when it is discovered that his son was accidentally switched at birth and that another boy is actually his own.

On the edge:  Sundance Selects other Cannes films including Palme d'Or winner "Blue is the Warmest Color", "The Selfish Giant" and "Young and Beautiful".  SPC's "Only Lovers Left Alive", "The Lunchbox" and "For No Good Reason".  Bertrand Tavernier's new film "Quai d'Orsay", Errol Morris's Donald Rumsfeld documentary "The Unkonwn Known".  TWC's "One Chance", "Philomena" and "Salinger".  Also, don't forget "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner's film directing debut "You Are Here".

Let's see how it plays out over the next couple of months.


Fox Searchlight has a hit and miss history with the Telluride Film Festival over the past decade.  It's been a substantial player some years and has been absent in others.  Here's the FS presence at T-ride for the past ten years:

2004: Kinsey
2005: Bee Season
2006: The Last King of Scotland, The Namesake
2007: Juno, The Savages
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2010: Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Millions
2011: Shame, The Descendants

13 films in ten years.  The highwater mark coming in 2010 with 4 films on the SHOW list but '03, '09 and '12 with no films at all.  Looking at their current lineup of films purportedly ready:

"12 Years a Slave"
"Black Nativity"
and "Baggage Claim"

Of them, only "12 Years" seems like a solid Telluride pick what with director Steve McQueen's past with the festival.  I think "Baggage Claim" is really unlikely.  "Black Nativity" is really an intriguing possibility.  It's described as a "contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes celebrated play" and is adapted and directed by Kasi Lemmons whose previous directing crdits include "Talk to Me", "The Caveman's Valentine" and "Eve's Bayou".  I could see this being on the TFF list.  Notice also, that Fox Searchlight hasn't gone two straight years without some presence at the SHOW.

Here are your chances:

"12 Years" 55%
"Black Nativity" 35%
"Baggage Claim" 10%


No distributor has historically had a stronger presence at the Telluride Film Festival than Sony Pictures Classics.  Fest hondos usually tell people that they program between 24 and 30 feature films each year.  For the last ten years, SPC has averaged 4.6 films per festival...or somewhere in the neighborhood of 18% of the T-ride slate each year comes from the SPC stable.

Here's what SPC has shown in Telluride in the last decade:

2012:The Gatekeepers, At Any Price, Rust and Bone, No, Wadjda, Amour
2011: A Dangerous Method, In Darkness, Footnote, A Separation
2010: Incendies, Of Gods and Men, Tamara Drewe, Another Year, The Illusionist, Inside Job
2009: The Last Station, The White Ribbon, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, An Education
2008: Waltz with Bashir, I've Loved You So Long, O'Horten
2007: Brick Lane, When Did You Last See Your Father, Persepolis, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters
2006: Jindabyne, The Lives of Others, Volver, The Italian
2005: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, Cache, The Child
2004: Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, Merchant of Venice, Up and Down, Yes
2003: The Fog of War, My Life Without Me, The Triplets of Belleville, Young Adam

So we can look at this as a template and know that unless something has drastically changed, SPC will be at TFF #40 and likely in a big way.  So what is in the SPC house right now?

According to IMDb, this is the 2013 (and slightly beyond) list of SPC films:

The Invisible Woman
The Raid 2
Blue Jasmine
For No Good Reason
Only Lovers Left Alive
The Lunchbox
The Past
I'm So Excited
Before Midnight
Kill Your Darlings
The Patience Stone

First, eliminate the films already in release:  "Before Midnight",
Next, films that have played U.S. fests already or have a set release date prior to Telluride: "The Patience Stone", "Kill Your Darlings", "Austenland", "I'm So Excited",and "Blue Jasmine".

That leaves 7 films.  Mike Leigh's "Turner" is reportedly still filming and I don't think "The Raid 2" is likely Telluride fare.

That leaves us with 5 films:

Ralph Fiennes' "The Invisible Woman"
Asghar Farhadi's Cannes competition Best Actress winning (Berenice Bejo) "The Past".
Jim Jarmusch's Tilda Swinton starring "Only Lovers Left Alive"...also a Cannes film.
The Ralph Steadman documentary "For No Good Reason" and
Recent SPC acquisition "The Lunchbox".

I think they could all play at Telluride.  At this point, I'd be surprised if "The Past" WASN'T there and Friday, The London Daily Mail/Mail Online let slip that "The Invisible Woman" would be playing Telluride.

I have some reservations about "Only Lovers" and "For No Good Reason".  I actually feel pretty confident about "The Lunchbox".

"Only Lovers" has some other things going for it to suggest that it's a potential Telluride was a Cannes film, Tilda Swinton stars and is said to have really enjoyed her tribute year in 2011.  Reportedly she'd like to come back.  Director/writer Jim Jarmusch has been a T-ride player before...albeit a long time ago ("Stranger Than Paradise" in 1984 and "Mystery Train" in 1989).  All of that suggests that I should be putting it on the "Ten Bets" list Friday...but it's about vampires...which I find a little strange for Telluride #40. Still, it has a lot going for it.

My reluctance concerning "For No Good Reason" stems from no other Telluride connection.

"The Lunchbox"  seems right in a T-ride sweet spot.  Indian, Cannes (Critic's week section) and its description of a lunchbox delivery gone awry and the consequences that spring from that sound Telluride-friendly as well.

T-ride chances for these four?

"The Invisible Women" 95%
"The Past" 90%
"The Lunchbox" 80%
"For No Good Reason" 50%
"Only Lovers Left Alive"  50%


Only a player in distribution for just a few years, Sundance Selects has been present at the Telluride Film Festival for the last three fests at various levels of involvement.

2010: The Princess of Montpensier, Tabloid
2011: The Forgiveness of Blood, The Kid with a Bike, Goodbye First Love and Into the Abyss
2012: The Central Park Five

At this point, the possible Sundance Selects offerings amount to 5 films that played at Cannes:

Palme d'Or winner "Blue is the Warmest Color", Jury Prize winner "Like Father, Like Son", Francois Ozon's "Young and Beautiful", Clio Bernard's "The Selfish Giant" and Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur".

My feeling is that "Like Father..." and "The Selfish Giant" might be the more likely T-ride choices...though "Blue" and "Young and Beautiful" seem very possible as well.

Polanski's film seems like the least likely of the five from Cannes.

Sundance Selects also has a documentary entitled "The Summit" which has played in 2 film fests in England and Ireland...that could be a possibility.


"Like Father, Like Son" 70%
"The Selfish Giant" 70%

"Blue is the Warmest Color" 60%
"Young and Beautiful" 50%
"Venus in Fur" 20%
""The Summit" 20%


IFC films has been a fairly substantial presence at Telluride over the past several years.  The firms highlight year probably was 2008 (the writer's strike year) when it was represented by 5 films.  IFC Films sometimes partners with Sundance Selects.

Here's the film record for IFC Films at Telluride for the past ten years:

2003: Touching the Void, Intermission
2004: Nobody Knows
2005: Three Times
2006: Deep Water, Indigenes
2007: Secret Sunshine, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Jar City
2008: Hunger, Gomorrah, Flame and Citron, Everlasting Moments, The Good, the Bad and the Weird
2009: Fish Tank, Red Riding Trilogy, Life During Wartime, Vincere
2010: The Princess of Montpensier, Carlos
2011: Into the Abyss, Pina
2012: Frances Ha

IFC Films averages 2.3 films per year at the Telluride Film Festival over the last decade.  So what do they have in the pipeline that looks Telluride-y?

IMDb lists the following as IFC Films distribution vehicles that haven't or will not have opened or played at a North American film festival:

Cannes entry "Young and Beautiful" (with Sundance Selects)
Mountain climbing documentary "The Summit" (also with Sundance Selects)
"The Face of Love" starring Robin Williams and Ed Harris

Three...that's all...three.

My money's on "Young and Beautiful" at this point.  I rated it's chances yesterday at 50%...I'm bumping that up to 60% today.  "The Summit" stays at 20% and "Face of Love"...I'm putting at 10%.


Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob have had a fairly common presence at the Telluride Film Festival over the years.  Their current incarnation is as The Weinstein Company.  Previously they were Miramax.  Tracking both companies as distributors at Telluride for the past decade shows us that they've been a part of The SHOW for a good long while.  Here's their Telluride slate as Miramax or The Weinstein Company since 2005:

2003: The Barbarian Invasions, Best of Youth, I'm Not Scared
2006: Venus
2007: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, My Enemy's Enemy, I'm Not There
2008: Happy-Go-Lucky
2009: The Road
2010: The King's Speech
2011: The Artist, Butter
2012: The Sapphires  (also was represented during the Marion Cotillard tribute by James Gray and 5 min. of The Immigrant)

So over 10 years...13 films.  1.3 per year and TWC has been repped at TFF consistently each year since 2006.  So expect one or two TWC films on the TFF #40 slate.  What's possible?

According to IMDb this is what TWC has in its wheelhouse for the fall (that, as usual, hasn't already appeared in the U.S. or won't open here until after The SHOW):

You can probably discount "Leo the Lion" "The Trick or Treaters" and "Man of Tai Chi".

"The Immigrant"
"August: Osage County"
"The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet"
"One Chance"
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
"Grace of Monaco"

So there are probably these 9 that are legit possibles.  If you've read the blog, you already know that I'm high on "The Immigrant" being at T-ride in its full form.  If that's true and TWC's past performance (particularly the last 7 years) we might see one other film from the TWC shingle, two at most.


I think your best shots are: "Salinger", "One Chance" and "Philomena" with "Spivet" as an outside shot.

"August", "Mandela" and "Grace" are probably off the table.  I'd not be surprised that "August" doesn't do ANY festival in the fall.  Maybe New York.

My guess is that "Grace" and "Mandela" will do some combination of Toronto and NY and that "Snowpiercer" is Toronto all he way.


"Immigrant" 80%
"Salinger" 45%
"Philomena" 40%
"One Chance" 35%
"Spivet" 25%
"Mandela" 20%
"Grace" 10%
"August" 10%
"Snowpiercer" 5%


I don't have a lot of feel that Ridley Scott's drama starring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender has a realistic shot at being in the Telluride field.  But I'd like it to be (note:  some of things that I haven't thought had a prayer might actually be a part of the 40th festivities...rumors...whispers...can't say anything).

Nonetheless, a teaser trailer dropped for the eagerly anticipated film yesterday.  Check it and the attached stories here:


Rope of Silicon:


Yesterday was the trailer for Ridley Scott's "The Counselor".  Today, from The Playlist, a look at some stills from the film.  The post also includes a segment of the screenplay by Cormac McCarthy.


No sooner had I started a tiny bit of speculation that Terry Gilliam's "The Zero Theorem" had an outside shot at making it to Telluride than some footage shows up on the interweb.

Rope of Silicon, The Playlist and Hit Fix all have stories but you won't be surprised to learn that the "trailer" has been taken down at all three websites.  

I looked at it last night and it is very interesting, fun and Gilliam-esque.  Many have already commented that it seems to be thematically in the "Brazil" mode.

Gilliam has been a past Telluride, if it's ready...maybe this could be in the San Juan's in 9 weeks or so.

Here are the links to the previously referenced stories:


It's no secret that I'm a Coen Brothers fan.  It's no secret that I've been hot for their new film "Inside Llewyn Davis" since we found out about it.  It inspired some whimsy here a few months ago about turning all of the Coen Brothers canon of films into musicals.

And I'd love for ILD to be among the films that make the SHOW list...but that's soooo unlikely.  No Coen history with TFF...which I find hard to believe.  For a long time, I was convinced that "Blood Simple" had played The SHOW back in '84...and I was wrong.

Nevertheless, HitFix posted yesterday the news of the track list and artists on the "Inside Llewyn Davis" soundtrack.  It's cool.  No surprises that Oscar Issac is on it.  No real surprise that co-stars Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan are on it.  A little surprise that Mulligan's hubby Marcus Mumford is on it....again, cool.

Also cool, the tune "The Last Thing on My Mind" appears on the soundtrack.  It was written by Tom Paxton, who I got to meet last fall at the Tumbleweed Festival in Garden City, KS.  Feels like I can almost touch the actual record!

Here's the link to the HitFix posts:

Oh...were Llewyn to be in T-ride...I might actually have to "I'm not worthy" the Coen Brothers on Colorado Ave.  But the chances are virtually non-existent.  Just gonna have to make do with the soundtrack download.

Have a good weekend.

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More on Monday.

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