Saturday, August 31, 2013

Telluride Day Two/Day Three TBAs and Sneaks

Telluride Day Two…

This is the eighth SHOW I’ve attended and I’ve had some wondrous experiences but Friday might take the cake.

I began the day with the tribute to Robert Redford which was wonderful.  An hour or so of clips which reminded me of so much great work that Redford has done and also made me want to re-watch some of my personal favorites: “All the President’s Men”, “A River Runs Through It” which he narrated and directed, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”…many others.  The clip reel was followed by an entertaining Q&A led by John Horn of the Los Angeles Times.

Robert Redford

Following the tribute, I caught Penn and Teller’s documentary “Tim’s Vermeer”.  The film focuses on Texas inventor Tim Jenison and his search for a way to replicate the complex painting style of Johannes Vermeer.  Sounds pretty dull, but nope.  In fact, it’s the second most enthusiastic reception for a film I’ve seen this weekend.  Penn Jillette produced; Teller directed a film that ends up with an audience rooting for Tim to be successful.  The emotion was no doubt heightened by the presence of Mr. Jenison in the theater.

Then I caught J.C. Chador’s sophomore effort, the highly anticipated “All is Lost” starring Redford.  Redford plays “Our Man” a nameless guy who is sailing solo in the Indian Ocean.  Things go awry and quickly spiral out of control.  Soon “Our Man” is in desperate straits and all alone.  The man vs. the elements story is tight.  I wrote via Twitter “All is Lost” is simple, spare, beautifully shot and Redford acts his ass off”.   It really may be the legend’s finest film performance…and with almost no dialogue.

 Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Michael Fassbender

I ended the day with sneak preview showing of Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave”.  McQueen as well as stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and star/producer Brad Pitt were in attendance.  The film is incredible.  Following the film there came a standing ovation for the director and cast as they took the stage for a brief Q&A.  Reactions from across the board Friday night were effusive in praise for McQueen, the cast, John Ridley’s screenplay.  I tweeted “The Oscar race might be over.  Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong’o shine.  McQueen is genius.”

Other comments: Jeff Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere called it “Masterful, tender and eloquent”.  Eric Kohn/IndieWire called it “maybe the best movie about slavery ever”.  Alex Billington/FirstShowing said, “A profound cinematic achievement on every level”.  Greg Ellwood/HitFix said, “Powerful…a stunning turn by Chiwetel Ejiofor”. 

There are a number of mentions of probable Oscar nominations.  You have to think McQueen, Ridley, Ejiofor, Fassbender, Nyong’o and, of course Best Picture.  Also score, costumes seem likely to me at least.

My final analysis of “12 Years a Slave”…transcendent film making that seems to me to be in a class with “Schindler’s List”. 

Day Three will include the Coen Brothers tribute and Ralph Fiennes “The Invisible Woman” and more.

More from Telluride tomorrow.


Prisoners                  Palm/Sat 8:30a

A father (Hugh Jackman) goes ballistic trying to punish the suspected abductor (Paul Dano) of his daughter and another girl, while running afoul of the diligent cop (Jake Gyllenhaal) working the case. Sounds like countless hours of TV procedural-cop dramas? Nope. Director Denis Villeneuve (INCENDIES, TFF 2010), working from Aron Guzikowski’s fiendishly inventive script, reaches Dostoyevskian depths, creating a terrifying, morally ambiguous universe where ordinary human decency faces the harshest of tests. The superb supporting cast includes Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, and Melissa Leo. It may surprise you that Hollywood genre moves can still be this good. (U.S., 2013, 158m) In person: Denis Villeneuve

Prisoners Q&A                 Palm/Sat 8p

12 Years a Slave           Chuck Jones Cinema/Sat 8p

Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an impeccable middle-class attorney with a happy family and superb skills as a violinist, is an African American free from birth who has never spent a moment of his life confronting the horrors of black experience down South. Pursuing a business opportunity in Washington, DC, he is kidnapped and enslaved, and descends into a harrowing nightmare of moral corruption and irrational violence. Director Steve McQueen (HUNGER, SHAME) and screenwriter John Ridley shape Northrup’s memoir into a vivid, compelling historical fresco, with superb performances from Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, in his third collaboration with McQueen, Lupita Nyong'o, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti and Brad Pitt. (USA, 2013, 133m) In person: Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o

12 Years a Slave    Q&A    Werner Herzog/Sat noon

3 All Is Lost CJC/Sat 11p

15 Tim’s Vermeer Masons/Sat 6p   

7 The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden  Le Pierre/Sat 12:30p             

19 Fifi Howls from Happiness   Q&A Le Pierre/Sat 9p  


4p Elks Park

Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o with Scott Foundas

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