Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Views of "Two Days"/Clues are Coming/Best of the Week: Ten Bets #4, The Usual Suspects and More

Welcome to Saturday and I hope your weekend is off to a good start.


The Playlist posted a slew of new images from Jean Luc and Pierre Dardennes "Two Days, One Night" starring Marion Cotillard on Friday and I have passed that along to you with a couple of those photos here

as well as a link to the story here:


The Toronto International Film Festival is expected to begin announcing their lineup of films early this coming week.  That announcement is expected to come Thursday.  IF the Toronto requirement that film makers adhere to a strict policy regarding World and North American premieres then we should be able to use the announcement to eliminate some films for Telluride inclusion.  This assumes that the announcement will include the "premiere" status of each film, and, though Toronto has included that status in announcements in the past, there's no guarantee that they will in this year's set of announcements.  Though, even the choice not include a film's "premiere" status might tell us some things.

The other factor is whether or not the various studios/distributors play ball 100%.  I can envision a scenario much like the past few years wherein Toronto announces a "world" premiere that still sneaks beforehand at Telluride.

Like screenwriter William Goldman said, "Nobody knows anything".  Still, parsing the information we should get this week will be fun.



Here's this week's predictions for the 41st Telluride Film Festival via the latest "Ten Bets"

First, here are last week's "Ten Bets":

10) The Look of Silence
9) Red Army
8) Winter Sleep
7) Foxcatcher
6) The Roosevelts
5) Leviathan
4) Queen of the Desert
3) Mr. Turner
2) Two Days, One Night
1) Birdman

And now, this week...

10) Wild
9) Red Army
8) Foxcatcher
7) The Look of Silence
6) Leviathan
5) The Roosevelts
4) Two Days, One Night
3) Mr. Turner
2) Queen of the Desert
1) Birdman



Over the last week, I did my annual rundown of U.S. film distributors that have a had at least some semblance of a relationship with the Telluride Film Festival and attempted to bring a critical eye to the offerings of each of those companies in terms of what might make the grade for TFF #41.  Today, I shift the focus away from companies and onto individuals, primarily directors, but occasionally producers, writers and actors that have also appeared frequently at Telluride.  I call them "The Usual Suspects".  I have a list of around three dozen people that make the list.

It's also a list that fluctuates with the times.  Had I been writing this 35 years ago Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese would have probably made the list.  Not now, despite Coppola's return to Telluride last year.  For the purposes of this blog, I will sometimes re-add someone who has fallen off as you will see Peter Bogdanovich included later this week.

I won't be including all 35-36 because not all of the members of "The Usuals" have a film ready to play. Ultimately this year's list of "Suspects" numbers 14 who have a total of 16 films between them that are Telluride-possible.  I'll break it into three parts beginning with Part One today.

Let's start withe the most usual of the suspects which is Werner Herzog.  A Telluride without Herzog is a rare thing and the film maker almost always has some project that is ready for display.  This year is no different as Herzog's name is attached to two films that could, and I suspect will play at TFF #41,  Herzog directs "Queen of the Desert" which is reportedly ready and which Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells flat says is a lock for Telluride.  I agree.  It's #4 on last week's "Ten Bets" list.

In addition to "Queen" which stars Nicole Kidman, Herzog is also a producer of the Joshua Oppenheimer directed documentary "The Look of Silence" which is the sequel to "The Act of Killing" which played Telluride as well.  I'm a pretty firm believer that this film will make the 2014 T-ride lineup as well. Accordingly, I have "Look of Silence" listed at #10 on last week's "Ten Bets".

Another big time "Usual" is documentary film maker Ken Burns.  Burns and Herzog share insider status at Telluride.  Both are regarded as part of the T-ride hierarchy.  Burns is also almost always there and almost always has a project available to be programmed.  This year he has "The Roosevelts"'s scheduled to run on PBS just days after the festival concludes.  Consequently, I have it listed at #6.  

Another quick note about Burns.  I made a big deal last year that I thought that Burns would aid in the programming of the Native American silent film "Daughter of the Dawn".  I thought that was going to happen for most of last year and I was wrong, of course.  But I wouldn't be shocked if the film didn't pop up at this year's festival.

Usual suspect #3 is Errol Morris.  Morris is working away on a couple of his own projects but is, like Herzog, a producer of Oppenheimer's "Look of Silence" giving that film an even higher likelihood of making the Telluride lineup.

Usual Suspect #4 is Alexander Payne.  No one (with the exception maybe of Jason Reitman) has made his way onto the list of "The Usual Suspects" more quickly than Payne has over the past few years.  Problem is that Payne doesn't have a strong candidate for inclusion this year.  Payne is listed as an executive producer of "Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter" which might get it some traction had it not played a bunch of festivals already including Sundance and Nantucket here in the U.S.

I suspect that Payne will be attending this year's fest in Telluride because he loves the festival.  It's also a better than even  bet that he programs a film which is not his own as he has done before. 

Perhaps, this year, Payne will simply be in support of companion Laura Dern.  Last I knew, they were still an item and Dern could easily be a "Telluride Twofer" this year as she appears in Jean Marc Vallee's "Wild" and Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes" both of which could play the festival.


I'm continuing my rundown of common players at Telluride fests that have films thought to be ready for presentation.  Yesterday I wrote about Herzog, Burns, Payne and Morris.  Today...

Mark Cousins...Cousins has been a part of the Telluride program in four of the last five years and I suspect that he'll return this year.  He has a documentary that he co-directed with Iranian film maker Mania Akbari.
The film is described as a conversation/discourse between the two.  "Life May Be" has played the Edinburgh and Karlovy Vary Fests this summer.  I think there's a very high probability that this film plays.

Iranian film maker Mania Akbari (via The Guardian)

"Life May Be's " IMDb page is here:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu... Inarritu has become a fixture at Telluride.  Both "Babel" and "Biutiful" played the fest and Inarritu attended last year in support of his friend, Alfonso Cuaron, for a little picture called "Gravity".  It may be instructive to know that "Gravity" played Venice and then came to Telluride.

As I'm sure you know, Inarritu's "Birdman" will open the Venice fest on Aug. 27th.  T-ride opens Aug. I really expect to see "Birdman" at Telluride.  My questions are: Will Keaton come along? (A Keaton tribute?) and will Cuaron return Inarritu's favor and just be a guest this year...because that wouldn't surprise me at all.  Nevertheless, count on "Birdman" (it's at # 1 on the last week's Ten Bets).

"Birdman's" IMDb page:

Mike Leigh...the writer/director has been at Telluride a number of times.  He's been a long time player at TFF beginning over a quarter century ago with 1988's "High Hopes".  He's also been at TFF with "Secrets and Lies" in '96 (he was the recipient of a tribute) , "Happy Go Lucky" in '08, and "Another Year" in '10.

Now, Leigh has "Mr. Turner" ready after its competition run at Cannes in May and Timothy Spall's win for Best Actor there. I fully expect "Mr. Turner" to make an appearance at TFF #41 and further, I suspect Mr. Spall will attend as well.

"Mr. Turner's" IMDb page is here:

Jean-Luc and Pierre Dardennes...have also become regulars at Telluride over the past few years.  They tribute recipients in 2005 which included the presentation of  "The Child" and were back in 2011 with "The Kid with a Bike".  This year, they have "Two Days, One Night" starring another TFF Tributee, Marion Cotillard.  Sundance Selects has the distribution, so all of these factors considered make me believe that "Two Days" is also a likely Telluride play.

My question here is": "Will Marion return to Telluride?"  That question has an additional component in that she has another film that could play, Justin Kurzel's "MacBeth" with Michael Fassbender in the title role. Could Cotillard double dip at T-ride?  I hope so!

Here's the link to the "Two Days, One Night" IMDb page:

And finally, today's last "Usual Suspect" is Olivier Assayas.  Assayas fits a familiar profile listed in a number of the "Usual Suspects" mentioned above.  His film "Clouds of Sils Maria" played well at Cannes.  Juliette Binoche was named Best Actress for the film at Cannes by the International Cinephile Society.  But of all the "Usual Suspects" listed today, Assayas has, perhaps, the sketchiest Telluride resume.  His "Irma Vep" played in 1996 and "Carlos" in 2010.  His 2012 film "Something in the Air" played Venice, Toronto and New York but not Telluride.

All of these factors have made me a bit squeamish about "Clouds of Sils Maria" making it onto Telluride's program.  I wouldn't be surprised, but I'm much less bullish about its chances than any of the other "Usuals" listed in today's blog.

I also wouldn't be stunned if a Juliette Binoche tribute was a part of a package that included the presentation of "Clouds".

Its IMDb page is here:


Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach in Telluride in 2012 (photo via Kristy Patterson)

Today we start with Noah Baumbach.  Baumbach is interesting "Usual Suspect" this year as he may...and I stress "may", have two potential projects that could play the fest.  Baumbach's past with Telluride includes "Margot at the Wedding" in 2007 and his collaboration with Greta Gerwig in 2012, "Frances Ha".

Baumbach has collaborated again with Ms. Gerwig in what is still being referenced as "Untitled Public School Project".  IMDb lists it as being in post-production as of late April.  If you'll recall, however, "Frances Ha" was similarly under-the-radar when it appeared at Telluride two years ago.

The other Baumbach project seems to be farther along and more is known about it.  Entitled "While We're Young" it stars Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried.  It is also listed by IMDb as being in post as of late February.

My expectation is that one of these two films play Telluride.  Each would have its merits.  I love me some Greta Gerwig, loved "Frances Ha" and am curious about what she and Baumbach might have cooked up. On the other hand,  the inclusion of "While We're Young" might also get Ben Stiller in town on Labor Day weekend and I would add him to my currently imaginary panel of comic actors working serious that at the moment would include Michaell Keaton from Inarritu's "Birdman" and Steve Carell from Miller's "Foxcatcher".

Again, I'll bet one if not both Baumbach's play.

IMDb pages for "While We're Young" and "Untitled Public School":

Stephen Frears

Stephen Frears...if reports are to be believed, and I do believe them, was supposed to have been a late addition to Telluride last year with "Philomena".  That didn't work out.  There was even some rumor floating about that Frears might have been Guest Director or one of them but that didn't work out either.

Nevertheless, Frears has another project this year that could make appearance and that is his "Untitled Lance Armstrong Biopic" starring Ben Foster as the now disgraced bicyclist.

Frears was the recipient of a TFF tribute in 1987 that included a screening of "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid' and was back in 2010 with "Tamara Drewe".

My feeling is that this is an "iffy" proposition for Telluride.  IMDb lists it as being in post-production as of mid-January but Frears (despite my listing him as an "Usual") has a hit and miss record with T-ride.  It's also difficult to assess what effect the events of last year might have.

Ultimately, I think the chances of us seeing the Frears project this Labor Day is about 30%.


Next up is Wim Wenders.  Wenders was an early Telluride participant and then came back strong recently. Wenders, like Baumbach, has a couple of projects that could show at The SHOW.  First, his Cannes documentary "Salt of the Earth" that looks at the life of photographer Sebastiao Salgado.  The film won a couple of awards at Cannes and is in the Sony Pictures Classics stable so you have to think it's a very real T-ride possibility (I've already had it on my "Ten Bets" list this summer).

Wim Wenders

The other Wenders project is the feature film "Every Thing Will Be Fine" which stars James Franco and Rachel McAdams.  It is listed as being in post-production as of last month.  I think that it's much less likely to show up on the program.

"Salt" chances: 60%


"Every Thing" chances: 20%


Lone Scherfig

Then there's Lone Scherfig.  Scherfig played Telluride in 2001 with "Italian for Beginners" in 2001 and was back again in 2009 with "An Education" (in one of those really rare instances where a film played at Sundance and then at happens about once a decade).  Scherfig has a new film in post-production called "Riot Club" starring Natalie Dormer which focuses on Oxford's "Riot Club".  The film is set to premiere in England and Ireland on Sept. 19th so a Telluride play would work nicely for it.  The lack of a U.S. distribution deal may slow its chances, however.

Right now I'd give "Riot Club" only a 25% chance of playing Telluride.

"Riot Club's" IMDb:

Finally, today, two guys that used to be "Usuals" that might return to the party.

John Boorman is listed on Telluride's "Esteemed Council of Advisers" and has been for a good long time as has Peter Bogdanovich.

Peter Bogdanovich and John Boorman

Boorman has a sequel in the can of his Oscar nominated "Hope and Glory".  This film is entitled "Queen and Country".  Bogdanovich also has a film entitled "Squirrels to the Nuts" which reportedly hearkens back to the film maker's heyday of comedies like "Paper Moon" and "What's Up Doc?"  It stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson as well as past Bogdo stars Cybil Shepherd and Tatum O'Neal.

IMDb for "Queen and Country":

Of these two, I feel "Queen and Country" has a reasonable shot to make the lineup...say 40%.  "Squirrels" seems to be less likely to me.  Out its chances at 25%.

IMDb for "Squirrels":


We come to the close of the week with a quick look at a couple of names that might otherwise be included in the "Ten Bets"...

In past years, I have included Jason Reitman's films with regularity in terms of Telluride guesswork but this year is different because of the pressure that Toronto has brought to bear on the programming status of films.  Consequently, I am expecting that Reitman will skip Telluride this year and take "Men, Women and Children" to Toronto and quite probably New York later on.

Also, I would, in most years, have thought David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" would have been a prime Telluride possibility but owing to Toronto's insistence and Cronenberg's probable fealty to Canada and TIFF, I expect it will go that way as well.


Jean Marc Vallee's follow up to "Dallas Buyers Club" is "Wild' starring Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon.
Over the last few days we have seen a new poster appear as well as a trailer for the film.  Here's the trailer:

"Wild" Trailer via YouTube

 and the poster:

Friend of MTFB Kris Tapley, writing at HitFix, seems to think that "Wild" could be a Telluride choice as you'll see when you read this post from the weekend:

Here is a another post about the trailer:


Al Pacino as "Manglehorn" (photo via Hollywood Elsewhere)

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere suggested yesterday that David Gordon Green's "Manglehorn" will play at Telluride.  The film stars Al Pacino as an Austin, TX. based ex-con who can't let go of his past.  Honestly, this film hasn't been on my Telluride radar in  any significant way up until now, but you have to take Wells pretty seriously.

Pacino previously was a guest at Telluride in 2000 with his very own "Chinese Coffee".

Here's the link to the Wells story:

And "Manglehorn's" IMDb page:

If it comes to pass, do I smell an Al Pacino tribute?


The Playlist, among others, posted the first official photo of Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" which, as noted above, I fully expect to be included as a part of the TFF #41 program.

The film has been described as something like David Lean's classic "Lawrence of Arabia" and is based on the true story of Gertrude Bell with Nicole Kidman in that role.  

Above is the photo and here's the link to the The Playlist's accompanying story:


Movie City News' David Poland added his two cents (actually more than two) to the whole Toronto ultimatum concerning premieres, their first weekend and Telluride's programming.   It's a lengthy article and has some interesting, thought-provoking things to say about the situation.  It also includes a proposal for a compromise concerning independent, small and/or foreign films caught in the vortex of Toronto's demand.

Take a look at it here:


"Gone Girl" trailer from YouTube

Variety posted last night that David Fincher's "Gone Girl" will open the New York Film Festival and though I have been consistent in saying it wasn't likely for Telluride, this announcement makes it all but official.  Check the Variety story here:

Incidentally, the announcement stirred up some Twitter traffic about other possible NYFF possible choices for closing night and the mid-fest special screening and as a part of that there was some further mention that there is some buzz about Nolan's "Interstellar" playing Telluride.  Rumors are rumors, but it's still fun to think about.


Deadline has weighed in after the announcement earlier this week concerning David Fincher's "Gone Girl" and its selection as the opening film for the New York Film Fest.

Pete Hammond dropped a few interesting tidbits not the least of which was the word that Warner Brothers (which has had a great run the last two years at Telluride with "Argo" and "Gravity") has no plans to play T-ride this year..  That, if true, would definitively remove "Inherent Vice" (which I have thought was unlikely all along) as well as "The Judge" and "The Good Lie" from the Telluride list of possibilities.  Up until that comment, I had thought "Good Lie" and"The Judge" might be real possibilities.

Hammond does suggest that he believes that Telluride is likely to have "Birdman", "Wild", "Foxcatcher" and "Mr. Turner"...all of which appear on the latest "Ten Bets" list above.

And the most intriguing note at the end of the post regards the hot rumor that "Interstellar" is a real possibility.

Check Hammond's entire post here:

More on Monday...have a great weekend!

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