Saturday, July 26, 2014

Toronto Opens with "The Judge"/Best of the Week: Ten Bets #5; Parsing the Toronto Announcement and Analysis; Venice Announces; Rumor Central

It's a Saturday!  Woo and Hoo!


The Toronto International Film Festival announced late Friday morning that "The Judge" starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall.  What are we to make of this?

What makes the announcement curious is that we already knew that "The Judge" was going to play Toronto as a World Premiere and as a Gala which presumably means that they had the talent all lined up when they announced the film on Tuesday.  So why wasn't it announced as the opener then?

A couple of reasons come to mind.  It could be as simple as having to have cleared dates with all the people involved in the film.  Maybe Downey or Duvall had to move some things around to accommodate the opening night date.  OR...TIFF was after a BIG FISH or two that they just couldn't reel in.

That second option is certainly possible.  Brad Brevet/Rope of Silicon reporting on the story yesterday wrote:

"Now it turns out they announced the film, just not the fact it going to serve as the opener.  Which easily leads us to believe that were hoping for something else but didn't get it."

Here's Brad's complete story:

So, what if scenario #2 is correct?  What could the BIG FISH have been that may be a Telluride play?

Leading candidates would likely be:

"Big Eyes"
"A Most Violent Year"
"St. Vincent"

I'm looking forward to next Tuesday when we're also supposed to hear another wave of titles chosen for Toronto.  That could give us some further clues to ponder.


TEN BETS 2014 #5

A segment each week where I guesstimate the ten films I think are most likely to be in the Telluride lineup when it's announced.

We start off with anew "Ten Bets" that takes into account the information we think we gleaned from the Toronto and Venice announcements earlier this week.

Here are last week's Ten Bets:

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

Now, here's the new Ten Bets:

10) Leviathan
9) Two Days, One Night
8) Rosewater
7) The Imitation Game
6) Wild Tales
5) Queen of the Desert
4) Wild
3) Birdman
2) Mr. Turner
1) Foxcatcher

Note: I still have a pretty good feel that the films ghat dropped off the Ten Bets this week will likely play (i.e. "The Look of Silence", "The Roosevelts" and "Red Army").  I'm still not convinced that "99 Homes" makes the journey from Venice to Telluride.  Scheduling might give us a clue.


The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films for their lineup this morning.  It may tell us some things about Telluride...and Venice (which announces their big guns Thursday).

Before I attempt to take this apart, a couple of caveats...

1) We believe that Toronto is going to follow their own announced policy of labeling films "World" or "North American" premieres to the extent that those films will not play Telluride and/or Venice earlier.

2) That they have the information from the distrib/producer types in order to make that call.

That said, here's what we "know" from this morning's announcement:

Selected Toronto Galas and their premiere status:

"Foxcatcher" Canadian Premiere
"The Judge" World
"Riot Club" World
"Wild" International

Select Special Presentations and their premiere status:

"99 Homes" Canadian
"Coming Home" North American
"The Drop" World
"Eden" World
"Force Majeure" North American
"The Good Lie" World
"The Imitation Game" Canadian
"Love and Mercy" World
"Manglehorn" North American
"Maps to the Stars" North American
"Men, Women and Children" World
"Miss Julie" World
"Mr. Turner" Canadian
"Phoenix" World
"Rosewater" Canadian
"Theory of Everything" World
"While We're Young" World
"Wild Tales" Canadian


Here's what seems to be your best guesses based on the announcement this morning about films that could be headed to Telluride:

"Foxcatcher", "Wild", ""99 Homes", "The Imitation Game", "Mr. Turner", "Rosewater" and "Wild Tales".

Films that surprised me by the "World Premiere" status: Bill Pohlad's "Love and Mercy" and Noah Baumbach's "While We're Young" (perhaps the "Untitled Public School Project" shows up at Telluride?)

Films of interest not mentioned at all this morning: "Birdman", "Fury", "Unbroken","Interstellar", "A Most Violent Year", "Macbeth", "Suite Francaise", "Carol", "Clouds of Sils Maria", "Two Days,One Night", "Every Thing Will Be Fine", "The Homesman", "St. Vincent", "Big Eyes", "Suffragette", and "Far from the Madding Crowd"

Also a announcement of an opening film...very weird. (NOTE: IT'S "THE JUDGE".  SEE ABOVE)

I'm personally very excited, if this pans out, for "Foxcatcher", "The Imitation Game" and "Rosewater".

Here's the complete breakdown of films and descriptions from The Playlist:


As a number of his colleagues have done since Tuesday's Toronto announcement, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg has filed a lengthy analysis concerning the efficacy of Toronto's premiere policy.  It makes for some interesting reading for those so inclined.  You can find it here:


Also weighing in on the Toronto announcement and its new premiere policy yesterday was The L.A. Times' Steven Zeitchik.  His post is here:


David Poland of Movie City News writes extensively about Toronto's announcement yesterday and its effect on Telluride.  He also writes about the films still possible for both fests (and New York too).  Check it here:


In addition to my take form Toronto's announcement from yesterday take a look at Anne Thompson's/Thompson on Hollywood and Steve Pond's from The Wrap. You'll notice that their conclusions are much like mine though Anne seems a bit more definitive in her Telluride pronouncements.  For example, Anne flat says "Birdman" will play T-ride.


The Venice Film Festival announced its lineup very, very early this morning (11am in Venice) and here it is:

What can we say about it?  Does it tell us anything?  Last year, I counted six titles that played some portion of the Venice programs and Telluride: "The Wind Rises". "Tracks", "Under the Skin", "The Unknown Known" in competition and "Bethlehem", "Palo Alto" and "Gravity" out of competition.  Prior to last year, the average number of overlapping films between the two festivals was three.Also, going into this morning's announcement we knew that Alejandro G. Inarritu's "Birdman" would open the festival and that Venice had already named its "Venice Days" selection of films (via Film Stage):

Fatih Akin The Cut
Roy Andersson A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Ramin Bahrani 99 Homes
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Ghessha (Tales)
Xavier Beauvois La rancon de la gloire
Saverio Costanzo Hungry Hearts
Alix Delaporte Le dernier coup de marteau
Abel Ferrara Pasolini
David Gordon Green Manglehorn
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
Benoit Jacquot 3 Coeurs (Three Hearts)
Andrei Konchalovsky The Postman’s White Nights
Mario Martone Il Giovane Favoloso
Kaan Mujdeci Sivas
Francesco Munzi Anime Nere
Andrew Niccol Good Kill
David Oelhoffen Loin des hommes
Joshua Oppenheimer The Look of Silence
Shinya Tsukamoto Nobi (Fires on the Plain)
Wang Xiaoshuai Red Amnesia
Emir Kusturica and others Words With Gods (other directors: Guillermo Arriaga, Amos Gitai, Mira Nair, Warwick Thornton, Hector Babenco, Bahman Ghobai, Hideo Nakata, Alex de la Iglesia)
Peter Bogdanovich She’s Funny That Way
Peter Ho-sun Chan Dearest
Lisa Cholodenko Olive Kitteridge
Joe Dante Burying The Ex
Edoardo De Angelis Perez
Davide Ferrario La Zuppa Del Demonio
James Franco The Sound And The Fury
Amos Gitai Tsili
Sabina Guzzanti La Trattativa
Ann Hui The Golden Era
Im Kwontaek Make-Up
Barry Levinson The Humbling
Manoel de Oliveira The Old Man of Belem
Gabriele Salvatores Italy In A Day
Ulrich Seidl In The Basement
Anthony Stacchi, Annable Graham The Boxtrolls
Lars Von Trier Nymphomaniac Volume II (long version) Director’s Cut
Naji Abu Nowar Theeb
Salome Alexi Line of Credit
Michele Alhaique Senza Nessuna Pieta
Michael Almereyda Cymbeline
Benoit Delepine, Gustave Kervern Near Death Experience
Renato De Maria La Vita Oscena
Quentin Dupieux Realite
Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala I Spy/I Spy
Hong Sangsoo Hill of Freedom
Duane Hopkins Bypass
Mohsen Makhmalbaf The President
Ami Canaan Mann Your Right Mind
Franco Maresco Belluscone Una Storia Siciliana
Elchin Musaoglu Nabat
Josh Safdie, Ben Safdie Heaven Knows What
Ognjen Sviliviv These Are the Rules
Chaitanya Tamhane Court

Venice Days Films:
“One On One”,” Kim Ki-duk (South Korea) Opener out-of-competition
“El 5 De Talleres,” Adrian Biniez (Argentina)
“Return To Ithaca,” Laurent Cantet (France)
“Before I Disappear,” Shawn Christensen (U.S. U.K.)
“The Dinner,” Ivano De Matteo (Italy)
“Les Nuits D’Ete,” Mario Fanfani (France)
“Patria,” Felice Farina (Italy)
“Metamorphoses,” Christophe Honore (France)
“Between 10 And 12,” Peter Hoogendoorn (Belgium, France, The Netherlands)
“The Farewell Party,” (Israel)
“The Goob,” Guy Myhill (U.K.)
“Labor Of Love,” Ritwick Chakraborty (India)
“They Have Escaped,” JP Valkeapaa (Finland, The Netherlands)
“Messi,” Alex De la Iglesia (Spain) Closer Out-Of-Competition
WOMEN’S TALES PROJECT (Shorts) in collaboration with Miu Miu
“Spark And Light,” So Yong Kim (Italy, U.S.)
“Somebody,” Miranda July (Italy, U.S.)
“9 x 10 Novanta,” collective project (Italy)
In Collaboration With Tribeca Film Festival:
“Five Star,” Keith Miller (U.S.)
“The Show Mas Go On,” Ra di Martino (Italy)
“The Lack,” Masbedo (Italy)

 Regular readers know that I am very confident that "Birdman" will make its way to Telluride after its Venetian premiere...after that...the Venice films that I think have the best chance to play at Telluride are : "99 Homes", "The Look of Silence", "The Price of Glory" and  "She's Funny That Way" (Bogdanovich's "Squirrels to the Nuts"?).


Yes indeed.  Who could turn up in support of their film in five weeks and who will be receiving a tribute? Good questions.  Let's use the "Ten Bets" and our Toronto analysis to hypothesize possibilities.

Start with directors because they're almost always attending with their film:

Jean Marc Vallee, Bennett Miller, The Dardennes, Mike Leigh, Werner Herzog, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Morten Tyldum and Jon Stewart.

Cast types: (a partial list here)

"Birdman": Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan and Zach Galifinakis.
(I'd expect Keaton and put him on the list of possible tributes)

"Queen of the Desert": Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, James Franco, Damian Lewis
(Dicey here...maybe Kidman...she's the lead...if she comes...also a possible tribute and she could pal around with buddy Naomi Watts if she comes with "Birdman")

"Mr. Turner": Timothy Spall.
(I expect Spall, especially since he won Best Actor at a matter of fact, I think Telluride could be awash in Best Actor contenders...see Keaton above and others below)

"Two Days, One Night": Marion Cotillard
( I'm not sure Ms. Cotillard will be keen on returning to T-ride...I'd like it, but, who knows)

"Foxcatcher": Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo.
(Carell is a possibilty and even Tatum and Ruffalo could come along.  Depends on the Best Actor assessment by SPC)

"Wild": Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern
(I kind of expect both women to show up)

"The Imitation Game": Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Mark Strong
(I think Cumberbatch is a real possibility)

"99 Homes": Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern
(see above note about Dern.  Garfield could come back...was in T-ride in 2010 with "Never Let Me Go")


So we think we know some things...after yesterday's announcement, this space and others concluded that Telluride is likely showing:

"The Imitation Game"
"Wild Tales"
"Mr. Turner"
and maybe/probably "99 Homes"

We're also relatively confident about "Birdman" and "Queen of the Desert".  But what other notions are still floating out there?  Here's "Rumor Central":

1) "Unbroken" plays.  This just keeps being suggested in various places by various people.  No one flat says it but I'll bet I've seen it as a "possibility" in at least five-six different blogs and movie sites including just yesterday in the IndieWire based blog "Women and Hollywood":

Now, I'll continue to say it's not likely right up until it's unveiled or confirmed, but, I tell you...there's some smoke there (and, I'll echo a friend of the blog who tweeted yesterday that he didn't think David Ayers' Brad Pitt war film "Fury" would play T-ride but that a Jolie/Pitt couples weekend in T-ride would make some noise).

2) "Manglehorn" plays.  The Al Pacino vehicle was on my radar after Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells suggested that it was going to be in Telluride last week (and I've heard/seen it in a couple of other places too) but Toronto listed it as a "North American Premiere" in their announcement yesterday which would mean that it's off the table for someone somewhere has really gotten this wrong.

3) "Whiplash" plays...despite the fact that it had a Sundance debut back in January, this notion is still popping up...most recently in Poland's post linked above.

4) "Interstellar" plays...this was a hotter rumor last week, again vis a vis Wells and HE but Wells himself backed it down late Saturday afternoon.  He didn't completely dismiss the original rumor...but it's close.

5) "No opener for Toronto announced is because of Telluride"...I actually believe that this is fairly likely despite the fact that the Toronto honchoes say it's not that at all.  In my imagination what I see is a film that Toronto wants very, very badly that has already committed to Telluride...a couple of the films above would certainly qualify as the BIG film you'd want to open your fest'll be very interesting to see what Toronto ultimately announces and how long that takes.

6) "A Most Violent Year" plays...I think this one is probably right.  I hope so.  I'd love to Chandor and Isaac (and maybe Chastain) in Telluride.


Addressing a couple of things that I stumbled on yesterday:

1) "Whiplash" rumor still has some spark.  In his HitFix/InContention piece yesterday, Kris Tapley describes the films future fest schedule by writing "we'll probably see it turn up at Telluride and/or Toronto".  So there continues to be belief in some quarters that it could play despite having appeared at Sundance as happened with "An Education" in 2009.

Here's the complete story from Tapley:

Scott Feinberg's Toronto analysis piece (linked above) also tells us some things:

2) "Wild" is confirmed by Feinberg for Telluride for what will be its first public screening on the it what you will...

3) Feinberg suggests, as I've been saying here that Inarritu's "Birdman" will make the stop in Telluride after its Venice opening.

4) Feinberg also plays with the notion that J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" is Telluride-possible.

5) Also, Scott calls "Queen of the Desert" from Werner Herzog and starring Nicole Kidman "a pretty safe bet".

That's all for now...more coming on  Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Follow me on Twitter @Gort2

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