Saturday, August 16, 2014

New News on a Saturday: Awards Daily Talks Telluride's Power/Hints at a Guest/"Whiplash" Poster/Best of the Week Including Ten (Plus) Bets and The NY Film Fest

Hello to the world on a Saturday...

Under two weeks left until Nirvana returns to southwest Colorado as the 41st Telluride Film Festival.



Much has been made about the last six years of Oscar and Telluride's place in that sphere of film.  Since 2008, the Oscar Best Picture winner has played Telluride in each year except 2009 when :The Hurt Locker" won.  Perhaps that's a coincidence.  My thinking is probably not.  Maybe if it was two out of three years but five of the last six seems more than coincidental.

Sasha Stone of Awards Daily posted a history of this recent phenomena yesterday on that website:

"Slumdog", "King's Speech", "The Artist", "Argo", "12 Years a Slave"...What might it be this year?  Could T-ride make it six of seven?


So, I'm monkeying around the interweb, like I do, mining for any nugget of Telluride news I can come across and and ran across an interesting search find tag from  The text seems to tell us two things: 1) That "Foxcatcher" will be playing...and that's not earthshaking...we've been pretty sure about that for awhile...and 2) That at least one of its stars will be in T-ride in support.

The search line from Deadline implies that Channing Tatum will be in town.  That's cool.  Even when you think you're pretty sure about what films are going to play, it's almost impossible to guess (beyond a film's director) who else, if anyone, will be in town as part of the film's crew.

Here's the text of the Deadline search line ("It's" refers to "Foxcatcher")

"It's going to both Telluride and Toronto, and Tatum is attending both"

What's really interesting is that the body of the story doesn't say that at all.  It's much more ambiguous.  That leads me to be believe that someone at Deadline realized at some point that they were giving away more that they were supposed to and re-wrote the story so as to avoid revealing both "Foxcatcher's" and Tatum's appearance...or it was all an error.

My money's on the former and I think that Mr. Tatum will be in the San Juans in less than two weeks.

Here's the link to the entire Deadline story:


There continue to be a steady chorus of people who think that Telluride will overlook its debut at Sundance and will program Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash".  I'm still dubious...but it's happened rarely before and so could happen again.

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons star.  There's been some Supporting Actor Oscar buzz around Simmons since Sundance.  Honestly, I'd love it if the film plays and J.K. comes to town.  I'm a huge fan of the character actor and would love to see him in the thick of the Oscar race for the next few months.

At any rat, the film dropped its official poster yesterday as you can see above.  I've also linked a couple of stories about that here:



The "Ten Bets" got a bit of an overhaul this week especially with the news that we were not going to see Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert".  Suddenly, a film that had been on every Ten Bets list from the start of them this summer goes away...

Last week's Ten (Plus) Bets were:

15) 99 Homes
14) Life May Be
13) The Homesman
12) Two Days, One Night
11) Red Army
10) The Look of Silence
9) Wild Tales
8) Rosewater
7) Leviathan
6) Queen of the Desert
5) Wild
4) The Imitation Game
3) Birdman
2) Mr. Turner
1) Foxcatcher

This week's Ten (Plus) Bets:

15) The Homesman
14) Life May be 
13) Merchants of Doubt
12) 99 Homes
11) Red Army
10) Two Days, One Night
9) The Look of Silence
8) Rosewater
7) Wild Tales
6) Leviathan
5) Wild
4) The Imitation Game
3) Birdman
2) Mr. Turner
1) Foxcatcher

Other films simmering below these 15:

"She's Funny That Way"
Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts"
Serge Bromberg's Restored Film/Brinton Collection
"The Price of Fame"
"Winter Sleep"
"Bird People"

Leaving our Telluride consideration this week: 
"Clouds of Sils Maria"
"The Wonders"
"The Blue Room"

Still in play for T-ride...

"Slow West"
"Kill the Messenger"
"A Most Violent Year"

BIG films still hanging:

"Big Eyes"
"Exodus: Gods and Kings"

Of these five, "Unbroken" and "Big Eyes" now seem like the best shot at a Telluride play...and that shot isn't that great.


"Rudderless" trailer via YouTube and Coming Soon

We've been waiting for awhile for this to happen and it did late yesterday afternoon.  William H. Macy's "Rudderless", which opens in limited fashion on Oct. 17th has a trailer.  I have linked you to multiple platforms that covered the release yesterday:

Congratulations to Oklahoma screenwriters Casey Twneter and Jeff Robison.

One parenthetical note...I have been waiting to see if "Rudderless" was announced as a Toronto selection.  Not so far but there is one more set of announcements coming on Aug. 19.


The New York Film Festival announced its main slate of films yesterday and we can read their choices and the designations of their premiere status and come to some conclusions...most of which we had already come to.  "New York Premiere" status seems to be the key designation and it essentially confirms "Birdman", "Foxcatcher" (after a brief bit of confusion yesterday about the way the NYFF folks listed its premiere status-the email that was sent to the media listed it as a NY Premiere but for a few minutes, the fest's website listed it as a U.S. premiere.  That was corrected quickly.), "Mr. Turner" and "Two Days, One Night".

There were a couple of "New York premieres" that still seem doubtful for Telluride: "Listen Up Phillip" played Sundance, so that explains its status.  Alian Resnais "Life of Reilly" is also listed as a NY Premiere but is closing the Montreal fest on Sept. 1...seems like a close shave...but also a possible Telluride play.

Another "NY Premiere" that seems to now have Telluride potential is "71" starring Jack O'Connell (who will also be starring this Oscar season in Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" and who was in last year's TFF selection "Starred Up".  I had mentioned the possibility of "71" a couple of times.  I said on July 8th that "I could see it popping up as a part of the TFF #41 program".  I also mentioned it way back in February as I was evaluating what had transpired at the Berlin Festival.

Finally, there's Jean Luc Godard's "Goodbye to Language 3D" that New York chose today (it played at Cannes) and is listed as a "NY Premiere".  Seems like it could be headed to Telluride as well.

Here's the complete main slate from the NYFF email today:

The 52nd New York Film Festival Main Slate

Opening Night Gala Selection
Director: David Fincher

Centerpiece Gala Selection
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Closing Night Gala Selection
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

BELOVED SISTERS (Die geliebten Schwestern)
Director: Dominik Graf

THE BLUE ROOM (La chambre bleue)
Director: Mathieu Amalric

Director: Olivier Assayas

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve

Director: Bennett Miller

GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE (Adieu au langage)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Directors: Josh & Benny Safdie

HILL OF FREEDOM (Jayuui Eondeok)
Director: Hong Sang-soo

HORSE MONEY (Cavalo Dinheiro)
Director: Pedro Costa

Director: Lisandro Alonso

LIFE OF RILEY (Aimer, boire et chanter)
Director: Alain Resnais

Director: Alex Ross Perry

Director: David Cronenberg

Director: Asia Argento

Director: Mike Leigh

Director: Abel Ferrara

THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE (La Princesa de Francia)
Director: Matías Piñeiro

Director: Bertrand Bonello

Director: Eugène Green

Director: Yann Demange

Director: Nick Broomfield

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako

Director: Oren Moverman

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (Deux jours, une nuit)
Directors: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne

TWO SHOTS FIRED (Dos Disparos)
Director: Martín Rejtman

Director: Damien Chazelle

THE WONDERS (Le meraviglie)
Director: Alice Rohrwacher

Finally, notice the absence of the absent.  By that I mean that the entirety of the list that I published  Tuesday as being MIA from Toronto are also MIA for New York.  That list again is:

"Big Eyes"
"Slow West"
"Kill the Messenger"
"St. Vincent"
"Winter Sleep"

Meanwhile, in Anne Thompson's story about the NYFF announcement, she adds fuel to the notion that "The Homesman" could also play Telluride.  Check her story here:

New York also tells us that some things that we have thought might be potential Telluride choices will not be. For example, Mathieu Amalric's "The Blue Room", Alice's Rohrwacher's "The Wonders" and Bertrand Bonello's "Saint Laurent".

Finally, there are still nascent whisperings that Sony Pictures Classics Sundance presentation "Whiplash" has a chance to play Telluride.  Would be cool with me.


Yesterday the HitFix crew put up a story called "Our Top 25 Most Anticipated Fall Festival Films".  They list the 25 and indicate where they're going to go Fest-wise.  For Telluride films, they list them as "expected" as no one can be 100% sure.  Nevertheless, HitFix lists 7 of their 25 as Telluride (expected/possible).  They are:

#22 "Leviathan"
#18 "While We're Young"***
#17 "Wild"
#10 The Imitation Game
#6 "Foxcatcher"
#4 "Rosewater"
#2 "Birdman"

***There are a couple of anomalies.  First, Noah Baumbach's "While We're Young" is listed as a "World Premiere" by Toronto which those of us who try to figure this stuff out have concluded means that it WILL NOT play Telluride.  Additionally,  Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes" is not listed by HitFix as being expected for Telluride despite the fact that Toronto lists it as a Canadian premiere.   Again, many of us believe that a "Canadian" premiere for films that didn't play Sundance ("Whiplash", for example) means that we'll probably see it at Telluride.

You can see the entire group of 25 films here:


Marion Cotillard in "Two Days One Night"

The Toronto International Film Festival announced its next wave of films (over 75 titles added) and here are the primary takeaways as far as Telluride is concerned:

"Tow Days, One Night" from the Dardnnes Brothers seems a lock for T-ride now as Toronto lists it as a Canadian premiere.  Meanwhile, Olivier Assasyas "Clouds of Sils Maria" is a North American premiere so won't be playing Telluride.

Other films that I have had an occasional Telluride vibe for that will not play after all are:

"Charlie's Country"
"Bird People"
"The Search"

Still no inclusion at Toronto for:


"Big Eyes"
"Slow West"
"Kill the Messenger"

And nothing about Bill Murray's "St. Vincent"...hmmm...

I had reported last week that the buzz was that "St. Vincent" was on the verge of being announced as a Big Gala that would fete Murray in the process.  That could still happen next week but it's a little weird that we didn't hear about it this morning.



Brad Pitt in "Fury"

Sony announced that David Ayers "Fury" has moved up its release date yesterday from November to Oct. 17th, which, I knew, meant that the AFI Fest became a non-issue for that film.  In my research about that announcement, I ran across Kris Tapley's article about it and he says no "Fury" at Telluride.

However, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety imply that a festival play could still be in the cards:

After having watched the trailer and not seeing it announced for TIFF I was thinking that we might well see it in T-ride.

Still, Tapley says that "Telluride and Toronto were never in the cards".  Tapley is really good at this for all practical purposes...probably check "Fury" off your Telluride wish list.

Here's the link to the HitFix/InContention post:


Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank in "The Homesman"

News in the last couple of days about the unreadiness of Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" and the announcement that Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria" will World Premiere at Toronto means that at least two names that I have speculated might be potential tribute candidates are off that list.  Nicole Kidman and Juliette Binoche both seemed like very good candidates to me but absent "Queen" and "Clouds" those options seem to be off the table.

Personally, at this point, I'm thinking the best shots are Tommy Lee Jones, Reese Witherspoon and Peter Bogdanovich with a reminder about the story I ran on Monday that suggested Italian film preservationist Gian Luca Farinelli might be in that mix as well.


Gian Luca Farinelli via

I spent a good amount of time over the last 24 hours or so following the trail of a small mention in the Twitterverse about a specific film maker and T-ride.  It's a slim reed at best and difficult to determine exactly what was meant.

Here's the text of the tweet:

"Dear Alberto, I'm writing a piece on Gian Luca Farinelli for Telluride. May i get a quote from you please "

The "Alberto" at the beginning is Alberto Barbera...the head of the Venice Film Fest and past Telluride Guest director.  Gina Luca Farinelli is the Director of the Bologna Film Archive.  The author (who I have excised for privacy concerns) does have some connection to a frequent Telluride guest and contributor.


Farinelli is in line for a Tribute...or Special Medallion.

Farinelli is also listed as a producer of and appears in Jonathan Nossiter's documentary "Natural Resistance" (which appears to be a sequel to his previous documentary "Mondovino").  It's about wine and wine makers.

The doc appeared at the Berlin Film Fest (and Telluride usually programs three or four Berlin films) but it has also been announced as a North American Premiere for Toronto which should mean that it won't play Telluride.

So, the "tweet" if genuine, probably indicates the 'tribute/medallion" possibility more strongly than the "Natural Resistance" route...but, as you may have read here, I wouldn't be surprised if some film doesn't try to test the Toronto edict.

I have included the IMDb page for "Natural Resistance" here:


In what I thought was a stunning piece of news, producer Cassian Elwes announced via Twitter yesterday that Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" starring Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson and James Franco will NOT be ready for presentation at either Telluride or Toronto.

The Elwes tweet went like this:

"We've had technical issues in the finishing of queen and it's not ready for tiff or telluride. We don't want to show a work in progress"

So, no new Werner this year and a film that I've been including in every "Ten Bets" list this summer (all seven of them) comes off the charts.

Kristopher Tapley at HitFix/InContention posted this story about the announcement:

Also this from Kevin Jagarnauth at The Playlist:

Needless to say, that also more or less nukes the chance of a Nicole Kidman tribute.


Martin Scorsese via BAFTA and reported yesterday that Toronto will announce the Marin Scorsese and David Tedeschi directed documentary, "The New York Review of Books: A 50 Year Argument" will play TIFF as a "Canadian" premiere.  Following the logic of earlier TIFF announcements and knowing that the film played Berlin as a "work in progress" and then at Sheffield and Melbourne;  it seems likely that a berth at Telluride is a good possibility.

I first mentioned "A 50 Year Argument" back on July 2nd.

The story is here:

The IMDb page for "A 50 Year Argument" is here:


For the third consecutive year Michael's Telluride Film Blog will be compiling ratings for the films that play at TFF.  It'll be on two tracks again this year with the "Pros": film bloggers, critics and industry types,  Thus far the following have agreed to participate:

Alex Billington/FirstShowing
Greg Ellwood/HitFix
Eric Kohn/IndieWire
Tomris Laffly/Film Journal
Eugene Novikov/Film Blather
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/HitFix-InContention
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood

I still have some feelers out for a few more members of the "pros" to join the party.

And, of course: "The People's Telluride" where I ask you to rate the films you see on a 0 to 5 scale with "0" meaning that it's truly awful to a "5" meaning "masterpiece".  I'll compile and publish here a week or so after the fest is complete.  I hope you'll add your voice to this project.

Finally, those of us of a certain and age musical prediliction might remember  Loudon Wainwaright III song from back in the day: "Hard Day on the Planet".  I was reminded of it more than once this week with the loss of Robin Williams (I'm still tearing up) and Lauren Bacall and all the strife in Ferguson, MO. Not to mention Ukraine and Iraq and Ebola.

Here's Loudon singing the song from YouTube:

Here are the lyrics from

The dollar went down and the President said
"Who's in charge, now?" I don't know, take your pick.
A new disease every day and the old ones are coming back
Things are looking kind of gray, like they're going to black

Don't turn on the TV, don't show me the paper
(I) don't want to know he got kidnapped or why they all raped her
I want to go on vacation till the pressure lets up
But they keep hijacking airplanes and blowing them up

It's been a hard day on the planet
How much is it all worth?
It's getting harder to understand it
Things are tough all over on earth.

It's hot in December and cold in July
When it rains it pours out of a poisonous sky
In California the body counts keep getting higher
It's evil out there, man that state is always on fire.

Everyone has a system, but they can't seem to win
Even Bob Geldof looks alarmingly thin
I got to get on that shuttle get me out of this place
But there's gonna be warfare up there in outer space


I've got clothes on my back and shoes on my feet
A roof over my head and something to eat
My kids are all healthy and my folks are alive
You know, it's amazing but sometimes I think I'll survive

I've got all of my fingers and all of my toes
I'm pretty well off I guess, I suppose
So how come I feel bad so much of the time?
A man ain't an island John Dunn wasn't lying


It's business as usual; some things never change
It's unfair, it's tough, unkind and it's strange
We don't seem to learn; we can't seem to stop
Maybe some explosions would close up the shop

You know, maybe that would be fine: we would be off the hook
We resolved all our problems, never mind what it took
And it all would be over, finito, the end
Until the survivors started up all over again

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