Monday, September 29, 2014

Five Future Films/And Then There's Another/MCN's Latest Gurus/Birdman Poster and Images/Latest Screen Talk

FIVE FUTURE FILMS THAT COULD PLAY TELLURIDE

Alejandro Inarritu


I'm always on the lookout for announcements of future film projects that seem to me to have the potential to end up in Telluride over Labor Day weekend.  I'll collect some of the posts and press material when I stumble across that kind of thing and hoard it.  Now that we're almost a month removed for the 41st edition of TFF, I thought that I might as well drag some of those out and post the some of the info that's been out there.  So, without further adieu, here are ten films that have been announced that could end up at a future Telluride Film Fest:

1) "The Revenant". Director: Alejandro Inarritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  A revenge western.  Reason for a TFF play: Inarritu.  The Oscar nominated director has played Telluride with three straight films: "Babel", "Biutiful" and "Birdman".  A couple of sticking points:  Will it be done in time?  It's set for a Dec. 25th release in 2015 and the distributor is 20th Century Fox which has a spotty record at Telluride at best.  Here are your "Revenant" posts:

http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/scorseses-silence-inarritus-the-revenant-both-arrive-in-2015/

http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/inarritus-revenant-starring-dicaprio-hardy-set-christmas-2015/

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/tom-hardy-confirmed-to-join-leonardo-dicaprio-in-the-revenant-1201255146/

http://www.thewrap.com/were-the-millers-star-will-poulter-joining-leonardo-dicaprio-in-the-revenant/

And the IMDb page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663202/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_2



Sir Ian as "Mr. Holmes"


2) "Mr. Holmes". Director: Bill Condon.  Starring: Ian McKellan and Laura Linney.  Reasons it would play Telluride:  Condon and Linney who have been at Telluride in the past with "Kinsey" in 2004.  Linney has also been a Telluride presence in "Jindabayne", "The Savages" and "Hyde Park on Hudson".  Additionally, the film is being co-distributed by Roadside Attractions whose TFF profile grew to three films this year and one of the Production companies is See Saw Films which has had a high profile Telluride presence in recent years with films: "The King's Speech", "Shame" and "Tracks".

"Mr. Holmes" links:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/ian-mckellen-mr-holmes-us-distribution-1201296769/

http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/first-look-ian-mckellen-sherlock-holmes-bill-condons-mr-sherlock/

"Mr. Holmes" IMDb page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3168230/?ref_=nv_sr_1


From IndieWire; Trumbo and Cranston


3) "Trumbo" Director: Jay Roach.  Starring: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, John Goodman.  Reasons ot would play Telluride:  Well, there really aren't ANY.  No history with this director.  As a matter of fact, Jay Roach's resume is odd.  He has a couple of quality HBO gigs under his belt: "Game Change"  and "Recount" but he also is the director of such "classics" as all three "Austin Powers" films as well as a couple of the "Fockers" franchise.

The listed U.S. distributor for "all media" via IMDb is Bleeker Street.  It's listed as exactly their fourth feature to distribute.  The other three: "Pawn Sacrifice" (Ed Zwick's Bobby Fischer/Boris Spassky flick), "Danny Coliins" (from Dan Fogelman) and "Captain Fantastic" (from Matt Ross).  So there's no TFF history there.

The film's production companies don't have any Telluride connection either.  IMDb lists Groundswell Productions (no T-ride past), Inimitable Pictures (ditto) and ShivHans Pictures (the same).

So, why is it on my list?  Because I think a Dalton Trumbo biopic starring Bryan Cranston in the title role sounds like a perfect fit for Telluride if it's well executed.  If Roach is in "Game Change/Recount" mode, then I could see this being a part of the TFF #42 lineup.

Here's some of the stories that have come out about "Trumbo":

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hobbit-actor-play-kirk-douglas-734744

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/casting-mike-epps-frontrunner-for-richard-pryor-biopic-daisy-ridley-returning-for-star-wars-8-9-and-more-20140811

http://www.thewrap.com/john-goodman-in-talks-to-join-bryan-cranston-in-jay-roachs-trumbo-exclusive/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/bryan-cranston-star-as-blacklisted-631845

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/bobby-cannavale-joins-pacino-de-niro-in-martin-scorseses-gangster-picture-the-irishman-20140909


"Trumbo's IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3203606/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_2



From projectcasting.com: The novel and Affleck


4) "Live by Night" Director: Ben Affleck.  Starring: Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning and Sienna Miller.  Affleck returns to a Dennis Lehane story for this film.  Lehane wrote the novel that was the basis for Affleck's first directing experience, "Gone Baby Gone".  This story is set in the Prohibition era and features cops and gangsters.

Why Telluride?  Affleck and Warner Bros. cannot be unhappy with the way Affleck's last directing gig turned out.  "Argo" launched at Telluride and went on to win three Academy Awards including Best Picture.  That's enough for me to think that they may want to try the same path in 2015 or 2016 (IMDb lists its  domestic release on Oct. 7, 2016 but a number of the posts you'll look at below say it'll be out at the end of 2015).  TFF #42 or #43 could be a very real scenario.

Posts about "Live by Night":

http://www.thewrap.com/ben-afflecks-live-night-hit-theaters-christmas-day-2015/

http://www.slashfilm.com/ben-afflecks-live-by-night-will-shoot-this-fall/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/ben-affleck-returns-to-dennis-lehane-territory-eyes-live-by-night-as-next-directorial-outing-20121011


The IMDb page for "Live by Night": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2361317/?ref_=ttrel_rel_tt


5) Danny Boyle's next project...Boyle has a couple of potential projects bouncing about.  There's "Porno", sequel to his acclaimed "Trainspotting" and then there's the untitled film that centers on the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs.  "Porno" seems to be closer to actually being on the tracks to being made.  Either way, it seems that Boyle would be a likely candidate to return to Telluride after very successful trips there in 2008 with eight time Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire" and then again in 2010 with "127 Hours" which was nominated for six Academy Awards.  If Fox Searchlight gets involved, that would further increase the chances that we'd see the film in T-ride as they were distributors for both "Slumdog" and "127 Hours".

Here's some press about "Porno":

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-27293478

http://www.moviereviewworld.com/news/irvine-welsh-confirms-trainspotting-2-film-sequel-works/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/watch-1-hour-talk-with-danny-boyle-mark-kemode-physicist-brian-cox-about-sunshine-20140211


and other posts about the possible "Battle of the Sexes":

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/danny-boyle-to-direct-film-about-1973-battle-of-the-sexes-tennis-match-between-billie-jean-king-bobby-riggs-20140219

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/feb/19/danny-boyle-biopic-billie-jean-king-film-battle-of-the-sexes

http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/danny-boyle-working-on-a-billie-jean-king-bobby-riggs-tennis-drama/

 "Porno's" IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2763304/?ref_=nv_sr_2



AND THEN THERE'S ANOTHER



It's been rumored for awhile and though still not confirmed, it appears to be very close to that.  We're talking the possibility/probability of Quentin Tarantino shooting seven weeks for his next film "The Hateful Eight" near Telluride.

You have to also think that if he does shoot there that he'd maybe want to play the film there as a part of TFF #42.  I've actually seen a couple of people suggest that possibility in correspondence.

According to the linked story below from the Denver Business Journal, the film would begin shooting in the San Juans in December if all the pieces fall into place.  Further, the film is being produced and will be distributed domestically by The Weinstein Company which just came off a triumphant set of screenings of "The Imitation Game" at last month's film fest.  The film is planned to have a late 2015 release.  It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins and Bruce Dern among others.

Check the Denver Business Journal story here:

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2014/09/26/embargoed-until-9-05-a-mcolorado-expecting-to-have.html

another story from The Denver Post:

http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_26611060/quentin-tarantino-set-shoot-hateful-eight-colorado


"The Hateful Eight's" IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3460252/?ref_=ttfc_ql


MCN'S LATEST GURUS



The Gurus of Gold have been polled post fall festival season and just prior to this past weekend's kickoff of the New York Film Festival.  They have "boyhood" at the top followed by "The Imitation Game" and "Birdman".  Take a look at that here (as well as some interesting numbers concerning actors and bumps that may have happened as a result of festival plays):

http://moviecitynews.com/2014/09/gurus-o-gold-pre-venicetelluridetoronto-best-picture-field-2/


'BIRDMAN" POSTER AND IMAGES



New images and a new poster for Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman" emerged at the beginning of the weekend.  The poster you see above.  Here are accompanying stories from Vulture.com and The Playlist:

http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/check-out-the-brand-new-birdman-poster.html

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/exclusive-new-images-from-alejandro-gonzalez-inarritus-birdman-20140926


LATEST SCREEN TALK




Check here for the latest edition of Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn's Screen Talk podcast as the duo tackle the early info from the New York Film Festival and the ever evolving Oscar race:


http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/screen-talk-new-york-film-festival-preview-20140926


More on Thursday...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New History!/Post-Telluride: What the Tells Tell Us/The Playlist's 15 Films That Didn't Play/The Latest Feinberg Forecast

Welcome to Thursday...


NEW HISTORY!

Check out the second "page"of Michael's Telluride Film Blog/The Film Awards Clearinghouse.  The Selected History of the Telluride Film Festival has been updated to include TFF #41.  Click on the page link above and stroll down memory lane.

POST-TELLURIDE: WHAT THE TELLS TELL US




Nearing a month removed from the Telluride Film Festival's 41st edition, I thought it was time to review some of things that I look for as I try to predict the fest and see what, if anything, they sowed us and if they continue to be methods that are useful to the analysis that consumes half the year on this blog.  For example, what distributors played in a big way.

Commonly represented distributors Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Company (and its Radius division), Roadside Attractions and Sundance Selects were all there with more than one film.   SPC led the way with seven films.  Here's the breakdown:

Sony Pictures Classics: "Mr. Turner", "Red Army", "Wild Tales", "Foxcatcher", "Merchants of Doubt", "Salt of the Earth", "Leviathan".

TWC/Radius: "The Imitation Game", "Escobar: Paradise Lost", "Keep On Keepin' On"

Roadside Attractions: "The Homesman", " '71", "Mommy"

Sundance Selects: "Two Days, One Night", "Seymour; An Introduction"

Fox Searchlight: "Wild", "Birdman"

Single film distributors this year:

Open Road: "Rosewater"
Kino Lorber: "The Decent One"
Zeitgeist: "Diplomacy"
Drafthouse: "The Look of Silence"
HBO Documentaries: "50 Year Argument"
Millenium: Madame Bovary



And there were five films without distribution at the fest:

"99 Homes" (which has since been picked up)
"Tales of the Grim Sleeper"
"Dancing Arabs"
"The Gate"
"The Price of Fame"

A total of 28 features played at TFF this year.

Among "The Usual Suspects" that played at this year's fest:

Errol Morris: "Three Short Films About Peace"
Alejandro Inarritu: "Birdman"
Mike Leigh: "Mr. Turner"
Bennett Miller "Foxcatcher"
Wim Wenders: "Salt of the Earth"
The Dardennes Brothers: "Two Days, One Night"
Joshua Oppenheimer: "The Look of Silence"
Martin Scorsese: "The 50 Year Argument"
Xaviet Beauvois: "The Price of Fame"
Ramin Bahrani: "99 Homes"


Some of the "Usuals" that did not play Telluride even though they had films:

Olivier Assayas/"Clouds of Sils Maria"
Rolf De Heer/"Charlie's Country"
Peter Bogdanovich/"She's Funny That Way"
Jason Reitman/ "Men, Women and Children"
Noah Baumbach/While We're Here
Lone Scherfig/"The Riot Club"
John Boorman/"Queen and Country"

The Festival Crossover...

Venice and Telluride shared four films this year: "99 Homes", "The Price of Fame", "The Look of Silence" and "Birdman".

Cannes and Telluride shared nine films this year: "Foxcatcher", "Mr. Turner", "Two Days, One Night", "Mommy", "The Homesman", "Wild Tales", "Leviathan", "Salt of the Earth" and "Red Army".

The Toronto Fest and Telluride shared 20 films this year:

" '71"
"The 50 Year Argument"
"99 Homes"
"Escobar: Paradise Lost"
"The Imitation Game"
"Foxcatcher"
"The Gate"
"Leviathan"
"The Look of Silence"
"Madame Bovary"
"Merchants of Doubt"
"Mommy"
"Mr. Turner"
"Red Army"
"Rosewater"
"Seymour; An Introduction"
"Tales of the Grim Sleeper"
"Two Days, One Night"
"Wild"
"Wild Tales"

And, of course, Toronto's 2014 "premiere" policy and its subsequent listing of films allowed many more Telluride film followers to discern the films that were likely to play at Telluride.


THE PLAYLIST'S 15 FILMS...THAT DIDN'T PLAY


"Suffragette"...maybe TFF #42?



The Playlist published a lengthy story this past week that focused on 15 films that were thought to have been real possibilities for one or more of the fall film fests but, for whatever reason, didn't play. Each film is accompanied by a list of expectations and a rationale for why it did not play as well as some speculation as to what may happen with it in the near future.  Included on their list are a number of films that, at one point or another,  were on my list as possible Telluride #41 choices.  Included on their list:

"Carol"
"Suite Francaise"
"Far from the Madding Crowd"
"Queen of the Desert"
Stephen Frears' Lance Armstrong film
"Slow West"
"Macbeth"
"Suffragette"

Check out the entire article here:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/15-films-that-failed-to-hit-the-2014-fall-festival-circuit-20140922?page=1

The Playlist analysis seems to imply that "Carol", "Suite Francaise", "Queen of the Desert" and "Suffragette" could play Telluride next year.  The post also suggests that a couple of other of the 15 films could make a T-rider play in 2015 as well.


THE LATEST FEINBERG FORECAST



The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg has updated his Oscar projections.  Feinberg's latest listing of Oscar predictions has Telluride #41 films in many categories.  If Feinberg is 100% accurate, these TFF #41 films will be nominated as follows:

In Best Picture: "The Imitation Game", "Foxcatcher" and "Birdman"
Best Director: Inarritu/Birdman
Best Actress: Witherspoon/Wild
Best Actor: Keaton/Birdman, Cumberbatch/Imitation Game, Carell/Foxcatcher
Best Supporting Actress: Knightley/Imitation Game, Dern/Wild, Stone/Birdman
Best Supporting Actor: Ruffalo/Foxcatcher, Norton/Birdman
Adapted Screenplay: Moore/Imitation Game
Original Screenplay:  Inarittu et. al./Birdman, Futterman and Frye/Foxcatcher, Leigh/Mr. Turner
Documentary: "Keep On Keepin' On, "Red Army"
Foreign Language Film: "Wild Tales", "Two Days, One Night"
Cinematography: "Birdman"
Costumes: "Mr. Turner"
Film Editing: "Birdman", "The Imitation Game"
Makeup/Hair: "Foxcatcher"
Original Score: "The Imitation Game"
Production Design: "Birdman", "The Imitation Game"

That puts "Birdman" with nine nominations.  "The Imitation Game" with seven.  Foxcatcher with five.  "Mr. Turner" and "Wild" with two apiece.  And it would mean 29 Telluride nominations with another nine categories still to come.

Telluride films that Scott lists as being "major threats" by category include:

Best Picture: "Wild" and "Mr. Turner"
Best Director: Miller/Foxcatcher and Leigh/Mr. Turner
Best Actress: Swank/The Homesman
Best Actor: Tatum/Foxcatcher, Spall/Mr. Turner
Best Supporting Actress: Bailey/Mr. Turner
Adapted Screenplay: Hornby/Wild
Original Screenplay: Szifron/Wild Tales
Documentary: "Salt of the Earth", "Tales of the Grim Sleeper", "Merchants of Doubt"
Foreign Language Film: "Mommy", "Leviathan"
Cinematography: "The Imitation Game", "Mr. Turner", "Wild"
Costumes: "The Homesman"
Film Editing: "Wild", "Foxcatcher"
Original Score: "The Homesman"
Production Design: "Mr. Turner"

So additional possibilities for nominations according to Feinberg are:

"Mr. Turner" with six possibilities, "Foxcatcher" with three possibilities, "Wild" with four possibilities, "The Homesman" with three possibilities and "The Imitation Game" with one possibility.

All categories included by Feinberg has a total of  23 possibilities.

Check Scott's full predictions here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/feinberg-forecast-race-takes-shape-733235


More on Monday...have a great weekend!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The FAC: Major Categories Part 1-A/New Looks at.../Foreign Affairs

Good Monday everyone...

THE FAC: MAJOR CATEGORIES PART 1-A



Last week, The Film Awards Clearinghouse laid out the first look at potential Oscar nominees from four major categories: Best Picture, Direction, Actress and Actor.  Today we'll add to that with the FAC analysis for the remaining four major categories: Best Supporting Actress and Actor as well as Best Adapted and Original Screenplay.

As always, The FAC uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar nominees:

Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter

Telluride #41 films are Bold.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS



1) Patricia Arquette/Boyhood
2) Kiera Knightley/The Imitation Game
3) Laura Dern/Wild
4) Emma Stone/Birdman
5) Emily Blunt/Into the Woods
6) Katherine Waterston/Inherent Vice
7) Jessica Chastain/Interstellar
8) Jessica Chastain/A Most Violent Year
9) Carmen Ejogo/Selma
10) Anna Kendrick/Into the Woods

Comment:  Arquette seems to already be lock in the category.  The Telluride women: Knightley, Dern and Stone all appear to be in good shape but none of them cinches for a nomination yet.  There are a lot of women with a good shot to be one of the five nominees.  Another note, distributor A24 confirmed last week that J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" will open on Dec. 31 qualifying it for Oscar consideration for this year.  The buzz has been, however, that they will campaign Jessica Chastain in the lead category for that film.  Chastain has a slew of awards potential in both categories this year and the person that might benefit the most from this move might be...Jessica Chastain in Interstellar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR



1) J.K Simmons/Whiplash
2) Edward Norton/Birdman
3) Mark Ruffalo/Foxcatcher
4) Ethan Hawke/Boyhood
5) Josh Brolin/Inherent Vice
6) Logan Lehrman/Fury
7) Tom Wilkinson/Selma
8) Robert Duvall/The Judge
9) Channing Tatum/Foxcatcher
10) Domhnall Gleeson/Unbroken


Comment:

Both Simmons and Norton seem to be in good shape and very, very close.  Ruffalo is looking good but not assured.  After that, it's a free-for-all the rest of the way down the list (and we probably shouldn't rule out Tim Roth/Selma who sits just outside the list at #11).


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY



1) Unbroken
2) The Imitation Game
3) The Theory of Everything
4) American Sniper
5) Inherent Vice
6) Gone Girl
7) Into the Woods
8) Wild
9) Men. Women and Children
10) The Fault in Our Stars

Comment:

At this early point it appears that the five nominations will come from among the top six listed here.  The drop off between "Gone Girl" and "Into the Woods" is remarkably large in The FAC metric.  Also, none of the top six appear to be locks either.  Could be a fun category to track for the next few months.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY



1) Birdman
2) Boyhood
3) Foxcatcher
4) The Grand Budapest Hotel
5) Mr. Turner
6) Interstellar
7) A Most Violent Year
8) Fury
9) Selma
10) Whiplash


Comment:

I was a little surprised to see "Birdman"sitting at the top of the list.  I had assumed that it would be "Boyhood".  Still, both of those films look solid for a nomination here.  "Foxcatcher" is in good shape and then after that it could be any of the remaining seven scripts in the top ten that end up with one of the last two nominations.


From these four categories, if The FAC is 100% accurate, TFF #41 films would grab nine nominations with an additional two possibilities.  Add that to the first FAC from last week that focused on the four major categories in which TFF #41 films are projected to have eleven nominations with another three possible.  Totals: 20 nominations in the Big Eight categories with another five in play.  Add to that the potential for "under the line" nominations and Foreign Language and Documentary possibilities and it appears that 2014 could well be another outstanding year for Telluride films come Oscar time.


Here's the breakdown of the 20 "nominations" and five possibles by film:

"Birdman" Noms: Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay.  Total: Six nominations.

"The Imitation Game" "Noms": Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay.  Total: Four nominations and another possible for Best Direction.

"Foxcatcher" Noms: Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay.  Total: Five nominations. Another possible nomination for Best Supporting Actor

"Wild" Noms: Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress and another possible for Best Adapted Screenplay.

"Mr. Turner": Noms for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture if the category goes nine deep as it has the last two years. Also a possible for Best Direction.

"The Homesman": Possible nomination for Best Actress.



NEW LOOKS AT....



Clips from "Birdman".  Set for release on Oct. 17th, the P.R. machine is rumbling to life from Fix Searchlight.  As a part of that we have a clip from the film.  I have linked to the Rope of Silicon site which has the clip:

http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/watch-first-clip-birdman-featuring-emma-stone-michael-keaton/

Clips from " '71"... From The Playlist, two clips from the Yann Demange directed film starring Jack O'Connell.  The film finished at #5 on MTFB's combined ratings.  The People had it at #6 while The Pros had it at #3.  Check the clips here:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/xavier-dolans-mommy-selected-as-canadas-official-oscar-entry-20140919

And, a new poster for Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" starring Benedict Cumberbatch.   The People's #1 film for TFF #41.


Accompanying the poster release, here's a brief story from Anne Thompson:



FOREIGN AFFAIRS



A couple of announcements about intentions for Foreign Language Oscar submissions.  Belgium will put forth The Dardennes Brothers' "Two Days, One Night" and Canada has chosen Xavier Dolan's "Mommy" both of which played at Telluride this year.  Stories about the selections are linked below:





More on Thursday...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The First 2014 Film Awards Clearinghouse-Four Major Categories/Words from Inarritu/The Playlist Looks at Telluride

Welcome to Monday and another week in the middle of September.

THE FIRST 2014 FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE-FOUR MAJOR CATEGORIES



With Telluride and Venice done and Toronto wrapping up, here's the first look at The FAC for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Actress.  TFF #41 Films in Bold.

The FAC uses the published predictions f the following to develop its list of likely Oscar nominees:

Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter

A bit later in the season, I'll  add other Oscar experts...but for now...

BEST PICTURE

1) Birdman
2) Boyhood
3) The Imitation Game
4) Foxcatcher
5) Unbroken
6) The Theory of Everything
7) Interstellar
8) Gone Girl
9) Mr. Turner
10) The Grand Budapest Hotel

Comment:  Personally, if I were wagering, my money would likely be on "Unbroken", "The Imitation Game" and then "Birdman" in that order.

BEST DIRECTION

1) Alejandro Inarritu/Birdman
2) Richard Linklater/Boyhood
3) Bennett Miller/Foxcatcher
4) Christopher Nolan/Interstellar
5) Angelina Jolie/Unbroken
6) Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game
7) David Ayer/Fury
8) Mike Leigh/Mr. Turner
9) Wes Anderson/The Grand Budapest Hotel
10) Paul Thomas Anderson/Inherent Vice

Comment:  Some disconnects here...James Marsh who directs "The Theory of Everything" which sits at #5 on the BP chart doesn't make the Best Direction list while David Yer does for "Fury".  I suspect that Morten Tyldum will gain some momentum as the season moves along.


BEST ACTRESS



1) Reese Witherspoon/Wild
2) Amy Adams/Big Eyes
3) Rosamund Pike/Gone Girl
4) Felicity Jones/The Theory of Everything
5) Meryl Streep/Into the Woods
6) Hilary Swank/The Homesman
7) Shailene Woodley/The Fault in Our Stars
8) Julianne Moore/Still Alice
9) Jessica Chastain/A Most Violent Year
10) Jessica Chastain/Eleanor Rigby

Comment: A tough category in what is perceived as a weak year for lead female roles.  This list is likely very volatile.  Chastain may beat herself out as she has a number of projects and "A Most Violent Year" may not even see release this year.  Frankly, I'm dubious about Streep on "Into the Woods".


BEST ACTOR

1) Michael Keaton/Birdman
2) Benedict Cumberbatch/The Imitation Game
3) Steve Carell/Foxcatcher
4) Eddie Redmayne/The Theory of Everything
5) Timothy Spall/Mr. Turner
6) David Oyelowo/Selma
7) Ralph Fiennes/The Grand Budapest Hotel
8) Bill Murray/St. Vincent
9) Joaquin Phoenix/Inherent Vice
10) Jack O'Connell/Unbroken


Comment:  I think Spall is really in jeopardy here.  Fiennes, Murray and O'Connell duke it out for the fifth spot.


I'll be looking at the Supporting Acting categories and the screenplay categories next week on MTFB/FAC.


WORDS FROM INARRITU


Alejandro G. Inarritu at T-ride (Getty Images)


Friend of the blog Alex Billington of FirstShowing.net got a chance at Telluride to speak with director/writer Alejandro G. Inarritu about his brilliant film "Birdman" and other topics as well.  Alex posted his interview with the autuer here:

http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/video-interview-birdman-director-alejandro-g-inarritu-discusses-life/


THE PLAYLIST TALKS TELLURIDE, FALL FESTS AND THE OSCAR SEASON



I've included a link to the latest podcast from The Playlist.  The 'cast goes nearly an hour and covers any number of topics from the last couple of weeks.  Take a listen here:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/podcast-the-playlist-talks-telluride-tiff-venice-and-reductive-oscar-narratives-20140916


More on Monday.  Have a good weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Combination Ratings The Peeps and The Pros/Toronto and 2015/First Feinberg Forecast/Assessng the Post Fall Festival Landscape: Deadline; The Hollywood Reporter; Screen Talk/Imitation Wins Toronto/Eat, Drink, Film Reports on TFF #41

Good Monday all.  I hope everyone had a stellar weekend.

COMBINATION RATINGS: THE PEEPS AND THE PROS







I'm closing out the posts for this year's ratings of films that played at Telluride with the annual combining of the two polls.   I've combined the ratings averages from the People and the Professionals' poll to arrive at the following list.  13 films had enough viewers/raters from both groups to make it to the combined ratings.  They are listed below followed by their combined rating, the People's rated position and then the Professionals rated position:

1) Birdman                        (9.18)  (2)  (1)
2) Foxcatcher                    (8.83)  (4)  (2)
3) The Imitation Game     (8.79)  (1)  (7)
4) Wild Tales                    (8.43)  (3)  (4)
5) '71                                 (8.15)  (6)  (3)
6) Mommy                        (7.42)  (8)  (8)
7) Red Army                     (7.30)  (7)  (11)
8) Two Days, One Night   (7.21)  (13)  (9)
9) Mr. Turner                     (7.10)  (14)  (6)
10) Wild                             (6.71)  (8)  (13)
11) Rosewater                    (6.52)  (12)  (14)
12) The Homesman           (6.38)  (16)  (11)
13) Madame Bovary          (6.18)  (15)  (12)


TORONTO AND 2015

The Hollywood Reporter says that Toronto will continue this year's policy regarding World Premieres and scheduling the first four days of their festival.  That's what the bulk of the article says.

The last sentence is the devious one though as both TIFF head man Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey "said it was too early to decide whether the Telluride premiere policy will be tweaked, but they will consult the industry before next year's event".  That sounds to me like some wiggle room after an article that mostly goes on about how they're sticking with the policy and how well it worked.  Here's the full story:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/toronto-festival-head-holding-firm-732712


FIRST FEINBERG FORECAST



The Hollywood Reporter's Oscar expert Scott Feinberg has his first "Feinberg Forecast" posted.  His look at a number of the "major" Oscar categories was posted last night.  Of films that played the Telluride Fest a couple of weeks ago, Feinberg predicts the following:

"Birdman" and "The Imitation Game" and "Foxcatcher" would lead the way with four nominations apiece:

"The Imitation Game" : Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay

"Birdman": Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay

I personally think that Morten Tyldum is going to get into the Director's race for "Imitation" and that Edward Norton and Emma Stone get into the Supporting races for "Birdman".

"Foxcatcher": Best Picture, Actor and Supporting Actor.  That's Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo respectively.

I personally think that Morten Tyldum is going to get into the Director's race for "Imitation" and that Edward Norton and Emma Stone get into the Supporting races for "Birdman".  I'd add Bennett Miller for Direction for "Foxcatcher".

Feinberg forecasts two nominations for "Wild".  One for Reese Witherspoon in the Lead category and the other for Laura Dern as Supporting.

He also has Hilary Swank as Best Actress nominee for "The Homesman".

Among documentaries, Feinberg says: "Keep on Keepin' On" and "Red Army" get nods and for Foreign Language film: "Wild Tales" and "Two Days, One Night".  He also says TFF #40 hit "Blue is the Warmest Color" will get a nod as well.

That total for TFF #41 from these categories would be 19 nominations.

The complete Feinberg Forecast is here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/feinberg-forecast-awards-landscape-telluride-715823


ASSESSING THE POST FALL FESTIVAL LANDSCAPE:




DEADLINE

Pete Hammond at Deadline.com takes a look at the aftermath of Telluride, Toronto and Venice and draws some conclusions.  Hammond specifically discusses Telluride features: "Foxcatcher", "Birdman", "The Imitation Game" , "Mr. Turner", "Wild",  "Rosewater" and "99 Homes".

Here's the link to that post:

http://deadline.com/2014/09/2014-fall-festival-verdict-toronto-film-festival-and-2014-0scar-race-833893/


THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter posted an article called "Critic's Roundup: The Ten Best Films from Major Fall Festivals (So Far).  Of the ten, Telluride lands three films on the list: "Birdman" (also listed as Venice), "Seymour: An Introduction" and "Wild" (both listed with Toronto as well).  It's worth noting that films that played Cannes are NOT included on their "Fall Fest" list so no "Foxcatcher" or "Mr. Turner".  Missing: "The Imitation Game".

The complete post here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/best-films-at-toronto-venice-731526


SCREEN TALK


And I've also linked to the latest installment of Screen Talk, podcast from Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn who also provide their insight in the immediate aftermath of the conclusion of all three major fests that have just concluded.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/screen-talk-what-happened-at-toronto-hits-misses-oscar-contenders-20140912


TORONTO AUDIENCE AWARD GOES TO "THE IMITATION GAME"



Telluride player, Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" won The Toronto International Film Festival's Grolsch Audience Award yesterday.  The film follows in the footsteps of such recent past winners as "Slumdog Millionaire", ":The King's Speech" and "12 Years a Slave" that played T-ride and then followed up with the audience award at TIFF (and also went on to win the Oscar Best Picture).  Does this make "The Imitation Game" your Oscar front runner?  Maybe not, but it doefinitely continues the great momentum that started two weeks ago in the Rockies.

Here's coverage of yesterday's Toronto announcement:

http://www.thewrap.com/the-imitation-game-wins-toronto-audience-award/


http://deadline.com/2014/09/toronto-film-festival-2014-awards-audience-award-winner-834100/


http://variety.com/2014/film/news/toronto-imitation-game-wins-festivals-peoples-choice-award-1201305517/

http://www.indiewire.com/article/the-2014-toronto-international-film-festival-winners-as-they-come-in-20140914

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/the-imitation-game-wins-tiff-peoples-choice-award-watch-40-minute-press-conference-for-the-film-20140914

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/toronto-imitation-game-audience-award-732710

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/the-imitation-game-with-benedict-cumberbatch-wins-torontos-peoples-choice-award


EAT, DRINK, FILM TFF #41 COVERAGE


TFF #41 Class Photo (Getty Images)


We have mentioned in this space previously that TFF Senior Program Curator Gary Meyer has been at work at Eat, Drink, Film...a relatively new website devoted to...well... the three activities that comprise the websites name.  Eat, Drink, Film had its report about TFF #41 posted recently, complete with cool photos from this year's "class photo" session from Getty Images.  It's worth a look.  Here:

http://eatdrinkfilms.com/2014/09/11/the-41st-telluride-film-festival-into-the-dark-and-the-light/


More on Thursday...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The People's Telluride/Scenes from TFF #41/Catching Foxcatcher

Good Thursday to all...

THE PEOPLE'S TELLURIDE



After about ten days of polling and a couple pf dozen responses, here are this year's results of The People's Telluride.  I asked readers of this space to rate the films they saw at TFF #41 on a 0-5 scale with "0" being "abysmal" and "5" being a "Masterpiece".  I then collated that information and divided by the number of respondents for each film.  To make the list, a film had to have ratings from at least 25% of the respondents.  That's the methodology.  Here are the results with the average rating in parenthesis:

1) The Imitation Game (4.73)
2) Birdman (4.46)
3) Wild Tales (4.23)
4) Foxcatcher (4.20)
5) Merchants of Doubt (4.04)
6) '71 (3.90)
7) Red Army (3.63)
8) Wild (Tie 3.50)
8) Escobar: Paradise Lost (Tie 3.50)
8) Mommy (Tie 3.50)
11) 99 Homes (3.47)
12) Rosewater (3.46)
13) Two Days, One Night (3.31)
14) Mr. Turner (3.00)
15) Madame Bovary (2.88)
16) The Homesman (2.58)

Notes:

Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Look of Silence" had a 4.9 rating but not enough respondents to surpass the 25% threshold.

"Merchants of Doubt", "99 Homes" and "Escobar: Paradise Lost" all were rated by enough of "The People" to make it onto today's list but were not seen by enough of "The Professionals" to make that list which I posted Tuesday.

"Leviathan" was the one film on "The Professionals" list that wasn't seen by enough of "The People" to make today's list.

The biggest disconnect this year between "Pros" and "Peeps"; "Mr. Turner".  The pros rated it at 4.10 which put it at #6 on that list.  The Peeps rated it at 3.00 which made it 14th out of the 16 films on today's list.

There was also a fairly astounding separation between the choice of the Peeps #1-"The Imitation Game" and The Pros which, though rated by them at an over "4" average, ended up at #7 on The Pros listing.

And, yeow...the Peeps did not care for Tommy Lee Jones "The Homesman".

Monday, I'll have the combination listing from all the Pros and Peeps...13 films make that list.


SCENES FROM TFF #41



The official Telluride Film Festival website has posted four filmed tidbits of conversations/interviews from this year's fests.  I have linked to them here:

Reese Witherspoon on "Wild"

http://telluridefilmfestival.org/showroom/show/144

Jon Stewart Q & A after the initial "Rosewater" screening:

http://telluridefilmfestival.org/showroom/show/142


Francis Ford Coppola on "Apocalypse Now" Tribute:

http://telluridefilmfestival.org/showroom/show/143


Hilary Swank on "The Homesman" during her tribute:

http://telluridefilmfestival.org/showroom/show/145


CATCHING FOXCATCHER


"Foxcatcher" Teaser trailer via YouTube



Mark Ruffalo kindly tweeted a link to an in depth story that Vulture.com did about the genesis and development of Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher".  The Mark Harris piece was posted originally on Aug. 24th but provides such detail that I have linked it here:


http://www.vulture.com/2014/08/the-making-of-foxcatcher.html

"Foxcatcher" opens nationally on Nov. 14th.


Coming next week to MTFB/FAC:  The Combination Ratings of The Peeps and The Pros and the first look at major Oscar categories as The Film Awards Clearinghouse returns to this blog!


Follow me on Twitter @Gort2.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Special Edition: The Professionals' Telluride/Telluride and Toronto: Some Assessments

Good Tuesday Everyone,

Today's post is a special edition of Michael's Telluride Film Blog as after today I'll revert back to the more common practice of posting twice a week.  MTFB's regular posting schedule for nine months of the year (Mid-September to mid-June) is on Mondays and Thursdays.  It's time to go back to that schedule as we make the turn from our post TFF #41 experience into the film awards season.  As has become the norm, this space will now set out to track the fortunes of Telluride films through the maze leading up to and including the Oscars (announced on Feb. 22, 2015).  After all, the second half of what I call this thing is "The Film Awards Clearinghouse".

As always, should circumstances warrant, I will post with more frequency than the twice-a-week schedule.

I hope everyone enjoyed this year's coverage of the speculation leading up to the 41st Telluride Film Festival.

SPECIAL EDITION: THE PROFESSIONALS' TELLURIDE




Alejandro Inarritu’s “Birdman” leads the 2014 “Professionals” ratings from Telluride. 


The Professionals:

Alex Billington/FirstShowing
Greg Ellwood/HitFix
Tomris Laffley/Film Journal
Eugene Novikov/Film Blather
John Rhodes/Screencraft
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/In Contention
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood/IndieWire

I asked the Porfessionals to rate the films they saw at Telluride (or that had played both at Cannes and Telluride) on a 0-5 scale with “0” being abysmal and “5” being a masterpiece.  I arbitrarily decided to include films that had been seen by at least a third of the Professionals.  I have listed the films in order of their average rating and included that average in parenthesis). Here’s their collective wisdom:

    1)      Birdman (4.72)
    2)      Foxcatcher (4.63)
          3)      ’71 (4.25)
          4)      Wild Tales (4.20)
          5)      Leviathan (4.17)
          6)      Mr. Turner (4.10) 
          7)      The Imitation Game (4.06)
          8)      Mommy (3.92)
          9)      Two Days, One Night (3.90)
         10)    The Homesman (3.80)
         11)    Red Army (3.67)
         12)    Madame Bovary (3.30)
         13)    Wild (3.21)
         14)    Rosewater (3.06)


          And so "Birdman" emerges as the preferred film among the professionals.  On Thursday, I'll publish the People's Telluride results.  That means you still have time to send me your ratings to be included.  Rate the films you saw on a 0-5 scale and send them to me via Twitter (@Gort2), email: michael_speech@hotmail.com or as a comment to this blog.

       I can tell you that there will be some differences between The Pros and The People.

       Next Monday I'll also publish the combined ratings in which I'll use all the ratings from the professionals and us regular Joes.


        TELLURIDE AND TORONTO: SOME ASSESSMENTS

         


      Now that the first "World Premiere" weekend of Toronto is in the books, a number of media outlets have begun weighing in with their view about the efficacy of Toronto's 2014 edict concerning films that played Telluride first.  I have included links to three of those pieces here from The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The Chicago Tribune.

      Tatiana Siegel writing in THR writes, "there's little doubt that Toronto Film Festival director Cameron Bailey's anti-Telluride policy is having a chilling effect on the Oscar prowess of the first days"

           http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/toronto-opening-weekend-is-missing-730631

           http://variety.com/2014/film/news/still-waiting-for-the-wow-factor-at-toronto-1201299490/

           http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-toronto-quality-20140908-column.html
        

           
           More on Thursday!




    

Monday, September 8, 2014

Apologies: The Professionals Telluride/Random Thoughts a Week Removed/Film Comment Talks Telluride

Welcome to Monday...

APOLOGIES: THE PROFESSIONALS TELLURIDE



I had intended to post the results of the ratings from the professionals who have been kind enough to rate the films they saw last weekend at TFF #41 but last minute additions and alterations have pushed that to tomorrow.  Sorry.  Think of it as building suspense.

I'm still planning The People's Telluride release on Thursday so you peeps still have a couple of days to send in your ratings on a 0-5 scale to me via Twitter (@Gort2) email: michael_speech@hotmail.com or as a comment to this blog.

RANDOM THOUGHTS A WEEK REMOVED



Well, I've had a little time to process TFF #41 so I thought I might tap out a few things that have been rattling around my brain over the last week or so.

THE PEOPLE

I have made some great friends as a result of the Telluride Film Fest over these past eight years of attending and six years of writing about it.  Especially worthy of mention are Christopher Schiller, who was a great guy to stand in line with, a counselor and conversationalist.  Also, it was terrific to catch up, briefly, with Jack Werzberger and Patrick Pringle.  Great guys who love film and TFF.

Susan and Bunee Tomlinson, fellow Oklahomans, who make the trek each year to the San Juans and are remarkably kind.  Look out world, Bunee's gonna run the film world someday.

Alexandra and Mark Helfrich, who, I believe we met in line in 2007.  Dinner companions, fellow film fans and hard core Telluride fest-goers.  They have become more than acquaintances over these past few years.  I value the brief moments we get to share.

I also am humbled and gratified that I am treated so warmly by the members of the real press.  Going out of their way to show kindness and share insight: Sasha Stone/Awards Daily, Kristopher Tapley/HitFix-InContention, Alex Billington/FirstShowing and Tomris Laffley/Film Journal.  Mr. Schiller also falls into this camp.

And then there was the nearly constant parade of people that I ran into that read the blog.  It seemed like I was constantly sitting next to or standing in line with someone who reads the thing.  To all of you and those of you who have taken time to pass along an "I love your blog" via email, Twitter or other social media...thanks so very much. You're too kind.

And I would be seriously remiss if I didn't mention TFF's VP of Publicity Shannon Mitchell and Co-director Julie Huntsinger.  These two women have persistently shown me nothing but respect, kindness and warmth.  I thank them sincerely.

And, of course, Larry and Mitzi Mallard who make the whole thing possible.  They were my students back in the 80's and have grown into great friends and have the wife and I the most ridiculously wonderful gift in the form of passes to attend the festival and a ludicrously beautiful place to stay.  "Thank you" is inadequate expression of gratitude.



THE FILMS

You know how it is sometimes.  You come out of theater in T-ride and you're giddy and then, after some reflection, a week later, you reassess.  Sometimes something that you thought was great is really just good and sometimes what you thought wasn't much, resonates louder and louder on reflection.  Last year, "Llewyn Davis"...which I thought was great from the get-go...got better on reflection.    So, looking back after a bit of time always seems like a good idea.  That said...



A week out and I still feel strongly about what the three films I saw that seem to be the standouts of TFF #41.  Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman" (which did NOT win the Venice Golden Lion over the weekend and many were surprised by that) which I called a masterpiece in the heat of the immediate post film reaction.  Now that I've mulled it for a week...still a masterpiece.  It's Inarritu's best film and a career defining performance from Michael Keaton.  I don't know if Keaton will win a Best Oscar next spring, only that he should and, in a year that already has a surfeit of phenomenal work in the Lead Actor category (and more to come raves for Eddie Redmayne for "The Theory of Everything" and Bill Murray for "St. Vincent" are coming out of Toronto from this weekend's screenings like Jack O'Connell in "Unbroken" and I suspect Matthew McConnaughey will be back in the conversation after we finally see Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar"), I cannot imagine that anyone is going to be as good as Keaton in this film.

Make no mistake...most years I would be all about Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in "Foxcatcher" and Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Imitation Game".  They're fantastic performances and were I member of the Academy and having to choose, it'd be difficult...but Keaton's performance makes it easy.  At least for me.



Speaking of "Foxcatcher" and :The Imitation Game", I still feel the same about them as I did a week ago.  Great work, great scripting and direction.  Excellent acting from two very, very different films.

"Wild Tales" seems to have gotten the biggest buzz boost from the fest.  It's the kind of thing that has happened before at Telluride, I think.  Audiences responding to a well made comic film that provides big laughs made bigger as a relief/release from some of the other more somber, challenging fare at the fest.  I enjoyed "Wild Tales" but I don't think it's in the same ball park that the above three films are.

Though I didn't see it, I imagine that people that saw "The Look of Silence" were probably looking for that.  To a lesser extent, I think the same might be true for Ethan Hawke's documentary "Seymour: An Introduction" which was warmly embraced by everyone I talked to that saw it last weekend.  As a matter of fact, Jack Werzberger (mentioned above) said it was one of his five best TFF experiences ever.  Strong praise indeed.  Also, shout out to Mr. Hawke whom my parents met and, as is so often the case at Telluride, was terrifically pleasant and kind.


Director, actor and genuinely nice guy Ethan Hawke with my parents Patricia and Calvin Patterson.


As I mentioned above also, sometimes a film grows with some distance.  "Red Army", Gabe Polsky's documentary about the Cold War era Soviet hockey team has been that film over the last week for me.  Great work.  It's funny, engaging, dramatic and even emotional.

Noble misses: "Wild" and "The Homesman".  Both films have good performances at their core (Witherspoon/Wild Dern/Wild and Swank/Homesman) and are beautiful to look at but are lacking some structural elements that left this viewer unclear as to motivation.  Though that ambiguity is sometimes a valid choice, in these two instances I felt like I needed to understand the leads at a deeper level to make sense of the way each film played out.



Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" also fell into this same category for me for different reasons, really.  Stewart explained more than once over the course of last weekend that one of the things that he was after was a film that expressed evil and torture and terror as being something that could be subtle.  He wants us to realize that those things don't have to take the shape of a "Midnight Express" level of abuse to be just as terrifying and maybe even more so because of its subtlety.  OK.  I'm not sure that makes for a compelling film.  It didn't for me.

I also had issues with what was going on with the leads flashbacks/imaginings of conversations with his father who, it seems to me, would not have been pleased with the choices that Gael Garcia Bernal's character makes.  The film devotes a good amount of time to Dad making much of his own choices when faced with similar circumstances in his own life but when Bernal's character charts a different course toward the films end, Ghost Dad seems all about condoning those choices. Ummm...what'd I miss?

GRAND MOMENTS:

Having said all that about Jon Stewart's film, I was thrilled to meet him and shake his hand.  Call me shallow.

I was also pretty happy to shake Alejandro Inarritu's hand and congratulate him after the first North American screening of "Birdman".

Realizing as I was talking to some fellow journalist types that I was standing two feet from Reese Witherspoon.

The sheer breath taking thrill that it was to watch "Birdman" happen in front of my eyes and then see Inarritu talk about it afterwards.

It was also ridiculously grand to hear/see Bennett Miller, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Hilary Swank discuss their films moments after seeing them.

Finally got to meet Screencraft's John Rhodes face to face after a couple of years of communicating facelessly via email and the Twitterverse.  Had a fantastic breakfast with him and his buddy Trevor Kress of Corbis Entertainment on Monday morning just before we pulled out to Telluride.


Dinner Thursday night with the Helfrichs.



REGRETS, I HAD A FEW...

....and they're silly...but...

Tommy Lee Jones appears to have been in town for about three hours.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like he was in T-ride to do the singularly scheduled Q & A with Leonard Maltin after the Sunday afternoon screening of "The Homesman".  I understand that Mr. Jones is notoriously unwilling to suffer the indignities of fame and that the Q & A demonstrated that and part of me wishes I could have been there but I had a prior engagement that I really couldn't move around,  Still, I would have risked a withering glance to have put my eyeballs on him and even more to have actually been able to greet the man.

I hate that Benedict Cumberbatch didn't make it despite the program assurance that he would be in attendance.  I think the young man is a terrific actor and gives an incredible performance in "Imitation Game".  It would have fun to tell him that in person.

I was thrilled to get to hear Steve Carell and Channing Tatum talk about "Foxcatcher"  My disappoint...kept thinking I'd run into them...never happened.  Apparently I just missed Carell at the Patron's brunch.  Curse my luck.

Missed Oprah... who was around at least early in the weekend for "Wild".

I saw Megan Ellison at the Fox Searchlight party Saturday (and again Fox Searchlight...thanks so much for the invitation..was cool.) but didn't work up the gumption to walk over and thank her for the producing work she has done over that last five years or so ("True Grit" -my favorite film of 2010, "The Master", "Zero Dark Thirty" "American Hustle" and this year's "Foxcatcher" among others. She's part of the list of producers for Inarritu's next project as well. "The Revenant"...TFF #42?...if it's done, I'll bet it shows...)

I also missed Quincey Jones at the FS party.  I think I was already out the door when Q showed up. Man, I hate to have missed a legend.

I also regret not having had a second conversation with Jon Stewart who was leaving the FS party as I was coming in.  That's probably for the best, but, again, a week removed...seems like a missed opportunity.


FILM COMMENT TALKS TELLURIDE

Eugene Hernandez has posted a Telluride re-cap for Film Comment.  Here's the link to that:

http://filmcomment.com/entry/festival-telluride





Saturday, September 6, 2014

Filmmaker Mag Looks at TFF #41/Best of the Week: What I Saw; Video: Rosewater and Birdman; Dance Called Oscar; Rudderless Music/THE PEOPLE'S TELLURIDE

FILMMAKER MAG LOOKS AT TFF #41

http://filmmakermagazine.com/87475-wanting-to-like-everything-the-telluride-film-festival/


BEST OF THE WEEK

WHAT I SAW IN TELLURIDE



Ten films over essentially two and a half days.  I would have liked to have gotten in about 4 more than I saw. Nevertheless, I saw some really fine film work at the top of the list.  Here's what I saw and how I rated them...

1) Birdman 5/5
2) The Imitation Game 4.5/5
3) Foxcatcher 4.5/5
4) Wild Tales 3.5/5
5) Red Army 3.5/5
6) The Homesman 3.5/5
7) Wild 3/5
8) Magician 3/5 (adjusted)
9) Rosewater 3/5
10) Two Days, One Night 2.5/5

A comment or two...



Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman" is a masterpiece and his best film...and I'm a fan of his other films. I think it's a tremendous piece of work.  First and foremost is Michael Keaton's turn as Riggan Thomson...the down and out former movie superstar who made his name as the titular "Birdman".  It is a fearless performance on a ridiculously high, ridiculously thin high wire and he is riveting.  It's one of the great performances on film I think I have ever seen.  Keaton must win Oscar...it is a oral imperative.  To deny this performance would be a crime.  And Keaton isn't alone.  Ed Norton and Emma Stone shine as well.  Both should earn nominations and Norton may very well win the Supporting Actor trophy.

The technical work is also dizzying.  The technique to create a two hour plus film that seems to be nearly one long, non-stop take is an amazing feat that is a marvel to behold.

Admittedly, there will be some who don't care for the film.  It's experimental, existential and eccentric but that's also makes it so special.

I was in a conversation Saturday night, right after seeing the film, with one of the industry's smartest people about the Oscar season and we both agreed that it's a tough sell for Best Picture but the more I've thought about it, the more I wonder about that assessment.  It's hard to deny the virtuosity here and the actors, which make up the largest block in The Academy, I think are going to eat it up.  It's an actor's film.  Further, I think it's going to end up with the most nominations when they are announced next January.  So maybe...maybe...

Ultimately I have a hard time believing that I'm going to see a better film between now and Dec. 31st.




Morten Tyldum...better get used to hearing that name.  He's the director of "The Imitation Game", the Alan Turing biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch which came as close to being the consensus hit of last week's festival as I could find and deservedly.  I loved it too...not as much as "Birdman" but still...

Cumberbatch will be a nominee for this film as will, I expect, Mr. Tyldum and the screenwriter Graham Moore.  That's enough to virtually guarantee a Best Picture nomination.  There's some sentiment that Kiera Nightley might be in the running for a Supporting Actress nomination.  Noms for Costumes and Art Direction are real possibilities and I could also see an editing nomination.

Some have compared this to "The King's Speech", "Argo" and "The Artist".  Not thematically at all, but as a very well made film that Telluride audiences responded enthusiastically to.  For some that is damning praise...not to me.  Say what you will, about those three films (two of which were from The Weinstein Company, as is "Imitation Game") but they were all outstanding films in their own right.

All that said...it's a damn good film and Cumberbatch in almost any other year might be the Oscar favorite...



Finally, in terms of the films I really dug at TFF #41, there's Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher".  It's fantastic but won't be everyone's cup of tea.  "Too cold" is how I've heard it described and that makes some sense.  But that "cool" aesthetic is absolutely essential to the central performance/character.  Steve Carell is... well, some would say a revelation as deeply crazy buhzillionaire Jon duPont in this true story.  I wouldn't say "revelatory" because I've thought he was going to be great in the role since I first heard about it.  And if you read this blog with regularity, you know that I've been tracking this film for...well..ever.  You might recall that I (and others) went through last season thinking we might see it in 2013.  Nope.  But it was worth the wait.

So, Carell is excellent as are Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum as two brothers trying to conquer the Olympics circa 1988.  Bennett Miller's direction is sure handed, confident.  He's a great talent.  It's too bad that he takes as much time as he does because that means we'll see fewer films from him over the next couple of decades.  But if his body of work continues to mirror "Capote", "Moneyball" and now "Foxcatcher"...it'll be worth the wait.


My expectation is that we'll see two acting nominations, Carell and either Ruffalo or Tatum...I can't see all three being nominated, though they probably should be...both Ruffalo and Tatum deserve the nod.  The Ruffalo love is probably not a surprise.  Tatum in that convo might raise an eyebrow until you see the performance.  Again, I'm not surprised.  I thought he'd be great too.

A Best Picture nomination is possible since we're likely to have nine films make the grade again this year.  A Best Direction nom for Miller is a tougher proposition though.  I'd vote for him but, you know, I'm not an Academy member.

A script nod for Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye is more likely.  Maybe editing as well.

That's the stuff I really liked of the ten films that I got to.


VIDEO FROM "ROSEWATER" AND "BIRDMAN"



Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood posted exclusive video of interviews with the "Rosewater" and "Birdman" folks and I'm passing  along those links to you:

"Rosewater":

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/watch-rosewaters-jon-stewart-and-gael-garcia-bernal-talk-purposeful-inauthenticity-exclusive-20140903


"Birdman":

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/watch-alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-talks-birdman-at-telluride-exclusive-video-20140901


L.A. WEEKLY'S OSCAR TAKE FROM TFF #41



L.A. Weekly posted their assessment of Oscar potentials from this year's Telluride crop yesterday.  Weirdly, no mention of "Birdman".  Check it here:

http://www.laweekly.com/publicspectacle/2014/09/03/wild-foxcatcher-rosewater-and-more-hunting-for-hits-at-telluride-2014



AND NOW THE DANCE CALLED OSCAR



Regular readers of this space know that now that the festival has concluded that two things are about to happen.  I'll go back to the regular twice a week publication schedule (Mondays and Thursdays) unless something special warrants a special post AND the focus of the blog shifts from the films that we puzzled about for six months to the actual films that played and their prospects for the upcoming awards season.

I know that plenty of TFFers couldn't care less about this or that Oscar prospect.  I completely understand that but I do enjoy the awards season and how those films that showed at The SHOW will fare.  As such, I have included a number of pieces of the "at first blush" variety from a number of the best Oscar/Awards thinkers and writers in the business.  Enjoy!

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily:

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2014/09/the-state-of-the-race-how-telluride-shapes-the-oscars/

Kristopher Tapley/HitFix

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/off-the-carpet-venice-and-telluride-signal-the-starting-gun

Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood and Eric Kohn/IndieWire (Screen Talk podcast)

http://www.indiewire.com/article/listen-how-has-telluride-changed-the-oscar-race-anne-thompson-and-eric-kohn-discuss-on-indiewires-podcast-20140901

Tim Gray/Variety:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/telluride-awards-wrap-no-slam-dunk-but-lots-of-goodies-1201294687/

Joey Magidson/Hollywood News

http://www.hollywoodnews.com/2014/09/01/the-telluride-film-festival-launched-some-oscar-contenders/


Gathered for this year's "Class Photo" Hilary Swank, Jon Stewart, and Channing Tatum (Getty Images)


I have continued to gather reactions to this year's group of films from critics and those that roam the awards season landscape.  Included in a couple of the wrap-ups and reviews are kind mentions of MTFB...to Alex Billington/First Showing and Sasha Stone/Awards Daily...thanks!  They're two of the best in the business and are always encouraging about this small enterprise.  So we'll start there:

Sasha reviews the weekend here:

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2014/09/telluride-diary-glory-in-the-hour/

Alex also provides a summary of the four days here:

http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/telluride-2014-cinema-thrives-in-colorado/

Anne Thompson offers her take with some really interesting background on the Toronto issue:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/telluride-wrap-the-little-festival-that-could-20140903

Variety's Justin Chang and Scott Foundas filed this dialogue that looks at the weekend that was:

http://variety.com/2014/film/festivals/telluride-from-birdman-to-mommy-festival-soars-above-the-fray-1201295912/

And from a number of places, the continued assesment of Oscar:

Gold Derby:

http://www.goldderby.com/news/7189/oscars-birdman-foxcatcher-telluride-boyhood-unbroken-entertainment-13579086-story.html

The Wrap:

http://www.thewrap.com/reese-witherspoons-odd-f-bombs-michael-keaton-mania-weird-tales-show-stealing-7-takeaways-from-telluride-film-fest/

Cinema Blend:

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Benedict-Cumberbatch-Imitation-Game-Win-Telluride-Battle-Oscar-Buzz-67015.html


MUSIC FROM RUDDERLESS



My countdown to the release of William H. Macy's set in Oklahoma Sundance drama "Rudderless" continues.  It's set to release on Oct. 17th.  News came yesterday that music form the film...and it's cool music...will be available within the month.  One of the things that was said after the Oklahoma City screening of the film last June was how good the music was.  Now you'll soon have a chance to hear for yourself.  The Playlist posted the release story online and here's the link to that:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/exclusive-listening-preview-songs-from-the-rudderless-soundtrack-performed-by-selena-gomez-eef-barzelay-ben-kweller-more-20140904


THE PEOPLE'S TELLURIDE



The ratings from readers have begun to come in and this is your reminder to be a part of the annual rating compilation of  the films you saw at Telluride.  Please drop me a line with your rating of each of the films you saw using a 0-5 scale with "0" for the atrocious and "5" for the sublime.  Send them to me via Twitter @Gort2 or email:  michael_speech@hotmail.com or as a comment to this post.  I'll collate them and publish the results in the next week or so.  It's fun!