Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cannes and Oscar Analysis/Cannes and the Critical Response: Final/"Dheepan": View of a Palme d'Or Winner/"The Club" Could Meet in Telluride/"Black Mass Trailer #2

CANNES AND OSCAR ANALYSIS (and a word or two about Telluride)

I have posted links to three different film sites with post-Cannes Oscar analysis: Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood, Sasha Stone/Awards Daily and Peter Knegt/Indie Wire.  I have also put together a list from each of the three of their anticipated Oscar candidates that I think have some shot at playing at Telluride:

Anne: "Carol", "Macbeth", "Tulip Fever", "Youth", "Son of Saul", "Dheepan", "The Assassin" and "Amy"

Sahsa: Not Cannes-centric...but...her current Top Ten" includes "The Revenant", "Steve Jobs", "Trumbo", and "Carol".

Peter: "Carol", "45 Years", "Son of Saul", "Youth", "Demolition", "Genius", "Trumbo", "The Revenant", "Steve Jobs" and "Suffragette".

Check out their complete analysis with these links (And a more than casual mention from Anne and Sasha about TFF):


Meanwhile, the critical response is in from Cannes and despite winning the Palme d'Or, Jacques Audiard's "Dheepan" was not often near the top of the competition films.  I have linked the four international critics compilations with each groups collective top three from the main competition films:

1) "The Assassin"
2) "Carol"
3) "Mountains May Depart"

1) "The Assassin"
2) "Carol"
3) Mountains May Depart"

1) "The Assassin" and "Carol" (tie)
2) "Son of Saul" and "Mountains May Depart" (tie)
3) "Mia Madre"

1) "Carol"
2) "Mia Madre"
3) "Son of Saul"


Clip from Jacques Audiard's Palme d'Or winner "Dheepan"

Audiard's "Dheepan" was clearly a surprise winner for the Palme.  The film was rated #7 (of the 19 competition films) by the Ioncinema critics, #6 by Screen Daily, #7 by rurban's critics and #8 by Argentina's todaslascriticas.  They're respectable numbers but nowhere close to the critical adoration heaped on "The Assassin" and "Carol".

Nevertheless, the reception was good enough for me to believe that it's a very probable Telluride entrant.  

Here's the story that The Playlist posted to go along with the release of the above clip of the film:


Pablo Larrain was in Telluride in 2013 with the Gael Garcia Bernal starrer "No" in 2012.  Larrain's new film has just been picked up for U.S. distribution by Music Box Films.  Music Box had Oscar winner "Ida" and "Fifi Howls from Happiness" in 2013 and Mark Cousin's "The Story of Film: An Odyssey" in 2011 but was absent in 2014.

Still, I think that "The Club" has a 50/50 shot at making the Telluride playlist in September.  Variety has the story here:


New "Black Mass" Trailer via YouTube

We saw a new trailer spring up online for Scott Cooper's "Black Mass" this week. The film stars Johnny Depp as notorious gangster/murderer Whitey Bulger.  That's what you see above.  "Black Mass' is one of four Warners films that are in the mix for serious notice at the end of the year and also might make the trip to T-ride.  

I'm on record suggesting a likely Warners return to Telluride this year after having had a serious presence  in 2012 with "Argo" and 2013 with "Gravity" and "Prisoners".  The trick is trying to ferret out which of the four films that could make the trip will make the trip.

The "Warners Four" are: "Black Mass", "Midnight Special", "Our Brand is Crisis" and "In  the Heart of the Sea".

News about the new clip is included here from Awards Daily and Variety:

More on Monday when Michael's Telluride Film Blog goes full time.  Beginning Monday MTFB will post five times a week on Monday through Friday through the end of this year's TFF.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Cannes Prizes/Clips from Cannes Closer: "Macbeth"/Fassbender Talks the Scottish Film/Not So Fast Mr. Holmes

Welcome to Monday!


The 68th Cannes Film Festival came to a conclusion on last night in France (yesterday afternoon here in the States) with a bit of a surprise as Jacques Audiard's immigration drama "Dheepan" won the Palme d'Or.  The film is set for U.S. Distribution by Sundance Selects/IFC Films.

I have a strong feeling that it will likely make the Telluride program this year after its Palme win, reasonable critical reception and the face that Audiard's has been at Telluride twice in the last decade with "Un Prophet" and "Rust and Bone".

Other prizes from Cannes (and a comment or two along the way):

Grand Prix: "Son of  Saul" ( I think this could be a very possible T-ride contender)
Jury Prize: "The Lobster"
Best Direction: Hou Hsaio-hsein- "The Assassin"
Actor: Vincent Lindon-"The Measure of a Man"
Actress: Emmanuelle Bercot-"Mon Roi" and Rooney Mara-"Carol"
Screenplay: Michel Franco-"Chronic"

From among these winners, I feel "Carol" and possibly "The Assassin" might be your best Telluride possibilities, in addition to "Son of Saul" and "Dheepan".

Other competition titles that are still on my Telluride radar include "The Tale of Tales", "Youth" and "Macbeth".


Clip from "Macbeth" via YouTube

Linked are couple of clips from Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth" which, despite being closed out of the awards at Cannes is still very much a film on my list of "could be at Telluride's".


Additionally, actor Michael Fassbender, who plays the Scottish King, spoke with TheSpec about the film.


We gave up on Bill Condon's "Mr. Holmes" for Telluride when it's July release date was announced.  However, this tidbit might mean that there is a roadblock to that plan.  The Conan Doyle estate has sued the film makers claiming copyright infringement.  Will this delay the film's release?  Probably not, but stay tuned for further developments.  Details are below in this story linked from The Playlist:

Look for more on Thursday...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cannes and the Critics/First Looks": "Dheepan"/Looking for "Jobs"/All I Want is Some "Truth"/"Macbeth" Director on the Record

Good Thursday to All..

Our focus continues to be what is happening in France at the Cannes Film Festival.  As the films unspool, I continue to sift through news reports, press releases, reviews and social media posts scouring for items that could give insight into the eventual TFF #42 lineup.  Here's what I have for today:


Here's the links to the latest from the critics collective response to films at the Cannes Film Festival:

Ioncinema's critical roundup is down at post time.


Jacques Audiard's last film was "Rust and Bone" and prior to that "A Prophet" both of which made the T-ride grade so you have to think that if this film is any good that it will also make the grade for 2015.  "Dheepan" also has a leg up in that it is being distributed domestically by Sundance Selects which has been a significant Telluride presence the last few years with films such as : "Two Days, One Night", "Seymour: An Introduction", "Blue is the Warmest Color" and "Goodbye First Love".

Here's the first teaser/trailer for the film:

"Dheepan" teaser via YouTube

Check the coverage here:


"Steve Jobs" teaser via YouTube

Also up this week is our first look at a teaser for Danny Boyle's "Steve Jobs" starring Michael Fassbender.  Boyle's participation makes the film something to pay attention to as a Telluride possibility ("Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours").  The fact that it's from Universal probably mitigates its chances.

Here's a couple of stories about the teaser and the film:


Sony Pictures Classics continues to grab titles during the business part of the Cannes fest.  SPC acquired U.S. rights to the James Vanderbilt film that focuses on the aftermath of Dan Rather's reporting about George W. Bush in the 2004 election.  Rather ended up gone from CBS after reporting that Bush had a questionable record regarding his service in the Alabama Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

"Truth" stars Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett, Dennis Quaid and Elizabeth Moss.

The SPC buy moves the film into serious consideration for TFF #42.



Justin Kurzel talked to The Hollywood Reporter recently about his adaptation of the Bard's classic that will be closing the competition slate at Cannes later this weekend.  The film stars Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender.

More to come on Monday...

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Son of Saul" and "Our Little Sister and SPC/More from "Carol"/Early Palme Contenders/"Hologram" Has Distribution


"Son of Saul"

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired two Palme competition titles in the Cannes early-going.  SPC has snagged "Our Little Sister" and critical favorite "Son of Saul".  SPC entered Cannes with a relatively thin stable of films but these acquisitions instantly become fodder for Telluride speculation.

"Our Little Sister"

Going into the French fest, SPC only had a couple of titles that seemed possible for Telluride: "Elser" and the Han Williams biopic "I Saw the Light".  Most of the rest of their slate heading into Cannes was either launched at Sundance or has a pre-Telluride release date.

SPC is usually the largest distribution presence at the Telluride Film Festival.  SPC has averaged 4.8 films at Telluride over the last dozen years.  They had seven last year so you have to imagine that every acquisition announcement puts that film right in the middle of the Telluride conversation.

Here's the news about "Son of Saul" and "Our Little Sister" from Cannes:


Mara and Blanchett from "Carol"

Todd Haynes "Carol" has been rapturously received in Cannes.  The film stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.  Even the most cursory glance at reactions coming out of France seems overwhelming. I have linked an overview of responses from The Playlist plus a link to an Awards Daily post that includes a lengthy "Carol" clip:

Does this kind of response mean "Carol" is a cinch for Telluride?  Ummm....nope.  "Carol" is represented for U.S. distribution by The Weinstein Company.  TWC is usually at Telluride in some capacity.  Last year included "The Imitation Game" and, under their Radius-TWC banner, "Escobar: Paradise Lost".  The year before it was "Tracks","Salinger" and "Keep on Keepin' On" and "The Unknown Known" (again as Radius).  Over the past nine years TWC or its Radius arm have been in Telluride with 15 films.  Last year was the first time in that nine year that the TWC umbrella had four films in town.

The Weinstein playbook for Telluride seems to usually include one high profile project (Imitation, Artist, King's Speech) and then one or more "lesser" lights and that break any number of ways especially since TWC has "The Hateful Eight" floating around in the late 2015 release schedule.  So, though "Carol" seems like a very real Telluride possibility, I wouldn't bet the farm on it just yet.


Through the first third of the Cannes Film Fest there are two solid critical favorites: "Carol" and "Son of Saul" and one film that has been strafed which is Gus Van Sant's "The Sea of Trees":  Check these links to the latest critic composites from around the world:


Tom Hanks in "A Hologram for the King"

Tom Tykwer's "A Hologram for the King" which stars Tom Hanks and is based on a Dave Eggers novel has been picked up for U.S. distribution at Cannes by Roadside Attractions/Saban/Lionsgate. The Eggers connection, his presence as a Telluride fixture the last few years combined with Roadside's increased profile at TFF the past couple of years (combined with the above reported critical dogpile on Roadside's other big Cannes acquisition this week: Gus Van Sant's "The Sea of Trees") moves "Hologram" onto the T-ride #42 watch list in a semi-serious way.

The link to the acquisition story is here:

More to come on Thursday....

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Oscar and Cannes/Trailers from Cannes/Carol: Views and Cate/Kurzel on "Macbeth"/"Sea of Trees" Goes to Roadside


Sasha Stone of Awards Daily and Kris Tap;y of InContention (HitFix) both take a look at the connection or lack thereof between Cannes and Oscar and what that might mean for this year's incarnation of both events:


I have linked a modestly comprehensive look at the trailer for films playing at the Cannes Film Festival from IndieWire here:


"Carol" clip via YouTube

I feel fairly optimistic that we'll see Todd Haynes "carol" at Telluride in September.  It's currently at the starting gate in Cannes as a Palme d'Or competition film.  As a part of the run up to the screening, a 22 second clip has been made available and that is what you see from YouTube above.  

Additionally, Cate Blanchett is all over the media this week talking about her own personal connection to the character she is playing.  I have linked The Playlist's story about the clip and Blanchett features from Variety, The Dissolve and Thompson on Hollywood below:


Director Justin Kurzel talks his "Macbeth" that features Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender (and that Awards Daily's Sasha Stone, who is currently in Cannes, thinks might well be on Telluride's lineup over Labor Day).  From Screen Daily:


I have been less than upbeat about the chances that Gus Van Sant's Cannes Palme competitor "The Sea of Trees" was a likely T-ride prospect.  The fact that it's at Cannes and in competition makes me notice it.  Gus Van Sant's name on it would have moved it into the "possible/probable" area a few years ago, but Van Sant has been absent from Telluride since 2003.

However, news yesterday that U.S. distribution has been picked up by Roadside Attractions makes it a little more likely.  Roadside has really blossomed at Telluride the last two years with films such as "All is Lost', "The Homesman", " ,71", "Gloria" and "Albert Nobbs".  The acquisition moves "The Sea of Trees" which stars Matthew McConnaughey up a tad in my Telluride reckoning.

Here's a slew of stories from yesterday's RA pickup:

  And this story, that reports that the film has a clip:

More on Monday, including the first critical reactions from the films that have screened at Cannes to that point...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cannes Catches Up to Tellluride: Honoring Agnes Varda/"Hateful Eight" Photos/New "Youth" Trailer/Views from "The Sea of Trees"/More "Inferno" News/Tales of "Tales of Tales"

God Monday to All.  Hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend...


Telluride honored film maker Agnes Varda back in 1977.  It was the fourth edition of the Telluride Film Festival meaning that Varda was one of the fests earliest tribute recipients.  Also honored that year were Michael Powell and Ben Carre.

Varda was feted and several of her films were screened over the course of that weekend.

Now comes word that the Cannes Film Fest will catch up with Telluride some 38 years later as Varda will be awarded an honorary Palme d'Or this year.  I've included the link to the festival's official announcement as well as Varda's IMDb page:


It looks increasingly less likely that we will have the chance to see Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" in Telluride over Labor Day.  Some journos have flat out said that it won't be ready in time for fall fests.

I've said all along that it was a long shot for TFF #42 anyway as Tarantino's festival resume is very small.  "Reservoir Dogs" played many fests including Sundance, Cannes and Toronto,  but Tarantino was an unknown commodity.  "Pulp Fiction" played Cannes, Lorcano, New York and a few others. Certainly fewer than "Pulp Fiction" did.

"Jackie Brown" played Berlin.  "Kill Bill 1",  "Kill Bill 2" played a couple of smaller fests.  "Death Proof" had Tarantino back at Cannes in 2007.  "Inglorious Basterds" played Cannes and Berlin and "Django" played no fest schedule.

So, the notion that "Hateful" would play Telluride was really based on two things alone: the fact that the movie was made in/near Telluride and that The Weinstein Company is distributing.

The film is still set for a late 2015 release in Israel.  IMDb currently has no set date for the film anywhere else.  I can actually see a scenario in which the film is finished and held for Cannes next year and then a late 2016 release.  No one has said that, in as far as I'm aware, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised.

Nonetheless, Entertainment Weekly had a slew of photos from the film that then spread like wildfire throughout the internet over the weekend.  Check the numerous links below:

Via The Film Stage

From Entertainment Weekly:


Paolo Sorrentino's "Youth" stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel and has already generated a good deal of pre-Cannes Palme d'Or buzz.  Palme winners have about a 50/50 chance of landing in Telluride  over the last decade or so.

Palme winners of late that played Telluride:

2003: "Elephant"
2005: "The Child"
2007: "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days"
2009: "The White Ribbon"
2012: "Amour"
2013: "Blue is the Warmest Color"

Last year's Palme went to "Winter Sleep" which didn't play at The SHOW so this year's winner might be more likely.

"Youth" has a new trailer that you can catch here via The Playlist:


Speaking of the Palme and past winners (as I did above)  Gus Van Sant's "The Sea of Trees" which is in competition this week at Cannes released some new images as well this past weekend.  Take a look:


I reported in my last post that Werner Herzog's next project would be shopped at Cannes to pick up financing,  That happened between my Thursday post and today as the film has drawn backing.

Check the story from The Dissolve:


And. as has been the pattern over the last few days...

That's all for now...more on Thursday after the Cannes Festival is under way!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cannes Countdown/Mulligan Talks "Suffragette" and More/New from "Sicario"/Coming Attractions: "Into the Inferno"


We're less than a week away from the opening of the Cannes Film Festival (May 13) and the screening of a number of titles that could also screen in 4 months in The Chuck, The Palm or The Zog.  Consequently, The Playlist posted its examination of 20 Cannes film that it is most energized about.  Included in its list are such tiles as: "The Sea of Trees", "Carol", "The Cowboys", "Dheepan", The Lobster", "Macbeth", "Sicario", "The Tale of Tales" and "Youth".  Take a look at their entire list and the films' details here:


Anne Thompson posted this phone interview this week with British actress and two time Telluride attendee Carey Mulligan.  Mulligan could make a third trip to T-ride on Labor Day weekend with Sarah Gavron's "Suffragette" which is among the topics Anne discussed with Mulligan, who is currently in NYC on Broadway in "Skylight".  The interview is here:


A new image from Denis Villeneuve's Cannes competition entry "Sicario" comes via HitFix this week.  Emily Blunt stars in what the director says is his best film.  Does it show at The SHOW?  I suspect that its possible, but might be a more likely a Toronto premiere.  Here's the story:


As we contemplate whether Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" will be a part of TFF #42's lineup, word comes yesterday that the auteur has his sights set on his next project which immediately becomes a Telluride possibility for 2016.  Herzog will shop "Into the Inferno" to producers over the Cannes Film Festival with an eye to beginning production soon.  Details linked below:

More to come on Monday...

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Look at the Landscape as Cannes Looms/Projects of Interest Announced

Good Monday Everyone...

It's May and that means that the Cannes Film Fest is about to launch.  Cannes opens May 13 and runs through May 24.  As always, I will be keeping an eye and ear attuned to the critical reactions coming out of Cannes especially in terms of the Palme competition slate as well as the Un Certain Regard section.  I'll also have my ear to the ground concerning the views of the experts in as far as which films seem to have the best shot at Cannes award glory from the jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Last year's crossover films (the films that played both Cannes and then Telluride) came largely from the Palme competition slate (Leviathan, Mr. Turner, Foxcatcher...others) but that isn't always the case.  Cannes-Telluride crossovers can come from almost anywhere within the Cannes programs.

And with that as a preface...


Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood posted an update this week of her view of Oscar possibilities and in light of being right on the cusp of Cannes, it seemed like a good idea to re-visit her outline as it serves as an excellent overview of any number of films that could make their way to the San Juans over Labor Day weekend.

Anne, who has participated the last two years in MTFB's "The Professionals Telluride" rating of films that play at the fest, has no less than 50 feature films that she lists as having serious Oscar potential that give us a really good starting point for Telluride speculation and discussion.

Thompson starts with a brief rundown of films from Sundance and Berlin which have already appeared.  The Sundance films you can scratch from our consideration.  Anne only mentions one Berlin title and that's "45 Years" which, I think is a strong Telluride contender.  Anne does not mention a few other Berlin titles that I think have some Telluride potential: "Every Thing Will Be Fine", "Queen of the Desert", "Taxi" (The Golden Bear winner), "The Club", "Elser" and "The Pearl Button".

Thompson mentions The Weinstein Company's Cannes pieces "Carol" and "Macbeth" both of which are on my radar as well as Sarah Gavron's "Suffragette".

Among the post-Cannes films on her list that are on my Telluride watch list are:

"A Bigger Splash"
"Black Mass"
"The Danish Girl"
"In the Heart of the Sea"
"Midnight Special"
"Our Brand is Crisis"
"The Revenant"

There are others that she mentions that In also have on the periphery of my 2015 T-ride consideration (ex: "Spotlight", "Truth") but that'll do for now.  Check all of Thompson's article here:


Okay, admittedly this next segment isn't really much about Telluride and is much more about my own personal reaction to a couple of development announcements that popped this week.  First came reports that Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" will be developed by IM Global Television.

"Cat's Cradle" was my first experience in reading the works of Vonnegut.  As a result, Vonnegut became a lifelong obsession.  Needless to say, I am both anticipating and fearing what may come of this.

Variety has the details:

Similarly, another announcement this week hit me much the same way.

One day back in the late 70's, when I was attending college, I was walking through our student union and was hailed by one of my drama professors.  He was sitting at a table with a rather scruffy looking, long haired gent that looked to be in his thirties.  My prof introduced him as a sci fi writer and named him.  The name meant zip to me as I was never much of a sci fi guy (except, of course in as far as Vonnegut was often categorized in science fiction...)

Anyway, I sat for awhile and mostly listened as my professor and sci fi guy shot the breeze.  After some time had passed, I politely excused myself with some excuse about studying or working lines for whatever play I was in at the time and departed thinking to myself...yea, yea, Sci Fi writer...whoop-tee-doo.  Based on his appearance, I had concluded that he must be an "aspiring" writer because he sure didn't look like what my version of a "successful" writer might look like.

On a whim, as I passed the campus bookstore, I ducked in and headed to its limited science fiction section, fully anticipating that my search would be in vain and in a matter of seconds, found his name on a paperback.  The book was Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" which, because I had met the guy a few minutes earlier, caused me to plunk down the $1.50...which to a starving drama major was no small sum in 1977.

Went back to the Union to see if Haldeman was still there...nope.  Long gone.  Joe Haldeman, Hugo, Nebula and Campbell Award winner.  Even as a reader that normally looked down his nose at science fiction, I knew those awards meant something important.

Read it.  Loved it. Read almost all of his other stuff.  Wished I'd been a smarter guy back then.

So, Joe Haldeman (who is a native Oklahoman), if you're out there reading this somewhere...drop me a line, send me an email...I'd love to make up for the 1977 ignorant me.

All that to get to this:

There will apparently be a feature film version of "The Forever War" starring Channing Tatum.  So says the reports from The Wrap and The Playlist.  It seems Warner Brothers has the rights.  Maybe this happens.  Maybe it's great...crossing fingers.

Here's a photo of my first Joe Haldeman purchase so many years ago.  I snagged from my bookshelf where it still lives to this day:

And links to the stories from The Wrap and The Playlist:

And finally, one last project of note announced this week that has me salivating and might actually have a better shot at making the trip to Telluride in a couple of years.   A24, which has had a recent presence at Telluride with "Under the Skin" in 2013 and "Ginger and Rosa" in 2012, is developing the true story drama of Joe and Jadin Bell which will be written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.  McMurtry and Ossana co-wrote and were listed as executive producers and producers respectively for "Brokeback Mountain" which played Telluride in 2005.

Adding to the anticipation is the news that "True Detective" director Cary Fukunaga is set to direct the adaptation.  IMDb lists the film as a 2017 release and it is the first film that A24 will shepherd from start to finish.  Take a look at the news from The Dissolve and Thompson on Hollywood:

That's all for now.  More on Thursday...