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...

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