Monday, July 27, 2015

"Black Mass" to Venice/"Our Brand" Gets a Release Date/The "Unified Clooney Theory"/This Would Be a Shocker

Good Monday morning campers.  I hope you enjoyed a stress free weekend.


"Black Mass" trailer via YouTube

The Venice Film Festival announced Friday that Scott Cooper's "Black Mass" will world premiere out of competition as a part of their lineup on Sept. 4.

You probably noticed that I listed "Black Mass" in Friday's MTFB post at #10 and for the first time this summer.  I also mentioned in this space last week that I was seeing a good deal of smoke about the chances that it would play Telluride and in light of the Hollywood Elsewhere story above, the #10 spot seems conservative.

 Finally, I have been suggesting for months now that I thought that Warners would be back at Telluride this year after laying out last year.  Their success with "Argo" in 2012 and "Gravity" in 2013.  In addition to "Black Mass", Warners also has "Our Brand is Crisis" and "In the Heart of the Sea" and "Midnight Special" as potential material for Telluride.

The Telluride/Venice overlap is usually fairly smallish.  In most years, the overlap is around three films.  But...

The dating of the "Black Mass' premiere for Sept. 4th works for a Venice play followed by a Telluride screening half way through.  "Gravity" followed that path in 2013.

A couple of questions remain.  First, does Johnny Depp make the trip from Venice to Telluride and second, do any of the supporting players also come along?  Like Benedict Cumberbatch?  You may recall that in 2013 a mass of the "12 Years a Slave" crew made the journey: McQueen, Pitt, Fassbender, N'yongo, maybe the whole gang.

Here is a sampling of the coverage from the media about the Venice "Black Mass" announcement:


Another tidbit of interest that was announced this weekend was the dating of release for David Gordon Green's "Our Brand is Crisis" for Oct. 30th.  That puts the film in prime position to be a part of any number of fall film fests including Telluride.  As mentioned above, "Our Brand" is being distributed by Warners which could bring it to T-ride along with "Black Mass" as they did with "Prisoners' and "Gravity in 2013.

"Our Brand" stars Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton and Zoe Kazan and is based on the 2005 documentary of the same name which explored the extension of American style political campaigning in South America.

The film also shows up below in my look at "The Unified Clooney Theory" of Telluride possibilities.

The stories from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter:


George Clooney on the set of the Coen Brothers' "Hail Caesar"

It's time once again to re-visit my annual proposal of the "Unified Clooney Theory".  The UCT suggests that Telluride clues can be found by examining the work of George Clooney and his friends and associates.  Last year the UCT was abysmal at suggesting possibilities, but remember that 2013 when the UCT was actually fairly prophetic: "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity".'s a "so-so" tool at best but kind of fun...

So, start with Clooney himself.  Acting wise, he's involved with a couple of films that might be Telluride worthy: "Money Monster" directed by Jodie Foster that almost certainly is unready (IMDb says it is till filming and isn't "expected until Mar. 31) and "Hail, Caesar" the Coen Brothers (also members of The UCT) film that is set for Feb. 5, 2016 release.

I'd really love "Caesar" to be surprise at T-ride...but it's not likely.

Much more likely is a film that Clooney is a producer on which David Gordon Green's "Our Brand is Crisis"  The film stars (and is also being produced by) Sandra Bullock.  The film is distributed by Warners and I actually think there's a real shot for it to play on Labor Day weekend.

Next up in The UCT is Clooney pal and sometimes co-star Brad Pitt.  Pitt and his wife Angelina Jolie have a much anticipated film that they have done together and was directed by Jolie.  "By the Sea" is at Universal and is set for a Nov. 13th release.  Honestly, I think the film is more likely as a New York Film Fest possibility rather than Telluride...but you never know.

The third member of The UCT to mention is Matt Damon.  Unlike Clooney and Pitt, Damon has not made it to Telluride.  His big acting gig for this year is the upcoming "The Martian" from director Ridley Scott.  "The Martian" is distributed by 20th Century Fox and is scheduled for release on Oct. 2.  One could make the case that it could SHOW with a big splash as "Gravity" did a couple of years ago but I'd be very, very surprised.

Damon, like Clooney, might be more likely to be Telluride involved through hos producing as he is a producer for Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester-by -the-Sea" which, although I don't think its T-ride chances are great, has a greater chance to make the lineup than "The Martian" does.

Then there's Damon's longtime friend and occasional collaborator Ben Affleck who is all about being Batman now in the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" flick.  Affleck is also starring in "The Accountant" from Warners which has late January release date.  Warners could conceivably include it at T-ride with the roll out of "Black Mass".

Known Clooney accomplice Julia Roberts could show at The SHOW with "Secret in Their Eyes".

Cate Blanchett, another Clooney crony, has both "Truth" (which appears to be set for Telluride-see above) and "Carol" (which may not be as solid for Telluride as I have been thinking-also see above).

Of course, Clooney pal Don Cheadle is off the T-ride chart with his Miles Davis biopic that has been announced as the world premiere closing night film for the New York Film Fest.

Then there's Tilda Swinton who received a tribute at Telluride the same year as Clooney and has been in a number of films with Clooney and/or other UCT members: "Michael Clayton", "Hail, Caesar", "Burn After Reading", "Benjamin Button".  She's in "A Bigger Splash" which could be in the TFF #42 lineup.

Best UCT Telluride chances this year are:

1) "Truth" (Blanchett)
2) "Carol" (also Blanchett)
3) "Our Brand is Crisis" (Clooney)
4) "Manchester-by-the-Sea (Damon)
5) "Secret in Their Eyes" (Roberts)


Roger Freidman's ShowBiz411 posted this tasty rumor/tidbit over the weekend: the Warren Beatty Howard Hughes project could show up at one of the three upcoming festivals...including Telluride.

The story seems unlikely, but I guess it's possible.  Freidman cites a "source close to the production" who also is reported to have claimed that if it were to show at Venice, Toronto or Telluride that it might well be a "surprise" screening.

That would be a stunning coup for any of the fests as the project is shrouded in mystery.

Here's the IMDb page for the untitled film:

and the link to the Freidman post:

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