Thursday, September 28, 2017

Foreign Language Field Grows / Views of Downsizing and First They Killed My Father / Lady Bird Flies a Little Earlier / More Harry Dean Stanton Goodness / Hostiles: Still No Distrib But a Trip to Rome

Good Thursday Film Fans...


Thus week Russia announced that its official entrant into Oscar's Best Foreign Language race will be Andrey Zvyaginstev's Loveless.  The choice is a, perhaps, a bit of a surprise because the film, as was Zyvaginstev's previous Oscar nominated Leviathan, offers a critique of modern day Russia.

The film had a great response at Cannes and Telluride did nothing to diminish that.  Loveless will screen at the London, Hampton and Mill Valley Film Fests soon.
Other TFF #44 films in announced for the FLF race:

Cambodia: First They Killed More Father
Chile: A Fantastic Woman
Israel: Foxtrot
Lebanon: The Insult

Other non-TFF #44 films of note announced:

Austria: Happy End
France: BPM
Poland: Spoor
Sweden: The Square

Details and a complete list can be found here from Awards Watch.


This week we were treated to a new clip from Alexander Payne's Downsizing and a new trailer for Angelina Jolie's Oscar Foreign Language contender First They Killed My Father.

Downsizing is set to open in the U.S. on Dec. 22nd:

Meanwhile, First They Killed My Father has begun screening on Netflix on Sept. 15th.  The film was theatrically released as well:

Both videos are posted via YouTube.


A24 has announced that they are moving the initial limited release of Greta Gerwig's Telluride smash, Lady Bird up a week to Nov. 10th.  The film had been set for Nov. 17th and will go wider that weekend and even wider as Thanksgiving weekend.

Details and the story are here from


The MTFB push to get Harry Dean Stanton into the awards conversation for his final film, Lucky continues today with a couple of articles from this week.  The film opens tomorrow in limited release in New York and Los Angeles.

First, The Hollywood Reporter had this story this week that focused on a gathering of a number of his close friends in Stanton's s favorite L.A. watering hole.

And Variety filed this report with the cast and crew of Lucky celebrating the L.A. premiere of the film.


As of my typing this on Thursday morning Scott Cooper's Hostiles is still without a distributor.  The name Netflix keeps buzzing about but there's nothing solid.  Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter says that the film will open the Rome Film Fest on Oct. 26th.

That report is here.

Last note for the day is that we are expecting a Darkest Hour trailer later today.  I'll be looking for that.

Until Monday, my friends...


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Monday, September 25, 2017

Oscar Analysis as Fall Begins / Catching Up on Trailers: Wonderstruck, Film Stars, Faces Places / Looking Ahead / Earthquake in Mexico

Good Monday everyone...



We're through the triple threat of Telluride, Venice and Toronto.  New York and London loom in October with the AFI Fest set to run in November.  It's time to get serious about awards season and the Oscarologists have begun to get serious as well.

And what they have to say is...nobody knows nothin'.

Across the board the pundits and experts are saying that it's the most wide open Best Picture race years.  We've had what were perceived as close races recently but those have generally two pony races:  12 Years a Slave and Gravity in 2013 and Birdman/Boyhood in 2014.  But this year it seems like a multi-horse race.  Then, when you add in the preferential ballot...

So...after consulting some of my usual gurus (OK, not real consultation, I just read their various websites)..Here's what looks to me like what could be some Oscar nominees when they are announced on January 23rd.

Best Picture:

Three films seem to have become consensus picks to be nominees:
The Shape of Water
Darkest Hour

After that it becomes murky...


Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Last Flag Flying
Call Me By Your Name
The Post
Phantom Thread (or whatever its title will be)
The Florida Project

Others that could play:

Get Out
The Big Sick
Battle of the Sexes

It seems to me that mother!, Downsizing and Wonderstruck are not likely and I'm not sold on The Greatest Showman.

Directing candidates: Nolan, Del Toro, Wright, Spielberg, Anderson, Guadagnino, McDonagh, Baker, Linklater.

Best Actress: This field is loaded and is going to be fiercely competitive.  Just getting a nomination will be difficult.  Candidates:

Sally Hawkins/Shape of Water
Judi Dench/Victoria and Abdul
Saoirse Ronan/Lady Bird
Emma Stone/Battle of the Sexes
Meryl Streep/The Post
Kate Winslet/Wonder Wheel
Frances McDormand/Three Billboards
Margot Robbie/I Tonya
Daniela Vega/A Fantastic Woman
Glenn Close/The Wife
Jessica Chastain/Molly's Game
Jennifer Lawrence/mother!
Annette Bening/Film Stars
Carey Mulligan/Mudbound

It feels like Hawkins, Streep and McDormand are probable but this list of 14 is formidable.

Best Actor:  A thinner field than the says the experts and I tend to agree:

Gary Oldman/Darkest Hour (and your prohibitive favorite I suspect)
Tom Hanks/The Post
Daniel Day Lewis/Phantom Thread/PTA Film
Timothee Chalamet/Call Me By Your Name
Jake Gyllenhaal/Stronger
Andrew Garfield/Breathe
Hugh Jackman/The Greatest Showman
Bryan Cranston/Last Flag Flying

And, of course, the dark horse candidate that I'm pushing: Harry Dean Stanton for Lucky.

Best Supporting Actress:

Laurie Metcalf/Lady Bird
Alison Janney/I Tonya
Nicole Kidman/Sacred Deer
Hong Chau/Downsizing
Holly Hunter/Big Sick
Octavia Spencer/Shape of Water
Mary J. Blige/Mudbound

Best Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe/Florida Project
Mark Rylance/Dunkirk
Armie Hammer/Call Me By Your Name
Sam Rockwell/Three Billboards
Michael Stuhlbarg/Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins/Shape of Water
Michael Shannon/Shape of Water
Steve Carell/Last Flag Flying
Dustin Hoffman/The Meyerowitz Stories
Ben Mendelsohn/Darkest Hour

At a guess, your winners will be: Dafoe, Metcalf, Oldman, McDormand or Hawkins, Nolan and Dunkirk.

Here are some of the experts:

Kristopher Tapley/Variety: Article 1  Article 2
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Jason Osiason/Fantastic Film Fans
Greg Ellwood/The Playlist
Steve Pond/The Wrap



It won't surprise any of you that I constantly save articles and posts about upcoming films that I think may be Telluride players at some future fest.  I email myself all the time and store them in a file call "Future Telluride".

Every now and then I clean it as events overtake what has been collected.  For example, I dumped articles on Friday that I had collected on TFF #44 films Battle of the Sexes, Downsizing, Lady Bird First Reformed and Darkest Hour.

But there are plenty of films that live there too that I think might show at The SHOW and then don't like: Happy End, The Current War, Molly's Game, The Snowman, Our Souls at Night and The Leisure Seeker.

And those were all from 2016 or earlier.

So, you might ask, what's still in there?

Here are the top ten film projects that have a least three articles still living in my "Future Telluride: file:

1) First Man-Damian Chazelle on Neil Armstrong with Ryan Gosling
2) Widows-Steve McQueen with Viola Davis, Carrie Coon
3) The Man Who Killed Don Quixote-Terry Gilliam's passion project for the last million years or so
4) Roma-Alfonso Cuaron
5) This Above All- Focuses on the Westboro Baptist Church
6) Black Money-Maybe a Coen Brothers project
7) The Irishman-Scorsese gets the old band back together: DeNiro, Pacino,Keitel, Pesci
8) The Front Runner-Jason Reitman telling the Gary Hart story with Hugh Jackman as Hart
9) On the Other Side-Carey Mulligan
10) The Death and Life of John F. Donovan-Xavier Dolan...a film many thought might be making the rounds this fall.  It's now dated for a January release in Italy...but I wouldn't rule out a play at Berlin or Cannes.

I have 46 other films in the hold.


I had a couple of different sources point me in the direction of the story of film preservation nin Mexico endangered by the aftermath of the recent earthquake.

First, here's the explanation from Viviana Garcia Besne, director of the Permancia Volunatria Film Archive:

Dear family, friends and collegues, I am writing on behalf of the PERMANENCIA VOLUNTARIA FILM ARCHIVE -- the only independent film archive in Mexico specializing in the collection and preservation of popular films. Our collection focuses on the works of the Calderón and García Besné family, pioneers in important film genres such as the Rumberas, Luchadores and Ficheras. Our archive also houses other unique materials that cannot be found anywhere else, including movie posters, documents and promotional items. As you know, on September 19 a terrible 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City, Puebla, and Tepoztlán (Tepoztlán, home of the archive, was right on the epicenter.) We are a small town, our buildings are heavily damaged, and we lack the money, means, and manpower to repair the extensive damage wrought by the earthquake. Today an engineer confirmed that the space where the archive is located and its microcinema, our BATICINE, are safe to rebuild. By order of the local government we cannot access the second floor of the archive, as a window and part of a wall are completely damaged. It will be inaccessible until we bring an engineer and a construction team to start rebuilding. To date we are unable to take photos and assess the damage to the second floor. This is especially worrying because we are entering the rainy season, and with every passing day we will be at risk of extensive water damage if we do not work to repair this area quickly. We need emergency assistance. Another big concern is that a major water line has been compromised at this location. The pipe is not currently leaking as Tepotzlán has no running water, but when the city manages to resume water services our archive will flood. We cannot wait for the government to assist us in preventing water damage, and we currently do not have the resources to fix the crack. This is particularly alarming as 80% of our storage racks were damaged in the earthquake, and most of our artifacts are littered on the ground at extreme risk. With the proper assistance we will be able to move the films and purchase the necessary hardware and protective materials to keep them safe. We cannot underestimate the severity of this situation. As you know, these antique film reels are irreplaceable and priceless, and with every passing moment we are at risk of losing everything. Our Baticine, the community movie theater that we manage which showcases the works of local filmmakers and popular films for all audiences, has also been destroyed. We have months of work ahead of us to fix this beloved community space, but our priority is the restoration of the archive. The devastating earthquake not only destroyed the roof of the archive, but it damaged the films, which will need additional longer term assistance to be rehoused and cleaned, and has undone most of our cataloguing and organizational efforts. The scope of this project is beyond our means and we cannot do it alone. We will be beyond grateful for any assistance you can offer in regards to the preservation of our Archive.

Warm regards,
Viviana Garcia Besne
Director Permanencia Voluntaria Film Archive


Banco Mercantil del Norte SA
Monterrey, NL. México
CLABE: 072 180 00016748735 9
No. de CUENTA: 0016748735

The wire need to be processed though one of the following US banks:

CHASUS33XXX(ABA 021-000-021)JP Morgan Chase BankNew York, NY. USA BOFAUS6SXXX(ABA 121-000-358)Bank of America NASan Francisco, CA. USA PNBPUS33XXX(ABA 026-005-092)Wells Fargo BankNew York, NY. USA
SCBLUS33XXX(ABA 026-002-561)Standard Chartered BankNew York, NY. USA

And the Go Fund Me link from archivist Peter Conheim.

That's your Monday...come back for more on Thursday.


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Telluride History Book: TFF #19 / More on Harry Dean Stanton / Cambodia Choses Jolie's Film, Israel Will Foxtrot / Trouble in Iran

Hello to all on this Thursday...


My retrospective of the history of Telluride Film Festival continues today as I resume after a six week hiatus with a look at the 19th TFF.  Now that TFF #44 has concluded, I'll get back to this project with the hope that I can conclude it episodically between now and the Oscar ceremony on Mar. 4th.

Here's a look at TFF #19:

Guest Direct: C. Cabrera Infante

Tributes: Harvey Keitel, Elmer Bernstein, Cy Endfield


Bad Lieutenant
The Chosen One
Close to Eden
The Cranes Are Flying
The Crying Game
The Donner Party
El Mariachi
The Firm
From Hollywood to Hanoi
The Godless Girl
I Am Cuba
I Want to See Angels
La Virgen de la Caridad
Lessons of the Darkness
The Letter That Was Never Sent
Life in Shadows
The Long Day Closes
The Loveless
Made in Britain
The Magnificent Seven
Momento Mori
Nail in the Boot
The Oak
Olivier Olivier
Peter's Friends
Reservoir Dogs
The Sound of Fury
Strictly Ballroom
Tous Les Matins Du Monde
Victim of Sin
Visions of Light


Kathryn Bigelow
Werner Herzog
Chuck Jones
Michael Moore
Gary Oldman
Robert Rodriguez
Tim Roth

1992's lineup seems amazing to me as it included: Reservoir Dogs, The Crying Game, Bad Lieutenant, El Mariachi and Strictly Ballroom.  Mike Leigh also had his short film A Sense of History at the fest.


I wrote in Monday's post about the loss of the great Harry Dean Stanton.  Yes...I am the one man campaign for a Best Actor nomination for him this year for Lucky.

But I also pointed out that I wasn't certain that Stanton was in Telluride for the screening of Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas in 1984.  I couldn't confirm or deny based on the official program from that year.  I asked for further information from MTFB readers and my request was rewarded.

Long time Telluride Film Festival staffer Jim Bedford confirmed via email that Stanton was, in fact, in Telluride in 1984.  From Jim's email:

From 1973-1983 I ran the Sheridan Opera House for Bill Pence's small chain of Denver and ski town theatres. In the early years Bill would do the programming from Denver and give us three-month schedules with three films a week, two for three days each and an art film on Wed only. Anything that worked would be brought back (think THE KING OF HEARTS, CHINATOWN, MCCABE, etc.) for rep runs. Boy, did I see a bunch of great movies during those years.

In 1975 we showed RANCHO DELUXE which our Telluride audience fell in love with and my love of Harry Dean Stanton (which was reinforced by Stella Pence, who was also a fan) continued from that time on. My guess is that we showed RANCHO at least a half dozen times over those years and it never failed to draw a quite pleased audience. Our little town embraced this film's quirky ethic, great one-liners and indelible characters (including clearly HDS).

In 1981 when Bill, Stella, Tom Luddy and Bill Everson did the second year of the Santa Fe Film Festival as a tribute to the Western Film and I convinced Bill that RANCHO was a Modern Western, a perfect foil for the real end of the Old West (sort of an anti-THE WILD BUNCH). It was included in the program and I got to present it at the Lensic Theatre and give Santa Fe Festival sterling silver belt buckles to Tom McGuane and Harry Dean on stage (pictures are available).

Two years later at the TFF, HDS was certainly in town for PARIS, TEXAS. Bill had also scheduled a by-then out-of-circulation REPO MAN in 16mm in the Community Center (it had premiered  in Berlin earlier that winter and died after a short March release). (Meanwhile, the TFF early arrival staff had screened REPO MAN on 16mm on the TFF office wall two weeks before so we were all nuts about it already.)

It was my job to get Harry Dean from the New Sheridan Hotel to the CC for the screening so I picked him up and we walked up the hill while I think he smoked 2-3 cigs on the way. It was a packed show at the CC that included Roger Ebert. After the screening Roger talked to HDS and later that week gave REPO MAN (which he had not seen or reviewed yet) a 3.5 star review. Universal then gave the film another release and the rest is history; REPO MAN became one of the great Cult Films from then on.

(PARIS, TEXAS wasn't bad either. I got to watch its premiere sitting on the SOH floor and then watch Wim Wenders take the stage after the film joined by Kit Carson, Hunter Carson, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell [a surprise visitor up from Santa Fe], and of course, Harry Dean.) 

Jim also kindly included two photos.  A still of Stanton from Telluride as well as one from the ceremony at the 1981 Santa Fe Fest:


Since my last post on Monday there have been some moves from various nations to put forth their films for consideration for the Foreign Language Film Oscar.  Cambodia jolted the race and the calculations with regard to nominations by announcing that their choice is Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father.

Jolie holds citizenship in Cambodia.

The film ranked # 10 on MTFB's Composite Ratings of Telluride films with a decent 7.05 combined rating.

Coverage is here from:


The Hollywood Reporter and


Meanwhile, Israel's Ophir Awards have determined that Foxtrot will be their entry in the FLF Oscar sweepstakes.  The Samuel Maoz directed film dominated the Israeli "Oscars" winning 8.

Coverage from Variety.


Though it didn't receive enough ratings from wither the Pros or the People to establish a rating last week, Mohammad Rasoulof's A Man of Integrity seemed to be well received by the TFF patrons that I ran into and that had seen it.  The film also won the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes last May.

Rasoulof was detained by Iranian authorities this past week as he returned to Iran from Telluride.  The film maker had to surrender his passport and has been ordered to court.

Here's the story from The Hollywood Reporter. 

That's your MTFB filing for Thursday, Sept. 21st.  I'll have more on Monday.


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Monday, September 18, 2017

The Composite Telluride / Goodbye Harry Dean / Toronto's Audience Award / Trailers for Film Stars and Faces Places / Post Fest Overviews

Welcome back from the weekend.  Hope you had a good one.


Here it is for TFF #44.  The composite mash-up of ratings from both the People and the Professionals.  The Composite Telluride combines the ratings for films that came from both sets of Telluride attendees that I canvas immediately after the fest.

I began doing The Composite in 2013 and in each year the film that has finished at the top has gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

Here's a quick look at the top five Composite films for each year since I started:

In 2013 the top five composite films were:

1) 12 Years a Slave (9.25)
2) Tim's Vermeer (8.97)
3) Gravity (8.75)
4) Nebraska (8.38)
5) All is Lost (8.26)

In 2014 the top five were:

1) Birdman (9.18)
2) Foxcatcher (8.83)
3) The Imitation Game (8.79)
4) Wild Tales (8.43)
5) '71 (8.15)

In 2015 the top five were:

1) Spotlight (8.86)
2) Son of Saul (8.74)
3) Beasts of No Nation (8.62)
4) Steve Jobs (8.17)
5) Carol (8.13)

In 2016 the top five were:

1) Moonlight (9.19)
2) La La Land (8.91)
3) Manchester by the Sea (8.13)
4) Arrival (8.01)
5) Maudie (7.89)

And so, here are the results of this year's Composite Telluride (with their composite score and ratings position each had from The People and then The Pros):

1) The Shape of Water (8.72-2-1)
2) Lady Bird (8.58-1-5)
3) Faces Places (7.96-5-2)
4) Darkest Hour (7.90-3-8)
5) Hostiles (7.78-4-9)
6) The Rider (7.63-10-2)
7) Battle of the Sexes (7.62-6-7)
8) First Reformed (7.32-13-6)
9) Lean on Pete (7.16-7-12)
10) First They Killed My Father (7.05-15-10)
11) Loving Vincent (7.00-12-11)
12) Wonderstruck (6.68-10-13)
13) Downsizing (6.17-16-14)
14) Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (6.16-8-15)

There was some substantial disparity between The People and The Pros this year as no less than half of the films that were rated by enough members of both groups had a rank disparity of five spots or more.  The three most divisive films were The Rider and First Reformed which The Pros favored much more and also Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool which The People preferred considerably more than The Pros.

A couple of other notes...based on what past Telluride ratings have told us it looks to me like The Shape of Water, Lady Bird and Darkest Hour look like solid Best Picture nomination contenders. Battle of the Sexes, as I said in my last post, might be in some serious jeopardy in as far as Best Picture is concerned.  I know some Oscar predictors think it's in good shape but these results suggest that it might be a stretch.

Additionally, the results also look grim for Best Picture chances for Wonderstruck, Downsizing, First They Killed My Father and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool.

Finally, I have opined that TFF #44 seemed to me to have a bunch of good films but maybe didn't have a great film and , again, the ratings might provide some evidence for that as no film from 2017 cracked the all time (well since 2013) Telluride Composite ratings list.  This year's highest rated composite film, The Shape of Water and its 8.72 rating missed making the top ten by 2/100ths of a point.

So the top ten continue to be:

1) 12 Years a Slave (9.25) 2013
2) Moonlight (9.19) 2016
3) Birdman (9.18) 2014
4) Tim's Vermeer (8.97) 2013
5) La La Land (8.91) 2016
6) Spotlight (8.86) 2015
7) Foxcatcher (8.83) 2014
8) The Imitation Game (8.79) 2014
9) Gravity (8.75) 2013
10) Son of Saul (8.74) 2015


Harry Dean Stanton was an "all timer".  A GOAT, if you will.  The long time character actor was in everything and great every time:

Partial list of films:

Cool Hand Luke
The Missouri Breaks
Straight Time
Escape from New York
Repo Man
Paris, Texas (TFF 1984)***
Red Dawn
Pretty in Pink
Wild at Heart
The Straight Story
The Green Mile
and coming on Sept. 29th...Lucky.

***TFF's old timeline that used to be on the official website said that Stanton was present in Telluride that weekend.  The official program from 1984 only lists Wim Wenders as being with the film.  If anyone out there knows for sure one way or the other, drop me a line.

Stanton died on Friday at the age of 91.

Just recently we saw him back in David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks: The Return on Showtime resurrecting the character that he had played in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.  It was a reminder of what an authentic and honest presence he was on screen.

Saturday, on Twitter, I suggested that I wanted to get the ball rolling on a Best Actor Oscar movement for Harry Dean's Lucky performance...and why not?

Most of my friends that are Oscarologists have suggested that the Best Actor Oscar field isn't as over- loaded this year and the critical response to Lucky from its festival screenings-beginning with South by Southwest back in March and has included a slew of domestic and international fests including: Nantucket, Indianapolis, Locarno, Melbourne, Helsinki and will soon include The Harry Dean Film fest as well as the BFI London Fest.

Variety's Joe Leydon writes: "Everything in his career, and his life,  has brought Harry Dean Stanton to his moment of triumph."

Indiewire's David Ehrlich said "Harry Dean Stanton gives a performance for the ages."

Brian Tallerico for wrote that Stanton is "giving one of the best performances of his remarkable career."

So...readers of MTFB...that's my drumbeat for Oscar for this year.  Harry Dean Stanton for Best Actor (OK, I'm also all about Richard Jenkins for Supporting Actor in The Shape of Water).

Here's the trailer:

Indiewire's retrospective of Stanton's best performances is here.


The Toronto International Film Festival named its prize winners yesterday afternoon and it's a rare year in that there was almost no Telluride/Toronto crossover.  Faces Places won the Audience Award for Docs which is the only instance that I could find.  TIFF's feature award went to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, First Runner-up was I, Tonya and Second Runner-up was Call Me By Your Name.

I had thought that either The Shape of Water or Lady Bird would/could take the award.

The win for Three Billboards may underscore how unsettled the awards landscape is even after the Telluride/Venice/Toronto triumvirate.


Take a look at trailers for Paul McGuigan's Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool starring Annette Bening and Jamie Bell:

as well as for Agnes Varda and JR's Faces Places:


In the afterglow of Telluride, Venice and Toronto, a number of film and Oscar pundits are beginning to get serious about what we've seen and what's still to be seen.

The Hollywood Reporter posted a piece this weekend assessing their "Best of the Fall Fests" which included this TFF #44 fare:

Battle of the Sexes
Lady Bird
Lean on Pete
The Shape of Water

THR's complete listing is here.

Meanwhile, Sasha Stone at Awards Daily analyzes Best Actress Oscar prospects of a number of films from a post-T-ride/TIFF/Venice perspective.

Her top five include these TFF #44 players:

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes) and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird).  She also suggests that Rosamund Pike might be a possibility for Hostiles.

Sasha's complete State of the Race article is here.


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

The People's Telluride 2017 / Official Downsizing Trailer / Awards Daily Oscar Podcasts- All This and the Oscars Too-Have Begun / Foreign Language Oscar Candidates / Jolie's Film Gets an Oscar Run

Welcome back to MTFB for this Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.


For the sixth consecutive Telluride Film Festival I have solicited film ratings from the readers of this space for the films they saw last week.  This year I had responses from more than 40 film patrons.  It has been said that TFF fans are some of the most discerning film goers on the world and I think that the results of this poll over the past few years bares that out.  Up until last year the film that finished as the #2 People's film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.  Moonlight upset that apple cart for 2016 by topping The People's chart (it edged out La La Land by 4/100ths of a point) and then winning Best Picture.

Here's your brief People's history of the top three films for each year:


1) Stories We Tell- 4.80
2) Argo- 4.75
3) The Attack- 4.70


1) Tim's Vermeer (4.67)
2) 12 Years a Slave (4.55)
3) Gravity (4.40)


1) The Imitation Game (4.73)
2) Birdman (4.46)
3) Wild Tales (4.23)


1) Room (4.47)
2) Spotlight (4.45)
3) Beasts of No Nation (4.35)


1) Moonlight (4.37)
2) La La Land (4.33)
3) Maudie (4.29)

And now, the 2017 People's Telluride results...16 films received enough responses to be included in the poll...

1) Lady Bird (4.38)
2) The Shape of Water (4.22)
3) Darkest Hour (4.04)
4) Hostiles (3.99)
5) Faces Places (3.71)
6) Battle of the Sexes (3.68)
7) Lean on  Pete (3.66)
8) Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (3.57)
9) The Other Side of Hope (3.45)
10) Wonderstruck (3.43)
11) The Rider (3.38)
12) Loving Vincent (3.37)
13) First Reformed (3.33)
14) A Fantastic Woman (3.32)
15) First They Killed My Father (3.27)
16) Downsizing (3.07)

The single most rated film was Darkest Hour which had 35 respondents rate it.

The Peeps response probably bodes well for Oscar chances for Lady Bird, The Shape of Water and Darkest Hour.  Battle of the Sexes may be in some trouble Oscar-wise.

I was struck at how The People reacted to big time films from big name film makers as Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father, Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck and Alexander Payne's Downsizing all finished in the bottom half of the list.

I'll have The Composite Telluride, the combination of The Peeps and The Pros in Monday's blog post.  I might note that The Composite may now be a better indicator of possible Oscar success than the stand alone People's ratings have been.


After screening at Telluride Venice and Toronto Alexander Payne's Downsizing and Paramount released a trailer for the film this week.  Here it is from YouTube:

And a story about the trailer's release from Indiewire.


Sasha Stone has started recording and posting the Awards Daily Oscar Podcasts for the coming season.  The first two are up with yours truly making an appearance on the first one recorded in Telluride (and also a special appearance from both my wife, Kristy, and a guy named Guillermo Del Toro.  That podcast is here. 

I show up around the 19 minute mark and Del Toro follows right after.

The second podcast gets to the business of the season and was recorded after Telluride and features not only Stone but also Mark Johnson of Awards Circuit and Tomris Laffly who freelances for many publications including Film Journal and Film School Rejects.

That podcast is linked here.


Two TFF #44 films have already been named by their host countries for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.  Chile has submitted Sebastian Lelio's A Fantastic Woman and Lebanon has submitted Ziad Douieri's The Insult.

A number of other films have also been announced with many more scheduled to be named in the next couple of weeks.

Awards Watch has a very good article up that has an up to date list of films as well as a schedule for the rest of September for FLF Oscar submissions.

Check that article here.


The Wrap reports that Netflix will open Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father will get a contemporaneous theatrical release in a number of U.S. cities this week coinciding with its availability on the streaming service.

The film will screen in Los Angeles and New York as well as eight other major markets on Friday.

The Wrap's story is here.

And that's going to do it for this Thursday.  Come back for Monday's post which will include the 2017 Composite Telluride Film Ratings that combine the ratings from both the people and the professionals.  I've been doing this since 2013 and the film that has topped the Composite Poll has won the Best Picture Oscar each year.


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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Professionals Telluride / It's Time for the Switch / Guillermo Wins Venice / Rate the FIlms of TFF #44

Good Monday to all...


Here's is your 2017 installment of The Professionals view of the films that played the 44th Telluride Film Festival.  Ten industry journalists participated this year by rating each film they saw on a 0-5 scale.  They were:

Peter DeBruge/Variety
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Stephen Galloway/The Hollywood Reporter
Mark Johnson/Awards Circuit
Eric Kohn/Indiewire
Tomris Laffly/Film Journal
Christopher Schiller/
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Anne Thompson/Indiewire

15 films earned enough votes to make this year's poll of The Professionals.  The top rated film:  Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water with a 4.5 average.  Here's the complete list with their averaged rating:

1) The Shape of Water (4.5)
2) (Tie) Faces Places (4.25)
2) (Tie) Loveless (4.25)
2) (Tie) The Rider (4.25)
5) Lady Bird (4.20)
6) First Reformed (4.0)
7) Battle of the Sexes (3.95)
8) Darkest Hour (3.85)
9) Hostiles (3.79)
10) First They Killed My Father (3.78)
11) Loving Vincent (3.63)
12) Lean on Pete (3.50)
13) Wonderstruck (3.25)
14) Downsizing (3.10)
15) Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2.60)

Last year The Pros had Moonlight on top with a 4.87 average followed by La La Land at 4.58.
In 2015, the top film was Son of Saul at 4.44 with Anomalisa second with a 4.42.
In 2014, number one was Birdman at 4.72 and second was Foxcatcher at 4.63.
2013: 12 Years a Slave 4.70 and Blue is the Warmest Color 4.40
2012: Central Park Five 4.7 and Argo 4.5

I'll have The People's Telluride up on Thursday and the Composite Ratings of both Pros and Peeps next Monday.  Speaking of which...


Today marks the annual transition back to MTFBs "normal" publication schedule.  The blog will post twice a week, with rare exceptions, on Mondays and Thursdays.  Today also marks the turn toward this space becoming what I used to refer as The Film Awards Clearinghouse,  From now until Oscar night, I'll be focused most of the time on the awards prospects for the films that played as a part of the TFF #44 program.  You can always check here for the latest news about Oscar, Golden Globes, Critics awards as well as other precursors as we move through the awards season.


The Venice Film Fest drew to a close this weekend and TFF #44 film The Shape of Water was named the best film in the competition section winning The Golden Lion.  Other TFF films got into the awards act as well in Italy with Foxtrot winning The Silver Lion.  Kamel El Basha won Best Actor for The Insult and Lean on Pete's Charlie Plummer was named best young actor.

Complete results of the awards at Venice are here from Alex Billington/

That's a wrap for this Monday.  More to come on Thursday including The People's Telluride film ratings.  What did YOU think of the films that played?  YOU CAN STILL BE COUNTED BY RATING BEFORE 5:00PM TOMORROW.

 Send ratings in any of the following methids:


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Acquisition News / Awards Daily Talks to MTFB / Vanity Fair's View / The People's Telluride- Rate Those Films-Deadline Looming

I can't believe its Friday.  Just a week ago we were embarking on TFF #44.  Now I have begun the countdown to TFF #45 and The Oscars...


Earlier this week Kino Lorber locked down two acquisitions of TFF #44 titles.  The independent specialty house will handle Film Worker and Hitler's Hollywood.  Incidentally, my brother saw both of these last weekend and really enjoyed them.

Meanwhile, Scott Cooper's Hostiles hasn't closed a distribution deal to my knowledge.  Variety's Kristopher Tapley reported during the fest that the film was getting some serious looks but it seems that no deal has been reached.  It's possible that both the producers and distributors are awaiting the films Toronto screenings and responses before moving to finalize an agreement.

The Tapley piece is linked here.

Meanwhile, coverage of the Kino Lorber deal is here from Screen International and here from Vimooz.


It certainly doesn't happen everyday but it did last weekend.  Sasha Stone of Awards Daily interviewed me and my wife Kristy for her podcast.  That podcast went up on her Awards Daily website yesterday.

It's a little surreal but then a lot of the Telluride experience is still surreal to me.

Here's the link to the podcast.

And speaking of podcasts, Clayton Davis, Mark Johnson and the crew at Awards Circuit have published their Circuit Breaker Podcast which features a Telluride breakdown as well.  You can find that here.


Vanity Fair was all over Telluride last week and posted a gorgeous layout of photos that focused on the players and community of Telluride.  For example:

Angelina Jolie:

Billie Jean King and Emma Stone:

Barry Jenkins:



Don't forget to rate the films you saw last weekend.  Use a 0-5 scale and send them to me using any of the contact methods listed below.  The cutoff for voting is Tuesday, Sept. 12th.


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Some Notes About TFF #44 and MTFB / My Film Ratings for Telluride 2017 / Critical Response to TFF #44 / Trailers for Hostiles and Lady Bird / Rate the TFF #44 Films

Welcome to Thursday...


I wanted to share some thoughts regarding TFF #44 and MTFB:

1) 96%- I have already noted that the final Ten (25) Bets last week had 24 titles correctly.  I missed on the inclusion of Before We Vanish.  How'd that happen?  Here's the answer.  When the New York Fest announced the film absent a premiere status, I concluded that meant a Telluride play and, essentially bumped Ai WeiWei's Human Flow from my list.  My error?  I didn't check the Fantastic Fest lineup which does, as a matter of fact, include Before We Vanish.  Fantastic Fest will screen the film prior to its NYFF play which explains why NYFF didn't list it as a U.S. Premiere.

Always room for improvement.

2) I have also mentioned that 7 of the original Ten Bets made the TFF #44 lineup...a bit better than the average over the past six years of the Ten Bets style.  The average is 5.5 of the original Ten Bets.  Seven films is also a significant leap from last year's three films and 2015's four.

The first Ten Bets also included another two films that were listed as "possibles" that ended up making the lineup.

Additionally, the Ten Bets had seven films correct in each of the four weeks that I put up the bets prior to Toronto's first announcement.  The July 14th and 21st Ten Bets each had four films listed as additional possibilities prior to TIFF's initial announcement of films that began to give concrete clues to TFF films based on premiere status.

3) I always think it's fun to look back and see when I first began thinking a film might make the list.  Most of the time it's within the year of the fest.  For example, I first mentioned Joe Wright's Darkest Hour in March, 2017.

Sometimes, though, I track a film for years.  Three examples from this year:

I started tracking Alexander Payne's Downsizing in August of 2010.
Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck in Dec. 2016.
Dayton and Faris' Battle of the Sexes in June of 2014.


I felt going into this year's fest that there were a lot of good films and I was hoping to see that some of them were great.  As I have reflected on this past weekend's offerings I feel like that original take proved out.  Many good films but not one that really grabbed me like a Diving Bell and the Butterfly or 12 Years a Slave or Moonlight.

Still, plenty of good stuff, though, as you'll see below, I don't necessarily line up with some of the critical community.  Here are the ranks/ratings for the ten films I saw at TFF #44:

1) Darkest Hour-4-Give Gary Oldman the Oscar now and save some broadcast time.
2) Lady Bird-4- The more I reflected, the higher this film crept up my list.
3) Battle of the Sexes-3.5
4) Lean on Pete-3.5
5) The Shape of Water-3.5
6) Hostiles-3.5
7) Downsizing-3
8) Wonderstruck-3
9) Loving Vincent-2.5
10) Faces Places-2

I am busy collecting your ratings as well as those of The Pros and expect to have those soon...see below.


The past few years Eric Kohn and Indiewire have also done a collection of critical responses to the Fest.  This year was no different as Eric asked four questions of a group of 15 critics and bloggers including some who are participating in the MTFB set of Professionals such as: Kohn himself, Indiewire's David Ehrlich and Anne Thompson, Variety's Peter DeBruge.  It's possible that a certain Telluride-centric blogger might also have been included in Indiewire's survey...

Kohn's questions and answers:

1) Best Film?  Tie between The Shape of Water and Lady Bird (I chose Darkest Hour as you can see above)
2) Best Performance? Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird (My vote: Oldman/Darkest Hour)
3) Best Documentary?  Faces Places (I abstained here as I only saw one doc-Faces Places and I was not as enthralled as many)
4) Best Director? Also a tie between Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird (I opted for Gerwig).

The complete article can be found here from Indiewire.


In the immediate aftermath of Telluride 2017 we got trailers for two of the most talked about titles.  Both Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird and Scott Cooper's Hostiles have trailers to tease any and all that didn't catch either film last weekend.  Both films are headed to Toronto.

Hostiles trailer via YouTube:

Lady Bird Trailer also via YouTube:


And I am reminding everyone again to get me your ratings for The People's Telluride.  I'm going to leave the polls open through Tuesday, Sept. 12th with a plan to post those a week from today.  My hope is that I have The Professionals up for Monday's post.  As always I will also do a combination poll as well as taking a look at 2017 films in the context of the films that have been rated through this process through the past several years.

But to make it work...I have to have your input through any of the contact methods listed here:


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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

TFF #44 Comes to a Close / Send Me Your Film Ratings


Reporting from the road home...

The 44th Telluride Film Festival came to a close last night.  I have to admit that I had a great time this weekend.

As I am headed home, I thought I'd share a few random thoughts

1) I have to thank the fest first for, again, accrediting me as a journalist.  That allowed some ease of access to films that was immeasurably useful.  The Fest doesn't have to do that but they have been kind enough to do so for a number of years now.

2) Thanks to so many of you that were kind enough to share that you do follow the blog.  It overwhelms me that anyone pays attention to what I write here but I'm glad that you do.  Also, there were a good number of faithful readers and new followers that I didn't get to run into and that makes me sad.  Keep in touch folks.

3) I really have to underscore my appreciation to all of you that responded to the appeal for my wife to meet Guillermo Del Toro.  I was stunned at how a number of people reached out with solid suggestions and sources to try to make that happen.  So many of you were rooting for us.  And thanks to Guillermo Del Toro himself who was beautifully gracious and warm when the moment did present itself.

4) I saw ten films during the weekend and liked most of them but I don't think I necessarily saw a great film.  Lots of good films though.  I'll have more on that later this week (Thursday).

Me and Oscar winner Barry Jenkins at The Palm 

5) The famous and addition to Del Toro I got to have a moment or two to renew my acquaintance with Oscar winner Barry Jenkins and spoke Saturday with the fantastic Richard Jenkins who I hope gets some notice from The Academy come Oscar time.

Rosamund Pike and Richard Jenkins at the Fox Searchlight Party Saturday night.

I also stood next to Rosamund Pike for a good long time Saturday night and restrained myself from injecting myself into her convo. But I kind of wanted to.

Telluride Film's Instagram from Sunday.  Lower right corner is me talking to the fab Sasha Stone of Awards Daily

6) Professional friends.  It was beyond fantastic to get a few moments to gab with friends that are true pros in the business of covering film.  They're people of been unfailingly kind and generous to me as I have tried to figure out what this blog is and should be.  Special shout outs to Sasha Stone/Awards Daily, Kris Tapley/Variety, Tomris Laffly/FSR and others, Mark Johnson/Awards Circuit.

7) Also thanks again to all the industry press pros that are taking part in this years Professional film ratings.  People that don't have to do that but who do.

8) Finally,a big thank you to my wife and brother who were my companions and shared the weekend with me.  They both made the logistics of the weekend much, much more manageable.

I'll have a nice post on Thursday that will focus on the critical reactions to the films that played TFF #44, my take on the ten films I saw and a rundown on MTFB's effectiveness for TFF#44.


As I write this on Monday evening, I've already received the first 10-12 sets of ratings from readers. Remember use a 0-5 scale and you can get that info to me in any of the ways listed below.

More on Thursday...


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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Monday's TBAs / Thoughts on Sunday's Screenings / Rate the films People / Tomorrow's Plan


Monday TBAs

All TBAs on Monday are available to Cinephiles.
Palm         8:15 PM         Darkest Hour
Galaxy         9:00 AM         Hostiles
Galaxy       1:30 PM         Battle of the Sexes
Galaxy         4:45 PM         Lady Bird 
Herzog           7:45 PM         Battle of the Sexes 
CJC               4:30 PM         The Other Side of Hope
CJC               7:00 PM         Faces Places
SOH           1:00 PM         The Rider 
SOH             3:30 PM         Loveless
SOH             6:15 PM         Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
SOH             8:30 PM         The Shape of Water

Nugget         1:15 PM         Calling Cards
Nugget       7:00 PM         First They Killed My Father
Masons       9:15 AM       Land of the Free
Masons       1:00 PM         First Reformed
Masons       3:30 PM         The Venerable W.  FREE
Masons       5:45 PM         A Fantastic Woman
Masons         8:15 PM         Loving Vincent
Le Pierre     9:30 AM         Heroism of the Everyday: Heroin(e) + Long Shot FREE
Le Pierre       1:15 PM         Arthur Miller: Writer
Le Pierre     3:30 PM         Tesnota
Le Pierre       6:00 PM         Jamaica Man FREE
Le Pierre       7:45 PM         Love, Cecil
Backlot 9:00 AM         Hitler’s Hollywood FREE
Backlot 11:20 AM       That Summer FREE
Backlot 1:30 PM         Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum FREE
Backlot 2:50 PM         Filmworker FREE
Backlot 4:50 PM     Hitler’s Hollywood FREE
Monday Seminar
Noon, Town Park, All Passholders Welcome
Sponsored by Participant Media
Surreal times: Why, and in what ways, is cinema style evolving?
Moderated by Annette Insdorf
With panelists Todd Haynes, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Chloé Zhao


Guillermo Del Toro moved his  Q and A outdoors Sunday morning to extend its length.

The Shape of Water- Del Toro's images are breath taking.  I know a lot of the town is talking about this film tonight and they should be.  Personally, my reaction seems to be more muted than most.  I talked to a very experienced reviewer today for a good long while and he loved it. Heaps of praise to Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins.  I hope this man is in the convo for Supporting actor-great work here.

Battle of the Sexes- Played very, very well to the house.  I found myself reacting to the shots in the game/climax...even knowing the outcome.  Emma Stone and Steve Carell are in fine form.

Loving Vincent- Gorgeous as expected.  Script is relatively staid and that gets in the way.  Still, the process is mind-blowing.


As I finish this up late Sunday night it seems to me that the films earning the most buzz have been: Darkest Hour, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Battle of the Sexes and Hostiles.  I can't wait to see how the pros and the peeps respond.  So rate the films you saw on a 0-5 scale and send them to me.  You can do so using any of the contact methods listed below.


Looks like I am probably at The Galaxy at 9:00 for Hostiles.  Then a quick visit to the picnic and likely closing TFF #44 after catching The Rider at 1:00 at the Opera House.  Then we'll almost certainly hit the road for home.

Say hello if you see me.


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Sunday's TBAs / Sometimes Dreams Come True / Sunday Planned Films /Sunday Plans / Notes from Saturday's Films

Good Sunday Ladies and Germs...the 44th Telluride Film Festival has moved past its half way point.  Hope it has been as good for you as it has been for me...


Sunday TBAs

9:15am, Le Pierre, HOSTAGES with Q&A, 16 (program number), Cinephile
9:30am, Masons Hall Cinema, WORMWOOD, 21, Cinephile
4:15pm, Werner Herzog Theatre, BATTLE OF THE SEXES, 6, Cinephile
10:00pm, Nugget Theatre, A FANTASTIC WOMAN, 23, Cinephile
10:15pm, Le Pierre, STUDENT PRINTS WITH Q&A, 41, Cinephile
Noon, Elks Park, FREE
Sunday Seminar
How can movies be weapons of the spirit?
Moderated by Annette Insdorf
With panelists Paul Schrader, Ziad Doueiri, Mohammad Rasoulof


Many of you folks who are faithful readers of this space know that I have been in dogged pursuit of trying to engineer a meeting this weekend between my wife and writer/director Guillermo Del Toro. Without flogging the whole story again, suffice it to say that my wife is an incredible woman and teacher within a set of circumstances that I thought might resonant with Del Toro.

To remind everyone, Guillermo is truly a personal hero to her and to her students.

So, I posted this week an explanation of her circumstance and my hope that she might be able to come face to face with Del Toro and express how important a place he had in her heart.

And so many MTFB followers responded with advice and solid, concrete steps to take to make a meeting happen this weekend during the festival including faithful reader Jack Wertzberger and others who prefer to keep anonymous.  I want to say thanks to you folks for your kindness and generosity in trying to make this happen.

And ultimately, it did happen on Saturday night thanks to the very generous invitation to MTFB from Fox Searchlight to attend their Telluride party.

We accepted and Senor Del Toro and many others were in attendance.  And let me mention that Guillermo Del Toro is a magnanimous individual.

As a matter of fact, Del Toro took this selfie:

The evening also included a Del Toro autograph of his book Cabinet of Curiosities.

Suffice it to say that Senor Del Toro could not have been any more gracious.

Finally, we plan to see The Shape of Water in the morning.  What a night!


The Shape of Water
Battle of the Sexes
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool or Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Loving Vincent


Lean on Pete: Charlie Plummer is fantastic in a film that seems especially evocative of a specific culture.  Steve Buscemi is also awesome.

Lady Bird: Greta Gerwig's directing debut is honest and sweet and true.  Saoirse Ronan, Lukas Hedges. Tracy Letts and Laurie Metcalf shine.

Wonderstruck: Seemed to me that the second act meandered and some threads introduced at the beginning got lost along the way.

Ate next to Alexander Payne's table at a restaurant.  We exchanged pleasantries.  Was cool.

That's your Saturday.  I'll be back for more as Sunday concludes.  For now, remember this...

Don't forget, my friends, I want your ratings of the films you see next weekend.  Use a 0-5 scale with 0 being "putrid" and 5 being "best film since..."

I will publish The People's Telluride film ratings a week to ten days after the festival concludes.  Join in!

That's all for now.  More tomorrow and on Wednesday I'll post a special edition of MTFB with the final "Bets" for TFF #44.


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