Anyone who had read my work over the years known if there is any event I have almost complete disdain for, it's the Hollywood Film Awards. You remember that one, right? It's the "awards show" that gives out honors to stars and filmmakers who are usually appearing in films that have not been released and often not even screened for critics or guild members yet. And yet, because it's usually situated at the end of October, movie studios have used it as a one-night publicity vehicle right before awards season really gets into high gear.
TELLURIDE — It's impossible to see every movie at a film festival, but you can certainly come close if you're able to catch a few of the main centerpieces beforehand. At Telluride, the benefit of having viewed "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner," "Mommy" and "The Homesman" at Cannes allowed this pundit to catch a few of the lower profile titles that are still worthy of your attention. Here are a few short capsule reviews for some films that will also screen at the Toronto and New York film festivals and that should most definitely be on your radar.
TELLURIDE — The 41st Annual Telluride Film Festival is over, and as noted by HitFix's own Kris Tapley, it has provided an important awards season kickoff for films such as "Birdman," "The Imitation Game," "Wild," "Rosewater" and "Foxcatcher." Even with the recent star power of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Telluride has been able to hang on to its singular charms as a non-red carpet, low-key, cinephile event (even if there were two new Canadian journalists on hand to check everything out and report back to the motherland).
TELLURIDE — Mr. Stewart, if you read this article I believe the first few paragraphs may make you chuckle. Now, it's not because I'm a master wordsmith or unheralded comedic voice waiting to be discovered. No, after saying goodbye after our memorable interview on the patio of a Telluride restaurant Sunday afternoon, I turned and walked toward the street with my iPhone in hand. I'd stopped the recording of our chat and two choices appeared before me: delete or save. And, perhaps like a crazy person, I hit delete.
TELLURIDE — In recent years, Journalists have come under siege all across the world from governments trying to minimize their influence either through subtle or not-so subtle means. One of the more dramatic instances in recent memory was chronicled in Maziar Bahari's 2011 memoir "Then They Came for Me" which has been adapted into the new film "Rosewater." The film, with director Jon Stewart on hand, debuted Friday night at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival.
TELLURIDE — There are two reasons Andrew Hodges' biography of Alan Turing references "The Enigma" in its title. The first is in reference to the Engima machine, the legendary secret code the Nazis used during World War II, which was solved by a secret UK military division lead by Turing. The second is Turing himself.
TELLURIDE — There is a moment near the end of "Wild" where Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) runs into a young boy and his grandmother out on a weekend hike. Strayed has walked hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to deal with personal, emotional pain that has plagued her most of her young adult life. After learning of Strayed's heartbreaks the young boy (Evan O'Toole) sings her the song "Red River Valley." In the hands of a lesser director this scene could have been overly saccharine and misplaced. But director Jean-Marc Vallée makes it as artful and touching as it needs to be. Clearly, we should not have doubted him.
In case you hadn't heard, Hollywood would like everyone to forget the summer of 2014 ever happened. Sure, there were some notable exceptions such as "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Lucy," "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "22 Jump Street," but for the most part it was a summer of disappointment.
PARIS - Coming up with a new twist for a horror film without going down some very disgusting roads hasn't been that easy in the 21st Century. It's one reason franchises like "Saw," "Paranormal Activity" and "The Purge" have hit such a cord with viewers and spawned a ton of sequels. One film that's trying to add a new twist to the supernatural thriller (with more than a touch of horror thrown in) is the Dowdle brothers' "As Above/So Below" which arrives in theaters on Friday.
One of the benefits of being discovered on a hit TV show is that a chance at a significant movie career is usually in the cards. Actually, it usually only occurs with talent on show that hits the pop culture lexicon. In this case, "Game of Thrones."
Sophie Turner has spent the last four years on "GoT" playing Sansa Stark and as any loyal viewer can tell you, she's been put through the ringer. She's seen her father beheaded (poor Ned), been engaged to a mad king against her will, was almost raped and then forced to marry the show's most popular character, Lord Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who doesn't happen to be that popular in King's Landing. Those key dramatic moments, among others, is just one reason Turner has come to the attention of casting directors, producers, international financiers and movie directors. She's got talent that's ready to be explored in other projects. The first of those new films, "Another Me," hits theaters in select markets today, but let's get to what all "GoT" fans want to hear about first: season five.
Turner spoke to HitFix Thursday from Belfast where she's in the middle of shooting the current "GoT" season. She's expected to continue production until the middle of December, but notes " I mean it's very unpredictable because there are so many parts on 'Game of Thrones.' If someone gets injured? The schedule can just like totally flip and I could be shooting a lot longer or a lot shorter."
The 18-year-old actress obviously wasn't going to spill specific details about the upcoming stretch, but did discuss how she's stopped reading the novels in preparing for each new season.
"I kind of read the 'Game of Thrones' books as the seasons [went on]," Turner says, "But now that the storyline and scripts are kind of going away from the books I decided I'm just going to read the scripts so I don't get confused and read the books later."
As for where Ms. Stark will end up Turner sounded quite excited about her character's new direction. More importantly, she thinks viewers will be too.
"'Game of Thrones' is so unpredictable and it was a big surprise what is happening to her this season," Turner says. "I am so excited because it gives me the opportunity to work with new people and it goes in a completely different direction. I think the fans will really like where her storyline is going this season."
The point of the interview, however, way to discuss "Another Me" and Turner is clearly proud of her work in Isabel Coixet's thriller. Based on a novel by Cathy MacPhail, the movie finds Turner playing Fay, a teenager in suburban Wales who is trying to juggle the pressures of school with a her father's debilitating illness. As time passes a number of events occur that makes her think someone is following, impersonating or playing mind games with her. What she's unaware of is that dear old dad (Rhys Ifans) knows exactly what's going on and doesn't have the heart to tell her.
"Me" premiered at the 2013 Rome Film Festival this past November and has been released in Italy and Spain. It also features an intriguing cast including Claire Forlani as her mother, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Fay's drama teacher and Geraldine Chaplin as a very strange neighbor.