<p>James D'Arcy and Ben Winshaw in &quot;Cloud Atlas.&quot;</p>

James D'Arcy and Ben Winshaw in "Cloud Atlas."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Oscars First Take: ‘Cloud Atlas,’ ‘Impossible,’ ‘End of Watch’

Plus: ‘Perks of Being A Wallflower,’ ‘The Master’ and more

TORONTO – It’s been a long trek from Telluride to Toronto, but the initial wave of fall festivals is finally coming to an end.  While there are still a number of premieres over the next few days in Toronto, they are mostly secondary titles that few expect to get major distribution (and the snarky remarks are already starting on closing night selection “Emperor” starring Tommy Lee Jones).  

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<p>Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, &quot;Quartet.&quot;</p>

Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, "Quartet."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Dustin Hoffman's 'Quartet' is sweet and slight

HitFix
B-
Readers
F
Pauline Collins is the film's true awards hopeful

TORONTO - It's always news when an acclaimed actor decides to direct their first feature, but it's hard to believe it took Dustin Hoffman 45 years to step behind the camera.  The two-time Oscar winner has gone in an unexpectedly sweet direction for his first directing gig with the slight romantic comedy "Quartet” that debuted Sunday night at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's &quot;Silver Lining Playbook.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's "Silver Lining Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Jennifer Lawrence burns bright in crowd-pleasing 'Silver Linings Playbook'

HitFix
B+
Readers
A+
David O. Russell delivers an unexpectedly funny drama

TORONTO – To say the Toronto International Film Festival's 2012 slate has been dominated by literary adaptations is something of an understatement. On Saturday alone, “Cloud Atlas,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “Much Ado About Nothing” (granted, a stage adaptation) all had their world or North American premieres at the fest. Oh, and add one more prominent title to that list, David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook.”

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<p>Ryan Gosling in &quot;A Place Beyond the Pines.&quot;</p>

Ryan Gosling in "A Place Beyond the Pines."

Review: Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper face off in the uneven ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
Derek Cianfrance overreaches after 'Blue Valentine'

TORONTO – In 2010, Derek Cianfrance seduced the independent film community with his stellar debut, “Blue Valentine.”  The heartbreaking drama contrasted the beginning and end of a young couple’s marriage through Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams’ stellar performances.  It became a staple on year-end critic's top 10 lists and landed Williams her second Oscar nomination.  One of the reasons the picture resonated with so many moviegoers and critics was Cianfrance’s remarkable skill at creating honest and intimate moments with his actors.  Unfortunately, It’s with sincere regret that I report Cianfrance’s latest endeavor, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” doesn’t measure up to the cinematic standards he set for himself just two years ago.

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<p>Kristen Stewart walks the red carpet at the 2012 Toronto International Film&nbsp;Festival to support &quot;On the Road.&quot;</p>

Kristen Stewart walks the red carpet at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival to support "On the Road."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Kristen Stewart faces the paparazzi to support 'On the Road'

When celebrity news turns into a business story

TORONTO –  Y’know, it hasn’t been the best month or two for Kristen Stewart.

In theory, Stewart should be on top of the world.  The 22-year-old just starred in her first legitimate blockbuster outside of the “Twilight Saga”, June’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” And in May, she found herself walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival where Walter Salles’ prestige player “On the Road” debuted.  Unfortunately, well, that thing with her “Snow White” director happened.

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<p>Keira Knightley is &quot;Anna Karenina.&quot;</p>

Keira Knightley is "Anna Karenina."

Credit: Focus Features

Joe Wright’s postmodern take on ‘Anna Karenina’ is a visual wonder but will Oscar bite?

The director continues to take big chances

TORONTO – Don’t let anyone ever say Joe Wright is easy on himself. Ever since his acclaimed directorial debut “Pride & Prejudice” he has pushed cinematic boundaries while working within the confines of traditional narrative media.  “Anna Karenina,” which screens at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow and just opened in the U.K., finds Wright walking Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel along a fine line of period and postmodernist cinema.  It’s a very dangerous game to play artistically and narratively, but, for the most part, it works.

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<p>Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen in &quot;A Royal Affair.&quot;</p>

Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen in "A Royal Affair."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Telluride Roundup: 'A Royal Affair,' 'Iceman,' 'Hyde Park on Hudson'

Plus: 'Amour,' 'Rust & Bone,' 'The Gatekeepers' and more

It will painful for the organizers to hear this, but it was hard to find anyone who thought this was a strong year for the Telluride Film Festival.  The 39th edition featured tributes to Marion Cotillard and Mads Mikkelsen, but only one or two films that had the attendees raving. Longtime festival goers didn't seem to mind that much, however, as they see the annual Labor Day event as a time to catch up with old cinephile friends from around the country.  

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<p>Greta Gerwig, Michael Zegman and Adam Driver in &quot;Frances Ha.&quot;</p>

Greta Gerwig, Michael Zegman and Adam Driver in "Frances Ha."

Review: Greta Gerwig is superb on both sides of the camera in 'Frances Ha'

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
Noah Baumbach's latest is a gem about the breaking point for twentysomethings

TELLURIDE – There is a moment in the new Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig collaboration “Frances Ha” where you begin to think, “Oh, no.  This seems way too much like Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls.’”  And during the picture’s opening act, the tone and hipster Brooklyn setting makes that a very valid concern.  Thankfully, and somewhat remarkably, “Ha” transforms into something all its own.  

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<p>Alice Englert and Elle Fanning in Sally Potter's &quot;Ginger and Rosa.&quot;</p>

Alice Englert and Elle Fanning in Sally Potter's "Ginger and Rosa."

Review: Elle Fanning can't save the soapy mess of 'Ginger and Rosa'

HitFix
C
Readers
A-
Sally Potter's period drama just doesn't jell

TELLURIDE – Over a small number of films, Elle Fanning has displayed a transcendent range that many would argue has surpassed the talents of her better-known sister Dakota.  In Sally Potter's "Ginger and Rosa," a new drama that premiered Friday at the 39th Telluride Film Festival, the 14-year-old actress once again impresses.  This time she makes a mature leap by enveloping herself in a character thee years her senior.  Unfortunately, the rest of the Potter's endeavor is a ponderous mess that negates the best aspects of Fanning's performance.

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<p>Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston in &quot;Argo.&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston in "Argo."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ expertly entertains and educates

HitFix
A-
Readers
B
Alan Arkin is fantastic among a superb ensemble

TELLURIDE – The Iran Hostage Crisis is one of the more defining moments in American history, but it has never received its due course on the big screen.  That changes somewhat in Ben Affleck’s engaging and entertaining new thriller “Argo” which sneaked at the 39th Telluride Film Festival Friday.  

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