<p>A few days before arriving in Telluride, George Clooney pokes fun at himself on the red carpet at the 2011 Venice Film Festival where his new drama &quot;The Ides of March&quot;&nbsp;debuted.</p>

A few days before arriving in Telluride, George Clooney pokes fun at himself on the red carpet at the 2011 Venice Film Festival where his new drama "The Ides of March" debuted.

Credit: AP Photo

Telluride: Five minutes with festival star George Clooney

Fighting the altitude, balancing jobs and what he wants to catch

TELLURIDE - One of the Telluride Film Festival's most appealing traits is the general lack of pretentiousness among the stars, directors and attendees. Whether you are regular such as Laura Linney (couldn't make it this year), Alejandro Inarritu, Alexander Payne or Werner Herzog, there is little drama about waiting in line with all the other attendees to see a film, chatting with anyone about their opinions or walking the streets by themselves from screening to screening.  Sure, this can randomly occur at Sundance, but Telluride puts almost everyone on equal and accessible footing (gasp, celebrities are real people too!).  There are however, a few notable exceptions.  Enter George Clooney.

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<p>Jennifer Garner in the new R-rated comedy &quot;Butter.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Garner in the new R-rated comedy "Butter."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Jennifer Garner channels Michele Bachmann in sweet and stinging 'Butter'

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Olivia Wilde steals the show as an out for revenge stripper

TELLURIDE - If you were pitched the logline for a new comedy set in the competitive world of butter carving a specific type of movie would immediately come to mind. Most likely a formulaic romantic comedy with just enough bite for a PG-13 rating, but "safe" enough to air for years on cable.  For the most part, that's not what you get with Jim Field Smith's "Butter" which debuted at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival Saturday night.

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<p>Eddie Murphy</p>
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Eddie Murphy

Credit: Comedy Central

Report: Eddie Murphy in talks to host the 84th Academy Awards

Could the surprising move save Brett Ratner's Oscar co-hosting gig?
Brett Ratner appears to be putting his stamp on the 84th Academy Awards.  The co-producer's selection (a job no one really wanted by the way) has been roundly criticized within and outside the Academy, but a report today indicates that he's nominating his "Tower Heist" star Eddie Murphy to host the most prestigious awards show in the world.
 
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<p>Glenn Close as &quot;Albert Nobbs.&quot;</p>

Glenn Close as "Albert Nobbs."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Review: Glenn Close's transformation can't carry passionless 'Albert Nobbs'

HitFix
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Director Rodrigo Garcia simply isn't right for this material

TELLURIDE - Poor "Albert Nobbs." It's been a hard, hard life so far.  And I'm not referring to the title character Glenn Close portrays in Rodrigo Garcia's new drama which debuted at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival tonight, but the film itself.  

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<p>Jean Dujardin in &quot;The Artist.&quot;</p>

Jean Dujardin in "The Artist."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist' is an immaculately crafted homage to Hollywood's silent era

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Silent charmer features a fantastic turn by Jean Dujardin

TELLURIDE - Moviemaking is not an easy process.  If it was there would obviously be significantly more good movies in theaters.  A hundred years plus off filmmaking has taken the form to amazing heights, but ask a modern day director to create something memorable without all those fancy tools and visual effects and that's when the real talent truly steps up.  Impressively, that's exactly what Michel Hazanavicius has done with his charming silent comedy "The Artist" which screened at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival today.

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<p>George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in Alexander Payne's &quot;The Descendants.&quot;</p>

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: Clooney is superb in moving Oscar contender "The Descendants"

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Telluride sneak peek puts the dramedy in the Oscar race

TELLURIDE, CO - By his own account it's been a little over six years since Alexander Payne finished his duties on the acclaimed dramedy "Sideways."  In the years since he wrote a few screenplays, shot a pilot, had surgery and, candidly admits, went through a divorce.  Today's premiere at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival of his latest endeavor, "The Descendants," proves that it was worth the wait.

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<p>'A Dangerous Method'</p>

'A Dangerous Method'

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Critics' Response: Viggo Mortensen shines as Freud in 'A Dangerous Method'

Mixed reviews praise the film's acting while noting its chilly tone

David Cronenberg's historical drama "A Dangerous Method" premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Friday and, so far, the reviews have been largely mixed, praising the film's smarts and stars while noting its chilled tone and dry nature.

"Method" stars Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud who, along with close friend and professional rival Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) develops the new found art of psychoanalysis while the two find themselves torn apart by a sexually troubled patient/student who comes between them (Keira Knightley).

Justin Chang of Variety calls the film "elegant" and "coolly restrained," while lamenting the "absence of gut-level impact" and noting that the slow-moving, talky approach may deaden some commercial attention.  He singles out Mortensen's performance as Freud, noting that the actor steals the film, while stating, "rather less assured, and initially the film's most problematic element, is Knightley, whose brave but unskilled depiction of hysteria at times leaves itself open to easy laughs."

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy calls the film "Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined." He admits that Knightley's performance starts over-the-top, but is brought back down to a more suitable level. "Along with Knightley's excellent work as a character with a very long emotional arc indeed, Fassbender brilliantly conveys Jung's intelligence, urge to propriety and irresistible hunger for shedding light on the mysteries of the human interior," writes McCarthy. "A drier, more contained figure, Freud is brought wonderfully to life by Mortensen in a bit of unexpected casting that proves entirely successful."

David Gritten of the Daily Telegraph agrees: "It's Knightley that one remembers, for a full-on portrayal that is gutsy and potentially divisive in equal parts."

Meanwhile, The Guardian provides an early voice of dissent. While acknowledging the intelligence of the script and the solid performances, reviewer Xan Brooks contends that "'A Dangerous Method' feels heavy and lugubrious. It is a tale that comes marinated in port and choked on pipe-smoke. You long for it to hop down from the couch, throw open the windows and run about in the garden."

Noted critic Emmanuel Levy comments on the film's Oscar chances. "Knowing the Academy voters’ conservative tastes, " he says "I don’t think “Dangerous Method” is Oscar-caliber as a picture, but its three main actors should receive nominations for their work: Fassbender and Keira Knightly in the lead categories and Viggo Mortensen in the supporting one."

Mortensen previously collaborated with Cronenberg on "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises."

"A Dangerous Method" opens in the U.S. November 23.

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<p>John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz at a photocall for &quot;Carnage&quot;&nbsp;at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.</p>

John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz at a photocall for "Carnage" at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Polanski's 'Carnage' survives as critics turn on Madonna's 'W.E'

Is Madonna's directorial work being given a fair shot?

While filmmakers, movie fans and a small contingent of press made their way to Telluride, CO for the annual Telluride Film Festival today, the world's critics got their first taste at two of this season's highly anticipated titles in Venice.  One film in particular will have a hard time recovering from the response.

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<p>George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in Alexander Payne's &quot;The Descendants&quot; which will screen at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival.</p>

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" which will screen at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'The Descendants' and 'Albert Nobbs' set for 2011 Telluride Film Festival

'A Dangerous Method,' 'The Artist' and 'Shame' are also set

Nestled inbetween the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, Telluride has a reputation as a movielovers smorgasbord, but it's also become a prominent fixture on the awards season festival circuit.  The major films set to screen at the 2011 edition of the Labor Day Weekend event were announced today and some heavy hitters are on their way to the small Colorado township.

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 Watch: Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood flirt in George Clooney's 'Ides of March'
Credit: Columbia

Watch: Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood flirt in George Clooney's 'Ides of March'

Political drama building awards buzz, playing at Venice Festival

 Though it won't be in theaters until October 7, the political drama "The Ides of March" is already starting to build significant Oscar buzz.

You can chalk that up to the fact that this is George Clooney's fourth film as a director (he was nominated for "Good Night, and Good Luck"), and stars an Oscar-friendly cast, including Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood.

The film is screening this week at the Venice Film Festival, and awards prognosticators will be closely following the its reception at the fest.

In the movie, based on the play "Farragut North," Gosling plays an idealistic young campaign worker named Stephen Meyers helping Democratic governor Mike Morris (Clooney) aspire to the White House. Loyalties start to waver, however, when Meyers is approached about a gig working for the other guy.

This brand new clip isn't as politically charged as the film promises to be, but offers a look at Gosling at his most charming and shows that Wood ("Thirteen," "The Wrestler") has charm to match. Meyers take a short break from the campaign trail to meet-cute with an intern named Mary...or, um, Molly.

"The Ides of March" opens October 7.

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