This prognosticator may have been unable to attend the Telluride Film Festival this year, but the buzz from my sources on Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" was spot on.
Debuting Saturday as the "surprise" screening everyone knew was coming, "Air" stars George Clooney as a corporate consultant who strategically racks up his frequent flyer miles even as his own life passes him by. The poignant comedy drew a rave from In Contention's Kris Tapley who described it as "deeply personal and serendipitously relevant" as well as one of this year's "finest films." Anne Thompson, a pretty strong and steady barometer of taste, described the picture as "a witty, charming and moving exploration of a world we all recognize." She also noted that as award season begins, "this one is in the hunt."
Former Envelope colleague Pete Hammond should have his own thoughts posted on "Air" later today, but told me he sees nods in a number of categories including picture, director and actor for Clooney. He also had praise for Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime" which received a rave from Variety's Todd McCarthy after it's simultaneous debut at the Venice Film Festival. Both pictures are priorities for this journo as the final of the trifecta of awards season kick off festivals, Toronto, begins on Thursday.
Venice also found love for Michael Moore's latest documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story." Opening in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 23 and nationwide on Oct. 2nd, Variety reviewer Leslie Felperein describes the doc as one of Moore's "best films" as the filmmaker describes last year's economic collapse "in terms a sixth-grader could understand." It's unclear if the picture can use critical acclaim to sneak into this year ten best picture slots, but considering how weak the overall pool is it will be curious to see what the reaction from other media is in Toronto.
One film that appears D.O.A. already is "The Road." The adaption of Cormac McCarthy's acclaimed novel already received negative notices out of Venice and its doubtful the pool of critics at Toronto will review it any more warmly. At best, 2929 and the Weinstein Company should shoot for a best actor nomination just for star Viggo Mortensen.
Look for more buzz as it happens on Awards Campaign. Toronto is just four days away.
For constant updates on awards season and entertainment news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter at Twitter.com/HitFixGregory