<p>Bruce Dern and&nbsp;Will Forte in &quot;Nebraska&quot;</p>

Bruce Dern and Will Forte in "Nebraska"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Telluride: Bruce Dern shines as, yes, a leading man in Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska'

A longtime character actors gets a much-deserved moment in the spotlight

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Nearly half a century ago, Marilyn Monroe confided in a young Bruce Dern an opinion of the actor passed to her by Actors Studio founder Elia Kazan, or "Gadge" as they all knew him. "He's not going to be a leading man," the famed director said, "because he'll be into his 60s before anyone knows what he's capable of."

The reasoning went that Dern was destined to be a character actor. He didn't subscribe to his buddy Jack Nicholson's ribbing "it's just acting, asshole" sentiment, but rather he preferred to inhabit a character, to be a character. He bought into Lee Strasberg's method acting approach, and indeed, went on to have a lengthy career as a dependable fixture in any number of films. But he's always been "third cowboy from the right," as Dern has put it, and with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," which is set for a North American premiere later today at the Telluride Film Festival, he finally had an opportunity to embrace a leading man character for all it was worth.

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<p>&quot;Why Don't You Play in Hell?&quot;</p>

"Why Don't You Play in Hell?"

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: Sion Sono's 'Why Don't You Play in Hell?' offers carnage in the name of cinema

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Aspiring midnight movie is suitably manic but lacks real feeling

VENICE -Some films are born midnight movies, some achieve midnight-movie status, and others have midnight-movie status thrust upon them. It’s the third route that is by far the least reliable or enduring: there’s nothing so antithetical to notion of cult cinema as the idea that it can be calculated and declared (or worse still, self-declared) out loud. From its ungainly, eccentric title downwards, Sion Sono’s manic postmodern bloodbath “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” falls squarely in that category, weird and woolly and sporadically amusing as it may be.

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<p>Mia Wasikowska in &quot;Tracks.&quot;</p>

Mia Wasikowska in "Tracks."

Credit: See Saw Films

Review: Mia Wasikowska blazes a subdued trail in lovely, earthy 'Tracks'

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
John Curran's return to Australia kicks off the Competition on a high note

VENICE - Packing films, as one would sardines, into the snug, air-locked space of even the biggest festival always uncovers unforeseen parallels and commonalities, making happy bedfellows of works that otherwise wouldn’t have much to say to each other. With John Curran’s wonderful Australian adventure “Tracks” having just christened the Competition 24 hours after Alfonso Cuaron’s mindboggling space thriller “Gravity” opened the fest, it seems we have this year’s first pair of Lido buddies: two days in, Venice 2013 is the festival of women fighting the elements.

That’s a glib reading, of course, and one that does a disservice to both films’ subtleties, some of them also shared. With the Outback desert a pretty indomitable (not to mention indomitably pretty) presence from the outset, “Tracks” seems a woman-versus-land story only until it emerges that the land is a reflection of the woman herself.

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<p>Jason&nbsp;Reitman at his first Telluride Film&nbsp;Festival in 2007.</p>

Jason Reitman at his first Telluride Film Festival in 2007.

Credit: Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

Jason Reitman on the tradition of taking his movies to Telluride and Toronto

Jason Reitman on the tradition of taking his movies to Telluride and Toronto

TELLURIDE, Colo. - It's fair to say filmmaker Jason Reitman has a bit of a history with the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. In 2005 his feature debut, "Thank You for Smoking," sold at the latter. Since then, three of his last four films, including this year's "Labor Day," have debuted at Telluride (2007's "Juno" and 2009's "Up in the Air" in the form of "sneak previews" secret screenings) before heading north to Toronto. It's become a notable tradition, so we asked Reitman about his thoughts on the two environments and whether he's superstitious enough to consider them a good luck charm at the start of the fall.

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<p>James Franco</p>

James Franco

Credit: AP Photo

How has James Franco saturated the festival circuit?

The multi-hyphenate has been the year's most ubiquitous festival presence

It's become as mandatory a part of the film festival experience as queueing, champagne hangovers and the swinging lanyard affixed to one's neck: if a new James Franco joint isn't to be found in the program, you're probably not looking hard enough.

Out in the real world, the Oscar-nominated actor still functions primarily -- if not exclusively -- as, well, an Oscar-nominated actor. Among the paying public, awareness of his extramural activities may be limited chiefly to his being the guy who bombed hard at the Oscars that one time; some may have heard of an artsy endeavor via an interview, but would be hard pressed to specify what it was. I'm certain most would be surprised to hear that he's directed 11 feature films, in addition to any number of shorts and hard-to-classify experiments; those whose tastes run expressly toward multiplex fare would be more surprised still to find out what the mildly eccentric-seeming star of "Oz the Great and Powerful" thinks about in his spare time.  

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<p>Francis Ford Coppola was one of three individuals honored with a Silver Medallion tribute at the first annual Telluride Film&nbsp;Festival in 1974.</p>

Francis Ford Coppola was one of three individuals honored with a Silver Medallion tribute at the first annual Telluride Film Festival in 1974.

Credit: Lionsgate/American Zoetrope

From Coppola to the Coens: 40 years of Telluride tributes

This year's quintet joins an illustrious list of honorees

The lineup for the 40th annual Telluride Film Festival has been unveiled, and with it, the announcement of this year's tributees: T Bone Burnett and the Coen brothers, Mohammad Rasoulof, Robert Redford and Alejandro Ramirez. Here's a look back at the history of the honor.

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<p>Ralph&nbsp;Fiennes' &quot;The Invisible Woman&quot;&nbsp;is set to premiere at the fest.</p>

Ralph Fiennes' "The Invisible Woman" is set to premiere at the fest.

Credit: Sony Classics

Alfonso Cuarón, Jason Reitman, the Coens and more set for 40th annual Telluride Film Festival

Premieres from Jason Reitman and Ralph Fiennes highlight a packed anniversary slate

The Coen brothers, T Bone Burnett and Robert Redford are among those to be feted at the 40th annual Telluride Film Festival, which will feature the world premieres of Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" and Ralph Fiennes' "The Invisible Woman." Prestige titles from the 2013 festival circuit so far have been curated for the weekend as well, including Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost" and the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis."

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<p>Sandra Bullock in &quot;Gravity.&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Review: Sandra Bullock dances into great silence in Alfonso Cuarón's astonishing 'Gravity'

HitFix
A
Readers
A
Short but vast Venice opener delivers on the hype

VENICE - “Gravity” opens, in coy denial of the mammoth imagery soon to follow, with modest white letters on a black screen, spelling out facts about outer space that sound more than a little like threats. “Life in space is impossible,” the titles conclude, after warning us off with daunting details of distance, physics and unimaginable cold. It’s a simple and – at least from a terrestrial perspective – pretty inarguable thesis that Alfonso Cuarón’s astonishing new film nonetheless goes to great, gruelling and frequently gasp-inducing pains to illustrate, before opening up less certain possibilities with a sudden surge in its own emotional temperature. Life in space is a no-go, sure. But what about life after?

It’s been seven long years since Cuarón, the serenely versatile Mexican stylist capable of finding grace notes in raunchy south-of-the-border road trips and Harry Potter alike, last visited our screens with a chilling fantasy that now sits as an unwittingly perfect bookend to his latest: in “Children of Men,” life scarcely seems possible on Earth.

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<p>&quot;Dallas Buyers Club,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;Labor Day&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Joe&quot;&nbsp;are just three titles on our 25 most anticipated fall festival movies list.</p>

"Dallas Buyers Club," "Labor Day" and "Joe" are just three titles on our 25 most anticipated fall festival movies list.

25 most anticipated fall festival movies of 2013

Plus: 'Joe,' 'Labor Day,' 'Devil's Knot,' 'Rush' and more

Four festivals that play out over just seven weeks. Hundreds of films.  Some with distribution, some without. Some that are highly anticipated, others that will become surprise gems. It's fall festival time and that just doesn't mean the beginning of awards season. It means new films that will be fought over by competing distributors for acquisition and other movies that may end up going direct to VOD (if they are lucky). 

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<p>Matthew McConaughey in &quot;Dallas Buyers&nbsp;Club&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club"

Credit: Focus Features

Matthew McConaughey dares to live in the trailer for 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Is this the role that will bring him an Oscar?

We've had our eyes on this one for over a year now. With Matthew McConaughey in full swing of a career revival -- the McConaissance, as he calls it -- the actor seemed poised to leap to the front of the Best Actor race with Jean-Marc Vallée's "Dallas Buyers Club" on paper. The new trailer for the film only adds fuel to the assumption.

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