VENICE - The unhappy case of Philomena Lee, we are told throughout Stephen Frears’ outwardly stoic but not-so-secretly mallow-centered “Philomena,” is far more than a ‘human interest’ story. That phrase, frequently used here as a catch-all for manipulative, exploitative ‘soft’ journalism short on both sincere humanity and interest, is first contemptuously uttered by disgraced political journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) when Lee’s daughter approaches him about looking into her mother’s agonized search for a long-lost son. “It’s a human interest story,” he brusquely informs her, helpfully adding that such stories are written both for and about the “weak-minded, vulnerable and ignorant.”
TELLURIDE, Colo. - After its premiere screening at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival Friday evening, it goes without saying that no narrative film or TV program has ever depicted the sheer brutality and horror that was American slavery as Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" does. Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, "12 Years" is a powerful drama driven by McQueen's bold direction and the finest performance of Chiwetel Ejiofor's career.
TELLURIDE, Colo. - It's interesting seeing Robert Redford receive a tribute at the Telluride Film Festival. With Sundance so ingrained in his blood and his being the face of an entire institution, his presence here -- albeit in a completely warranted capacity -- feels like a touch of infidelity. But it's too good an opportunity to pass up for a fixture of Hollywood history who this year delivers an absolutely amazing, sure-fire Oscar-contending performance in J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost."
TELLURIDE, Colo. - They simply don't make thrillers like Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" at the studio level, and yet here it is. Glacially paced, bloated to a 158 minute running time, stingy with details as its mystery unfolds, it goes against most every convention for a film like this.
The lucky folks in Telluride are the envy of the cinephile community tonight, as "12 Years a Slave" has its unofficial world premiere with a sneak preview at the festival. It will, of course, go on to Toronto for its formal unveiling, but by that point, many key critics will have already had their say, and a reputation will already be forming.
TELLURIDE, Colo. - All of town is abuzz today with the official revelation of two "sneak preview" screenings set for tonight: Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" and Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave." But everyone has been curious what the third would be, if indeed there would be a third.
Well, wonder no more as Deadline is reporting that Shane Salerno's documentary "Salinger" has grabbed a "surprise late entry" to the lineup. If true, it's an interesting turn of events, given how things were apparently supposed to shake out originally.
VENICE - Tye Sheridan seems a nice kid and all, but he sure has terrible taste in father figures. Well, okay, not the real Tye Sheridan – whose dad, I’m sure, is a delight – but the flinty, feral persona he’s honed in two country-fried journeys into manhood this year. First came Jeff Nichols’ “Mud,” in which the steady-gazing teenager attached himself to Matthew McConaughey’s snake-tattooed fugitive Mud, a reverse adoption that ended about as well as it might have done. Now comes David Gordon Green’s “Joe,” in which Sheridan, his face already older and more settled, attaches himself to Nicolas Cage’s skull-tattooed ex-con Joe – a slightly more mutual adoption that, given the boy’s brutal, whiskey-wet home environment, could only be described as the lesser of two evils.
TELLURIDE, Colo. - The Telluride Film Festival programmers saved Jonathan Glazer's new film "Under the Skin" for the last debut of opening day and at first glance it was a tad perplexing. The 11:45 PM screening time guaranteed that only the most hardcore of cinephiles would be in the audience. Considering that Glazer delivered the most high profile art film since "Holy Motors" that was a very smart move
Telluride dedicates The Werner Herzog Theater with a gorgeous presentation of 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God'
TELLURIDE, Colo. - In 1975, filmmaker Werner Herzog had films such as "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser," "Even Dwarfs Started Small" and "Signs of Life" under his belt. Tom Luddy went to his fellow Telluride Film Festival co-founders Bill and Stella Pence with the idea to honor him with one of the festival's tributes at the second annual edition. And so the stage was set for a long-lasting relationship.
Since 1975, Herzog has returned almost every year with one, sometimes two new films to show. He says he's stopped counting over the years but it must be over 30 presentations he's offered here. So it was a no brainer when the festival directors finally made headway on establishing a new venue for the annual festival: it would be called the Werner Herzog Theater.
After the North American premiere of J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost" earlier today, the 650-seat theater -- which has been built inside a hockey rink and will be taken back down again after the festival -- played host to a bit of an appreciation for Herzog and a screening of the film he brought with him way back in 1975, "Aguirre, the Wrath of God." A new HD scan of the original negative, the film was a natural pick to dedicate the space and Herzog was quite touched as he waxed on about what Telluride has meant to him these last four decades.
TELLURIDE, Colo. - You may have met many a someone in your life whose passion for being in love is almost addictive. Someone who loves the intimacy so much it blinds them to the reality around them. Someone for whom there is no middle ground in a relationship. Either they are 110% in or they are out. That, in a nutshell, is the character of Adele, played by Kate Winslet, in Jason Reitman's new drama "Labor Day." It's also the crux of a storyline that will reward viewers who are willing to take a big jump.