<p>Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in &quot;Philomena.&quot;</p>

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in "Philomena."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Judi Dench on touching form in reductive but effective 'Philomena'

HitFix
B-
Readers
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Stephen Frears' true-life drama brings the house down in Venice

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.”

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<p>Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen's &quot;12 Years A&nbsp;Slave.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: Powerful '12 Years A Slave' won't turn away from the brutality of slavery

HitFix
A-
Readers
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Chiwetel Ejiofor is exceptional in this true story

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.

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<p>Ralph Fiennes presents Robert Redford with Telluride's Silver Medallion on&nbsp;Thursday.</p>

Ralph Fiennes presents Robert Redford with Telluride's Silver Medallion on Thursday.

Credit: Getty Images

Telluride: Robert Redford looks back at the progression of an industry

The 'All is Lost' star received one of the festival's three tributes this year

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."

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<p>Hugh Jackman and Jake&nbsp;Gyllenhaal in &quot;Prisoners&quot;</p>

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Prisoners"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Telluride: Denis Villeneuve's 'Prisoners' is a bow of tension drawn impossibly tight

This might be Hugh Jackman's best work to date

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.

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<p>&quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

"12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' added to New York Film Festival lineup

Steve McQueen's hotly buzzed historical drama sneaks in Telluride tonight

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.

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<p>&quot;Salinger&quot; is set to open a mere week from today.</p>

"Salinger" is set to open a mere week from today.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Telluride: Weinstein to sneak 'Salinger' after pulling 'Philomena' at the last minute

Oh the drama of the fall festival circuit

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.

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<p>Tye Sheridan and Nicolas Cage in &quot;Joe.&quot;</p>

Tye Sheridan and Nicolas Cage in "Joe."

Credit: Worldview Entertainment

Review: Nicolas Cage finds no Southern comfort in grim, grimy 'Joe'

HitFix
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Readers
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David Gordon Green's latest comes as a disappointment after 'Prince Avalanche'

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.

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<p>Scarlett Johansson in &quot;Under the Skin.&quot;</p>

Scarlett Johansson in "Under the Skin."

Review: Scarlett Johansson is incredible in the mesmerizing 'Under the Skin'

HitFix
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Readers
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Glazer's third film is a near-masterpiece

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

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<p>Klaus Kinski in &quot;Aguirre, the Wrath of&nbsp;God&quot;</p>

Klaus Kinski in "Aguirre, the Wrath of God"

Credit: New Yorker Films

Telluride dedicates The Werner Herzog Theater with a gorgeous presentation of 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God'

Pinch me

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.

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<p>Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith and Josh&nbsp;Brolin in &quot;Labor Day&quot;</p>

Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith and Josh Brolin in "Labor Day"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Jason Reitman's 'Labor Day' is a suspenseful ride if you believe

HitFix
B
Readers
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Another great turn for Kate Winslet

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.

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