By Andy Lauer | Indiewire September 9, 2009 at 4:53AM
Amid the flurry of news coming out of Venice and the mounting anticipation for Toronto, it's easy to overlook Telluride. The festival, however, is a favorite of cinephiles for its carefully curated selection and strong repertory programming. Some of the bigger stories to come out of this year's Telluride, which closed on Monday:
The LA Times' John Horn reports that Michael Hoffman's "The Last Station," starring Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren as the Russian author Tolstoy and his wife, was "clearly the festival darling." The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Farber loves it ("the high-water mark in Hoffman's 20-year career"), Todd McCarthy at Variety is indifferent ("solid middlebrow biographical fare"), and Cinematical's Eugene Novikov finds it "frustrating, and disappointingly gutless."
Also garnering buzz at the festival was "Up in the Air," the latest from "Juno" director Jason Reitman, which indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez reports "seemed like the big hit" of the festival and calls the "most mature of Reitman’s three features." "Award season beckons. This one is in the hunt," predicts Anne Thompson. The film, which stars George Clooney as a corporate downsizing expert and frequent flier obsessed with collecting airline miles, was shown as a sneak preview at Telluride and will screen at Toronto. The LA Times' Pete Hammond reports on the film's premiere, calling it "award-season-friendly stuff. Clooney has never seemed so appealing -- or vulnerable -- on-screen, and many were noting how the role of the commitment-phobic career-oriented bachelor seems to fit him like a glove." Watch a clip from "Up in the Air" here.
Coming out of the festival, Russ Fischer at Slash Film reports that "suddenly the trilogy of UK films collectively called 'Red Riding' is getting massive praise and buzz." The trilogy--comprised of "1974," "1980," and "1983"--is a gritty crime saga based on David Peace's cult novels. According to Variety's Todd McCarthy, "Red Riding" is a "compelling, disturbing crime drama that leapfrogs through a decade's worth of corruption and venality, leaving everyone in its vicinity permanently soiled or six feet under." Cinematical's Eugene Novikov calls the films "the greatest thing I've seen since I discovered the first season of Twin Peaks on DVD... They will transport you, and knock you on your ass, and make you cry." Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells thinks that the work "is destined for major-cult-film status." IFC has plans to release the trilogy in US theaters and on VOD. Watch a trailer for "Red Riding" on YouTube.
Finally, the buzz surrounding Carey Mulligan, star of Lone Scherfig's coming-of-age drama "An Education" continued to increase at Telluride. Pete Hammond, writing for the LA Times, thinks that "Oscar nominations are assured for Mulligan and perhaps Alfred Molina, who is wonderful as her father." indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez reports on a Q&A at the festival with Mulligan and another young actress, Katie Jarvis, the breakout star of Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank," which also screed at Telluride.