Writing from Venice, Anne Thompson battled a torrential storm to post her thoughts on Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," and later caught up on the early word out of Telluride on new films from Mark Romanek, Errol Morris, and Peter Weir premiering last night, the festival's opening day.
Writing about Romanek's 1970s alternate reality set "Never Let Me Go," Thompson notes that the director and writer "have created a believably off-kilter 'what-if' world that is vaguely familiar but not exactly what once was." She also praises the actors, Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and the next Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, as a "heartbreaking love triangle," and warns viewers to "get out your handkerchiefs."
indieWIRE's own Eugene Hernandez arrives in Telluride today and will no doubt have some thoughts on the stellar lineup over the next few days.
Thompson also notes that Todd McCarthy's review for "Somewhere" is up at Deep Focus. With McCarthy having screened the film for New York Film Festival consideration, it's no surprise that the selection committee passed on Coppola's latest with McCarthy referring to it as a "fuzzy, emotionally stunted film" and including a line like this in the first paragraph of his review: "This junior league Antonioniesque study of dislocation and aimlessness is attractive but parched in the manner of its dominant Los Angeles setting, and it’s a toss-up as to whether the film is about vacuity or is simply vacuous itself."
- Over at Slash Film, despite some nitpicks, Peter Sciretta calls "Never Let Me Go" "emotionally powerful," and singles out one actress' performance: "Mulligan deserves a nomination, which if it happens, would be the second year in a row."
- This sentiment is shared by Alex Billington of FirstShowing.net, calling Mulligan's performance "phenomenal." The glowing review concludes, "It's a completely different film than 'One Hour Photo'... but it's magnificent in all of its own ways."
- In marked contrast, HitFix's Gregory Ellwood was not enamored with the film, beginning his review: "There is a great idea for a movie in Kazuo Ishiguro's acclaimed novel 'Never Let Me Go,' but its not apparent in the new film." Though he notes the actors do their best, particularly Mulligan and Garfield, he blames a lack of emotional connection with their characters on the film's script and tone, and concludes that "it's hard to imagine either of them at the [Oscar] nomination finish line."
- On the other hand, in a short round up post from Telluride, Ellwood had a very different experience with Errol Morris' "Tabloid," concluding "Keep your fingers crossed a strong and smart distributor picks this one up soon. It deserves to be seen."
- Morris' new doc generated a similar reaction from Hollywood Elsewhere's Glenn Zoller, who's "What a trip!" might just say it all. HE also notes that In Contention's Kris Tapley calls it "a masterful work," and "one of [Morris'] best films in years."
- While, as Thompson notes, reviews of Peter Weir's "The Way Back" haven't made it online yet, Deadline Hollywood yesterday speculated about the film's Oscar chances, now that Newmarket has announced its acquisition, and spoke to Weir, who is also receiving a career tribute at Telluride.
- Meanwhile, Day 4 of Venice continued with some high profile screenings. At The Daily Notebook, David Poland considers Catherine Breillat's "Sleeping Beauty" while Reuters takes a look at Martin Scorsese's "A Letter to Elia" and at Catherine Deneuve in Francois Ozon's "Potiche."