With Telluride already halfway through its 37th edition, and Venice just about at the same point in its 67th, reviews and posts are starting to hit on a number of high-profile titles and about these stalwart fall fests.
From Colorado, Thompson on Hollywood's festival correspondent Meredith Brody details her cinephile's caravan roadtrip - Las Vegas to Telluride by way of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley featuring auteurs Stephen Frears and Bertrand Tavernier, together with Telluride co-founder Tom Luddy and the head of my alma mater's Film Society, Stanford's Samuel Pressman.
It seems the magnificent mountain backdrops in Telluride aren't the only sights to take attendees' breath away - Brody reports on two audience members' reactions to Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" that necessitated medics and ambulances!
TOH! also reports that critic Tim Appelo has pegged Tom Hopper's "The King's Speech" "a serious Oscar contender," calling leads Colin Firth and Geofrrey Rush "geniuses who raise each others' game" in "the true bromance of the year," concluding that the film "has style to burn, and wit, and resonant emotion. Long may it reign." The film received a 5 minute standing ovation after its screening, so it seems Appelo's not alone in his assessment - as can be seen in our Quick Links below.
Meanwhile, indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez has been tweeting about all the notables assembled in Colorado, from James Franco (see reactions to "127 Hours" below), to a who's who at the duelling Sony Pictures Classics and IFC dinners. This morning he was excited to check out one of Telluride's "most anticipated events," Serge Bromberg's "Retour de Flamme 3D" program, whose remarkable "Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno" screened at last year's event.
Also on Twitter, TOH! Anne Thompson's been offering up quick thoughts on a few notable films that have hit the Lido this weekend, including Kelly Reichardt's "excellent, taut" "Meek's Cutoff" and Francois Ozon's "breezy, fun" "Potiche" - more on these below. Thompson also confesses to avoiding Vincent Gallo's films, meaning no take on "Essential Killing" from her.
- Deadline Hollywood's Pete Hammond writes about Danny Boyle's unofficial sneak preview of "127 Hours" at Telluride, in the same venue where the director's Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" had its premiere two years ago, noting that "Franco's performance could put him in contention for a best actor Oscar nod."
- "…Mr Boyle's characteristically fast-moving, immersive style, is jarring, thrilling and weirdly funny," blogs AO Scott for the New York Times.
- In Contention also weighs in on "127 Hours," with Kristopher Tapley not as immediately embracing of the film as other critics, noting a weariness to its repetition, and concluding, "I’m frankly still trying to put a finger on my own thoughts."
- AO Scott also responded well to Peter Weir's "The Way Back," stating "…Mr. Weir’s style is stately, almost classical, and the astonishing story he has to tell in the new movie… has an old-fashioned gravity and grandeur."
- For this film, Kristopher Tapley agrees, calling "The Way Back" "quietly profound, epic, bold filmmaking at its very best."
- For a contrarian view, Eugene Novikov at Cinematical, while still admiring much about the film, says: "Despite its impeccable awards pedigree and prestige pic status, it may be too straight-up harrowing to get much traction, either with the Academy voters or at the box office."
- Speaking of the Oscars, Deadline Hollywood calls Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" "stylishly entertaining, brilliantly acted," and "catnip for Academy voters."
- In Contention also took a fancy to Hooper's crowd-pleasing film, agreeing that Firth and Rush have "amazing, impeccable chemistry together," and are likely Oscar contenders, noting also that he "wouldn’t be surprised to see the film land nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Art Direction (absolutely splendid). The cinematography and film editing are also quite worthy."
- But Oscar talk hasn't been reserved for only Telluride's narratives, as Deadline Hollywood notes of Shlomi Eldar's "Precious Life," recently picked up by HBO Documentary Films: "Due to the gut-wrenching but ultimately hopeful subject matter and execution of this effort, a strong list of Doc contenders just got stronger."
- From the Lido, In Contention's Guy Lodge offers his praise for "Meek's Cutoff," saying "Malick would have been proud to conjure the rhapsodic visuals on display here," and concluding: "Adventurous, ambiguous and truthful, “Meek’s Cutoff” may be a marvel in itself, but it only sets up greater expectations for the future."
- From Reuters, "Meek's"' director Kelly Reichardt discusses her love of Westerns and how she used the diaries of women who traveled along the Oregon Trail in the mid 19th century to inform her film, noting: "My challenge was to figure out how... I could show that point of view from the people on the journey who don't get a vote, whether it be the Indian, or the kid, or the women" vs the traditional masculine point of view of such stories.
- Pablo Larrain ("Tony Manero") revisits Chile's Pinochet era in his "Post Mortem," which debuted in Competition in Venice today to generally positive early reviews. Reuters has his thoughts on approaching the pivotal history of his homeland in his newest film.
- Francois Ozon speaks about being inspired to make "Potiche" when he recognized "a new era of machoism" during France's Sarkozy/Royale presidential election race, and wanted to "say something about French women today," reports the AP.