Saturday, 30 August 2014

TELLURIDE REPORT: TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER


It's been quite some time since Nick Broomfield made a movie that rly mattered, particularly given that so many of his documentaries used to matter very much. But Tales of the Grim Sleeper, his doc about L.A. alleged serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., is drawing some distinctly positive responses from Telluride critics. You can read those from Stephen Dalton at The Hollywood Reporter, Eric Kohn at IndieWire, Steven Zeitchik at Los Angeles Times and Scott Foundas at Variety here.

NEW SEVENTH SON TRAILER


Why does Julianne Moore keep making such terrible career choices? This feels like the kind of spring release that could derail a potential Oscar winner's chances (remember Norbit?). One wonders if all the other filmmakers ever before involved with Legendary refused to allow their film's title to be used in connection to this tripe, which is why they had to use 300: Rise of an EmpireThe fact that they're having to reference the production company speaks volumes, not least because this is the film that Warner Bros. hated so much they actually pushed it back so far that Universal had to take care of it under their new deal with Legendary. Out in the UK and US alike on the 6th of February, which is two days before my dad's birthday, so my present to him will be not taking him to see Seventh Son.

TELLURIDE REPORT: THE IMITATION GAME


What with the period setting, the British pedigree, the real-life subject, the literary source and, most of all, the Weinsteins behind it, most reviewers at Telluride note the Oscar potential of Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, despite their generally lukewarm reponses to the film. With all this modest praise, it's somewhat unlikely that the film hits as hard as Bob and Harvey would like it to, but don't start doubting their ability just yet! Benedict Cumberbatch receives raves, however, as expected. Here are reviews from Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist, Scott Foundas at Variety, Gregory Ellwood at In Contention, Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter and Michael Nordine at IndieWire.

TRAILER FOR DANCING ARABS


As the trailer informs us, Eran Riklis' Dancing Arabs opened the Jerusalem Film Festival in July; it also screened at Locarno earlier this month. It's due to show at Telluride as well. After the failure of Zaytoun, Riklis is back to basics i.e. films not starring C-list Hollywood stars (soz Stephen Dorff, u know I still love u, k?). There are still legs in the 'Romeo and Juliet' storyline, since it's been done so badly so many times before - let's hope that Dancing Arabs doesn't do it equally badly.

VENICE REPORT: HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT


Films like Heaven Knows What, Ben and Josh Safdie's independent drama about two heroin junkies in New York, don't normally unite critics in admiration, certainly not ones that The Hollywood Reporter boils down to being 'a grunge tone poem'. But that's exactly what said film has achieved. Venice reviews from Eric Kohn at IndieWire, Scott Foundas at Variety and David Rooney at The Hollywood Reporter.

NEW TRAILER FOR PALME D'OR WINNER WINTER SLEEP


Hot on the heels of the Leviathan trailer, here comes the trailer for the film that beat that film to the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and the FIPRESCI Prize to boot. So yeh, critics kinda love Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep  which will also screen at San Sebastian later this year. It gets a limited release Stateside on the 19th of December; with an official submission as Turkey's selection for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, it's one of a number of non-English language features which have a viable shot at awards success later this year.

VENICE REPORT: IN THE BASEMENT


Ulrich Seidl's return to documentary filmmaking, In the Basement, has recently screened at the Venice Film Festival. Seidl's never gonna unite critics in either praise or condemnation, while his films are always likely to attract both in equal measure. Of the few reviews currently published for the disturbing portrait of the basement hobbies of Seidl's native Austrians, both ends of the spectrum are apparent: here's the evidence, in write-ups from Deborah Young at The Hollywood Reporter, Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian and Guy Lodge at Variety.

TRAILER #3 FOR FOXCATCHER


Short new trailer for Foxcatcher just keeps cranking up the creepiness. You know, I'm beginning to think this isn't just good marketing. I'm beginning to think this is accurate marketing. Totally stoked.

TELLURIDE REPORT: WILD


Fresh from the awards success of last year's overrated Dallas Buyers Club, critics were just waiting to atone for leading that film to three Oscars it didn't deserve, and seem to have taken it out on Jean-Marc Vallee's latest, Wild, which screened at Telluride with the apparent intention of replicating that success. The reviews are damaging enough to derail the film's Best Picture chances, yet good enough nevertheless to ensure that interest remains high in the book adaptation. Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern both attract praise, though. Here's what Justin Chang at Variety, Eric Kohn at IndieWire, Stephen Farber at The Hollywood Reporter and Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist had to say.

LEVIATHAN TRAILER FROM ANDREY ZVYAGINTSEV


The trailer for Leviathan is part of a marketing strategy that wants to remind you that the film won the Screenplay Prize at Cannes in May, but that it actually deserved to win the Palme d'Or. Well, tough! With a Telluride and Toronto presence, and a New Year's Eve release date, the film appears to be being primed for Oscar consideration; with strong critical support (which it will surely receive) it could easily enter the race. But pay no attention to those claiming that the film may be selected as Russia's official Foreign Language Film for the Oscars - Zvyagintsev's film is reportedly a scathing critique on contemporary Russian society, and it's unlikely that it's selected as a result. Just sayin.