Let’s call this one Anonymous Telluride Guys Tells All:
“First off, you’re right and whoever else you’re hearing from is wrong about The U.S. vs. John Lennon. I saw it ahead of the festival so I didn’t witness the supposed ‘rapturous’ response. But this is a deifying, talking-heads TV special piece of crap. And I say that as one of the biggest Beatlemaniacs you’ll ever meet; unfortunately, I’m also a fan of real documentary filmmaking, which this is not.
David Poland‘s high opinion of Little Children seems to be shared by no one here. I liked it more than anyone else I’ve talked to in line, and I wasn’t over the moon about it. There’s a lot to admire about it, and I think it will work for a lot of audiences and critics. But it’s also very slick and overly schematic.
“If Poland thinks ‘there’s not a wrong shot in the movie’, I would start with the one in which the indecent-exposure guy, whom all the parents are afraid of, gets into the pool and all the parents grab their kids and jump out like it’s Jaws, and then they stand around the edge with their children staring at him in silence. This is such a not-real-world moment that it really throws off the movie. And there are more such moments where stylization trumps suburban realism.
“But there are some great performances in it. Does it have a shot at a Best Picture nomination? Maybe, in a weak year. But after hearing a lot of negativity about it from average viewers, I’m thinking my positive-but-ambivalent take may be in the minority…much less Poland’s over-the-moon reaction.
“I loved Severance. There was a wee, wee feeling of letdown at the end, partly because of the buildup about the film and partly because the ending really isn’t as good as it needs to be. But it’s such good fun, with many, many laugh-out-loud moments. If ‘horror comedy’ doesn’t work at the box-office, as we keep being told, this probably won’t be any different, but it will definitely be a critical hit (not with everyone, obviously) and find an appreciative cult. You can still look forward to it at Toronto, whatever naysaying you may have heard.
“I went to Catch a Fire because of your recommendation after the rough cut, but I really wish I’d spent those two hours seeing something else I’ll end up missing. Seems churlish to knock it, but it felt like a poof to me.
Fur…where would I begin? Will have to save that for another message, if you’re interested. It’s probably the film I’ve liked the least here so far (not counting the Lennon film), but being such a bizarre take, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Since it has next to nothing to do with the actual life of Diane Arbus, it will make many, if not most, fans of hers very angry. But there’s something about Robert Downey being covered head-to-toe in hair that somehow works…up to a point.
“Just saw Ghosts of Cite Soleil, the documentary about Haiti — great. The Italian is terrific, though the ending seemed like a cop-out. Babel is great also, but another weak ending (for me) after a 142-minute investment.”
“Great buzz on Venus and The Last King of Scotland, or at least the lead performances. I liked Volver, but reactions are mixed. I’m hearing nothing but loathing for Day Night Day Night , but maybe I’m not talking to the artsier crowd here. Up next for me: Venus and Infamous.”
Editor’s addendum: Sorry, but I have to interject here — the ending of Babel is, for me, just-right beautiful…a nice clean pocket drop that “says” the right thing in precisely the right way, by which I mean softly and tenderly.