Sneak peek: Oscar contenders at Venice and Telluride Film Festivals

As top Oscar contenders unspool at the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals, here are some observations from journos on the spot.

The Ides of March

DAVE KARGER, EW.COM: “‘The Ides of March,’George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, has just premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and if you ask me, we now have the first sure-thing Best Picture nominee on our hands.”

The Descendants

KRIS TAPLEY, IN CONTENTION: “I found to be a bit Payne-lite. There’s a wonderful subtlety to the effort that certainly isn’t present in his past work … (but) it doesn’t have the density of his past work, and I missed that.”

SASHA STONE, AWARDS DAILY: “‘The Descendants’ is about more than one’s own personal journey of self-discovery; it is about selflessness, and how most of us are really here not to polish our own knobs 24/7 but to look out for others, especially those we’re responsible for, those we’re leaving behind. I loved this film.”


A Dangerous Method

GUY LODGE, IN CONTENTION: (** 1/2) “Handled by David Cronenberg with characteristic fastidiousness but a surprising lack of perversity, ‘A Dangerous Method’ will delight lovers of highbrow adult cinema of discussion and mildly disappoint those hoping the subject matter augured a return to the deranged, physicality-obsessed kinkmeister of old.”

TODD MCCARTHY, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined, David Cronenberg’s film about boundary-testing in the early days of psychoanalysis is brought to vivid life by the outstanding lead performances of Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender.”


GUY LODGE, IN CONTENTION: (** 1/2) “Roman Polanski’s straight-ahead, self-effacingly stagy treatment has a tendency to magnify this grandly amusing play’s slight pettiness and narrowness of focus.”

Albert Nobbs

JEFF WELLS, HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE:Glenn Close and Rodrigo Garcia’s ‘Albert Nobbs’ screened last night at Telluride’s Galaxy theatre to, it must be said, a somewhat muted reaction. With the exception, I should add, of Janet McTeer’s brilliant supporting performance as Hubert, a woman pretending to be a man.”

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