TELLURIDE — The 41st Annual Telluride Film Festival is over, and as noted by HitFix's own Kris Tapley, it has provided an important awards season kickoff for films such as "Birdman," "The Imitation Game," "Wild," "Rosewater" and "Foxcatcher." Even with the recent star power of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Telluride has been able to hang on to its singular charms as a non-red carpet, low-key, cinephile event (even if there were two new Canadian journalists on hand to check everything out and report back to the motherland).
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Many panned out: Iggy Azalea had a literally historic summer. Ariana Grande scored three big singles. Charli XCX became a household name. 5 Seconds of Summer helped buttress One Direction's highly successful ticket-selling stronghold.
There are also some artists we could have looked at and gone, "ehhh..." Mariah Carey has had a rough go for the last three years. Robin Thicke wrote his destiny when he named his album "Paula." Justin Bieber didn't kick off his 20th year on this earth with great acclaim.
In the slides below, we point out some of what worked and what didn't some we couldn't tell was coming. Who'd heard of a little band called Magic!, for instance? How about that first No. 1 album from Tom Petty? And, whoa, how 'bout that Weird Al?
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]
Fast National ratings for Sunday, August 31, 2014.
CBS swept Sunday primetime with "60 Minutes," "Big Brother," Unforgettable" and "Reckless," comfortably winning the slow Labor Day Weekend night in all measures.
Note that "Reckless" was WAY up over last week's demo numbers without any reasonable explanation...
Let's just go straight to the numbers...
I came into this year's Telluride Film Festival feeling like the upcoming awards season looked a bit thin. I'll be leaving it excited for its potential and eager to see it take further shape. Seeing some of the films helps, yes, but there's also a context that begins to surface around this time, when strategies start clicking together and you can sense who has the goods, and who has a steep climb ahead of them.
TELLURIDE — "Birdman" has arrived stateside and made as significant an impact as it did at the Venice Film Festival last week. You won't run into too many people who have managed to catch it at one of its packed screenings who weren't completely blown away by the accomplishment, and for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, it was clearly a much-needed exercise in self-reflection away from the somber fray of his filmography to date.
VENICE — Director Ami Canaan Mann's country music romance "Jackie & Ryan" is a film that raises many questions. The first is: Christ, is that dirt on his hands or some singularly ill-advised finger tattoos? Yep, those are definitely finger tattoos. And not very good finger tattoos. But let's try not to be personally offensive or get too hung up on some really, really bad finger tattoos. The hands defaced by the finger tattoos (did I mention the finger tattoos? They're just awful) belong to Ben Barnes' country singer Ryan, whom we meet as he brews his morning pot of coffee on a goods train heading in the general direction of Ogden, Utah. These hands are soon revealed to be instrumental to turning the engine of the plot, such as it is - these hands play guitar, fix roofs and politely caress Katherine Heigl's single mom Jackie.
TELLURIDE — I didn't quite know what to say or think about Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman" after catching up with it Sunday afternoon, but I was pretty sure I loved it. Gorgeously shot by Rodrigo Prieto, lovingly scored by Marco Beltrami, enigmatically captured by Jones, the film almost becomes a series of vignettes at some point, dealing in western iconography in ways both familiar and foreign, truly a piece of work from the same voice that gave us "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada."
BEVERLY HILLS — Laika's "The Boxtrolls" saw its world premiere over the weekend at the Venice Film Festival, the third in a line of movies from the Portland-based animation studio that have aimed to push the medium at every step. Directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, the film is, like all Laika product, its own world, a dank, cockney yarn that, as ever, serves as a showcase for the company's craft prowess.
TELLURIDE — If you asked me to pick between the three commanding, sure-fire awards-contending lead actor performances on display at this year's Telluride Film Festival, I'd have a break down. Yet that's just what Academy voters will surely be asked to do in a few months' time, with added pressure in the form of whoever fills out the rest of the competitive category.
TELLURIDE — Mr. Stewart, if you read this article I believe the first few paragraphs may make you chuckle. Now, it's not because I'm a master wordsmith or unheralded comedic voice waiting to be discovered. No, after saying goodbye after our memorable interview on the patio of a Telluride restaurant Sunday afternoon, I turned and walked toward the street with my iPhone in hand. I'd stopped the recording of our chat and two choices appeared before me: delete or save. And, perhaps like a crazy person, I hit delete.
What a strange and often wonderful summer this was in television. It was a summer where Halle Berry couldn't find viewers on CBS, while NBC built a stable schedule out of discards, imports and long- discarded reality shows. HBO introduced a show that seemed to generate equal levels of adoration and scorn, while FXX finally found a purpose by making millions of "Simpsons" fans happy.
Fall TV starts getting in gear next week with the returns of "Boardwalk Empire," "Sons of Anarchy" and more. So before we get too bogged down in fall premieres, Fienberg and I wanted to look back at the winners and losers of this unpredictable summer season.