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The 40th Annual Telluride Film Festival

Last week I attended the 40th annual Telluride Film Festival. Out of the hundreds of movies that played during the festival, here are my brief thoughts on the ones I saw:

TFF40_Poster_Tavoularis_©TellurideFilmFestival_Web

The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is a classic film, and one of my favorites. It played at the Elks Park outdoor cinema the night before the official start of the festival, as a free show for locals. Always a good time.

All Is Lost
Played at Elks park. One of my 3 favorites of the festival. I loved the isolation and desolation Robert Redford portrayed being stranded ona sinking sailboat and drifting life raft. I also appreciated the fairly accurate and precise sailing moves that the main character executed in trying to save his boat, and then bailing out to the life raft. It’s obvious that Redford was coached by an experienced sailor. One glaring omission from the movie, however, was an EPIRB emergency radio beacon. On a modern sailboat equipped as well as the one in the film, sailing where the character was sailing, it would be virtually unheard of to not have an emergency EPIRB on the ship, ready to send a distress signal. I understand that there would be basically no story had an EPIRB been activated – but at very least it would have been nice to have seen it, and possibly had it be unusable in support of the rest of the survival story.

Palo Alto
A stylized, real, intimate view of youth in Palo Alto, California. The photography was transparentn and real, with the standout shot for me being James Franco in the middle of his soccer team huddle, prepping them for the game. I related to this film, but only slightly – I don’t think I was as cool in high school as these kids were!

Particle Fever
A documentary, and in an interesting high level view of both the science that’s being done at the LHC, as well as the culture surrounding it. Having worked with scientists on large projects at the South Pole, I loved seeing the science culture portrayed in this documentary.

Tracks
My second favorite of the festival. Solitude, peace, and silence trekking across the desert really spoke to me, and I connected with the sentiment of the main character. Also, although I hated the photojournalist character at first, I secretly envied his job!

Gravity
Super super super cool – a simply premise – a stranded astronaut tries to make it back to earth. With lots of twists and turns, and an amazing use of 3D. The 3D in this movie was notable because it really did enhance the whole movie, but didn’t stick out too much. Some movies seem to use 3d jut for the “wow” factor, but in Gravity, the 3d was not over the top, and actually once you were into the movie, it was barely noticable.

Inside Llewyn Davis
I love the Cohen Brothers movies, and this was no exception. Seeing NYC set in 1961 was interesting, as were all of the characters. True to the other Cohen Brothers movies, each character in this film was truly a unique character, cast specifically and deliberately. I’m still yet to fully decode this film, but at the end of it, other movies I was looking to for story analysis were Run Lola Run, Groundhog Day, and the story of Sisyphus.

12 Years A Slave
Meh, very meh. This movie got great reviews, but personally I didn’t love it. The photography was beautiful, but after the premise was setup, I was over it. The next hour and a half of well acted dramatically terrible slavery wore on, and I was eager for an ending to the misery. Technical aspects were great, acting was solid, sets were detailed, but overall I just wasn’t into the extended portrayal of a wrongly enslaved man.

Prisoners

Well acted, a classic holywood kidnapping drama. I enjoyed watching this, but had it figured out about midway through. Nothing too exciting.

Milius
John Milius is absolutely the man, and this documentary about his life so far was a great way to see how much he’s influenced. Maybe not critical to see on the big screen, but still fun.

Labor Day
I usually love JR films, but this one was just stressful to me. The characters were real and warm, but overall I just got a meh feeling from it.

Tim’s Vermeer
I love Penn & Teller, and this film, produced by Penn Gillette was great. Check it out!

A few of my tweets from #TFF40

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