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Cinema Chat: Telluride Film Festival, Austenland, The Attack, The Family and More

Sep 12, 2013

Telluride Film Festival 2013: Reviews from the Festival 

Credit The Michigan Theater

The Toronto Film Festival started a week ago and wraps up this weekend. The Telluride Film Festival, in Colorado, wrapped up last week. It is a highly acclaimed but rather odd festival, in that they do not announce any of the films being screened in advance of the festival.  Now that it is over, here are some of the highlights.

"Salinger" -- Director Shane Salerno it is a comprehensive overview of the writer's passions, intense creative drive and troubled personal life through the accounts of many who knew him well, provides a gripping opportunity to peek behind the veil of mystery enshrouding Salinger's career.  Beyond its obvious appeal to anyone remotely affected by his writing, however, "Salinger" also delivers a sensationalistic prelude to the tantalizing next stage in attention to his work: In addition to hitting theaters in conjunction with the release of an oral history co-authored by Salerno and David Shields, "Salinger" concludes by setting the scene for a series of posthumous publications of books Salinger wrote during the forty-odd years when he refrained from publishing anything until his death in 2010.

"The Wind Rises" -- Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has achieved status as one of the great filmmakers of his time, with a distinctive visual sensibility that has garnered comparisons to Walt Disney and a depth of imagination that defies any classification other than Miyazaki's own head. From "Princess Mononoke" to the Oscar-winning "Spirited Away," Miyazaki's filmmaking has no immediate parallel outside of the thematically complex and visually audacious 2-D works.

Opening Downtown

“Austenland” is a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with all things Jane Austen. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen–crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency–era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. The film also stars Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, and Bret McKenzie. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly says, “Russell plays Jane's scatterbrained romanticism with such underhanded charm that she goes a long way toward making the laughs seem pertly knowing, even when they come at Jane's expense.” “Austenland” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly -- Russell plays Jane's scatterbrained romanticism with such underhanded charm that she goes a long way toward making the laughs seem pertly knowing, even when they come at Jane's expense.

Claudia Puig, USA Today – A  humorous chick flick for well-read audiences, Austenland is a novel concept.

Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice -- Austenland the movie is built on the understanding that fantasy is healthy until you elect to live in it-and that sometimes a chase to the airport isn't something you should bother with in the real world.

In “The Attack” Amin Jaafari is an Israeli Palestinian surgeon, fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society. He has a loving wife, an exemplary career, and many Jewish friends. But his picture-perfect life is turned upside down when a suicide bombing in a restaurant leaves nineteen dead, and the Israeli police inform him that his wife, who also died in the explosion, was responsible. Convinced of her innocence, Amin abandons the relative security of his adopted homeland and enters the Palestinian territories in pursuit of the truth. Once there, he finds himself in ever more dangerous places and situations. Determined, he presses on seeking answers to questions he never thought he would be asking. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times says the film is “[an] intelligent, involving movie that's by turns a murder mystery and a politically charged argument about contemporary Palestinian identity.” “The Attack” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

In “Insidious: Chapter 2” the haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world. The famed horror team of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell reunite with the original cast of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins. “Insidious 2: The Next Chapter” opens Friday.

“Insidious” – “Saw” franchise veterans James Wan and Leigh Whannell team with Paranormal Activity writer/director Oren Peli


Not terrifically good, but moviegoers will get what they're expecting. – Roger Ebert’s comment on “Insidious”

In "The Family," a mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert DeNiro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo) can't help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the "family" way, enabling their former mafia cronies to track them down. Chaos ensues as old scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings in this darkly funny film by director Luc Besson (The Transporter, The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita). “The Family” opens Friday.