In the mountains of Colorado and along the canals of Italy this weekend, two film festivals delivered advance looks at films that are quickly becoming among the most anticipated of the upcoming months.
In a small ski village six hours southwest of Denver, the Telluride Film Festival screened a fresh comedy from the director of the Oscar-winning film, “Juno.” Meanwhile, the Venice Film Festival kicked off a schedule that includes films from Academy Award-winning directors and actors.
Here’s a look at the most buzzed-about movies from both fests:
“Up in the Air”
No longer a rising star but an established vet, Jason Reitman directed this comedy about a corporate exec, played by George Clooney, who is skilled in the art of mass employee firings. The movie became the talk of Telluride after its premiere. This wasn’t the first time Reitman wowed the high-altitude crowds: His Oscar-winning “Juno” debuted at Telluride two years ago. This time around, with Clooney as his star and such positive buzz already surrounding the film, Reitman seems like he’s got another hit on his hands.
“The Men Who Stare at Goats”
While “Up in the Air” was making waves in Telluride, Clooney and his girlfriend, Italian TV personality Elisabetta Canalis, touched down in Venice for the premiere of “Goats,” a comic look at a secretive unit of the U.S. military devoted to attempting to harness psychic powers, directed by Grant Heslov. Reviews have been largely positive, if not entirely glowing. But the true talk of Venice has been the simple fact of Clooney and Canalis stepping out in the city, and then onto the red carpet — she in a flowing turquoise dress, he in a classic tux.
Matt Damon plays an agribusiness exec turned corporate whistle-blower who exposes a price-fixing scandal while also defrauding the company he’s selling out. Perhaps even buzzier than the film itself, directed by the Oscar-winning Steven Soderbergh and based on a true story, is Damon’s comments about packing on 30 pounds for his role. “It was very, very easy to gain the weight,” Damon said during a Venice festival press conference. “I just basically ate everything I could see for a few months.”
“Capitalism: A Love Story”
After unblinking takes on school violence, the war on terror and the heath-care crisis comes documentarian Michael Moore’s cri de coeur about corporate greed and government corruption. Divisive though his films may be, Moore’s work sparks conversations on cable news and at water coolers — plus, the last three have made over $300 million at the worldwide box office. With the U.S. economy still struggling, “Capitalism” seems perfectly timed to tap into everyone’s mood and extract some dollars from their ever-slimming wallets.
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