October 21, 2016
        Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race                "The Jungle Book," "Zootopia" and Craft Artists to be Honored at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards        

“Tinker, Tailor” called “the film to beat” at Venice – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Tomas Alfredson’s eagerly anticipated potboiler “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” finally dropped at the Venice Film Fest allowing journos covering the event to weigh in .

Alfredson’s adaptation of John le Carre’s potboiler, which casts Gary Oldman as a former spy ordered to uncover a potential mole in MI6, has disappointed those of us covering the Stateside films fests – from Telluride to Toronto and New York – by sidestepping them in favor of Venice. I think most figured it would be a last-minute surprise in Colorado, but now I’m afraid we’ll have to wait until Dec. 9, when Focus begins screening the film in limited release.

Based on Venice reactions, it will be worth the wait.

Time Out London, in its four-star review, says, “This film’s superb cast, script and direction threaten to make that journey equally as thrilling as Le Carré’s book.”

Tweeting from Italy, Guy Lodge of InContention gives Alfredson’s film a B+ and writes, “Tea-stained class, judiciously adapted and immaculately cast; as inactively riveting as can be. MVP [Tom] Hardy.”

Xan Brooks of The Guardian adds, “Right here, right now, it’s the film to beat at this year’s festival.”

Strong words of praise, even if the buzz out of Venice all weekend is how soft the slate has been. Still we’ll know shortly if Alfredson’s film wins over the Venice festival jury.

In the meantime, we’re left to wonder if Focus is hurting Alfredson’s thriller by keeping it out of Telluride, TIFF and NYFF. Perhaps stashing it away until December will put Alfredson’s film right back on the map as other “contenders” are fading away.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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