The third feature from artist-turned-director Steve McQueen needs little introduction.
It’s a visceral, unpredictable tale of life as a slave in 1840s America, based on the true story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who, as ever, disappears effortlessly into the demanding role), who was born a free man in New York.
Continue reading “LFF review: 12 Years a Slave”
The 57th BFI London Film Festival opened with this belter of a thriller, based on the real-life hijacking of a US container ship by Somali pirates in 2009.
Tom Hanks stars as Captain Richard Phillips, an American, whose job it is to steer the MV Maersk Alabama through the danger-filled Somali Basin to Mombasa, Kenya.
(watch out for spoilers below)
Continue reading “LFF review: Captain Phillips”
Warning: spoilers (as far as I can spoil the plot of a very famous 8-year-old book for you)
Ah. “We need to talk about Kevin.” The words that the eponymous Kevin (Ezra Miller/Jasper Newell/ Rocky Duer)’s mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) never manages to say to her sweet, blinkered husband Franklin (John C Reilly).
Lynne Ramsay‘s fine adaptation of the very unloveable 2003 novel dispenses with the epistolary form of the original, and is instead structured around Eva’s life post-massacre, with flashes of the past forcing continually pushing to the surface. Kevin’s actions have defined her current situation; the film shows us how.
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Artist/director Steve McQueen’s second feature (following 2008’s Hunger), follows the unravelling New York existence of sex addict Brandon (Michael Fassbender). Living alone, he (seemingly) happily picks up girls in bars, orders prostitutes like takeout and masturbates in the work loos after watching porn on his computer. It’s a tad compulsive, but his outward charm and ability to just about hold it together is keeping people fooled.
Then, his volatile, attention-seeking sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) turns up to stay in his apartment, and things slowly fall apart.
Continue reading “LFF review: Shame”
The 55th BFI London Film Festival opens tonight!
Oh. Fernando Meirelles. This is no City of God. This isn’t even Love Actually.
Continue reading “LFF opens with Fernando Meirelles’ 360”
Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan will screen tonight at the London Film Festival’s Jameson Gala. Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder, this drama/horror is set in the physically and mentally demanding world of New York ballet.
Never thought that a film about ballet would have you on the edge of your seat? Think again. It’s less about ballet than about perfectionism, competition and control – the last word comes up again and again. Nina (Portman) is too controlled a dancer, says her over-attentive director, Tomas (Cassel), but, in fact, she is losing control of everything in her life.
Continue reading “LFF Preview: Black Swan”
The London Film Festival opens tonight with a screening of Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland, and the movie directed by Mark (One Hour Photo) Romanek.
The story takes place in an alternate England, where medical research has solved most illnesses, and the average life expectancy has passed 100 years old by 1967.
These great developments have come about thanks to the National Donor Programme, where human clones – who cannot reproduce but do think, feel and age just like us – are brought up in institutions and taught to accept their futures as organ donors. They will give away parts of their body, one by one, until they “complete,” usually before the age of 30.
Kathy H, our 28-year-old narrator, is a carer watching a donor be put under for his operation. She starts to reminisce about her time at boarding school – a place called Hailsham – and about her time growing up with her friends Tommy and Ruth.
Warning: spoilers ahead
Continue reading “The London Film Festival opens tonight with Never Let Me Go”
The 54th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, is proud to announce that this year’s Festival will open on Wednesday 13 October with the European premiere of Never Let Me Go, directed by Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo), based on the highly acclaimed, bestselling novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and adapted for the screen by Alex Garland (Sunshine, 28 Days Later).
The stars of the film are expected to attend the opening night screening, including Oscar nominee Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement), BAFTA winner and Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education) and BAFTA TV award winner Andrew Garfield (Boy A, Red Riding).
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The London Film Festival will close tonight with the world premiere of the feature debut from artist Sam Taylor-Wood, Nowhere Boy. It takes a look at the early years of John Lennon, when he was being brought up by his Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas in a fantastic performance), getting into music, and taking guitar lessons from a young squirt called Paul McCartney. Suchandrika Chakrabarti reviews.
Continue reading “LFF Preview: Nowhere Boy”
Starsuckers is the second feature-length documentary from writer/director Chris Atkins, who made the BAFTA-nominated Taking Liberties in 2007. The film takes an in-depth look into celebrity culture – and sleb journalism – and the results are both laugh-out-loud funny and worrying.
The issue of made-up stories making their way into showbiz gossip columns was discussed by George Clooney and Kevin Spacey at the press conference for Men Who Stare At Goats last week (after the London Film Festival press screening).
Of course, there was nothing new about the debate, but it was intriguing, hearing two celebrities, who have been hounded by the media, describing how it feels, right in front of us. In fact, we got to watch it happen – in each of the two press conferences I saw Clooney in (Goats and Fantastic Mr Fox), he was besieged by a number of questions about his private life, namely when the hell he was going to get married and have kids. Some of the non-tabloid journalists later complained about this hijacking of precious press conference time. Who really cares? Well, as Starsuckers shows, we’re all meant to, because caring about slebs makes us buy stuff…
Continue reading “LFF Preview: Starsuckers”