The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF), the leading charity for the UK film, cinema and commercial television industries, has announced it is hosting a world exclusive preview screening of the Series Five opener of ITV’s hugely-popular Downton Abbey. Thanks to ITV and production company Carnival, the red carpet event will take place at the iconic Empire Leicester Square, on 17th September alongside the show’s cast and creators.
Bringing high-society glamour to the West End, the cast and creators will arrive on the red carpet in a classic car plucked from the twenties, with guests including series creator Julian Fellowes, Executive Producer Gareth Neame and cast members Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and Lesley Nicol (Mrs Patmore).
Richard Wilson, CEO of The CTBF, said:
‘We are absolutely delighted to showcase Downton Abbey to members of the public, in what is a special and unique event for The CTBF. In an evening fit for an Earl, guests will witness the stunning first episode of Season 5, knowing they have raised crucial funds for our beneficiaries who work behind the scenes in film and television.’
Gareth Neame, Managing Director, Carnival added:
‘The chance to see these much-loved characters on the new IMAX screen at The Empire Leicester Square is not to be missed, and we can’t wait for audiences to get their first glimpse of the thrilling new series. We are of course delighted to support The CTBF as a charity dedicated to providing exceptional support for our industry’.
Series Five of the multi-award winning, worldwide cultural phenomenon will see the return of the Crawley family as the roaring twenties continue apace and the decade’s transformations bring change both upstairs and down. Already announced to join the cast for the new series are Richard E. Grant and Anna Chancellor.
Tickets include red carpet arrival, a glass of champagne and exclusive Q&A preceding the screening, and are available to purchase from www.ctbf.co.uk/downton
Exclusive Interview with Julian Fellowes below:]]>
When the evil Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) targets the underground cave-dwellers known as the boxtrolls, their adopted human, Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) must fight to save them from being flattened in Snatchers plans to move up in the world and finally be awarded the privilege of sitting amongst the illustrious White Hats group.
Stop motion animation studios Laika are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with and yet this latest feature length offering is only their third film after Coraline and Paranorman. Laika keeps up the good work and even somehow manages to surpass it in Boxtrolls, though.
Set in the aptly named cheese obsessed town of Cheesebridge, Boxtrolls is, quite simply, an absolute pleasure to behold. Each and every frame of the film has been clearly made with the same care as Coraline and Paranorman, that sucks you into the weird and wacky world and brings life to each and every character flawlessly. The perfection doesn’t stop there however, with a host of incredible voice talent bringing such admirable accents to the characters.
It’s impossible to choose exactly which of the cast stands out most in this film, but highlights include the aforementioned Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) as the delightfully detestable Archibald Snatcher; Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) as the town leader and chief cheese taster, Lord Portley-Rind; and Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) as Snatchers henchman, Mr Pickles, to name just three.
With plenty of jokes to keep both adults and children chortling throughout, the best of which is such a minor passing moment that is barely even concentrated on but still ends up being one of the films biggest highlights. You’ll no doubt know it when you see it but without giving too much away, it is the most perfect of puns. It’s moments like this that really bring the sense of what Laika is so brilliantly achieving. A fantastically made stop animation feature which seems to draw back and let the art speak for itself without appearing to be boastful at all in it’s achievements in animation.
It brings so much joy to report that there really isn’t any downside to The Boxtrolls. If you were to truly have any problems with the film the only criticism you could really come away with is the slightly unexplained cause of the rather advanced vocabulary that young Eggs seems to have somehow picked up over his years of being raised with a group of inarticulate boxtrolls. However this is a minor concern which is easily ignored thanks to the multitude of distractions laid out on screen.
The Ugly Truth
Topped with a host of memorable moments and a genuinely enchanting story that will please both children and adults alike, The Boxtrolls is an instant classic that will surely stand the test of time. And although awards season is still a good few months away, we won’t be surprised in the least to see Laika’s latest bag a fair few well deserved gongs.]]>
When two struggling LA underachievers Ryan & Justin dress up a cops for a fancy dress party they find their surprisingly convincing outfits give them newfound street cred and better luck with the ladies. Embracing their new identities soon lands them in trouble though when they get caught up with real life gangsters
Jake Johnson has recently climbed out of supporting cast obscurity thanks to his work opposite Zooey Deschanel in small screen hit New Girl. He carries a certain degree of charm over to the big screen, making an effortless fit yet again as a vaguely likable slacker. His cheerful but clearly misguided enthusiasm for life as a pretend cop helps inject a sense of fun into proceedings. A reluctant Damon Wayans Jr. likewise does a fine job in the role of his convincingly nervous sidekick.
The film’s leading pair work well to ring maximum laughs from a script lacking in complexity. To its credit the film never resorts to charmless gross out gags or increasingly implausible blockbuster action, as most of the recent spree of law enforcement themed comedies have done.
The film provides a few memorable moments of physical comedy, mostly sold through Jake Johnson’s gleeful reactions. Brawling with naked thugs, huge hysterical women and bemused gangsters are among some of the typical slapstick delights on offer for your viewing pleasure.
Let’s Be Cops takes a very simple comedy concept of mistaken identity and stretches it into an entire feature length adventure. Whilst the film offers occasional laughs, in truth the whole escapade could have been dealt with quite adequately in a single episode of a moderately successful TV sitcom.
It’s also hard to ignore obvious comparisons to the 21 Jump Street franchise. As Let’s Be Cops attempts to ring laughs yet again from the increasingly familiar formula of foolish friends bungling efforts to emulate Hollywood cop movies. The fact that both Jake Johnson and Rob Riggle previously starred in the 21 Jump street films makes the comparisons even more unavoidable.
The film would have undoubtedly benefited from a bigger role for supporting star Andy Garcia and a more convincingly menacing villain than James D’Arcy’s generic hoodie wearing street-thug.
Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. may be watchable buffoons but the film lacks any hint of originality. An attempt to inject some kind of moral lesson into the end of the duo’s predictable adventure whilst casually setting up the possibility of a sequel seems heavy handed and overly ambitious.
The Ugly Truth
Let’s Be Cops is an easy watch and should certainly amuse any fans of recent efforts like 22 Jump Street or Ride Along. Overall a likable leading duo makes this an adequate but forgettable addition to the cop comedy genre.]]>
The programme for the 58th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® launched today, with Festival Director Clare Stewart presenting this year’s rich and diverse selection of films and events. As Britain’s leading film event and one of the world’s oldest film festivals, it introduces the finest new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience, offering a compelling combination of red carpet glamour, engaged audiences and vibrant exchange. The Festival provides an essential profiling opportunity for films seeking global success at the start of the Awards season; promotes the careers of British and international filmmakers through its industry activities and awards line-up and positions London as the world’s leading creative city.
The Festival will screen a total of 245 fiction and documentary features, including 16 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres, 38 European Premieres and 19 Archive films including 2 Restoration World Premiere’s. There will also be screenings of 148 live action and animated shorts. A stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, master classes, Q&As and other special events. The 58th BFI London Film Festival will run Wednesday 8 – Sunday 19 October 2014.
Taking place over 12 days, the Festival’s screenings are at venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Odeon West End, Vue West End and the iconic Odeon Leicester Square; central London venues – BFI Southbank, Odeon Covent Garden, the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho and Ciné Lumière; and local cinemas – Ritzy Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse, Vue Islington and Rich Mix. Additional screenings and events will take place at the Odeon BFI IMAX, Empire Leicester Square, Curzon Chelsea and Queen Elizabeth Hall. Audiences across the UK can enjoy the Festival via simultaneous screenings in their local cinemas.
OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT GALAS
The Festival opens with the European Premiere of THE IMITATION GAME, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. Director Morten Tyldum returns to the Festival with a film about Alan Turing, one of the world’s greatest innovators and pioneer of modern-day computing, who is credited with cracking the German Enigma code.
The European Premiere of FURY will close the Festival, directed by David Ayer whose End of Watch appeared in LFF Official Competition in 2012, this Second World War epic stars Brad Pitt as Wardaddy, a battle-hardened army sergeant who commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.
Both Opening and Closing events will have a cinecast from the red carpet and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.
Among the other highly anticipated Galas are the previously announced American Express Gala of Bennett Miller’s FOXCATCHER, the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multimillionaire and two champion wrestlers, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. The Accenture Gala is the audacious thriller WHIPLASH, about a young jazz drummer under the tutelage of a ruthless and fearsome maestro starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. We are delighted to welcome a new Official Airline Partner to this year’s Festival, Virgin Atlantic who will present the European Premiere of Jason Reitman’s MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN starring Adam Sandler and Ansel Elgort with a racy voiceover by Emma Thompson. The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European Premiere of biopic-drama WILD starring Reese Witherspoon, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary account of her 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trails. The Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London is the World Premiere of TESTAMENT OF YOUTH based on Vera Brittain’s memoir of World War 1 starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson and Dominic West. The Festival Gala is Mike Leigh’s MR. TURNER starring Timothy Spall as the great British artist J.M.W. Turner whose paintings evoked the moving image before there was cinema. The Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of THE BATTLES OF CORONEL AND FALKLAND ISLANDS.
The nine programme strands are each headlined with a gala, they are: the Love Gala, Alan Rickman’s A LITTLE CHAOS (European Premiere); the Debate Gala, Jon Stewart’s ROSEWATER (European Premiere); the Dare Gala, Xavier Dolan’s MOMMY; the Laugh Gala, Damián Szifron’s WILD TALES; the Thrill Gala, Kristian Levring’s THE SALVATION; the Cult Gala, Jacob Cheung’s THE WHITE HAIRED WITCH OF LUNAR KINGDOM (International Premiere); the Journey Gala, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s WINTER SLEEP; and the Family Gala is Tomm Moore’s SONG OF THE SEA (European Premiere). In addition to which, the previously announced Sonic Gala is Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton’s concert film BJÖRK: BIOPHILIA LIVE.
AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS
The Best Film Award will again be handed out in Official Competition; the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition and the Grierson Award in Documentary Competition. Each section is open to international and British films.
The Official Competition line-up, recognising inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, includes the following:
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
Titles in consideration for the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition recognising an original and imaginative directorial debut are:
The Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition category recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance. This year the Festival is screening:
BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER
Closing the Awards section is the prize for Best British Newcomer which highlights new British talent and is presented to an emerging writer, actor, producer or director. This year’s nominees are:
1. Guy Myhill – Writer/Director THE GOOB
2. Florence Pugh – Supporting Actor THE FALLING
3. Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Actor CATCH ME DADDY
4. Rebecca Johnson – Writer/Director HONEYTRAP
5. Taron Egerton – Actor TESTAMENT OF YOUTH
6. Daniel Wolfe & Matthew Wolfe – Writers/Directors CATCH ME DADDY
7. Alex Lawther – Supporting Actor THE IMITATION GAME
Key talent due to attend the Festival’s gala screenings include: Morten Tyldum, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Alex Lawther, Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear, Mark Strong, Matthew Beard, David Ayer, Brad Pitt, Bennett Miller, Steve Carrel, Sienna Miller, Damien Chazelle, J.K Simmons, Jason Reitman, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, Reese Witherspoon, Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed, James Kent, Kit Harrington, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Mike Leigh, Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari, Alan Rickman, Damian Szifron, Kristian Levring, Jacob Cheung, Nick Fenton, Peter Strickland, Björk, Tomm Moore, Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan and David Rawle.
Additional talent attending for films in competition include: for Official Competition: Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Peter Strickland, Sidse Babbet Knudsen, Chiara D’Anna, Fatma Mohammed, Monika Swinn, Eugenia Caruso, Carol Morley, Ana Lily Amirpour, Celine Sciamma, Daniel Barber, Francois Ozon, Julius Avery, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Abderrahmane Sissako; First Feature Competition: Yann Demange, Jack O’Connell, Gregory Burke, Josephine Decker, Daniel Wolfe, Matthew Wolfe, Sameena Habeen Ahmed, Conor McCarron, Gary Lewis, Zeresenay Berhane Merhari, Franco Lolli, Guy Myhill, Adityavikram Sengupta, Sudabeh Mortezai, Debbie Tucker Green, Ester Martin Bergsmark, Naji Abu Nowar and Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy; Documentary Competition: Nadav Schirman, Jean-Francois Caissy, Randall Wright, Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado, Frederick Wiseman, Edward Lovelace, James Hall, Edwin Collins and Lynette Wallworth.
The Festival will announce its complete guest line-up for all sections in early October.
STRANDS / PATHWAYS
The Festival programme is organised into categories clustered around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family – an approach designed to help Festival-goers find the films that appeal the most to them and to open up the Festival for new audiences.
Love is strange, and cinema reaps the fruit of its strangeness. The Love Gala is the European Premiere of Alan Rickman’s sophomore feature A LITTLE CHAOS set in the Court of Versailles starring Rickman himself as King Louis XIV, Kate Winslet as landscape gardener Sabine De Barra, Matthias Schoenaerts as the famous architect Le Nôtre and Stanley Tucci in hilarious form as a court dandy.
Other titles in this section include: Benoît Jacquot’s 3 HEARTS starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve; Daniel Ribeiro’s romantic tale of the joys and woes of young love, THE WAY HE LOOKS; Ira Sachs’ LOVE IS STRANGE starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as life-long lovers; the European Premiere of Shonali Bose’s portrait of a Punjabi teenage girl MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW; a new adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s classic MADAME BOVARY directed by Sophie Barthes and starring Mia Wasikowska as the eponymous lead; the World Premiere of Corinna McFarlane’s SILENT STORM starring Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis; Susanne Bier’s SERENA starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and the European Premiere of BAFTA-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Matthews’ debut feature X + Y.
Debate presents films that rush headfirst and unafraid into some of the stormiest issues of the day. This year’s Debate Gala is the European Premiere of Jon Stewart’s directorial debut ROSEWATER starring Gael Garcia Bernal and based on the real-life ordeal of London-based journalist Maziar Bahari.
Other highlights in this section include: the European Premiere of Michael Winterbottom’s THE FACE OF AN ANGEL about an American student charged with the murder of her British housemate; the World Premiere of Tom Harper’s House of Commons-set political thriller War Book; Gabriel Mascaro’s haunting tale of the effects of climate change on a coastal community in Brazil, AUGUST WINDS; Annalet Steenkamp’s documentary about the four generations of her Afrikaner family I, AFRIKANER; Dieudo Hamadi’s NATIONAL DIPLOMA following a group of Congolese high schools students preparing for their exams; Steve James’ newly restored 1994 documentary HOOP DREAMS about the ultra-competitive world of college basketball; and Shira Geffen’s SELF MADE and Eran Riklis’ DANCING ARABS which both explore life on either side of the Palestinian-Israeli divide.
Here you’ll find cinema’s troublemakers and boundary pushers, with films for those who take their movies strong, no sugar. The Dare Gala is Xavier Dolan’s MOMMY which jointly won the Jury Prize in Cannes earlier this year.
Other highlights in this strand include: Jean-Luc Godard’s first foray into 3D, GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE which jointly won the Jury Prize in Cannes in May and will be presented here at BFI IMAX; New Queer Cinema alumnus Gregg Araki’s WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD starring Eva Green and Shailene Woodley; the World Premiere of Rebecca Johnson’s HONEYTRAP based on the 2008 case of Samantha Joseph, dubbed the ‘honeytrap killer’; Duane Hopkins’ social melodrama BYPASS; Aleksei German’s black and white epic HARD TO BE A GOD completed by his wife and son following German’s death in 2013; and Abel Ferrara’s PASOLINI starring Willem Dafoe as the Italian filmmaker.
This year’s comedic crop mine potentially treacherous terrain that some might consider no joke. This year’s Laugh Gala is WILD TALES, a delirious black comedy directed by Damián Szifron with Augustín and Pedro Almodóvar as producers.
Other titles in this strand include: Director-writer-star Desiree Akhavan’s fearless feature debut APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR; Hungary’s most innovative and controversial director György Pálfi’s new film FREE FALL; the International Premiere of Justin Simien’s razor-sharp satire DEAR WHITE PEOPLE; Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz’ delicate and heart-warming comedy LAND HO!; Josh Lawson’s whip-smart sex comedy THE LITTLE DEATH; Emilio Martínez-Lázaro’s SPANISH AFFAIR, a massive box-office hit in its native Spain; and John Boorman’s semi-autobiographical film, QUEEN AND COUNTRY.
The Thrill strand covers noir, neo-noir, sci-fi, pulp, crime, action and adventure in a programme that’s as sure to inspire wanderlust as it is to set your pulse racing. The Gala presentation for this strand is Kristian Levring’s THE SALVATION, a gripping tale of revenge set in the Old West starring Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green.
Other highlights in this section include: Diao Yinan’s murder mystery and Berlin winner BLACK COAL, THIN ICE; the European Premiere of Toa Fraser’s thriller THE DEAD LANDS made entirely in the Maori language; Michaël R. Roskam’s THE DROP starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late James Gandolfini; the European Premiere of Kriv Stenders’ boldly enjoyable comedy thriller KILL ME THREE TIMES starring Simon Pegg; the World Premiere of Tom Green’s MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT, a sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2010 debut Monsters; and Andrew Hulme’s crime thriller, SNOW IN PARADISE.
In the Cult strand, you’ll find a curious selection of films guaranteed to provoke, excite and take you entirely off guard. Welcome to the weird side. The Cult Gala is the International Premiere of Jacob Cheung’s lavish wuxia epic THE WHITE HAIRED WITCH OF LUNAR KINGDOM starring Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing.
Other highlights in this strand include: Mark Hartley’s latest celebration of exploitation films ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS; David Robert Mitchell’s remarkable shocker IT FOLLOWS; the European Premiere of British director Oliver Blackburn’s latest horror KRISTY; Carter Smith’s ethereal coming-of-age tale JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD; Sion Sono’s Yakuza gangster flick-cum-hip hop musical TOKYO TRIBE and the World Premiere of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s striking debut THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN inspired by the 1976 classic of the same name.
Whether it’s the journey or the destination, here are films to transport you and shift your perspective. This year’s Journey Gala is Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s extraordinary WINTER SLEEP which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year.
Other titles in this section include: AFRICAN METROPOLIS, a collection of six short films that explore the complexity of African urban life; Rolf de Heer’s CHARLIE’S COUNTRY starring legendary Australian actor David Gulpilil who won Best Actor in Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year; Writer-Director David Oelhoffen’s FAR FROM MEN featuring Viggo Mortensen, Fatih Akin’s THE CUT starring Tahar Rahim; Israel Horovitz’s MY OLD LADY starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas; 18 different filmmakers including Warwick Thornton, Justin Kurzel and a debut by Mia Wasikowska contribute to an expansive adaptation of Australian author Tim Winton’s THE TURNING starring Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Hugo Weaving; the World Premiere of Bryn Higgins’ ELECTRICITY starring Agyness Deyn; and the World Premiere of Gerry Fox’s MARC QUINN – MAKING WAVES documenting one year in the life of the artist Marc Quinn.
Like cinema, music has the power to envelop us and move us, both emotionally and physically. This year’s Sonic Gala is Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton’s BJÖRK: BIOPHILIA LIVE, a concert film capturing the extraordinary closing night performance of Björk’s Biophilia project at London’s Alexandra Palace last year.
Other highlights in this strand include: the European Premiere of James Marcus Harvey’s AUSTIN TO BOSTON about a modern music tour, done the old fashioned way; One9’s documentary NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC about one of the most influential and important records in hip hop; the European Premiere of Alan Hicks’ KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON about the relationship between legendary Jazz trumpet player Clark Terry and his protégé Justin Kauflin; Mia Hansen-Løve’s EDEN, a fictionalised account of the French house boom that spawned Daft Punk, Michael Obert’s SONG FROM THE FOREST that explores one man’s quest to find and record the music and sound of the remotest parts of the African jungle, Fenar Ahmad’s FLOW, a portrait of Copenhagen’s hip-hop scene; and a BUG SPECIAL: FULL TIME HOBBY devoted to the 10th anniversary of the independent London record label.
This year’s Family section has titles from all over the world to suit all ages and tastes, and the Family Gala is the European Premiere of SONG OF THE SEA, director Tomm Moore’s sophomore feature following his Oscar-nominated debut The Secret of Kells.
Other highlights are the International Premiere of Xavier Picard’s MOOMINS OF THE RIVIERA a glorious animated tale of Tove Jansson’s much-loved characters released in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth; the World Premiere of Christian De Vita’s animated family tale YELLOWBIRD 3D; Jon Wright’s British sci-fi adventure ROBOT OVERLORDS starring Gillian Anderson and Sir Ben Kingsley; Chan Hyung-Yun kooky animated love story THE SATELLITE GIRL AND MILK COW; and Martin Miehe-Renard’s teen drama THE CONTEST – TO THE STARS AND BACK. We will show the UK’s first animated feature, ANIMAL FARM (1954) based on George Orwell’s novella, and directed and produced by John Halas and Joy Batchelor.
There is a dedicated section for animated shorts for younger audiences which include the World Premiere of Aardman’s new short film RAY’S BIG IDEA in 3D directed by Steve Harding-Hill and the World Premiere of Illuminated Films’new short film ON ANGEL WINGS directed by Dave Unwin and based on a story by Michael Morpurgo.
As part of our celeberation of 20 years of Dreamworks Animation, we present a special event for younger audiences and animation enthusiasts alike DreamWorks Animation: Taking Flight and Beyond showcasing the work of producer Bonnie Arnold and director Dean DeBlois, who will be joined by Cressida Cowell, author of the highly successful ‘How to Train your Dragon’ series of novels. Exclusive footage from upcoming release The Penguins of Madagascar will also be shown.
An original and innovative line-up of short films and animation that will captivate audiences young and old makes up this year’s Shorts compilation programmes presented across the Festival strands.
The Meaning of Love programme explores a range of expressions that define ‘love’ including EMOTIONAL FUSEBOX starring Jodie Whittaker, and THE KÁRMÁN LINE starring Olivia Colman. Let’s Talk About Sex is a series of shorts that question how we interact physically and emotionally with each other, such as GHOST TRAIN in which an elderly man dealing with his wife’s dementia becomes captivated by a young burlesque dancer, and in OUR SKIN IS GOING TO GRAY, a group of different characters experience the universal fear of rejection. The Life, But Is It A Dream? programme looks at the fleeting moments that can create big stories full of emotion such as IN AUGUST in which a 6 year-old girl sees that her father is leaving home, and in EMERGENCY CALLS an ageing bar hostess queries her decision to marry a long-term admirer. After Laughter Comes Tears presents six shorts that all encompass funny ha-ha, the absurdly funny and the funny strange. All Or Nothing offers shorts that reflect the passions in the hearts of their protagonists from positive love to destructive hate and all points in between. Take Me To The Other Side is the shorts programme for cult genre fans featuring zombies, crazed scientists, tattooed criminals and indescribable horrors. The Radio Live Transmission programme of short films and animations shows how sound and music are vital to cinema, no matter the genre. The London Calling section features a selection of shorts from budding filmmakers from across the capital, supported by Film London’s production schemes.
The LFF showcase of Experimental Cinema and Artists’ Moving Image, is programmed in partnership with LUX for a second year and is supported by Arts Council England. An extensive selection of new British work is presented including THE FILM THAT BUYS THE CINEMA by Cube Cinema, WHEN YOU FALL INTO A TRANCE by Emily Wardill, TOMORROW IS ALWAYS TOO LONG by Phil Collins commissioned as part of the Commonwealth Games, 72-82 by William Raban, NEAR REAL TIME by Gail Pickering and HOW TO MAKE MONEY RELIGIOUSLY by Laure Prouvost. International works include THE INEXTINGUISHABLE FIRE: HARUN FAROCKI 1944-2014, a tribute to the late great German filmmaker with screenings of PARALLEL I-IV and INEXTINGUISHABLE FIRE; and TRIBUTE TO MARIA KLONARIS (1950-2014) who was responsible for some of the most radical feminist and transgender films and art ever created. Preservationist Mark Toscano will present MEDITATIONS FROM OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS, a specially curated-selection of restored Los Angeles artists’ films from the Academy Film Archive. Ken McMullen’s new film OXI: AN ACT OF RESISTANCE. The diverse programme includes animation, conceptual and performance pieces, diaristic work, abstraction and more.
Treasures brings recently restored cinematic riches from archives around the world to the Festival in London. The previously announced Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of a major British silent film THE BATTLES OF CORONEL AND FALKLAND ISLANDS (1927). This virtually unknown film offers a stunning recreation of two key battles faced by the Royal Navy in the early days of World War One, almost exactly a century ago. Screening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the film will have a stirring new score, commissioned from award-winning composer Simon Dobson and will be performed by 24 members of the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. Restoration supported by Matt Spick. Archive Gala and Score supported by Arts Council England, the Gosling Foundation, the Hartnett Conservation Trust, PRS for Music Foundation and the Charles Skey Charitable Trust.
The newly restored, iconic silent film THE GODDESS (1934) from Chinese cinema’s Golden Age starring Ruan Lingyu, is presented as part of the BFI’s year-long Electric Shadows project celebrating artistic and cultural collaborations between China and Britain. Screening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the film will have a new score by Chinese composer Zou Ye, commissioned by the K T Wong Foundation, and will be performed live by the English Chamber Orchestra.
The latest 4k restoration by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and the BFI National Archive is Powell and Pressburger’s THE TALES OF HOFFMAN (1951) a dazzling take on Jacques Offenbach’s 1881 opera. The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project presents a 4k restored version of Sergei Parajanov’s THE COLOUR OF POMEGRANATES (1969).
The Imperial War Museum has restored and completed GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS FACTUAL SURVEY (1945/2014), following the original filmmakers’ directions and drawing on seventeen hours of footage documenting the horrors discovered following the liberation of the concentration camps in 1944 and ’45.
Other highlights include John Schlesinger’s FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1967) starring Julie Christie and Terrence Stamp cast as lovers in Thomas Hardy’s epic love story; Robert Altman’s COME BACK TO THE FIVE & DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN (1982); Joseph L Mankiewicz’s GUYS AND DOLLS (1955) starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, and the 40th anniversary of Tobe Hooper’s classic horror THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE now available in a new razor sharp 4K transfer.
We are delighted to announce this year’s programme of events, including Screen Talks with filmmakers Bennett Miller and Abderrahmane Sissako; Masterclasses with production designer Maria Djurkovic and documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman and three events to celebrate DreamWorks Animation Studios turning 20 in October.
The BFI warmly welcomes Bennett Miller to discuss his inspiring and critically acclaimed directing career. His latest film, the riveting FOXCATCHER, is screening as the American Express Gala in this year’s LFF and saw him awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. It continues a series of astonishing fiction features, which began with Miller directing schoolmate Philip Seymour Hoffman to an Academy Award for Best Actor in CAPOTE, and followed by a brilliant adaptation of Michael Lewis’ MONEYBALL, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.
Following TIMBUKTU’s Palme d’Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival, we are delighted to welcome acclaimed director Abderrahmane Sissako to talk about his career and latest feature, which appears in the LFF Official Competition. One of the most politically astute contemporary filmmakers, whose work engages on both an emotional and cultural level, Sissako has enjoyed strong critical acclaim for previous works such as Bamako, Waiting for Happiness and Life on Earth.
We are thrilled to welcome Production Designer Maria Djurkovic to lead a masterclass in her creative process. Her varied film credits mark her as an accomplished leader in her field and include production design for this year’s Opening Night Gala THE IMITATION GAME, as well as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Invisible Woman, The Hours, Billy Elliot and the hugely successful Mamma Mia!
With NATIONAL GALLERY in the LFF Documentary Competition, we welcome back festival favourite Frederick Wiseman to the LFF to give this Masterclass on the art of documentary. One of the key figures in the documentary movement, Wiseman has amassed an astonishing and varied body of work including the Emmy Award-winning Hospital, At Berkeley, La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet, Crazy Horse and Titicut Follies.
DreamWorks Animation Studio
To celebrate The Studio’s 20th Anniversary in October, the Festival will host three events. CEO of the Studio Jeffrey Katzenberg will be the focus of our Keynote event which is part of our exciting Industry Programme. A BAFTA Masterclass with Chief Technology OfficerLincoln Wallen who will be joined on stage by Dean DeBlois to provide a creative perspective on the use of new technology. The DreamWorks Animation: Taking Flight and Beyond event will showcase the work of two of their most successful filmmakers, producer Bonnie Arnold and director Dean DeBlois with footage from their highly acclaimed How To Train Your Dragon films. They will be joined by Cressida Cowell, author of the highly successful‘How to Train your Dragon’ novels. The LFF audience will be the first to watch some exclusive footage from upcoming release The Penguins of Madagascar.
INDUSTRY & EDUCATION
The Festival offers a full benefits package for Industry delegates supported by The Mayor’s Office and Film London. This year’s events and initiatives include the return of Power to the Pixel and the Film London Production Finance Market, the Annual Keynote from a leading light in the international film industry, which is presented in association with Creative Skillset who are also funding this year’s new internationally-focused development programme for writers, directors and producers NET.WORK@LFF, managed and delivered by Creative England on behalf of the BFI, the BFI London Film Festival and other NET.WORK partners.
This year’s Industry offering will include an extensive screening programme at Odeon Covent Garden, together with Buyers and Sellers screenings, a new Digital Viewing Library and Delegate Centre at the BFI Headquarters in Stephen Street and a full range of other events including collaborations with the British Council, Women in Film and Television and Directors UK. An announcement about the full industry programme will be made soon.
For more information and to register for accreditation, visit www.bfi.org.uk/lff/delegates
The Festival will also offer an exciting Education programme, thanks to our funding contributors Arts Council England and IdeasTap, including films and events for schools, students and young people. This includes the Young Jury Project supported by the BFI Film Academy, hands-on workshops, career surgeries and panel discussions featuring a wide range of industry professionals, as well as a series of special events presented in partnership with the National Film & Television School, London Film Academy and London Film School aimed at film students in higher education.
The BFI London Film Festival experience can be enjoyed UK-wide on the BFI Player, the BFI’s web VOD service, featuring a Festival digital channel showing regular red carpet action and film maker interviews. BFI London Film Festival content will be a key attraction in the range of services on the BFI Player.
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star in this romantic comedy in which a couple try to spice up their sex life by filming it on their iPad. But when they realise the next day that the video has been synched to all other linked devices owned by friends, bosses, family members and a postman, they must race to delete the footage before anyone sees it.
Considering the extremely recent news of Apple’s iCloud hacking scandal, Sex Tape echoes real life in an incredibly surreal way that it almost feels like the film was released this week specifically to coincide with the news stories. This of course is not the case, yet still, it couldn’t possibly have been any luckier with its release date.
A host of comic actors keeps Sex Tape endearing enough, with the aforementioned Segel and Diaz heading up the film as the unfortunate couple, Annie and Jay. Asde from the two likeable leads the film also offers up the familiar comedic charms of The Office’s Ellie Kempar and Hot Tub Time Machine’s Rob Corddry, popping up occasionally in supporting roles. Then there’s Rob Lowe, who appears as an almost extended guest appearance for much of the middle act.
While it’s nice to see such comical talent throughout the 94 minute runtime, it’s Segel who gives most in Sex Tape. No matter how weird and wacky the film gets, Segel’s loveable goofiness is sure to keep you distracted sporadically. It’s just a shame that the cast can’t entirely rescue the film.
The main idea behind Sex Tape is almost passable. A couple film themselves doing the dirty, but when the footage is saved, it ends up saved on other devices. It’s a believable story that could realistically happen to anyone. However all the plausibility of the script is soon stripped away when it’s revealed just who has access to the footage.
First and foremost is Annie and Jay’s children. OK. Credible enough. Why wouldn’t the family be all connected on the same network at home. Next up are their best friends. Again, credible enough. After all iPads are pretty nifty gifts and Annie and Jay are well off enough to give them as such. Then there’s the postman. Which is where Sex Tape moves from silly to absurd. However we don’t get to see much of this plot thread bar one or two shots of the man. Instead, the film focuses on Rob Lowe’s character, who also has access to the video. Lowe plays Hank, a possible future boss of Annie’s who seems to be given an iPad almost instantly after their first meeting.
Though the excessive generosity does seem ludicrous, it is at least explained through Segel’s character in a few throwaway lines about him having gone through so many iPad’s in his job as a music producer that he is able to give them away freely and often. Yet this isn’t the films most nonsensical plot point. The winner of that particular award goes to the incredibly dismissed and unquestionable drug use between Diaz and Lowe.
All this and yet we haven’t even touched upon what instantly appears to be the main point of the whole film. To sell Apple products! An agenda which admittedly is handled well enough. Even if the plot revolves around the fact that using iPads can be dangerous when it comes to privacy, the solutions come simply after the script takes some time to poke fun at the fact that technophobic Segel has gone to so much trouble when the answer was in front of him the whole time.
If you’ve seen the trailer then you know exactly what to expect as far as the laughs go, it’s a mostly lazy combination of obvious innuendo and slapstick physical comedy. The couples desperate quest to avoid embarrassment is a predictable series of awkward moments interrupted by angry guard dogs and falling onto/over things.
The Ugly Truth
Not even an admittedly talented comedic cast can save this extended Apple advertisement from a substandard script that could have been tweaked easily enough to deliver a more believable and satisfying end product. Segel is as always a likeable saving grace but is certainly not enough to elevate proceedings beyond being a guilty pleasure, albeit a very topical one this week.]]>
A team of explorers delve into the depths of the catacombs buried under the streets of Paris to find the philosopher’s stone. But the deeper they go, the bigger mysteries they oncover…
This latest found footage flick from the makers of Quarantine and Devil starts strong enough with a well done cold open to what seems to be another familiar film to add to the ever growing sub-genre of horror. But after the strong opening comes an even stronger main plot to fill the time.
One of the most interesting aspects of As Above, So Below is most certainly the fascinating amount of history built into it’s plot. If you’re going into this looking for a run-of-the-mill found footage thrill ride you’ll most likely be distracted by a genuinely fascinating story. With hints of The Da Vinci Code, screenwriters Drew and John Erick Dowdle (who also directs) have seemingly put a lot of research into their latest claustrophobic chiller.
Perdita Weeks (The Tudors) heads the expedition crew as Scarlett, a young British student who is continuing her late father’s work in the search of the legendary philosophers stone. Presented as part mockumentary, As Above spends more time exploring the history and culture of Paris and its catacombs – the setting of most of the films action - in a way that doesn’t dry up and actually remains curious and fascinating throughout much of the 93 minute run time. At least until it’s final act.
It’s only fitting that a found footage film set mainly in the underground tombs of Paris would have to have some form of horror in it. And while much of the atmosphere does hint towards that pretty much from it’s cold open, it’s a shame that, in the end the film decides to focus on this part mainly to keep audiences enthralled for its final act. A job it was doing well enough beforehand without the need for so many jump scares.
To completely ditch the films main intrigue of bringing Paris’ dark history to life becomes its downfall. Just as things are leading to a great crescendo with our characters crawling on hands and knees into a region of the underground tunnels that brings the eeriness up to 11, Dowdle turns away from the intrigue to bring shocks aplenty. A rather disappointing decision.
The Ugly Truth
As Above, So Below starts off looking like another found footage horror flick to pass the time with. It then moves toward being something altogether more interesting as it explores the history of Paris’ catacombs and dabbles in urban legends. Unfortunately it ultimately retreats back to the safety of horror genre cliches. The film leaves behind most of its intrigue and interest to give the audience something more familiar. Such a great opportunity is missed to make way for the frights and jumps that we’re all accustomed to when it comes to found footage.]]>
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller team up again to bring a second dose of stories from Miller’s ever popular graphic novel. Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe and Mickey Rourke are among the returning faces, whilst newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and Eva Green are added this time around.
It’s been 9 years since cinemagoers were first introduced to the beautifully shot streets of Sin City, with its nods to film noir and incredibly well adapted scenes which, quite literally brought Frank Miller’s comic book series to life. But finally Robert Rodriguez and co-director Miller have managed to gather the previous actors together as well as add in a few new faces for a selection of more stories from the city where ‘you go in with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all’ as Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Johnny so eloquently puts it.
This is perhaps the best way to describe Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. It’s certainly a wonder to watch as Rodriguez and Miller bring the same beauty that made the first film such a hit. The stories explored this time around feature the aforementioned Gordon-Levitt in The Long Bad Night as Johnny a smug young gambler who swaggers into Sin City in the hopes of embarrassing Powers Booth’s Senator Roarke in a game of poker. We also have Eva Green joining the film in the titular storyline, A Dame To Kill For as femme fatale, Ava Lord who has Dwight McCarthy (with Josh Brolin replacing Clive Owen as a younger version of the character) wrapped around her little finger in the way that someone only of Green’s calibre could do.
Wrapped around these stories we also have the return of Mickey Rourke looking and sounding as gruff as the last time we saw him as Marv, in Just Another Saturday Night where he has a run in with some frat boys attacking a homeless man. And finally, Bruce Willis returns as John Hartigan along with Jessica Alba’s Nancy Callahan in Nancy’s Last Dance.
Each of the four stories weave effortlessly in and out of each other with characters popping up here and there before taking the stage for themselves in their own stories. While it’s nice to see Willis and Rourke back, the highlights this time around are undoubtedly Eva Green and Joeseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt becomes instantly likeable as the cocky Johnny but Green eventually tops him as she charms the audience just as easily as she does Brolin’s Dwight.
The nine year gap has not helped Sin City in the long run. Though it is just as amazing to watch as it’s predecessor, A Dame To Kill For doesn’t have anything really new or ground-breaking to warrant it’s existence. If it had been released maybe a year or two after the first, we could have had a strong franchise on our screens by now. However as entertaining as a third instalment would be, if the gap between films is even half as long next time round, interest will surely have died out altogether.
Another wrong move in the sequel is the cameo’s. While Christopher Lloyd just about gets away with his, the appearance by Lady Gaga feels incredibly out of place. This is a film which certainly doesn’t need cameo’s like this to keep it interesting so why Rodriguez bothered to include her for such a blink and you’ll miss it scene is just plain confusing.
The Ugly Truth
Joeseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green shine brightest in the long overdue sequel to the dark adaptation of further stories from Sin City while Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke bring a sense of familiarity with them. Although it has issues with the lengthy gap between the first instalment and this one, and it’s unnecessary cameos (mainly Lady Gaga’s), fans will definitely get a kick out of returning to the beloved setting.]]>
After 4 days of scares, Frightfest comes to a close with day 5. Here’s a look at what was on offer to round the festivities off:
Also known as Killer Mermaid in America, Nymph fails to deliver on it’s main selling point, namely the killer mermaid. Instead we get a rather poor attempt at a character driven horror filled with all the usual cliches. The only thing that keeps this film remotely interesting is the inclusion of Franco Nero as the traditional creepy old guy who warns our protagonists not to go to the bad place for them to ultimately ignore his protest. Featuring an abandoned submarine tunnel and an abandoned island-prison, yet not even two scenes to rub together involving killer mermaids, Nymph is truly one of the more disappointing films of Frightfest this year.
Luke Hyams brings a North Devon set woodland thriller in which an American couple go in search of the mythical panther which roams the moors. Equipped with enough cameras to turn the area into big brother and a hunter acquaintance who knows the land like the back of his hand, the trio soon find something worse than a panther. With hints of found footage, Xmoor is creepy enough, but fails to keep up with the pace in the end. Alleluia: Lola Duenas brings a stunning performance in Fabrice du Welz’s quirky take on real life serial killers Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez (also known as the Honeymoon Killers).
Truth Or Dare:
Without a doubt the most disgusting film showcased at this years Frightfest, Truth Or Dare is a shocking low budget piece of torture porn in which a group of YouTube sensations play the most brutal game of truth or dare you’ll ever see. If your squeamish in the slightest, this film is most certainly not for you.
The third in the series of short film anthologies brings more directors to the franchise as they each attempt to shock and scare with a short film. Highlights include a look at alternate universes in a short from Open Windows director Nacho Vigalondo entitled ‘Parallel Monsters’, and a thrilling mockumentary around a magician and his cloak in ‘Dante The Great’
Lawrence Fishburne’s latest slow burning, chiller is an unfortunate choice for this years closing film. Centered around three friends who go off in search of a master hacker known only as Nomad, The Signal soon takes a very different turn as Nic (Brenton Thwaites) awakes in a mysterious hospital and has to figure out how to escape this new nightmare.
An now time for the Final Frightfest Daily Awards:
Highlight: Truth or Dare
Most imaginative kill: death by spiky bones to the back in X Moor
Quote of the Day: ‘looks like England isn’t just about Supernanny and Prince Harry’ an interesting observation from our American cousins in X Moor
As the penultimate day ends, here’s a look at what horrific highlights were screened at day four of Frightfest:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) and Leland Orser (The Guest) star in this intriguing drama which takes a look at cults. rose plays Ansel, an expert in cult organisations who is hired by concerned parents of Claire (Winstead) to de-programme her brainwashed mind after she is taken in by a new cult organisation known a Faults. An engaging script and powerful performances by Orser and Winstead makes Faults an invigorating watch.
Among The Living:
French horror directors Julienne Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside, Livid) bring a new nightmare to Frightfest about a mysterious masked maniac who hunts down three young boys after they discover him in an abandoned film studio. Part slasher, part home invasion, Among The Living is entertaining enough. While the young actors aren’t quite as strong as they could have been, their performances don’t really affect the film enough to bring it down too much.
Elijah Wood stars in this fantastically presented high tech thriller. When Nick Chambers (Wood) wins a competition to meet his favourite actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey) and interview her for his website devoted to her, he’s over the moon. But things soon become sinister when he’s contacted by an unknown man who has access to her mobile phone and plenty more. Open Windows brings the found footage genre to an entirely new place, keeping the focus entirely on Nicks desktop. Multiple twists in the final act takes away from the inventive filmmaking but it manages to keep you enthralled from beginning to end.
Frightfest brings Kubrick’s classic back to the big screen in this one off screening of an extended version. A perfect place to present such an iconic film.
The Pact director Nicholas McCarthy brings a whole new set of jumps and tension in Home. Real estate agent Leigh (Catalina Sandino) gets more than she bargained for when she assesses a new property to put on the market. Before too long, her sister, Vera gets sucked into the haunted mishaps too. Though jump scares are often viewed as cheap in the horror genre, McCarthy will no doubt make it worth your while as they come in droves and bump the terror up to 11!
This German horror about a young police officer’s attempt to track down a werewolf in his home town eventually turns into one of the festivals craziest films this year when a samurai sword and a man wearing a dress are added into the mix…
Frightfest daily Awards
Highlight: Open Windows
Low-Light: The Samurai
Most inventive kill: death by hardback book in Faults
Quote of the Day: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ The Shining
The halfway mark has officially been reached for this years Frightfest. Here’s a brief look at some of the offerings on yesterday’s horrific menu of movies:
Cheap Thrills producer brings this commentary on Hollywood in which Sarah Walker, a young waitress desperate to make it big in movies gets the role of a lifetime with the mysterious Astraeus Pictures. After some uncomfortable auditions, she comes face to face with her producer and eventually accepts the role in Scream Queen. What follows is an extremely gruesome transformation as Sarah becomes more and more removed from her previous self to entirely envelope herself in the role. Whilst it has some good moments, Starry Eyes fails to stay entertaining for most of the second half.
Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton star in this incredibly tense thriller as parents of a dying boy, Andy. When Maryann moves into the area she soon forms a friendship with Andy, but is quickly stopped from seeing him by his ever increasingly insane mother (Morton). But when Maryann finds the secret in their basement, she must act soon to save Andy’s life. With extremely strong performances all around, The Harvest quickly asserts itself as one of the highlights of this years festival.
I Survived a Zombie Holocaust
With plenty of zombie movies already out there, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust tries to create something more creative by being set on the making of a zombie B-Movie. But when the extras get contaminated by the water supply, their acting becomes stronger than before. A fun filled zombie flick, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust is sure to keep fans of the franchise happy to be along for the ride.
Essie Davis (The Matrix Reloaded) stars in this tension filled horror about a terrifying book entitled the Babadook. Relying more on atmospheric scares than jump scares, The Babadook will chill you to your bone and make you keep the lights on for a week…
Life After Beth
Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza star in this rom-zom-com. Mourning the death of his girlfriend Beth (Plaza), Zach (DeHaan) starts to spend a bit more time with her parents. But when they suddenly start to avoid his calls, he finds that Beth is back and her grave is empty. It’s not long before Beth starts to change and soon enough the whole town is threatened with the arrival of a zombie. Although Life After Beth has an interesting idea behind it, it fails to keep it entertaining after the first half. Co stars John C Reilly and Anna Kendrick try their best to bring more but ultimately fail.
Time for today’s Daily Frighfest Awards:
Highlight: The Harvest
Low-Light: Life After Beth
Most Inventive Kill: Death by zombie sex – I Survived A Zombie Holocaust
Quote Of The Day: ‘Baba… Dook. Dook. DOOOOK!’ The most terrifying thing heard at Frightfest so far…