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Thursday, 21 September 2017

BFI London Film Festival 2017 Preview - Part 2

A total of 242 feature films will screen at the 61st BFI London Film Festival in October; 242 films including 28 World premieres, 9 International premieres and 34 European premieres.



The previously announced Breathe and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will bookend the festival and there are many treats in-store for the days in between. 

In Part 1, I looked at the films from the main competitions and gala screenings.

Outside of the competitions and galas, other films are placed in one of the following strands:


   LOVE                 DEBATE                 LAUGH


 DARE                  THRILL                   CULT


JOURNEY             CREATE                 FAMILY

 
EXPERIMENTA                            TREASURES



Click any of the strand names to explore each one if full on the BFI website. Here are some picks from my first perusal at the full line-up; click on the title of each film to go to the BFI festival page for the film.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

BFI London Film Festival 2017 Preview - Part 1

A total of 242 feature films will screen at the 61st BFI London Film Festival in October; 242 films including 28 World premieres, 9 International premieres and 34 European premieres.



The previously announced Breathe and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will bookend the festival and there are many treats in-store for the days in between. Here are some picks from my first perusal at the full line-up; click on the title of each film to go to the BFI festival page for the film.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

6 = 1 + 5: How Disney could be set to leave the rest of the major studios behind.


Barely a day goes by without an announcement of an upcoming sequel, remake or reboot (and even the occasional squeakquel) as the Hollywood studios scramble to find their next box office smash.

Accompanying these announcements are choruses of exasperated sighs, pages of disgruntled tweets and cries of “Is nothing sacred?” from movie goers who are growing increasingly frustrated with the repetitive nature of the films making their way to cinemas from Tinseltown.

Hollywood’s propensity for sequels and the like is nothing new, but there has been a noticeable change in the last year or so with studios becoming more aggressive (or perhaps desperate) in their pursuit of that lucrative pay day. Fox has reportedly invested a whopping $900 million in James Cameron’s three Avatar sequels. Before the first film had made its way into cinemas, Warner Bros. announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be the first of five new films in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

Why the sudden rush? The answer perhaps lies in box office numbers.


Eddie Redymayne as Newt in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Friday, 11 August 2017

Catfight - Dir. Onur Tukel

Possibly more readily known as ‘That film where Sandra Oh and Anne Heche beat each other up’, Onur Tukel’s Catfight has plenty to offer beyond that initial premise, offering up a near farcical satirical look at the lives of pent-up New Yorkers.

Whilst attending a birthday party that doubles as a celebration for her husband’s latest contract for the military, Veronica (Oh) bumps into former college friend Ashley (Heche), an artist serving drinks to pay her way. The exchange of pleasantries quickly passes by and their conversation re-opens some old wounds; moments later, some fresh wounds are opened too after an accidental collision leads to a bout of fisticuffs and some severe consequences.



Saturday, 29 July 2017

Get Out - Dir. Jordan Peele

Not so much a review, but some thoughts on Jordan Peele's 'Get Out'.

Major spoilers lie ahead for both 'Get Out' and Edgar Wright's 'The World's End', you have been warned.

Jordan Peele's debut is ultimately let down by a finale that's nowhere near as bold and fearless as the blistering hour or so that precedes it.
The opening scene establishes the tone of the film brilliantly but also puts the audience slightly ahead of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya). That's fine at the outset, but it's about an hour later before Chris finds out and we are explicitly told what had been building up gradually since that opening.
That build up is terrific but results in the film having to race towards its end just as it reaches the major turning point; the Armitage family no longer need to mask their true intentions for the first time in the film, but 3 of them are dispatched very quickly with no further interactions or conversations with Chris.



The finale, which can be boiled down to 6 words: Chris escapes and kills the family, is effectively handled by Peele but feels ordinary in a film that was anything but for so much of its running time.
Structurally, Get Out operates in a manner similar to Edgar Wright's The World's End. In both the character/characters experience a particular feeling connected to the situation that they have been placed into. That feeling is explored in the subtext of a story that utilises a classic genre and an outlandish twist.



The World’s End is about the dangers of trying to relive past glories when the people and places involved have changed, presented through a story where the townsfolk have literally been changed, from humans to blue-blooded (it’s more like ink) robots. In Get Out, liberal racism is presented through a story where middle-class white people are chumming up to a black man to figure out if they’d like to have their brain transplanted into his body.
And yet in The World’s End, the main turning point is somewhere closer to the middle of the film, leaving more time for the story to explore the new situation. This is particularly evident in the trailer for Get Out, which has to feature so much of the final 20 minutes of the film to suggest how the story will escalate but also leaves the film with too few surprises (of similar impact of those earlier in the film) to deliver that final knockout blow.
Perhaps it won’t matter as much on repeat viewings, but for now it’s a quibble that I can’t get out of my mind.




Get Out is out on Blu-Ray, DVD and VOD now.