Monthly Archives September 2014

The BFI London Film Festival is coming!

London Film Festival - FuryThis is a good time to be a film fan. You can’t throw a now obsolete film projector without hitting a film festival of some sort and October has the daddy of them all: the BFI London Film Festival, returning for outing number 58.

As it approaches the big 6-0 the festival shows no signs of slowing, attracting an astonishing 248 feature films and 148 shorts for its twelve day run beginning Wednesday 8th October.

The Imitation Game begins the festival in suitably British style. Recounting the life of math genius Alan Turing, who helped crack the Nazi’s Enigma machine in WW2 and was later convicted of indecency when homosexuality was still criminalised, advance word-of-mouth is glowing, with Oscar talk for Benedict Cumberbatch’s lead performance as the tortured Turing.

The Imitation Game...

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Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight - poster - Woody Allen, Colin Firth, Emma StoneDirector: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen

Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Eileen Atkins, Jackie Weaver

Cert: 12

Running time: 97mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Woody Allen follows the five star rawness of Blue Jasmine with an enjoyable wheeze. On the 1920s French Cote d’Azur magician and spiritualist debunker Colin Firth seems to have met his match in apparent miracle medium Emma Stone. Life, love, death and the meaning of life are whipped into a jaunty froth with Allen’s usual wit.

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The full verdict: Those of a cynical disposition will snort derision at Allen’s breezy romcom. It even has a “meet cute” – Firth’s stuffed shirt skeptic Stanley Crawford (stage name Wei Ling Soo) finds himself bedeviled by Stone’s apparently real deal spiritualist Sophie.

Those willing to acce...

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A Walk Among The Tombstones

A Walk Among The Tombstones - Liam Neeson, posterDirector: Scott Frank

Writer: Scott Frank, Lawrence Block (novel)

Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Brian “Astro” Bradley

Cert: 15

Running time: 113mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Liam Neeson heads up one of the year’s best thrillers as retired cop turned private investigator Matthew Scudder. His latest case puts him on the trail of two serial killers who have murdered a drug dealer’s wife, despite the ransom being paid. But, it won’t be an afternoon stroll as the investigation takes Scudder into a world of insanity and murder. Get Shorty and Out Of Sight screenwriter Scott Frank shows a firm directorial hand while adding another fine adaptation to his crime CV with this grimly classy thriller.A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONESA Walk Among the Tombstones - Liam Neeson

The full verdict: At the beginning of A Walk Among the Tombstones a viol...

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A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man - posterDirector: Anton Corbijn

Writers: Andrew Bovell (screenplay), John Le Carre (novel)

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Defoe, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Daniel Bruhl

Cert: 15

Running Time: 122 mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: With a script adapted from John Le Carre’s post-9/11 espionage novel, an intense posthumous performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman, a classy cast and a topical ‘terrorist cells are scary’ plot, A Most Wanted Man should be thrilling. Unfortunately, director Corbjin’s glacial pacing and the sidelining of key characters render this adequate rather than extraordinary.

A Most Wanted Man - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem DafoeA Most Wanted Man - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams

The full verdict: If Philip Seymour Hoffman’s leading man swansong is a rather lacklustre affair, it’s in no way down to the incomparable actor himself.

His deft turn as sad-...

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Among the Living (2014)

Among the Living - EC comics posterDirector: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo

Writer: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo

Cast: Francis Renaud, Anne Marivin, Theo Fernandez, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Damien Ferdel, Beatrice Dalle

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2014

The lowdown: The directing duo behind Inside and Livid deliver another slice of “all in the family” horror. Three boys bunking off school and playing in an abandoned movie studio discover a woman bound up in a car boot. Unfortunately, her kidnapper spots them and vows to keep his bizarre secret safe. 80s stalk n’ slash meets equally 80s family movies in a solid offering from the Gallic splatter merchants.

Among the Living - Theo Fernandez, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Damien FerdelAmong the Living - Anne Marivin

The full verdict: Maury and Bastillo debuted with Inside, a five star shriek of Grand Guignol that announced them as major new players on the horr...

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The Equalizer (2014)

The Equalizer - posterDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Richard Wenk

Cast: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Czokas, Johnny Skourtis, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman

Cert: 15

Running time: 131mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: If you liked Law Abiding Citizen, you should go ballistic for this graphic Equalizer. Denzel Washington steps into Edward Woodward’s formidable shoes in a big budget overhaul of the 80s TV favourite. He and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua deliver a rampage of Old Testament justice that sees Washington’s Robert McCall declaring war on the evil Russian mobsters who threaten the nice folk of his sleepy Boston suburb. They never stood a chance.

Denzel Washington;Chloe Grace MoretzThe Equalizer - Denzel Washington, explosion

The full verdict: Vigilante lionizer? Then you’ll be an Equalizer rhapsodizer watching Denzel as a power tool utilizer, Russian mob chastis...

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Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins Get On With The Show (Pieces)!

Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins Q&A - two shotAlan Moore rarely ventures outside his native Northampton, so when he does you know it’s for a good reason.

And Show Pieces, the short film portmanteau he’s created with collaborator Mitch Jenkins, is a very good reason. The film received its world premiere at the renowned FrightFest horror and fantasy film festival in London’s Leicester Square in August 2014 and Moore and Jenkins were on hand to discuss their project.

An anthology movie in the style of David Lynch meets 1970s Amicus films meets The League of Gentlemen, Show Pieces is unusual, imaginative and proof of cinematic life in the Home Counties.

Made in Moore’s beloved Northampton, it weaves in the writer’s other preoccupations; mysticism, magic, eroticism, and life and death (although not necessarily in that order).

Thr...

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Show Pieces

Show Pieces - Darrell D'Silva, Khandie Khisses, Andrew Buckley, Siobhan Hewlett, Alan MooreDirector: Mitch Jenkins

Writer: Alan Moore

Cast: Siobhan Hewlett, Darrell D’Silva, Andrew Buckley, Khandie Khisses

Cert: 18

Running time: 75mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Alan Moore pens this short film portmanteau that follows two different characters into the underworld. Moore motifs of eroticism, magick, ancient death myths and Northampton all surface in striking stories from the comic guru’s twilight zone.

Show Pieces - Siobhan Hewlett, phone, mouth close upShow Pieces - Siobhan Hewlett

The full verdict: Saying Alan Moore is circumspect about movie adaptations of his work is like saying Richard Dawkins is on the fence about religion.

Perhaps surprising then to see him writing work for the big screen. Although he may subscribe to the adage, ‘if you want something done properly, do it yourself’.

And Moore is nothing if not versatile; remember, he wrote 2000...

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