Damien Chazelle tagged posts

The Best Films of the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

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Another BFI London Film Festival belongs to the ages. And this 60th anniversary festival was done proud by some of the best cinema you will see this year (or next dependent upon UK release patterns).

Below is Electric Shadows’ Top 10 of this year’s LFF. Please note that in Brexit Britain immune systems seem to have fallen as low as the pound. With a heavy cold racking this gutsy scribe’s constitution, part days and bed rest replaced full film indulgence. This meant Personal Shopper, Certain Women (the LFF’s Best Film winner), The Birth of a Nation, Dog Eat Dog and Ethel and Ernest were all missed in favour of Lemsip and blankets.

All the above movies seem like Top 10 contenders.

Press screening scheduling clashes meant Elle was chosen over Manchester By the Sea and Your Name over ...

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La La Land

la-la-land-posterDirector: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Cert: 12

Running time: 130mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: In a wonderland Los Angeles, aspiring actress Mia (Stone) and struggling jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling) experience the dizzying rollercoaster of love.

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What’s the verdict: Early signs were worrying. Lead actor Miles Teller was to be replaced. Lead actress Emma Watson had left to pursue other projects (Beauty and the Beast). The film was going to be a big, sprawling musical.

Could Damien Chazelle be in danger of going the way of Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly? Following a knockout breakthrough movie (Whiplash) with an indulgent dud? Could La La Land be Southland Tales?

The answer to that question is, trust Damien Chazelle...

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Must-See Films at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

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When writing preview features for the London Film Festival it’s difficult to resist the numbers. Those big numbers representing how many films will show over the 12 day festival, how many countries are featured, how many cinemas films are hosting films. And crucially, which numbers in the calendar you should be blocking out.

That last one’s easy – Wednesday 5th to Sunday 16th October.

But, there is one figure this year of paramount importance. 60.

In 2016 the BFI London Film Festival marks its 60th anniversary. Maintaining the original brief of being a “festival of festivals” the LFF continues to bring to the UK movies which have wowed audiences at other festivals that year.

The opening film way back in 1957 was Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Throne of Blood...

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10 Cloverfield Lane

10-Cloverfield-Lane---posterDirector: Dan Trachtenberg

Writer: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr

Cert: 12

Running time: 103mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: Involved in a serious car accident, twenty-something Michelle awakens to find herself in a subterranean bunker with the large, imposing Howard. Sharing their space is fellow twenty-something Emmett. Howard and Emmett tell Michelle she can’t leave the bunker due to a chemical attack against the United States that has poisoned the air…

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What’s the verdict: Back in 2008 Cloverfield emerged from nowhere to impress and shock the pants off audiences, so it’s fitting this “blood relative” (to use producer J.J. Abrams’ term) does the same.

Released with little fanfare save...

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Whiplash

Whiplash posterDirector: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist

Cert: 15

Running time: 106mins

Year: 2014

 

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The lowdown: When Damien Chazelle’s stunning film crashes to a close, you’ll feel the meaning of its title. A student/teacher film about J.K. Simmons’ tyrannical music instructor pushing promising drummer Miles Teller to impossible extremes, this is an anti-inspirational mentor movie and all the more astounding for it. Music classes filmed with the violence and intensity of boxing matches, Whiplash never lets the tempo drop, while Teller and Simmons devour roles that come along maybe once a career. Oscar Night; be afraid, be very afraid.

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The full verdict: The opening drum roll has the rhythm of an accelerating heartbeat...

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