Wednesday, 5 September 2012

It's Nearly Time For The 2012 London Pastry Festival!

This morning saw the annual ritual in which film journalists from around the world are lured into the Odeon Leicester Square with the promise of a mountain of free pastries, only to be locked in and forced to listen to two women talk about corporate sponsorship and, to a lesser extent, films. Yep, it's the press launch of the London Film Festival, 2012 stylee!

The free pastries were indeed plentiful, but that's not really why we were there. We were really there for the free goodie bags, which I'll come to later. In between the pastries and the goody bag though, like the filling in a free sandwich, was the BFI's new Head Of Exhibition Clare Stewart, doing her utmost to erase all memories of her predecessor Sandra Hebron's knee-length FMBs by wearing a pair of bright pink shoes so powerful that they rendered my phone's camera almost useless:
Clare introduced her first LFF's films over the course of half an hour which saw no mention of Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master or Terrence Malick's To The Wonder, which caused several critics to cry actual tears of pain au chocolat. Even more disappointing (for me only, probably) was the absence of Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine follow-up The Place Beyond The Pines, starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, which debuts at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend. Still, what's actually showing is probably more worth discussing than what isn't, so here - arranged into an attractive diamond shape - are just some of the probably-worth-watching big screenings so important they get at least half a page of the LFF brochure to themselves:

Song For Marion
Hyde Park On Hudson
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
A Liar's Autobiography
Great Expectations

Opening up and exploring the inner labia of the programme, however, reveals a wealth of lesser-known goodies that look just as good, if not better. So here are 5.6 films (rounded up to the nearest whole number) that may or may not be worth catching at the 56th London Film Festival, because I did 55 films last year for the 55th LFF and it nearly killed me.

Seven Psychopaths
Martin McDonagh's follow up to In Bruges (any disparaging of which will earn you the same reaction on Twitter as racial abuse would), this reads like one of Guy Ritchie's wet dreams but nevertheless looks undeniably, violently enjoyable.

Nameless Gangster
South Korea's highest-grossing film of 2012 stars the mighty Choi Min-sik and looks to be bleeding Coppola and Scorsese from every sprocket hole. Not necessarily a good thing (cf. Lawless), but at least this one doesn't star LaBeouf.

Wish You Were Here
Out in Australia for yonks, this tempting thriller is from Kieran Darcy-Smith of Blue-Tongue Films, about whom I'm sure you are already familiar. Stars the eternally watchable Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom).

Room 237
This documentary about the hidden meanings of The Shining looks to be all sorts of mental. Could very well ruin Kubrick's masterpiece for you, or could change the way you look at films... FOREVER. Probably the former.

Watch the trailer and tell me this doesn't look incredible. Even more astonishing is the true story on which it's based.

The Manxman
In the BFI's Year Of The Hitchcock, it's only right that the LFF should show another beautifully restored example of his early silents, this one about a complex love triangle in darkest Isle Of Man. With a live score by Stephen Horne.

It goes without saying that there are oodles more treasures to be found lurking in London's cinemas between October 10th and 21st, so grab a programme or check out the website for more, and frankly more useful, information.

All of which brings me to the goodie bag. Last year, it contained: popcorn; a VIP pass to an exclusive club; an Oyster card wallet; an issue of German Films Quarterly; a programme; a LoveFilm voucher; an enormous heap of press releases; a pen; a clothes peg and - after some whining like a bitch - two bars of Green & Black's chocolate. This year I flung out the programme and press releases in the hope of finding at least a miniature bottle of vodka from new sponsors Ciroc, and...

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