Wednesday, 3 September 2014

36 tweets I drafted for this morning's London Film Festival launch that I didn't get to use because the films aren't showing

Over the last week or so I've gone through my annual ritual of scouring film festival roundups from the past few months in order to predict what might be on at this year's London Film Festival. Based on this information, plus a few wild guesses about stuff that's released later this year and so hey why not, I drafted 51 tweets which I intended to deploy during this morning's LFF Press Launch in order to make it look like I had my finger on the pulse of cutting-edge movie journalism. I even pestered the BFI to find out whether they intended to use #LFF or #LFF2014 as the official hashtag, the outcome of which was that I had to delete "2014" 51 times.

By and large, the entire exercise was a disaster. I was always uncertain as to whether or not my attempt to successfully predict one fifth of the festival's output was an act of idiocy (I was always going to miss some biggies), vanity (LOOK AT ME I'M HERE AT GROUND ZERO AS IT HAPPENS) or both, but I soldiered on nevertheless. At least six films had already been announced, so I tweeted those before the launch, then settled in with the obligatory pastry and opened up my drafts.
In the interests of "colour", here is a pastry a bit like the one I ate

Immediately I realised this was essentially going to be the world's worst game of bingo. The films we already knew about were announced, followed by a couple of successful guesses (thank fuck for Foxcatcher and Whiplash), and then a deluge of movies I'd never heard of or come across in my research. My phone lay flaccid and untouched in my lap like a pathetic, useless penis. Which, incidentally, is oh no hang on that's another story.

Out of 45 remaining tweets, I was able to publish nine. NINE. Out of 245 films. I am officially the worst forecaster of LFF screenings, like, ever. I'm the Michael Fish of the film festival circuit. Now you might think that perhaps the BFI is to blame; after all, why isn't Birdman showing? Or The Clouds Of Sils Maria? Or 99 Homes, or The Theory Of Everything, or She's Funny That Way, or Olive Kitteridge, or A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence, most of which have been lauded at Cannes, Venice and elsewhere this year? Even Ryan Gosling's widely-despised directorial debut Lost River is nowhere to be found in the pages of the programme.
No existence-contemplating pigeons for you, London

Well, you might think that, but obviously you'd be as wrong as I was. There's plenty to get your teeth into at the 58th London Film Festival, including but not limited to The Imitation Game, Fury, the aforementioned Foxcatcher and Whiplash, Wild, Mr. Turner, Wild Tales, The Salvation, The White Haired Witch Of Lunar Kingdom, The Duke Of Burgundy, The Falling, The Keeping Room, The New Girlfriend, Son Of A Gun, '71 and It Follows, all of which look fantastic, and all of which (plus truckloads more) can be found at the official LFF website.

But I couldn't let the remaining 36 tweets go to waste. They may not be gold and they sure as shit won't win any awards for Excellence In Tweeting (or in Film Festival Programme Predicting), but I did spend ages writing them, and even if some of them are preposterous (Guy Ritchie's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was, admittedly, something of a long shot) I'm going to put them out there where they belong. By which I mean on a blog that almost nobody reads.

So sit back, relax and enjoy ill-informed descriptions of 36 films you won't be seeing at the 2014 London Film Festival:

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence: [spoiler warning] a pigeon sits on a branch reflecting on existence #LFF 
Lost River: Ryan Gosling's Cannes-infuriating directorial debut #LFF 
The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: first of a trilogy telling 1 story from 3 perspectives, with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy #LFF 
The Search: Michel Hazanavicius follows The Artist with Chechnya-set war drama. Unlikely to feature comedy dog #LFF 
Clouds Of Sils Maria: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Moretz headline Cannes-pleasing drama #LFF 
The Voices: Ryan Rodney Reynolds argues with his pets. Cat prefers Gosling, dog is Triple-R all the way #LFF 
Olive Kitteridge: Lisa Cholodenko's epic four-part miniseries starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray #LFF 
Black Sea: treasure-hunting misfits under the command of Jude Law join the search for his career #LFF 
The Book Of Life: animated fantasy rom-com #LFF 
The Judge: Bob Downey Jr, Bob Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Bob Farmiga star in legal com-dram #LFF 
What We Do In The Shadows: horror comedy vampire mockumentary with Jemaine Clement. FRIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS LOL #LFF 
All Is By My Side: Largely fictitious Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre 3000, whatever that is #LFF 
The Homesman: Tommy Lee Jones-directed western. Sounds boring #LFF 
The Skeleton Twins: Kristen Wiig is in it. Everything else is immaterial #LFF 
Life Itself: doc about the late great Roger Ebert, based on his memoirs and optioned before his death #LFF 
The Third Person: Paul Haggis weaves three stories together for a film that, by all accounts, is a third as good as it should be #LFF 
Interstellar: Chris Nolan's touching paean to reassuringly expensive French lager #LFF 
Horns: Harry Potter and the Forehead of Protuberances #LFF 
Hyena: good cop bad cop shenanigans (minus the good cops) in leafy West London #LFF 
Exodus: Gods And Kings: Christian Bale blows the makeup budget in Ridley Scott's God-botherer #LFF 
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Guy Ritchie directs this ugh sorry I can't go on #LFF 
Unbroken: Angelina Jolie's sequel to Unbreakable (note to self: check this before tweeting) #LFF 
Ex Machina: Alex Garland, Oscar Isaac, robots. It had me at Alex Garland, Oscar Isaac, robots #LFF 
Inherent Vice: PT Anderson's latest attempt to impress me (actually Punch Drunk Love was quite good) #LFF 
Birdman: like Batman but birdier #LFF 
Enemy: remember Denis Villeneuve's last Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer, Prisoners? Hope this is better #LFF 
Fifty Shades Of Grey: the LFF is definitely not dumbing down, no way #LFF 
99 Homes: Andrew Garfield sells his soul to Michael Shannon to avoid more Spider-Man films, oops, I mean, to keep his home #LFF 
Good Kill: Ethan Hawke (autocorrect: Ethanol Hawkesbury) and January Jones star in Andrew Niccol's drone pilot thriller #LFF 
The Look Of Silence: Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to The Act Of Killing #LFF 
Cymbeline: The Milla Jovovich-starring Shakespeare adaptation the world's been waiting for #LFF 
Burying The Ex: horny zom-com from JOE FLIPPING DANTE #LFF 
She's Funny That Way: highbrow festival favourites Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston reunited for the first time since Marley & Me #LFF 
The Sound And The Fury: James Franco's experimental take on another of William Faulkner's "unfilmable" books #LFF 
Reality: more surreal gubbins from crackpot Rubber director Quentin Dupieux #LFF 
The Theory Of Everything: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones compare cheekbones in Stephen Hawking biopic #LFF

I'm calling it now: Fifty Shades Of Grey for the Surprise Film.