Saturday, 10 September 2011

55 Films I'll Be Seeing At The 55th London Film Festival Once I've Cloned Myself And Invented Time Travel

No time for an irreverent introduction with some comedy photoshopping, there are 55 films to get through. Although I should just say that all films are in the order in which they appear in the LFF brochure.

OK? Let's go.

1) 360
The opening night gala is a globetrotting "roundelay of love", whatever that is (Sandra Hebron's words), featuring an impressive ensemble cast (and Jude Law) getting it on with each other. Looking forward to some Hopkins-on-Law action.
2) The Deep Blue Sea
Officially Important Filmmaker Terence Davies' 1950s-set melodrama about unrequited desire will be technically faultless but as it's the closing night gala it may send a celluloid-stuffed audience to sleep.
3) The Ides Of March
George Clooney and Ryan "Oh My" Gosling do knicker-dampening political drama. I will be taking contraceptive pills before viewing because otherwise I will almost certainly get pregnant just by watching.
4) The Descendants
The Cloonz again, in Alexander Payne's Hawaii-set tragicomedy about a man suddenly having to get to know his young daughters who hate him. Obviously he doesn't bring Brad Pitt round for dinner enough.
5) The Artist
Utterly delightful and apocalyptically charming black and white silent film that perfectly captures the magic of silent cinema without yelling "Look at me, I'm a silent film in the 21st Century! Honk honk!"
Roland Emmerich swaps destruction for deconstruction with a no-doubt ridiculously entertaining look at who actually wrote all that boring twaddle credited to William Shakespeare. My money's on Dan Brown.
7The First Born
The Archive Gala is a 1928 silent drama, lovingly restored by BFI boffins in white coats. It was co-written by Alma Hitchcock (Alfred's wife), so it's the closest we'll get to a new Hitch film until his long-awaited resurrection.
8We Have A Pope
Italo-French comedy about a new Pope suffering a crisis of faith. I've seen about 30 seconds of it and that made me do a LOL, so at 104 minutes there should be 208 solid ROFLs in there. Maths innit.
9A Dangerous Method
If you don't want to see a new David Cronenberg film starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel then you can get out right now. Go on, get out. And don't come back.
Fassbender again, as a man suffering with a terrible compulsion to have sex with everyone and everything. More exciting than the fact that it's a new Steve McQueen film is that it stars James Badge Dale, aka Chase from series 3 of 24.
It's compulsory to see this new Madonna-directed film about Wallis Simpson, even though it's almost certainly self-serving bunk, otherwise you can't speak with authority about how utterly cack it may or may not be.
12We Need To Talk About Kevin
The movie adaptation of That Book Everyone Was Reading On The Tube A Couple Of Years Ago went down well in Cannes, so LFFers are duty-bound to agree or we'll look like moronic philistines.
13The Kid With A Bike
I suppose I should know a bit about white-hot directors the Dardennes Brothers, but I don't. Apparently they're Belgian and they make films, like Hercule Poirot. This one's about a kid. With a bike.
14Tales Of The Night
Stunning animation brings six tales of fantasy together in this French flick that's the LFF's Family Gala. Apparently director Michel Ocelot is "the master of French contemporary animated cinema". So there.
Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in this rib-tickling tale of a man diagnosed with cancer. Could this be another step on Rogen's path to becoming a non-annoying tit? Christ I hope so.
The latest film by Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos promises to be just as baffling, arresting, intriguing, unsettling and shocking as its predecessor. I haven't thought of any good mountain puns yet.
17The Awakening
Creepy haunted house stuff with Dominic West and Rebecca Hall. Apparently references The Innocents and The Others, which is exactly the kind of low-level horror I can take before I have to shut my eyes.
Richard Linklater and Jack Black reunite for the first time since School Of Rock in this comedy about an assistant funeral director in Texas. First critic to use the phrase "puts the fun into funeral" gets shot.
Roman Polanski's newie about the worst dinner party ever held sees another dream cast of Oscar bait get their acting on. And it's only 79 minutes long, which is good news when you're hoping to see 55 films.
20Dark Horse
Todd Solondz brings us dysfunctional disasters waiting to happen in this story of a 30-something man living with his parents and trying to fall in love with OH WHO CARES, CHRISTOPHER WALKEN'S IN IT!
This innovatively-shot Israeli black comedy about a bitter father-son rivalry won the award for Best Screenplay at Cannes this year, just after The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote "it may not get a prize". LOL.
22The Future
Miranda July writes, directs and stars as a commitment-phobic 30-something in this probably-weird film narrated by a cat. I think it's the same cat from Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, but I might be wrong. It's happened before.
I saw the trailer for this Norwegian film at Empire's Big Screen event and it looks like the kind of action-packed thriller that shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the LFF. See it now before it's remade.
24Hunky Dory
Minnie Driver plays a drama teacher in Swansea in 1976, attempting to put on a rock version of The Tempest with a reluctant cast of students. You can tell from the title and synopsis that the soundtrack will rule all.
25Into The Abyss: A Tale Of Death, A Tale Of Life
Herzog-directed documentary in which the German fruitcake interviews muderers on death row. Interesting in anyone else's hands, this promises to be incendiary with The 'Zog at the helm.
26Like Crazy
Drama about a long-distance relationship between Star Trek's Anton Yelchin and Chalet Girl's Felicity Jones. Probably not as awesome as a Star Trek / Chalet Girl crossover would be, but it went down well at Sundance.
27Martha Marcy May Marlene
I am contractually obliged to mention that star Elizabeth Olsen is the Olsen sister that isn't one of the Olsen Twins. Elizabeth is in this film about a girl who escapes from an unpleasant cult, Mary-Kate and Ashley are an unpleasant cult. ZING.
Punishingly dark, bleakly chilling and painfully uncomfortable, this film about a man and his cellar-bound captive ten-year-old promises to be the lighthearted knockabout romp of the Festival, if you're Josef Fritzl.
29Miss Bala
This Mexican actioner about a girl sucked into the Baja underworld looks as tense as I don't know what and judging by the BFI's write-up, promises to be all thriller, no tortilla. That works, right?
Woody Harrelson is a dirty cop in a post-Rodney King LA in this James Ellroy-scripted crime thriller. Could be the one to put Harrelson back to his Kingpin career best. Remember the bull's semen scene? Great days.
More cancer fun in Gus Van Sant's tale of two young lovers. The BFI write-up uses words like "delicate", "melancholy", "airy", "whimsy" and "swoony". Stars Vin Diesel and The Rock.
32Sarah Palin - You Betcha!
Nick Broomfield's latest doc sticks its shotgun into the barrel and takes aim at the distinctly fishy Sarah Palin. Probably not quite the crackpot-off it would be if Werner Herzog was directing, but you can't have everything, can you?
An Australian crime drama that takes a true story as its starting point and is the feature debut of a promising young director, Snowtown's apparent similarity to Animal Kingdom will be either its making or its breaking.
34The Surprise Film
The Iron Lady? Haywire? Tintin? Straw Dogs? Moneyball? Hugo? The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? War Horse? The Woman In Black? Piranha 3DD?
35Take Shelter
The soon-to-be-massive (not literally) Michael Shannon is plagued by apocalyptic visions in this gloomy-looking Cannes-pleaser. Maybe he's predicting the surprise film will be Adam Sandler's Jack And Jill.
Azazel Jacobs' sweet-natured comedy about a chubby outcast teen's relationship with his teacher (John C Reilly) is possibly the only film at the LFF whose director shares his first name with one of the X-Men.
37This Must Be The Place
David Byrne-soundtracked road trip with Sean Penn in drag as an oddball rock star on the way to visit his sick father. I used to go to a nightclub in Stoke-On-Trent called The Place. I hope it's the same one.
38Wuthering Heights
The only reason I'm interested in this retelling of the famous Kate Bush song is because it's directed by Andrea Arnold, who I love but still haven't forgiven for the time I watched Red Road with my mother-in-law. It was enough to put a man off oral sex for life.
39Dreams Of A Life
True story about the discovery of the body of a woman in her flat, who had been decomposing for three years with the TV and heating on before anyone noticed. Directed by Carol Morley, for the two of us who saw her film Edge at LFF2010.
Good old British miserablist social drama about three troubled characters doing stuff that troubled characters do in British miserablist social dramas. One of them is Eddie Marsan though so you are required to see it.
41Wild Bill
Who'd have thought it? A film directed by Press Gang's Spike Thomson! Dexter Fletcher's debut looks to be more British miserablist social drama, WOO HOO, but starring Will Poulter instead of Eddie Marsan.
42The Fairy
French bonkersness which looks to be as delightful as Amélie, though almost certainly won't be as good. Features an underwater ballet with pastic-bag jellyfish, apparently. Those crazy Frogs!
43Last Screening
This film about a psychotic, possibly murderous cinema projectionist not only looks as blackly comic as American Psycho (only French) but also looks set to confirm everything I ever thought about cinema projectionists.
44Nobody Else But You
Delightfully titled Poupoupidou in its native France, this is a dramedy about a crime writer, new in a town where there's just been a convenient death and everyone has something to hide. Spoiler: Marilyn Monroe did it.
I might be utterly mental in wanting to see this trilogy of German films linked by an escaped sex offender, but I'm a sucker for experiments like this. Although if the first one's rubbish I'll be heading to the Benugo Bar for a pint of sausage rolls.
46Curling King
If anyone can do comedy about a reformed middle-aged curling team competing for a national prize, it's those cheeky Norwegians. I prefer their original title though: Kong Curling. Especially if you say it straight after Curling King.
47Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below
There's always room for Ghibli-esque Japanimation at the LFF, and this tale of girl-meets-boy-but-boy-turns-out-to-be-superhuman-monster-slaying-warrior-from-the-land-of-Agartha is this year's.
48The Dish And The Spoon
Almost certainly painfully hip indie with Greta Gerwig embarking on an unconventional relationship with Olly Alexander. You know, him off of Bright Star and Enter The Void. I think I just cut myself on its hipness.
49Let The Bullets Fly
A massive crowd-pleaser at the LFF press launch, featuring as it does train robberies, shootouts, explosions and CHOW YUN-FAT, bwoyee! It's 132 minutes long though, so will almost certainly outstay its welcome.
50Mitsuko Delivers
Follow-up to LFF2010's Sawako Decides, which I wanted to see but didn't. Hopes are therefore low in terms of my attendance, but this dramedy about a heavily-pregnant teen cheering everyone up sounds sickeningly adorable.
51Natural Selection
Described as Coenesque and Hawksian by the BFI, this story of a dutiful Christian housewife making some surprising revelations about her family stars Napoleon Dynamite's Uncle Rico. Instant five stars.
At last, someone's made a documentary version of Kick-Ass and Super. The true stories of real-life costumed vigilantes like "Mr Extreme" and "Thanatos" promise to be comic and tragic in equal measure.
53The Machine That Kills Bad People
Roberto Rossellini's little-seen 1952 comedy makes an appearance in the "Well Old Stuff" strand. It's a delightful tale about a well-meaning but murderous photographer who only kills, uh, bad people. Obv.
54Do The Right Thing
All the short film collections are worth seeing, but if I had to choose two (and I do), the first would be this one, simply for the inclusion of Blue-Tongue Films' Bear, directed by Nash Edgerton.
55The School Of Life
The second would be this one, again solely because it contains Terry Gilliam's typically insane-looking new short The Wholly Family, about an American family in Naples getting into all sorts of surreal shenanigans.

Phew. I hope that was as hard work for you to read as it was to write. If I'm being realistic I'll probably see about fifteen of these, but goddammit I will DO WHAT I CAN to see them all. In the meantime, feel free to browse the other 150-odd at the London Film Festival website. Tell them I sent you, but don't say anything about the 54 images I pinched from them.


  1. I think Piranha 3DD would go down a treat at the LFF, either that or Bucky Larson.

  2. Another running order for a trailer of trailers. Here is the voice over script for Joss Ackland (the voice of god).

    360 views of The Deep Blue Sea on The Ides Of March provided by The Descendants Of The Artist who was the Anonymous and The First Born in this time when We Have A Pope using A Dangerous Method of Shame called W.E. or We Need To Talk. Thinking About Kevin, The Kid With A Bike and
    his Tales Of The Night,there is a 50/50 chance of the Alps being The Awakening for Bernie and the Carnage created by his Dark Horse with a Footnote in The Future of Headhunters
    and Hunky Dory trips Into The Abyss: A Tale Of Death, A Tale Of Life of the Abess acting Like Crazy
    Martha Marcy May Marlene or Michael sexually reassigned as Miss Bala
    Rampart after Restless stalking of Sarah Palin - You Betcha! She followed her in Snowtown where The Surprise Film was I DON'T KNOW DO I? "Take Shelter, This Must Be The Place.#69 Wuthering Heights." Come on with Dreams Of A Life you Junkhearts and Wild Bill The Fairy at the Last Screening
    of "Nobody Else But You"., a Dreileben Curling King hero to
    Children Who Chase Lost Voices like The Dish And The Spoon
    who Let The Bullets Fly in nursery songs which Mitsuko Delivers by Natural Selection of Superheroes
    that match The Machine That Kills Bad People and Do The Right Thing by The School Of Life.

    I am comfortably numb.

  3. The Incredible Suite must have taken ages to put the above blog together. It took me long enough just to chew, swallow and throw it back on the page. I would love to know how an hour of his writing relates to the accumulated time others spend reading and laughing at the blog. If the figures are wrong, I can be more effective to stand in Oxford Street with a sandwich board on your shoulders if your audience is small.

  4. The Kid With A Bike is WELL GUD M8.

    Worth checking out some of the other Dardenne's work beforehand. Such as Rosetta, The Child and The Son.

    (The latter 2 are part of their little know but soon soon be huge Little Boys Trilogy).

  5. …and not «Oslo, August 31st»?