Friday, 12 September 2008

London Film Festival (galas)

The launch of the London Film Festival. Obviously it's going to take a while to plough through the programme to decide what's worth seeing, but a few things caught my eye.

Of course there are the galas, though they're films that will be opening anyway. Frost/Nixon looks interesting but Oliver Stone's George Bush biopic W had several people wondering whether it was going to be a knockabout comedy. There was certainly enough laughter at the launch.

There was an audible intake of breath at the words Quantum of Solace (chops to Eon for refusing to back down in the face of a hail of criticism at the name (though much more ridiculous and it would have turned into a Star Wars title). Most amusing, however, is this note: "As this will be the first public screening of Quantum of Solace anywhere in the world, patrons are advised that special security measures will be in place." Noticeably, such measures won't be in place for Waltz With Bashir, not, as I thought, a portrait of the Di-bothering journalist, but an incendiary-sounding animated autobiographical doc about the Middle East conflict.

Whether or not it's the skill of the trailer-maker, Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona didn't seem as bad as rumours have had it. Of course, its acreage of pulchritudineity may prove to be an embarrassment.

The worthiness quotient will be kept high by (artist) Steve McQueen's almost dialogue-free Hunger and Soderbergh's 252-minute Che.

Entre les murs (The Class) looked really promising and Easy Virtue looked like it could be avoid the ever-present danger of squirm-inducing "we're-British-but-we-can-laugh-at-ourselves" 'comedy'.  

I'll drive through a few more pages later.


Anonymous said...

Might I recommend Dean Spanley which I recently saw at Toronto Film Fest. It is a wonderfully funny little tale filled with delicious dialogue and great acting.Peter O'Toole was a delight as was the whole cast AND it got a standing ovation.

John Riley said...

Cheers for the heads up.

I'll be doing another tranche of previews soon but of course the galas were the featured bit at the launch event so it was (slightly) easier for me to say something (though obviously at the moment I'm at the mercy of the trailers).

The next installments will be based on the programme write-ups and my own biases - hence, even more speculative.

Peter O'Toole was (I think) mentioned as being one of the hoped-for visitors. If he still lives in that massive house in Hampstead that he bought with the proceeds from Laurence of Arabia, it won't to too onerous a journey (courtesy of the official Festival car providers...)