After all, it's just a ride….

BFI London Film Festival 2014 Programme Reprise

lff2014As a BFI Member it’s nice to get the odd freebie now and again, and since I was out and about conducting day job activities last Thursday the prospect of jetting over to the South Bank for a preview of the LFF festivities to come seemed like a no-brainer. I’ve been to these events before and they are a useful hour of your time to see a glimpse of certain films behind a one paragraph synopsis in the programme, so I’ve picked up a few more pictures to see come October. That’s the crazy thing about Film Festivals, with roughly 250 films being screened over eleven days even if I commit to a mammoth twenty-five films then without wanting to dazzle you with my mathematical prowess then that’s a mere 27% of the total haul – yeah, eat my dust Hawkings. Anyway, the preview event takes the format of an hour-long presentation by festival director Claire Stewart interspersed with film and trailer clips to illustrate her comments, so I’ve picked up some further fascinating prospects, let’s have a quick look;

After the all round embarrassment of last years Labour Day  Jason Reitman seems back on track with this, a film about our contemporary lives lived through screens and mediated networks.  Of course this could eye-rollingly tedious as the same surface level observations are bludgeoned into the narrative (note that no-one on the trailer verbally says anything to each other which must be a conscious decision) but he can construct a decent drama with a social edge, when he has an appropriate script in place. The question is, are the FBI investigating Mr. Reitman for the curious timing of the celebgate phenomena?

Many wiser and more attuned souls than I have been going crazy about this, not much out there in the way of full trailers but this teaser just about gets the heart pounding.  It had a strong presence at Sundance this year with many allusions to ‘early Jim Jarmusch’, I’m just intrigued by the prospect of seeing the so called  ‘greatest Iranian Vampire Western of the decade’……

Anyone who’s seen Nakashima’s Kamikaze Girls knows what a bizarre visual talent he can be even by Japanese standards, that trailer isn’t particularly arresting but the write-up in the programme makes the film sound stronger. So I’m in.

Can we go three for three this year with Eva Green? Greg Arakai’s films are usually worth a watch, if you get ignore some of his more abstract flourishes. Since I have nowhere else to put this and there is no trailer around I also nominate The Duke Of Burgundy which sounds terrific, Peter Berberian Sound Studio Strickland’s soft focus valentine to the soft-core exploitation pictures of Jess Franco – we saw a clip and it looks tonally perfect.

Well of course I knew this was the Golden Bear winner at Berlin this year, we all knew that, but it was the short clip of the movie they showed during the presentation that immediately convinced me to track this down – a clichéd Asian movie shoot-out with numerous nervous goons pointing weapons at each other doesn’t quite resolve itself as you’d expect. With shades of Park-Chan-Wook and the gruesome irrelevance of Miike this looks like a blast.

Can one film maintain its structural integrity with the neutron star masculinity of James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy weighting upon it? This is the American debut of director Michaël R. Roskam and anyone who saw the terrific Bullhead a couple of years ago should assume he can muscle his way through that heavyweight cast, in sadly Gandolfini’s final ever performance.

On paper the prospect of a Norwegian isotopic comedy doesn’t exactly accelerate my centrifuge but the trailer bombarded my nucleus and elicited a positive response. I’ll get my coat etc.

This has already screened at TiFF to a rapturous response, a rare film lensed completely in the Maori language which is being compared to the likes of Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising in terms of elemental, epic questing.

And then we have Foxcatcher, another film which has been quietly muttered as a masterpiece from North American festival outings. I’ll reserve judgement until I see it like any reasonable human being, but there is something about that trailer which ever so slightly puts me off this, it’s probably Carell’s ‘I’m a comedic actor in a serious role with prosthetics please give me an Oscar’ vibe which is very judgemental of me, but here we are.

So to close a Spanish drug action thriller because, well, why not? Here’s some further details of the imminent celebrations to whet your appetite;

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