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2009 London Film Festival Line-Up

Posted by: Matthew Turner 02/10/2009 @ 18:53
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 335
Films seen this week: Toy Story (3D), Departures, Pandorum, Oil City Confidential, Love Happens, We Live In Public, Army of Crime, Me and Orson Welles, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo, Zombieland

2009 London Film Festival line-up
It's that time of year again as the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival kicks off again on 14th October. Incredibly, the press screenings have already started, so I can already highly recommend three wonderful documentaries I wouldn't have otherwise heard of: Oil City Confidential, about British band Doctor Feelgood and their Canvey Island roots; We Live In Public, Dig! director Ondi Timoner's new film, about internet pioneer Josh Harris; and the wonderful Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo, about a group of women prisoners taking part in the annual Oklahoma Prison Rodeo. It took me long enough, but I've finally found my heart-warming (sort of) competition-based documentary for the year.

Other highlights at this year's incredible-looking LFF include new films by the Coen Brothers (A Serious Man), Michael Haneke (the excellent White Ribbon, which won the Palme D'or in Cannes), Wes Anderson (whose Fantastic Mr Fox opens the festival), Jane Campion (Bright Star), Atom Egoyan (Chloe) and Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (MICMACS). Also highly anticipated are The Road, French prison drama A Prophet (which everyone at Cannes was raving about) and the wonderful An Education, starring rising British actress Carey Mulligan (aka Doctor Who's Sally Sparrow). In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb right now and predict an Oscar nomination for Mulligan. You heard it here first, etc. Other highlights include Screen Talks with the likes of Julianne Moore, Clive Owen and Jane Campion, although at the moment, all anyone can talk about is how the LFF is going to manage with the move to the Vue West End, instead of its usual venue of the Odeon West End. The escalators alone are going to be chaos...

Trailerwatch: Tanner Hall
Last week, I interviewed Tormented star Georgia King (see link below) and she asked me if I'd seen the trailer for her latest film, Tanner Hall, which recently played at the Toronto Film Festival. I hadn't then (which was kind of embarrassing), but I have now and it looks really intriguing. Ostensibly it's a coming-of-age story about four teenage girls in a run-down New England boarding school, but the trailer makes it look very artistic and interesting. Perhaps it's just the dialogue-free trailer, but it reminded me more of Lucile Hadzihalilovic's excellent 2004 film Innocence than the usual sort of boarding school romp films like St Trinian's and Wild Child. Speaking of boarding school films, I also hear great things about Cracks (starring Eva Green and Juno Temple), which is playing at the LFF, but I didn't want to see the trailer for that, for fear of spoilers. No UK release date for Tanner Hall yet, but I look forward to seeing it eventually. Also, Georgia assures me that her “lesbian bath seduction scene” is smoking hot (there's a brief glimpse of it in the trailer below).

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Four new entries this week, with the release of Toy Story in glorious 3D (not to be confused with Toy Story 3), French resistance drama Army of Crime, arthouse horror Vinyan and free-running thriller sequel District 13: Ultimatum (not to be confused with District 9) all making it in to the top ten. “What? No The Invention of Lying?”, I hear you cry? Well, no, because it's very disappointing and if you've seen the trailer, you've seen all the funny bits – you can read the full review here. Elsewhere, check out our exclusive interview with Rufus Sewell, star of Vinyan, here and our follow-up interview with Tormented star Georgia King here. (See the original interview here).

1. Fish Tank
2. (500) Days of Summer
3. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (3D)
4. District 9
5. Toy Story (3D)
6. The Hurt Locker
7. Vinyan
8. Army of Crime
9. District 13: Ultimatum
10. Creation

DVD of the Week: Tormented (out now, RRP £15.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Tormented, a British teen horror in which a bullied suicide victim (Calvin Dean) comes back as a zombie-ghost-thing and takes bloody revenge on his tormentors. If you missed it at the cinema, it's definitely worth catching on DVD, as it's a lot of fun, thanks to a terrific cast, a sharply written script and some inventively staged, suitably gory death scenes. Extras include a filmed commentary with director Jon Wright and stars Alex Pettyfer, Tom Hopper, Dimitri Leonidas, April Pearson, Georgia King and Calvin Dean (read our exclusive interview with the cast here), a lengthy Making-Of featurette, with lots of interviews with cast and crew and a look at all the effects shots, the trailer and an Easter Egg that I haven't been able to find. This is a shame though, because according to the cast, there was a huge amount of footage filmed for DVD extras that doesn't seem to have made it onto the DVD, so hopefully there'll be a two-disc Special Edition or something.

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