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London Film Festival 2011 Lineup

Posted by: Matthew Turner 09/09/2011 @ 14:11
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 330
Films seen in the last week: Way of the Morris, Apollo 18, Will, Moon in the Gutter, The Change Up, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Ides of March, Mademoiselle Chambon


London Film Festival 2011 Lineup
This week saw the eagerly anticipated announcement of the line up for the 2011 LFF, or, as we're contractually obliged to call it, the 55th BFI London Film Festival. I am still ploughing through the programme but the five films I'm most looking forward to are: wonderful-looking “Hollywood” silent comedy The Artist (from Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin, the director and star behind the OSS-117 movies); Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene (starring Elizabeth Olsen); Yorgos Lanthimos' follow-up to Dogtooth, Alps (which got the biggest laugh during the clip reel at the press launch); outsider comedy Terri (see Films I Am Dying To See below) starring John C. Reilly; and Steve McQueen's Shame, starring Michael Fassbender as - steady at the back there, ladies – a sex addict.

Other potential highlights include: A Dangerous Method (directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender -again- as Freud and Jung); Dexter Fletcher's directorial debut Wild Bill; the latest film by the Dardennes Brothers The Kid with a Bike (I'm a huge fan of the Dardennes Brothers and it looks like they're onto a winner with this); a pair of Clooney movies (the Clooney-directed political drama The Ides of March and Alexander Payne's family drama The Descendants); Polanski's Carnage (starring Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly again); Marc Evans' Hunky Dory (largely because of my huge crush on Minnie Driver); Dominik Moll's The Monk (based on the classic Gothic novel and starring Vincent Cassel); Nick Broomfield's Sarah Palin documentary Sarah Palin – You Betcha!; and We Need To Talk About Kevin, which almost everyone I know has already seen, but they all say it's brilliant.

Great films at the festival that I've already seen include: chilling ghost story The Awakening (starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West); Michael Shannon paranoia drama Take Shelter and horrific Australian serial killer drama Snowtown, which is based on a true story. Amusing fact about Snowtown: I went in knowing absolutely nothing about it, thinking it was a smalltown Australian family drama, which it sort of is, but ... well, just go prepared, is all I'm saying.

The festival runs from 12th to 27th October, but – little known fact alert – the press screenings actually start three weeks before that, so my five week LFF fest will be starting very shortly. Can't wait.

Films I Am Dying To See: Terri
I only discovered that Azazel Jacobs' Terri existed two days ago when I saw what amounted to about half the trailer at the LFF press launch, but I already know it's going to be one of my favourite films of the festival. Now, okay, I've been burned before making judgements like this (hello, last year's It's Kind of a Funny Story) but somehow I've got a good feeling about Terri, not least because Jacobs was the writer-director behind Momma's Man, a quirky LFF gem from a couple of years ago. Also, it's got John C. Reilly in it and you really can't go wrong with John C. Reilly.

The film stars newcomer Jacob Wysocki as school fat kid Terri, who's recently decided to embrace his outsider status and has taken to wearing pyjamas to school. This, along with general apathy towards his classes brings him to the attention of his principal, Mr Fitzgerald, played by – I see you're way ahead of me on this one – John C. Reilly. There are lots of lovely moments in the trailer alone – I particularly like the elaborate way Reilly dodges having to say “Because you're the fat kid,” when Terri asks him how he knows his name. I also love Terri's smile when the skateboarding kid compliments him on his pyjamas.

There's also something of a treat in store for fans of the US version of The Office, because the one and only Creed Bratton is playing Terri's Uncle James. Terri's potential love interest (Olivia Crociccha as Heather) looks very cute too. The imdb lists some amusing character names too – such as Dirty Jack, Sex Ed and Josh “The Ponceman” Perry – so it'll be interesting to see how they fit into it. There's no official UK release date for the film, so book your tickets now for its London Film Festival screening. Again, I can't wait.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change again this week with no less than four new entries into the top ten. They include Cary Fukunaga's beautifully shot adaptation of Jane Eyre, enjoyable romcom Friends With Benefits (which gets everything right that the execrable No Strings Attached got wrong), Norwegian creature feature TrollHunter (“TROLLLLLLLLLLL!”) and Chilean arthouse drama Post Mortem, from the director of Tony Manero. I've dropped Project Nim from the list this week but it's doing the second run rounds, so check your local listings if you still haven't seen it.

We have also have two new interviews this week: an exclusive interview with A Lonely Place to Die star Melissa George (pic) and an exclusive interview with Andre Ovredal, writer-director of TrollHunter (pic). Elsewhere you can still read our semi-exclusive interviews with Kill List writer-director Ben Wheatley – something of a must-read if you've seen the film - and Kill List actors Neil Maskell and MyAnna Buring; an exclusive interview with My Good Friends Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse for Fright Night; our exclusive interview with Weekender (and Skins) star Jack O'Connell; our exclusive interview with John Michael McDonagh (writer-director of The Guard); an exclusive interview with Jason “Muscles” Momoa, star of Conan the Barbarian; a semi-exclusive interview with the four stars of The Inbetweeners and our semi-exclusive interview with the lovely Audrey Tautou, star of Beautiful Lies.

Come back next week for a semi-exclusive interview with Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, stars of Warrior.

1. Kill List
2. Jane Eyre
3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
4. One Day
5. Friends with Benefits
6. TrollHunter
7. Final Destination 5
8. Arrietty
9. The Inbetweeners Movie
10. Post Mortem

DVD of the Week: Cedar Rapids (released 19th September, RRP £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Cedar Rapids, directed by Miguel Arteta. Ed Helms stars as Tim Lippe, a naive smalltown insurance salesman whose eyes are opened to the world during a trip to the Cedar Rapids insurance convention. This is largely thanks to the debauched antics of his fellow insurance agents, including party animal Dean (John C. Reilly), married-but-aggressively-available Joan (Anne Heche) and nice guy Ronald (Isiah Whitlock Jr), not to mention a friendly young woman (Alia Shawkat) that Tim doesn't realise is a prostitute.

Helms has been a consistently hilarious supporting player in things like The Hangover and the US version of The Office, so it's a treat to see him handed a decent lead role and he delivers a likeable, sweet-natured performance that ensures that Tim remains sympathetic, even while his hopeless naivety makes him do cringe-worthy things.
There's also reliable comic support from John C. Reilly and a terrific turn from Anne Heche as Joan. You might not know his name yet, but Miguel Arteta has quietly made a name for himself as a reliable director of edgy, offbeat and occasionally dark comedies (Chuck & Buck, Youth in Revolt) and Cedar Rapids is a worthy addition to his filmography.

In short, this is an enjoyable, frequently funny comedy with likeable characters and great comic performances from a superb cast. Highly recommended. The decent extras package includes: six deleted scenes; a gag reel; three short featurettes that are essentially Making Of segments about three specific scenes (Mike O'Malley: Urban Clogger, Tweaking in the USA and Wedding Belles: Crashing a Lesbian Wedding); a very funny extended fake trailer for Top Notch Insurance; and the theatrical trailer.


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