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London Film Festival News

Posted by: Matthew Turner 30/10/2009 @ 11:08
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 393
Films seen since last blog: The Informant!, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, The Exploding Girl, Dead Man Running, The Cry of the Owl, Deadline, The Dinner Party, Halloween II, A Single Man, 44 Inch Chest, Hadewijch, Glorious 39, Samson & Delilah, Cracks, A Serious Man, Men Who Stare At Goats, From Time to Time, The Road, Up in the Air, Life During Wartime, Dogtooth, Bellamy, Lourdes, MICMACS, The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard, Father of my Children, The Boys Are Back, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Carriers, The Last Station, Chloe, The Scouting Book For Boys, Starsuckers, Adrift, Extract, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Saw VI, Capitalism: A Love Story, American: The Bill Hicks Story, A Christmas Carol, Passenger Side, Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT, 1 Day, Nowhere Boy, Blessed

London Film Festival round-up
So another London Film Festival has come and gone, which means it's time for a few post-festival musings. I managed a total of around 49 films this year, which isn't as intensive as it sounds, given that the press screenings started almost three whole weeks before the festival itself. The 'Surprise Film' this year was Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, which probably wasn't the film most people had been hoping for (I'd guessed Amelia but, like everyone else, I'd been hoping for Where The Wild Things Are) but I enjoyed it anyway – basically I was just glad it was something I hadn't already seen. I only went to one party (for Ondi Timoner's We Live In Public), but London is very different to Edinburgh in that regard – in the ten years I've been covering the festival I've never once been officially invited to anything.

As far as the change of venue was concerned, things weren't quite as chaotic as predicted and things actually seemed to overrun less than in previous years. That said, they should probably avoid screening subtitled films in Vue 9 next year because everyone agreed that the rake was atrocious. This year, the festival also introduced a competition element including awards for Best Film and British Newcomer, with the former going to Jacques Audiard's A Prophet (runner up: The Road – oddly, both films were the only films I gave five stars) and the latter going to the writer of The Scouting Book For Boys, Jack Thorne (runner-up: J Blakeson, director of The Disappearance of Alice Creed). Which only remains for me to list my own top ten...

London Film Festival Top 10 Movies

1. A Prophet
2. Dogtooth
3. The Road
4. Up in the Air
5. Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo
6. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
7. A Serious Man
8. The Disappearance of Alice Creed
9. Lourdes
10. The Informant!

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Splice
I've been looking forward to Vincenzo Natali's Splice ever since I saw the footage below at FrightFest back in August. It stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley (who, in my opinion, doesn't do nearly enough films) as genetic scientists Clive and Elsa, who splice together human and animal DNA with presumably deadly results. If the clip below is anything to go by, we're in for something of a treat – the effects look very impressive and I like the attention paid to the sound effects (particularly the patter of tiny feet). Natali is best known for 1997's cult sci-fi and horror flick Cube and 2002's stylish thriller Cypher, both of which bode well for Splice. There's no official UK release date yet, but hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer, as I'm pretty sure it has a UK distributor.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's been three weeks since the last blog but the Top 10 Films On Release haven't really changed that much, with the top five remaining the same (though 500 Days of Summer is nearing the end of its run) and only four new entries overall. They include: Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox, gripping eco-doc The Cove (although dolphin lovers and the highly-sensitive should approach with caution), Melissa George thriller Triangle and Park Chan-Wook's vampire adaptation of Therese Raquin, Thirst. Interview-wise, you can read our exclusive interview with the director and star of zero budget zombie movie Colin here and also our interview with Le Donk star Paddy Considine here.

1. Fish Tank
2. 500 Days of Summer
3. UP
4. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (3D)
5. District 9
6. The Cove
7. Fantastic Mr Fox
8. Zombieland
9. Triangle
10. Thirst

DVD of the Week: Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee (out now, price £15.99)
The latest film to get the brief theatrical release before going more or less straight to DVD treatment is Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee, this week's DVD of the Week. Directed by Shane Meadows, the film is a low budget, shot-in-five-days British mock-doc starring Paddy Considine as self-styled manager Le Donk, who attempts to help his young rapper friend Scor-zay-zee (Dean Palinczuk) become a star by getting him a spot onstage at an Arctic Monkeys gig. The performances are excellent and the film is laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end. Extras include trailers, specially shot promotional footage from the Edinburgh Film Festival (the Edinburgh Le Donk party was THE party of the festival) and some deleted scenes. You can also read our exclusive interview with Paddy Considine. Recommended.

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