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London Film Festival

Posted by: Matthew Turner 11/09/2008 @ 16:52
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 330
Films seen this week: Hamlet 2, 88 Minutes, Scar 3D, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, The Women, Partition, Lemon Tree, What Just Happened?

The London Line-up: London Film Festival 2008
This week I attended the press launch of the London Film Festival 2008, or, to give it its full title, The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival. This involves listening to a speech thanking a long list of often wildly incongruous sponsors (“Thank you, American Airlines!”), then another speech hinting at some of the films and guests (the highlight of which was Festival Director Sandra Hebron getting her Jessicas mixed up and announcing Jessica Alba when she meant Jessica Biel) and then sitting through a 30 minute clip reel. As you're probably aware by now, the big news is that Quantum of Solace is one of the gala films this year, fifteen minutes after its official world premiere and two days before it goes on general release. I confess, I sat through the promo reel giving an inward cheer every time a film came up that I'd already seen (such as the excellent Waltz With Bashir), as that meant one less screening to chase before the festival gets underway. Having said that, there are some terrific films lined up this year. I've already blogged about how much I want to see Oliver Stone's W, but there's also Charlie Kaufmann's Synecdoche, New York, Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Michael Winterbottom's Genova and Rian Johnson's follow-up to Brick, con man drama The Brothers Bloom, which I hear good things about. And those are just the big ones – I'm also excited about smaller films like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Getting Married and Religulous.

Films I'm Looking Forward To: The House Bunny
This looks like it might be another guilty pleasure in a stupid-but-funny sort of way. Anna Faris plays a Playboy Bunny who finds herself kicked out of the Playboy Mansion for being too old (at 27) and ends up playing House Mother to a sorority of geeks (including Superbad's Emma Stone and Charlie Bartlett's Kat Dennings). The sorority angle might not play as well in the UK but Faris has a proven track record for comedy and you've got to love a film that includes lines like “The eyes are the nipples of the face.” (Incidentally, I don't know if the trailer features the work of the late Don LaFontaine or not, but I'd like to think that it does).

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Four new entries this week, in a surprisingly good week for new films, with Eden Lake (hoodie horror par excellence), Pineapple Express (Seth Rogen stoner action comedy), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (child's-eye-view Holocaust drama) and Icelandic noir Jar City all making it into the top 10.

1. The Dark Knight
2. Man On Wire
3. Eden Lake
4. Pineapple Express
5. WALL-E
6. Mamma Mia
7. Somers Town
8. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
9. RocknRolla
10. Jar City

DVD of the Week: Caramel (out now, RRP £17.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Caramel, written and directed by the very lovely Nadine Labaki (see our interview here). A delightful comedy drama set in a Beirut beauty salon, the film centres on five women who regularly meet and confide in each other and is as sweet as its name suggests, with echoes of Almodovar's female-centric comedies. If you missed it at the cinema, it's well worth checking out on DVD. Extras include a 30 minute interview with Labaki (padded out with clips), a 12 minute interview with composer Khaled Mouzannar, a 10 minute Behind the Scenes featurette, a trailer and a short montage of Caramel's various festival appearances.   

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