London Film Festival 2017 – An Update

Okay, so, I’m just under a week into London Film Festival 2017 and, to be honest, I’m already knackered (boo hoo, woe is me, right?).

As it stands, I’ve seen thirteen films; which isn’t that many compared to previous years, but I’m struggling to find the head-space to write about any one of them.…

REVIEW: Battle of the Sexes & The Meyerowitz Stories (LFF Days 2-3)

Battle of the Sexes

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
The real-life Battle of the Sexes, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Rae King and former men’s champion Bobby Riggs, is an event that might well have been conceived with dramatisation in mind.

REVIEW: Mudbound & Wonderstruck (LFF Day 2)

Mudbound

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
“Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of sorrow.”

It’s misery and anguish that are the heart of Mudbound, Dee Rees’ Netflix-bound period drama about farmers in early 20th Century Mississippi.…

REVIEW: Breathe (LFF Day 1)

2 Stars (2 / 5)
Breathe is a film about which it’s easy to be cynical.

The directorial debut of Andy Serkis1, the film was commissioned by Serkis’ Imaginarium Studios2 co-founder John Cavendish as a tribute to his father, disability advocate Robin.…

The Unknown Girl: unsatisfying mystery, impressive empathy

3 Stars (3 / 5)
Sherlock Holmes was a doctor – or at least the real-life inspiration for him was, Dr. Joseph Bell; a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, at which Conan Doyle trained.

From that fertile wellspring there are, of course, innumerable adaptations, both period and modern, as well as House, weekly detective stories well-disguised as a medical procedural.…

Your Name: the House of Miyazaki isn’t the only game in Tokyo

The major PR push for Your Name is that it was and remains a smash hit in Japan, making 15 billion yen ($170 million) at the box office over only 10 weeks, a base stat only made more impressive given that it’s a major Japanese animation not from Studio Ghibli.

Free Fire (LFF Day 10)

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Say what you want about overvaulting cinematic ambitions – I’m looking at you, Terrence – it’s sometimes refreshing to see a talented filmmaker take on a simple concept and carry it off with flair and aplomb.

In the case of Free Fire, the latest from British auteur Ben Wheatley, the concept is this: the third-act shootout, with which any self-respecting crime thriller must surely culminate, instead kicks off less than twenty minutes in and occupies the rest of its ninety-minute run-time.…

LFF Day 7: The Birth of a Nation, Dog Eat Dog, & I Am Not A Serial Killer

The Birth of a Nation

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Reclaiming the title of D.W. Griffith’s feverishly racist silent epic, this ardent biography of conciliatory preacher turned revolutionary firebrand Nat Turner — written, directed by, and starring Nate Parker — makes a case for bloody retribution as the necessary, even inevitable, response to institutionalized evil.…

LFF Day 3: La La Land & Manchester By The Sea

Rhapsodic Hollywood dreaming and glacial Massachusetts misery on London Film Festival Day 3.

 

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone soar in Damien Chazelle’s radiant love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals and those who dare to follow their dreams in the City of Angels.

LFF Day 2: A Monster Calls & The Handmaiden

Fantastical trauma counseling and opulent Gothic fetishism on London Film Festival Day 2.

 

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Orphanage‘s J.A. Bayona began his career as an acolyte of Guillermo Del Toro and in A Monster Calls he finds his own Pan’s Labyrinth but one where the monsters make house calls.