My London Film Festival 2017 – A Rundown (Part 1)

So, here goes it: Part 1 of my three-part rundown of my 2017 London Film Festival experience. With 242 films on display, I didn’t quite get a chance to see everything – though I’m hoping to catch a few more on the Digital Viewing Library, so watch this space.…

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.

Café Society: a cinematic pousse-café – guaranteed no hangover

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The latest cinematic frivolity from Woody Allen, Café Society is like a well-layered champagne cocktail; smooth and light, but with a deceptively subtle finish.

Set at the height of Hollywood’s Golden Age, the film follows the bright-eyed, slightly smarmy Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), the latest in a long succession of Allen surrogates, who arrives in L.A.…

The Big Short goes long on edudrama and it pays off – magnificently

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

You wouldn’t think the recent global financial crisis would be the stuff of comedy, but The Big Short makes it funny – and educational, and genuinely moving.

Directed and co-written by frequent Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) and with an all-star cast, including Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, and Ryan Gosling, The Big Short makes for a highly entertaining (and instructive) study of greed, fraud, and three groups of people who sought to profit from the meltdown before it happened.…

Foxcatcher is a frigid masterpiece about the pursuit of championship

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

Of all the things to confront in life, failure is perhaps the hardest.

How it reflects on us, and we on it, and our desperation to avoid it are universal facts of human existence. Foxcatcher is the second title to feature at this year’s London Film Festival that can be aptly summarized as a “psychotic coach drama” – the first being Whiplash; though the two films are in many ways polar opposites.…

Anchorman 2: broadcasting hilarity or just dead air?

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

It’s been a decade since the original Anchorman regaled us with the exploits of the scotch-guzzling, self-aggrandizing Ron Burgundy and his motley news team.

Having acquired cult status thanks to its endless quotability – “That escalated quickly”, “I love lamp”, etc., etc.…

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a feat of cinematic mediocrity

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Stage magic has been something of a gift to cinema in recent years.

2006 saw both Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, based on the book by Christopher Priest – which followed the exploits of rival magicians Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale – and Neil Burger’s The Illusionist, set in fin de siecle Vienna and starring Edward Norton as the eponymous conjurer who seeks to tear his love, Jessica Biel, away from a corrupt nobleman using feats of prestidigitation.