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REVIEW - Last Christmas

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Entries in London (50)

Wednesday
Oct302019

BIFA loves "Wild Rose" and "David Copperfield"

British Independent Film Awards, or BIFA for short, have announced their nominations for the 2019 film year. Like the Gothams and Spirits they are juried which means a small group of people decide various categories before the entire membership votes on the winners. Strangely, despite that they focused on a small pool of films (the leaders, Wild Rose and The Personal History of David Copperfield have a staggering 21 nominations between them. Yikes! 

Our friend and sometimes Smackdown guest Guy Lodge was on the panel this year and here are their choices.

Best British Independent Film

  • Bait, Mark Jenkin, Kate Byers, Linn Waite

  • For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts

  • The Personal History Of David Copperfield, Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, Kevin Loader The Souvenir Joanna Hogg, Luke Schiller

  • The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg, Luke Schiller

  • Wild Rose, Tom Harper, Nicole Taylor, Faye Ward

Bait and David Copperfield have not yet arrived stateside. The latter is coming in 2020 and with lots of name actors it will get some attention (plus it's quite funny) but we had to look up Bait to see what it was. We must keep an eye out due to the BIFA love...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct182019

Best of the London Film Festival 2019

Please welcome guest contributor Scott Thomson, who just participated in the Critics Mentorship Programme at the London Film Festival. We've invited him to tell us about his favourites from the festival, which just concluded. -Editor

Monos, Colombia's Oscar submission, won the film festival's top honors

by Scott Thomson

The programming team at the London Film Festival delivered a magnificent slate of films this year, working within a series of expertly curated strands to shape the programme into something that caters to all tastes. This year there was a focus on developing a hub for the Festival, with a schedule of free events to generate a more connected and interactive vibe.  As London falls fairly late in the Festival calendar, it does not tend to get a great deal of World Premieres, but the buzz and atmosphere around both the larger and smaller offerings is undeniable and LFF deserves a lot of credit for being a festival that is very much for the audiences.

With 40% of all films on the programme this year were from female filmmakers this is another huge step in the right direction for festival curation; the content is most certainly available and other festivals should take note. With 28 films under my belt this year I have taken in a lot of what I was hoping to, but inevitably missed out on some wonderful stuff. Here are some of my ‘Bests’ from London this year: 

Adele Haenel and Celine SciammaBest FilmMonos (which also took the Best Film prize at the Festival). There is not an ounce of fat on Colombia's Oscar submission. It's thrilling, progressive cinema with an outstanding young cast. Everything is cinema magic including that machine energy Mica Levi score. 

Best Director: Celine Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. My my my, I’m still swooning. Sciamma’s gentle gaze on this beautiful love story is so open hearted and considerate...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul122019

'My Beautiful Laundrette' for the UK stage

Jonny Fines and Omar Malik headline the production

Have you heard that My Beautiful Laundrette, one of our favourite 80s movies and one of the most beloved LGBTQ films ever, is getting the stage treatment? The production which is using the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Hanif Kureishi as its text, will open September 20th at Leicester's Curve. Though it's not a musical adaptation, the Pet Shop Boys are composing the score for it. The leads look the part but we are giggling a bit that they actually cast actors named Jonny and Omar for the lead characters of Johnny & Omar. 

If you are a UK-based reader who is plannning to see it, please do report back about your experience! I will be tense with anticipation until you do but, to quote Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis) directly from the film...

In my experience it is always worth waiting for Omar"

Monday
Oct222018

Stage Door: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

by Dancin' Dan

You'd be forgiven for thinking, as I did way back in 2013 when it was first revealed a Harry Potter play was in development, that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was going to be an unmitigated disaster. The last time a stage show based on a billion-dollar book and film franchise requiring inspired technical elements opened on Broadway, it was Julie Taymor's legendarily disastrous Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, a production plagued by poor decisions and bad luck from the start. You'd even be forgiven for still being skeptical when Cursed Child opened in London in 2016, and reports from the West End were nearly all rapturous. After all, Rowling and Potter are national treasures, so surely the Brits might have been blowing this a bit out of proportion, right?

Well, dear reader, I'm here to tell you to believe the hype...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep052018

In Competition: Documentaries at the London Film Festival

by Sean McGovern

The end of summer is an annual tragedy, but at least it means that you don't have to go to the cinema just for the air conditioning. With Venice ongoing and TIFF beginning tomorrow (Chris & Nathaniel are already on the ground), Film Festival Season (and by extension, Awards Season!) is well and truly upon us. Arrving in early October for the 62nd time is the London Film Festival, the biggest one on my calendar and the one closest to my house. Amongst the glitzy galas and special presentations is a stellar programme and not just because I played a small part in programming the shorts this year.

Something that excites me in particular is the impressive lineup of the films in the Documentary Competition. And since I haven't got to see them yet, join in my excitement in a preview of some the titles, some of which are opening soon in the USA...

BISBEE '17 (dir. Robert Greene, USA) [Glenn's Review]
[Opening today in NYC] From the director of Kate Plays Christine, Robert Greene investigates the mysterious tragedy of a small American mining town, which one hundred years previously, had 1200 migrant workers rounded up and left to die in the desert...

Click to read more ...