Opening Gala Announced For BFI London Film Festival 2018

The opening film of the 62nd BFI London Film Festival has been announced as Steve McQueen’s Widows which is the directors return to the big screen after 2013’s 12 Years a Slave. The international premiere will take place on 10th October 2018, the festival’s official opening date.

Talking about his film and the festival, Steve McQueen has said, “I am absolutely delighted that Widows will be opening this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Watching the UK TV version of Lynda La Plante’s original thriller as a teenager in the 80s had a major impact on me and so it feels very special to be sharing this film with a UK audience.”

L-R: Elizabeth Debicki (back to camera), Cynthia Erivo, Viola Davis (back to camera), and Michelle Rodriguez star in Twentieth Century Fox’s WIDOWS. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

Starring Viola Davis,  Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo, Widows, McQueen’s fourth feature length film, takes place in Chicago with themes of crimes, corruption and passion. It tells the story of a group of men who, in the middle of an armed robbery are all killed by the police. Leaving their wives behind, they take it upon themselves to finish what they started and take back what is theirs. Also starring Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry.  It’s based on the TV series Widows by Lynda La Plante, and is written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn.

Liam Neeson and Viola Davis in Twentieth Century Fox’s WIDOWS. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Artistic Director says, “We treasure the work of BFI Fellow and Festival alumni Steve McQueen, so it’s an utter pleasure to open our Festival with the International Premiere of WIDOWS. Adapted from a ground-breaking UK television classic into a feature to savour on the biggest cinema screens, this is scintillatingly rich storytelling from a magnificent filmmaker, probing issues around race, class and gender, while always delivering immense style and crackingly sharp thrills.”

The festival takes places from 10th to 21st October 2018 and will take place at venues across London with hundreds of films including studios movies and independent projects from across the globe. Stay tuned for more on the festival, looking forward to this one.

Keep. It. Reel.

Dumbo Teaser Trailer Takes Flight 

When it was announced that Tim Burton was to create a live action version of Dumbo, it seemed that no-one believed it would happen. At least I didn’t. Now it’s here, it feels as if he is the ideal director to take this on. Here’s the first teaser trailer for Dumbo.

Coming out in 2019, the film looks quintessential Burton with his off beat characters, the costumes, psychedelic visuals (hello pink elephant sequence!) and a flying elephant. Just think of the original Dumbo but even tripier. Expanind on the original story, Disney’s retelling of this classic tale will have messages of including those who are different and family as the circus he becomes apart of raises him despite his oversized ears making him a laughing stock. When Dumbo rejuvenates the struggling circus with his unusual talent of flying, the elephant is recruited for a new attraction called Dreamland which is full of dark secrets.

Starring Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier the keeper who is hired by Danny DeVito’s circus owner Max Medici, as well as Michael Keaton in full on moustache twirling villain mode, Eva Green, Nico Parker, Finely Hobbins and Alan Arkin. Due for release in March 2019, this is the latest Disney film to receive the live action treatment with Lion King and Aladdin on the way, as well as Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast being the most recent remakes.

Keep. It. Reel.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, review 

A doctor has his life turned upside down when he’s given an unthinkable choice after a boy, who he has taken under his wing, turns sinister. 

Yorgos Lanthimos doesn’t ordinarily deal with the conventional. From Dogtooth in which three teenagers never leave their home because of overprotective parents to Lobster where a community of people are turned into an animal of their choosing if their search for love in a hotel fails after 45 days. He continues to comment on society and it’s rules with interesting storytelling techniques and smartly driven scripts. The Killing of a Sacred Deer may be his most narratively conventional film but it’s just as breathtaking to watch.

Colin Farrell plays a successful surgeon Steven Murphy, who is a family man, he commands a great deal of respect from the medical community. He and his wife Anna, played by Nicole Kidman live in a beautiful house with their children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic). Farrell and Kidman’s chemistry is razor sharp, as they compliment each other’s performance. Their wry dialogue and awkward sexual tension is just as painful to watch as it is intriguing.

Steven has been spending time with a young boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan) with whom he has an unconventional friendship. The pair have lunch and take walks, it’s almost as if they are concealing an extra marital affair. It becomes clear that whilst these two are friends and Steven is protective over him, they don’t share the same bond as the other relationships in his life. Things take a turn when he threatens Steven’s family by informing him that his wife and two children will lose the use of their legs, have no appetite, bleed from the eyes and perish unless he is to kill one of them himself. 

To look at previous work by Lanthimos, he creates odd ball characters in unusual situations. His work on Dogtooth got him noticed as an auteur of the strange after being nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the 2011 Oscars as well as receiving widespread praise for 2015’s The Lobster, also starring Farrell. He has a way of inserting an underlying menance into the body of his films, creating almost unintentionally comedic moments which make you cringe as you laugh. Killing of a Sacred Deer is no different, making you wince at the conversation concerning Farrell’s daughter getting her first period and raise a slightly awkward smile when he discusses watches with a colleague and why his is apparently better. You cannot take your eyes off these scenes even when speaking about mundane subjects, as the camera follows, thanks to Lanthimos’ regular cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis, it creates a claustrophobic atmosphere which is trick well pulled off in these wide open spaces. 

Farrell and Kidman’s relationship slowly crumbles as Martin continues his plan, its Keoghan who shines. His dead eyes, blunt talking and honesty seal his sinister character. As their lives become more intense, their actions are increasingly erratic leading to a conclusion only this director could concoct. Just a quick mention to Martin’s painfully single mother played by Alicia Silverstone who Steven meets whilst at their home. She comes across as sadly desperate and delivers the best line “I won’t let you leave until you’ve tried my tart.”

Like Dogtooth about over protective parents or Alps, helping those who have lost someone or Lobster, about societal pressures to find love, the plot is kept simple. Essentially this is a revenge story with a twist. The director’s signature unnerving style is nothing like anything you’ll see.

4 out of 5.

Keep. It. Reel. 

London Film Festival: The Lobster, review

How far would you be willing to go to be happy? To find the person you are meant to be with? This is what The Lobster explores, it shows what people feel they need to do in order to find their significant other. Yorgos Lanthimos has a way of telling a story with unusual yet blisteringly sharp humour, all the while working with a script that tells an ordinary story in an unconventional way. This can be seen in his previous film Alps and Dogtooth.

Dogtooth is arguably his best work but he comes close with his latest about a hotel in which single people go in order to find a life partner in the confines of a rule-bound mini-society. For those who find “the one” they are given a holiday on a boat to test their relationship, assuming all works out they are set free into the city. For those who do not make it after their time is up, they are turned into an animal of their choice. They can earn extra days by hunting rogue guests who live in the woods.

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Quirky would be an understatement when it comes to describing Lanthimos’ work, he has a way of using deadpan acting and almost robotic performances from his cast. Colin Farrell plays David, a lonely guest at the hotel and reveals that he would like to become a lobster, assuming his stay in unsuccessful: he loves being by the sea and they live for a long time. He is immediately congratulated on his choice by the hotel manager as most people opt for dog. “That is why the world is full of dogs.” The story initially plays out within the confines of the hotel, here he meets Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly, two equally lonely bachelors and after an incident involving another guest David flees and joins the hunted rebels in the forest. The hotel has its own house rules, one of which includes no masturbating anywhere, and for those who break any rule, they receive a swift and cruel punishment. The same goes for those in the forest. Whilst he’s on the run David meets another lonely soul played by Rachel Weisz and the tough but fair leader played by Léa Seydoux. Here the rules are equally unconventional including the fact that no romantic relationships can be formed. A rule broken by Farrell and Weisz, as the being a relationship in secret.

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Lanthimos’ story of finding love is his way of yet again holding a mirror up to society and asking is this acceptable? What extremes some people would go to in order to be happy with themselves. What people are willing to do to find that one person who will put up with them for the rest of their lives. It’s a brilliantly funny and touching alternative romantic comedy , which works mostly whilst within the hotel, but loses its way whilst in the forest. The moments between several characters are kooky, humorous, heartfelt and curious and it will leave you wondering what animal would you want to be?

Home Cinema

Just over 10 years ago, George Clooney made the move from TV to film. From ER to Hollywood hunk, as he is referred to constantly. He went from the very popular and sexy E.R to movies such as Three Kings, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Ocean’s Eleven working with big name directors Steven Soderbergh, the Coen brothers and David O Russell. It was the natural move for someone who has considered a good actor, charming, good looking and a delight to work with. Since his success, several others have made this natural progression such as Colin Farrell, James McAvoy, Zooey Deschanel and Will Smith

George Clooney in ER

These are household names with their film careers firmly intact and nailed down. They aren’t going anywhere but up in their careers. However, there has been a huge shift in more recent years with the big Hollywood A lister (as some are frustratingly referred to as) crossing over from the silver screen to the small screen. Where many actors began, it has become the medium of great love and respect amongst the writers, producers, directors and of course actors. With companies such as the unstoppable HBO producing shows which include Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire, Band of Brothers, Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death and Game of Thrones, it’s not hard to see why Claire Danes, Justin Long, Alec Baldwin and Steve Buschemi are flocking to what used to be a stepping stone but is now a step up.

Homeland

The calibre of television has gone through a huge change over the past few years, with the introduction to sharper writers, new effects, gritty storylines that cut through to the bone, larger budgets and fresh ideas, it can really compete with the big screen. There are several similarities that make moving from film to television a no brainer. Similarities such as the writers not only work on television, those such as JJ Abrams developing his TV career as well as working on Mission: Impossible III and Super 8. The influences of which can been seen to bleed through into his television work in Lost with the action scenes and paranormal phenomena.

30 Rock

All of these actors have made something of themselves, starting from the bottom and working their way to super stardom. But maybe their fame shouldn’t be as celebrated as it is, they have gone one way, the way people seem to be shunning. It seems well-established actors as turning their back on films and flocking to HBO. Flocking to television. Flocking from the silver screen to the small screen. So many shows have come out in recent years which have the same high budgets Hollywood uses on a daily basis.

Bored To Death

For those of you who love these shows and enjoy seeing your favourite actors on a weekly basis, the best is yet to come. More and more actors are shunning Hollywood to forge a television career such as Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer who are currently starring in The Newsroom. The evolution of television has allowed actors to develop their characters further and act in a way like never before. They have these chances on the big screen on but not on the small screen. Not until now. Now we can have a well-rounded viewing experience with everything from the make-up (just take a look at those “walkers” In The Walking Dead) to the well-oiled dialogue. To me, it’s a real tribute in a way to how talented the writers are that lures the huge names to TV, you can’t have anything but respect for. The budgets, the talents and especially those such as Mark Whalberg and Steven Speilberg producing TV shows prove that television is the new black.

The Walking Dead

The Newsroom

 

Seven Psychopaths. Too many?

Seven Psychopaths. This pretty much describes the mainly characters in the film but not really what the film is about. Take a look at this trailer by director Martin McDonagh, which is about a struggling screenwriter who inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu. Not a big fan of animal based, or dancing themed, films, they rarely work, they are family films which are supposed to be feel good but I always feel bad! This may make me change my mind.

We have a kidnapped dog, we have an underworld, we have criminals, we have oddballs, we have a great cast with Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson. What more do you need? Some images with the trailer? Go on then! ENJOY!