The London Film Festival starts this Wednesday and I’m super excited, so I wanted to share with you the top 10 films that I am looking forward to this year. Most of these should get a cinema release so you can check them out soon.
1. 127 Hours
Danny Boyle directs James Franco as a mountain climber trapped in a ravine. When a boulder traps you and no-one knows where you are, what does it take to survive? It has the makings of a classic high tension claustrophobic drama.
2. Never Let Me Go
Mark Romanek and Alex Garland bring Kazuo Ishiguro’s best selling novel to the big screen. With an excellent young cast including Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightley, Ishiguro’s eerie tale of friendship in an idyllic-seeming English boarding school has the distinct whiff of the Oscars about it.
3. Route Irish
The master of British social realist film – Ken Loach – returns with his take on the privatisation of war and its human costs. When a private security worker is killed in Iraq, his best friend and widow are distrustful of the official explanation of his death and begin searching for their own answers.
4. Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For A Dream) directs Natalie Portman in a taut psychological thriller set in the New York Ballet. It might not seem like an obvious choice of setting for a thriller, but I’m sold on Portman‘s performance from the trailer alone. Add in Vincent Cassell and consider Aronofsky‘s diverse accomplished body of work (The Wrestler, Pi), and it can’t fail to excite.
5. Blue Valentine
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this story of a couple whose marriage is breaking down. Trying everything to salvage the relationship – for themselves and the benefit of their young daughter – this should be an intelligent, heartbreaking story of the loss of love which has already been a hit at the Sundance and Cannes festivals.
Peter Mullan follows his critically acclaimed Orphans and Magdalene Sisters with Neds (which stands for Non-Educated Delinquents, for the non-Scots out there). Set in the Glasgow of Mullan’s youth, it’s the story of a studious young man, John, trying to transcend his difficult background, troubled family, and gang culture of 70′s Glasgow.
Following his triumph at the 2009 Cannes festival scooping three (!) awards for his debut I Killed My Mother, Xavier Dolan returns with what is sure to be an interesting, comical, and seductive story of sexual fluidity and vibrant youthful inhibition.
James Franco makes a second appearance at this year’s festival in the biopic of American poet Allen Ginsberg. Capturing America on the cusp of the 60s and the life of a literary icon, Rob Epstein directs with John Hamm (Mad Men) and Mary Louise Parker (Weeds) co-starring.
9. Let Me In
A remake of the brilliant Let The Right One In; hopefully this will avoid the pitfalls of recent US horror remakes. Signs are good judging by the trailer and the artwork, and even if it’s only half as good as the original, it’ll still be a winner. Chloe Grace Moretz (Hit Girl in Kick-Ass) stars as Abby the lil girl with the blood thirst of a hellhound.
Gregg Araki returns to the ‘teen apocalypse’ territory of his 90s films – Nowhere, Doom Generation, Totally F***ed Up – with the story of a college student who falls in love with his dumb roommate, trips on hallucinogenic cookies, and has visions that he has witnessed a murder that will change the world. Anyone who has experienced Araki’s previous work will find the story entirely plausible, the rest of you might not. At any rate, with recent acclaimed films such as Mysterious Skin, Araki’s work is always smart even when the plot is ridiculous and always entertaining even when the story is grim beyond belief. Kaboom should be no less of a trip.
Well, that should be keeping me busy for the next couple of weeks. I’ll also be trying to catch new films from Ferzan Ozpetek Loose Cannons, Godard’s Film Socialise, and the recently restored The Great White Silence. See you on the other side!