49th London Film Festival

The booking office has just opened for the 49th London Film Festival (LFF) and as always there are some film gems that you do not want to miss.
Mirrormask is the latest movie from Neil Gaiman, the creator of Sandman. The two showings of Mirrormask at the LFF are possibly the only showings in the UK for a while.
Some of my favourite European cinema movies are from France, Turkey and Czech Republic and I can see from the film listings that these countries are well represented at the LFF.
Demetrios Matheou has written a rough guide to the festival which is an excellent presentation of some of the highlights of the festival.
Here is my festival planer in case you want to join us at the festival..


If there is one (music) documentary you should see this year, it is ‘DiG!‘. It was recorded during a period of 7 years while following two indie rock bands struggling for recognition and fame.
You may have heard of the Dandy Warhols but I suspect that you have not heard of Brian Jonestown Massacre (BJM). The two bands started out as friends in the mid 90’s but the friendship deteriorated. You get to experience the drama like a fly on the wall, watching it all unravel.
Anton Newcombe is the leader of BJM and his ego is larger than life. There is a fine line between ‘musical genious’ and village idiot and Anton Newcombe seems to be walking it elegantly; for a while.
On one hand he shows signs of unrivalled talent and creativity. He plays over 40 instruments and is able to produce a quality record alone, in his own basement and just in one week.
On the other hand Anton shows signs of madness when he time after time creates havoc. Be it by kicking the audience in the head, firing all band members, showing up drunk for important meetings or succumbing to heroin addiction. It’s almost as if wants to sabotage any given opportunity to avoid success which he probably regards as cliché.
This of course creates great frustration among his band members that are trying really hard to “make it”. BJM’s official site tells some of the story: “Over the years, 60 members have passed through the band…”. Anton Newcombe remains like a musical despot.
The main singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor from the Dandy Warhols is the narrator of the documentary but the band has only a secondary part in the documentary. The fact that they “make it” by securing a lucrative record deal is like a slap in the face of Anton Newcombe.
Captivating band rivalry ensues. The Dandy Warhols write a song (Not if you were the last junkie on earth) that mocks BJMs and it becomes a hit. Anton Newcombe strikes back by writing a whole album that mocks the Dandy Warhols. Courtney agrees to join the band during a gig but things go bad (they always do at BJMs gigs) and he stands aside to laugh at them.
I could go on but the less you know about this movie and the bands it portrais the better.
The director Ondi Timoner does an amazing job of introducing you to them and quickly gripping your attention… not letting it go until the closing credits are rolling across the screen (accompanied by some great music).

Descent, The (2005)

The less you know about this movie, the more you will enjoy it so you may want to stop reading now and head to that late showing of The Descent. If not then read on, I’ll avoid any major spoilers.
The Descent is another British horror/thriller production that will keep you on the edge of your (cinema) seat. You could easily miss this movie due to very little marketing but it is a movie that you will not forget easily.
I associate British productions with cheaper budget than Hollywood productions but much more realism and believable plots. This applies to other well done movies like 28 days later and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The Descent is a claustrophobic horror about a group of all female and adventurous characters that go cave exploring. You are quickly thrown into an adventure of narrow caverns, hard hats scrapping against rock and dust covering our heroines. Add to this the fact that the girls are not alone in the caves.
The gore factor is high in The Descent. You will see blood squirting from deep cuts, broken bones sticking out from legs and people getting torn apart. It is all very realistic however and the sensation drags you uncomfortably into the movie.
A surprising twist is presented at the end of the movie and you are free to elaborate on it the comments. I sure didn’t understand it even if I have my theories (Jacob’s Ladder and Mulholland Dr. anyone?).

Spiderman 2 – Abridged version

A short study of the changes in Peter Parker’s feelings towards his responsibilities as Spiderman
(very cool intro)
I am Spiderman; I am happy
I am Spiderman so I cannot get the girl
I am Spiderman; I am not happy
Am I Spiderman?
Am I Spiderman?
I am not Spiderman; I am very happy
I am not Spiderman; I am conflicted
I am not Spiderman but I am pissed
I am Spiderman
I am Spiderman and I can get the girl
I am Spiderman; I am happy