Monday 29 October 2012

Québec Cinema Showcase In London

The London cinema scene is as vibrant as it has ever been, and almost not a week comes through without its new film festival. Social networks, the ease of access of older films through Lovefilm/Netflix are two factors among others which explains how London got to become so cinephile. I would go as far as saying that its film scene is more exciting than Paris at the moment, there, I have said it! And for those of you who barely have had the time to recover from the LFF yet asking for more comes the Quebec Cinema Showcase, which will take place at the lovely cinema of the Institut Francais in London from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2012.

Saturday 27 October 2012

London Film Festival Round-Up - Part 5

Though hindered by a possible case of blood poisoning in the arm and then a truculent collection of floppy joints FilmLandEmpire continued to cover the  London Film Festival. Here is our last dispatch of festival reviews.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

London Film Festival Round-Up - Part 4

Sister is set in a Swiss skiing resort where the 12 year old Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) supports both himself and his sister Louise (Léa Seydoux of MI4 and Midnight in Paris) through his organised and well orchestrated entrepreneurial stealing and selling of skiing equipment.  Simon takes on the role of provider and parent to the older Louise with her living the life of a irresponsible, erratic older sibling. Without obvious parents, the film follows Simon as he engages in his underground business. His youth, is easy to forget in his practical, well structured and calculated dealings with people much older than himself. He turns his disadvantages to his advantage when caught by seasonal worker chief Mike (Martin Compston, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) but comes through poignantly in his fabricated story to Kristen (Gillian Andersen) who appears like an idealised mother figure for Simon in the film. 

Monday 22 October 2012

London Film Festival 2012: In The House/John Dies At The End

Variety is the name of the game, and this is my favorite aspect of film festivals, watching some widely different films back to back. And you cannot do any more different than In The House and John Dies At The End, both from directors who I admire although who have yet to come up with the masterpiece which to me would propel them into my A-team of directors, high up there with the Lynchs and the Cronenbergs. Did they deliver with their new films? SPOILER. They did not.

Sunday 21 October 2012

The Soul Of Flies Review

Persistence is certainly needed when you are a fan of independent cinema. The Soul Of Flies was presented at the London Film Festival last year, and I missed it as I caught the notorious LFF Flu. Then it had a very brief run at the ICA in London earlier in the year, a cinema whose tragically uncomfortable, crammed "seats" (I use the term loosely) have left some permanent scars in my body (and I've braved it again for Blancanieves at this year's LFF, aka one of the best films of the year, worth all the mental/physical ICA's seats scars). So I have finally caught up with The Soul Of Flies, and what a treat it turned out to be, well worth the wait!

Friday 19 October 2012

5 Broken Cameras Review

With a barrage of film accolades already awarded to 5 Broken Cameras including the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Directing Award, the quiet Palestinian introverted film maker Emad Burnat's work along with his Israeli co-director Guy Davidi has really struck a chord amongst critics. The documentary is centred upon what essentially was meant to be Burnat's home movies. 

London Film Festival Round-Up - Part 3

Directed by Jake Schreier from a Christopher D. Ford script, Robot and Frank is set 'in the near future' and is the story of Frank (Frank Langella) a former cat burglar who is beginning to show signs of memory loss and dementia. With Frank living alone in upstate New York, his practical, family man son Hunter (James Marsden) and bohemian globe trotting daughter Madison (Liv Tyler) both want to help to take care of their father who was absent in prison for large portions of their childhood. Hunter, in an attempt to look after his father, leaves a robot - voiced by Peter Sarsgaard - to act as butler, companion and health assistant to the grumpy and messy Frank. 

Thursday 18 October 2012

London Film Festival 2012: A Fish 3D & Antiviral

Nearly half-way through the festival and I have realised that my line-up this year has been pretty heavy on  "cult" films. Experimental, South Korean, Japanese, downright horrors... Made all the more easy by the different strands introduced in the festival, including, you guessed it, the cult one but also the thrill one. And I have two more of those cult/thrill films reviewed in this post, two very different ones however: A Fish and Antiviral.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Frankenweenie Review

Tim Burton once worked for Disney and made a short stop motion film called Frankenweenie in 1984 where a young boy, Victor brings his beloved dog Sparky back to life. The off beat horror homage became Burton's calling card with so many of the black and white stripes and alternative hero that is fundamental to the auteur. Burton comes back full black and white swirling circle to make the feature length stop motion Frankenweenie with Disney. 

Sunday 14 October 2012

London Film Festival 2012 - Part 1

Doomsday Book

This year we are offering not just one but two different coverages from the London Film Festival, from contributor Mairéad Roche and myself, disagreements included (and they have already started). Mairéad took a head start and was lucky enough to be able to attend the press screenings prior to the festival, while I have only just begun as the festival has finally started. The first day of the LFF started with a kind of anti-climax and the next day of days offered a trio of enjoyable films in their own ways, but I am still waiting to be knocked down then caressed by greatness.

Saturday 13 October 2012

London Film Festival Round-Up - Part 2

And it is part two of the London Film Festival Round-Up! Plenty more to come on an almost daily basis for the next 8 days or so.

Here and There written and directed by Antonio Méndez Esparza is set in a small town in Mexico and centres around Pedro (Pedro De Los Santos) who has returned to his wife and two daughters after a long period working in the U.S. With some savings he hopes to remain with his family and to set up a band to play local events along with working as an agricultural worker. The 'here' is Mexico and the 'there' is the USA which remains a hopeful enigma throughout the film. The film concentrates on the re-establishment of family connections as Pedro works to get to know his daughters and wife once again.

Monday 8 October 2012

Kotoko Review

Plot: Kotoko (played by Japanese pop star Cocco) is a single mum on the verge of a catastrophic mental breakdown, struggling to look after her young son yet devastated at the thought of losing him, as she is suffering hallucinations and feelings of persecution from a perceived hostile outside world.

Review: Shin'Ya Tsukamoto is most famous in the West for having directed two of the craziest and most utterly deranged films of the last decades: Tetsuo The Iron Man (1989) and its sequel Tetsuo 2 The Body Hammer (1992), which are both being re-released on DVD in the UK by Third Window Films, the same company which is releasing Kotoko. Those films celebrated the union of flesh and machine and can be described as early days David Cronenberg on acid, which is quite an achievement. Low in plot but high in demented visual flourishes, they have since both become cult films with a strong following. I personally have a preference for the first one, for its impeccable experimental black & white industrial style, as opposed to the second one whose colourful dayglo esthetic has aged badly and makes it looks like a bad 90's dance video.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Beauty Review: Death In Venice In Afrikaans

Plot: Francois is a totally unremarkable lower middle class middle aged South African man, leaving an unremarkable life with his wife and their newly wed daughter. Except that Francois is a closeted gay man. And as the handsome adult son of an old friend emerges back in his life, the strength of his burgeoning passion towards him threatens to wreck his life and those around him.

Sangria, The French Elvira

Most of you will remember or have at least heard of America's 80's priestess of horror, Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark, with her voluptuous curves and over the top gothic persona. On top of a popular TV show, Cassandra Peterson (her real name) also portrayed her character in a serie of films. But did you know that, in the 80's,  France had found its unlikely answer to Elvira, in the form of Sangria?

Tuesday 2 October 2012

London Film Festival Round-Up - Part 1

Laurence Anyways

The BFI has brought supermarket efficiency to the 2012 London Film Festival as each photo IDed film critic is scanned and beeped into the cinema auditoriums to enjoy the pre-festival press screenings for the Festival which will run between the 10th and 21st of October. We will offer our readers a general round-up of films seen by FilmLand Empire with some films being reviewed in brief whilst others reviews are likely to be given more lavish word counts.