Carey Mulligan at the Inside Llewyn Davis screening [WireImage]
The 57th London Film Festival is happening at the moment and there’s tons of good stuff that’s already been on and still to happen. For a full run down of what’s on and when, go to bfi.org.uk/lff in the mean time our highlights are below….
Gravity deals with the inescapable horror and bowdlerizing beauty of space in this exquisitely shot, emotionally charged epic from Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men). Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a rookie astronaut who is forced to deal with her own personal trauma when her space mission goes horribly wrong. It’s been billed as a two hander with George Clooney but it’s like more The Sandra Show. Bullock plays her part like a ‘final girl’ from a classic slasher film.
2) Inside Llewyn Davis
In a way, the tale of folkie Llewyn Davis and his attempts to ascend the slippery slope of fame is classic Coen brothers. A lone wolf on a singular journey who encounters a distinct cast eccentrics along the way? Total Joel and Ethan territory. In another way, with its period perfect 1961 Greenwich Village folk scene setting and brilliant music (thanks to T-Bone Burnett) it feels utterly unique. There's a wonderful central performance from Oscar Isaacs too.
3) The Punk Singer
Years in the making (and part funded by Kickstarter) the story of Kathleen Hanna is so much more than a cautionary tale about modern celebrity. The woman who inspired Kurt Cobain to write Smells Like Teen Spirit was also the guiding force behind Riot Grrrl (the DIY punk movement that questioned the patriarchy in the modern world) but her disappearance from the public eye in 2005 was shroued in mystery. A thrilling look at one of the most inspirational and militant figures in music.
4) Drinking Buddies
Trapped in the friend zone? This film is pretty much all about that. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson play co-workers who are close as close can be but are they too close? The ensemble (which includes Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston) play their parts in a naturalistic and semi-improvised way, as Mumblecore director Joe Swanberg expertly cranks up the will-they-or-won't-they-oh-just-get-on-with-it-already tension.
Matt Wolf’s engrossing documentary is based on Jon Savage’s history of the teenager. Using beautifully restored archive footage (and some faked old time-y shots), this film reveals how the concept of the teenager grew out of child labour breaking down, the economic crashes, Hilter Youth and more. You can find out more here