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LFF 2016: Take Another Five

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With just 3 days to go until the 60th BFI London Film Festival begins, Kat Kourbeti picks her top 5 from the festival’s illustrious lineup.

Like Freda before me, I had a hard time picking just five films out of this year’s incredible LFF programme. Between the headline Galas, the 10 different strands of 30 films each, and the competing features, first features, and documentaries, there are 248 films to choose from – and each one looks as tempting as the others… and this is before we even start counting the shorts!

But fear not, the Movie Marker team is here to help you whittle out the best of the best. I’ve scoured the programme and colour-coded each of my favourite films until I found them: the five singular most exciting features that you simply cannot miss at this year’s festival.

In no particular order, here we go:

Personal Shopper.  (Watch the trailer here.)

Personal Shopper - LFF 2016

A movie with Kristen Stewart playing someone’s personal shopper during Paris Fashion Week already sounds good; she kinda had a similar turn in The Clouds of Sils Maria, her last collaboration with director Oliver Assayas, in which she played the chilled-out PA to Juliette Binoche’s strung-out diva actress.

But wait – Stewart’s character can see ghosts, and she seems to be haunted by her dead twin, and the whole thing is more of a supernatural thriller and less about fashion or, in fact, shopping. The combination of Stewart and Assayas already works, and this ghostly twist is the perfect element to lift an ordinary story into something potentially magnificent.

I mean, it got booed at Cannes, so that’s probably a good thing, right?

The film screens as part of the Dare strand, on the 10th, 11th, and 13th October.

Arrival. (Watch the trailer here.)

Amy Adams (right) as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

The newest from Denis Villeneuve, who became one of my absolute favourite directors after Sicario and Prisoners, Arrival is a sci-fi first-contact type story. Think, well, Contact, or Close Encounters, or that one TV show that could’ve been great but wasn’t, V: aliens arrive on Earth, we don’t know what they want, in fact we can’t seem to communicate with them. It falls to a team made up of experts in different fields to figure out how best to initiate a conversation. Will they understand our language? Will they respond to numbers, mathematics, physics? Or perhaps something more violent?

Featuring an excellent cast (Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forrest Whittaker lead), based on an excellent short story titled “Story of Your Life” (which you can read here – beware of spoilers!) and made with love by Villeneuve and his long-time collaborators, production designer Patrice Vermette, editor Joe Walker, and composer Johann Johannsson, this looks unbelievably exciting.

Screening as the Royal Bank of Canada Gala, Arrival can be seen on the 10th, 11th, and 13th October.

Nocturnal Animals. (Watch the trailer here.)

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS - LFF 2016

Another film with Amy Adams in it, Nocturnal Animals is the newest from fashion designer and film director Tom Ford, whose last film A Single Man is probably one of the most beautiful and most devastating films you’ll ever see.

Following a criss-crossing triple timeline, the story invites us into the life of Susan, an accomplished gallery director who receives a manuscript for a novel from her ex-husband, and begins to read it. Alternating between “reality”, the fictional world of the novel, and Susan’s memories of her first marriage, we begin to question who Susan is supposed to identify with in her ex-husband’s book: the victim, or the perpetrator? What exactly did she do to him, and why did he send her this manuscript, all these years later?

I’m personally most looking forward to the soundtrack from the incredible Abel Korzeniowski, who penned the score for A Single Man as well as the hit series Penny Dreadful. If the music in the film’s trailer is any indication, this will be another one to add to the collection.

Another Headline Gala, Nocturnal Animals screens on the 14th, 15th, and 16th October.

Your Name. (Watch the trailer here.)

Your Name - LFF 2016

This is the first ever animated film to be entered into the official competition for Best Feature Film at LFF. From genius animator Makoto Shinkai, who is considered by many to be the heir to Hayao Miyazaki, and whose 5 Centimeters Per Second is already one of the most well-known anime films in the world, comes a story about a comet and two young people who appear to be joined in their dreams.

Mitsuha and Taki are two students from very different parts of Japan. The passing of a comet only visible once every one thousand years triggers a strange phenomenon, where the two begin to dream of each other, and experience each other’s surroundings as if they’d exchanged bodies somehow. Leaving messages to each other on smartphones, they arrange to meet so they can solve this mystery – all the while with this great comet slashing the sky above with light, both ominous and awe-inspiring.

Again, there is a slight sci-fi/supernatural twist which gives this story the oomph it needs to truly soar. With Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiraishi in the title roles and music by the rock bad RADWIMPS, this looks set to become another anime classic akin to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

You can catch this gem on the 14th, 15th, and 16th October.

A Monster Calls. (Watch the trailer here.)

A Monster Calls - LFF 2016

Definitely the film I’m looking forward to the most, A Monster Calls is the long-awaited adaptation of Patrick Ness’ incredible novel of the same title, about Conor, a bullied boy who is losing his mother to cancer, and who is visited in the night by a monster who calls himself The Green Man.

But Conor isn’t afraid of him. He isn’t even afraid of the bullies who make his life a living hell at school. No, Conor is afraid of the dream he’s been having ever since his mom got ill. The same dream, again and again, terrifying him awake every single morning. The Green Man tells Conor three stories, about people who called on him for help, before calling on the boy to tell him a fourth – the scariest of all stories: the truth.

Made by the team behind Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan Labyrinth, with Liam Neeson as The Green Man, Felicity Jones as Conor’s mother, and Sigourney Weaver as Conor’s grandmother, and adapted for the screen by Patrick Ness himself, this looks set for awards season (mark my words!) and the hearts of everyone everywhere.

Screening first as the May Fair Hotel Gala, you can see A Monster Calls on the 6th, 7th, and 11th of October, ahead of its January release (like I said: awards season!).

LFF2016

So that’s my list of 5 unmissable films at LFF 2016. Explore the programme for yourself and book your tickets here, and let us know which films you’re most looking forward to in the comments!

Kat is a film critic and novelist based in London. She makes video blogs about film on her YouTube channel, Cinescapist TV, and contrary to what her accent might suggest, is not from North America. You can follow her on Twitter and Letterboxd @kourkat.

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Venice, Cannes, London, Wherever: Film Festival Tips

A film festival veteran, Rehna Azim gives her tips on how to survive at film festivals wherever you are in the world.

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Film Festival Tips Movie Marker

I suppose I can be called a film festival veteran now. I’ve covered enough of them over the best part of a decade to be able to pass some, hopefully, useful tips on to those who might find themselves at one of the many film festivals that seem to spring up every 15 minutes. There’s a festival for everyone and pretty much everything. A fan of Korean cinema? You’ll find a festival in London. Sci-fi freak? Horror fanboy/girl? Gay, lesbian? Woman over 40? Someone somewhere will be running a festival of films you’ll love. Even towns you weren’t sure had a cinema seem to have a festival going on.

The biggies in Europe of course are Cannes and Berlin with London coming up in recent years. San Sebastien is growing in stature and there’s Ghent, Locarno, Edinburgh and many more. Wherever it is and whatever crowd it’s for, festivals are big business and popular. So here’s how to make the most of them:

Make sure your stomach is full and your bladder empty. The bigger the festival, the longer the queues and the more uncomfortable you’ll feel as you line up with a cast of hundreds to watch the latest gem from that Bulgarian auteur you thought only you loved. A film festival will draw a cine literate crowd that will fight you to the death for the last seat in the house. (At Cannes earlier this year, journalists almost came to fisticuffs in the huge, sprawling line that waited to catch the pearls of wisdom that fell from Christopher Nolan’s lips). A couple of years ago there was an angry stamping of feet as La La Land was, inexplicably, put on a small screen that couldn’t possibly accommodate all those who wanted to see it. At Venice earlier this month the lines stretched out perilously close to the canals. So you see, if you’re serious about festivaling, like a Boy Scout, you always have to be prepared. You simply can’t take the chance of popping away for 10 minutes to grab a quick burger or spend a penny. Go before you come, as it were. Carry a snack with you in your bag (trust me, even that festering flapjack at the bottom will seem enticing when you’re starving during a 3 hour long Ingmaar Bergman retrospective. Keep a small bottle of water with you at all times, not least to avoid the headaches that dehydration can cause.

Sacrifice glamour for comfort. Unless you’re going to a red carpet premiere, wear sensible shoes you can run between venues in. Layer your clothing. It doesn’t matter which city or country you’re in, you will either be too hot or too cold in whatever you wear. Taking something off or putting it on will be the best way to deal with whatever weather comes your way. I speak as someone who has been caught in sudden, monsoon level thunderstorms in both Venice and Cannes on brilliantly hot days when I was swanning around in skimpy summer dresses.

Film Festival Movie Marker

Plan your festival days. Screening times often overlap or just outright clash. Check the programme in advance, decide what you absolutely must see and what is a ‘if I have the time’ choice. Once you’ve made your choices, schedule your days accordingly. Those covering the festival for media outlets have to factor in interviews, talks and red carpet coverage as well as time to do the write-ups. It may seem like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs (did anyone’s grandmother actually ever do that) but sometimes the simplest, most obvious tips are the most helpful. I’ve known the super organised to create elaborate flow charts for their daily schedule but a simple list in a notebook will suffice.

Always keep a note pad and camera with you. Whether both are on your latest model phone or you have the old fashioned type, you will need them. Film festivals are exciting. Celebrities are swanning around everywhere, funny, interesting, record-able things are happening all the time and you will invariably meet people you want to stay in touch with. Writing a number or email address on the back of a receipt may seem a good idea at the time but you’ll never copy it out ‘properly’ into an address book. Most likely you’ll throw the receipt away when you’re next cleaning out your bag then spend hours rummaging through it later looking for the number of that nice agent/producer/actor/attractive person you met over drinks and really want to meet again. Network, make contacts, make friends. Festivals are fun!

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New entertainment platform CHILI launches in the UK

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Are you scrolling through the TV guide, trying to decide what to watch on your first night in for weeks, only to change your mind for the fourth time? Sounds tragically familiar, which is why I am very pleased to announce that European entertainment company CHILI have big plans for film and TV fans in the UK.

CHILI is a subscription-free entertainment platform that has launched in the UK after it’s recent success in Italy, racking up 1.6 million registered users since launching in 2012. Backed by the studios we all know and love, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox, the on-demand service offers an array of content available at the click of the button.

What makes this different from say, Netflix or Amazon? The website offers a huge range of films and TV shows, from foreign art house to big screen blockbusters – as well as being a one-stop show for cinema; there is a newshub to give you the low-down on all film and TV news, you can purchase physical movies, merchandise and tickets to the cinema all in one place. Founder and chief executive Giorgio Tacchia describes CHILI as an entertainment hub; with customers discovering a new movie or TV show that they love and then browsing the merchandise to see what’s in store. From Star Wars Lego sets to beautiful concept art books, there really is something for everyone.

The platform is also filled with new premieres, including Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, Marvel Studios’ Avengers Infinity War and Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon. Customers can choose the quality they want their digital purchase, or choose to order a Blu-Ray or DVD instead.

My favourite section is the ‘highlights’ page which tailors content around your preferences and also offers flash sales and offers of the week. And with your first film on them? That’s an offer I can’t refuse.

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Our weekly updated UK streaming listings for September 2018

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Between the increasing number of streaming platforms in our lives, there’s far too much great entertainment being released day after day for any sane person to keep track of. 

There’s streaming giant Netflix, the curated offerings of MUBI, all the latest releases on NOW TV, and online video emporium Amazon Prime. There’s something for everyone, on demand, just waiting to be selected. What a time to be alive!

But that doesn’t help when you’re looking for something to wile away the evening with, so let us lighten the load and make your viewing choice that little bit easier with our weekly updated round-up of everything being added to your favourite platform.

Saturday, September 1st

  • After the Sunset
  • Appaloosa
  • Birth
  • Cellular
  • Final Destination 3
  • Harold & Kumar Escape
  • Highwaymen
  • The Last Mimzy
  • Lost in Translation
  • The Man
  • Mr. Woodstock
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Pride and Glory
  • Rendition
  • Semi-Pro
  • Shoot Em Up
  • Silk

Sunday, September 2nd

  • The Green Inferno
  • The Way Back

Monday, September 3rd

  • Molly’s Game
  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)

Thursday, September 6th

  • Pistorius

Monday, September 10th

  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)

Friday, September 14th

  • Forever: Season 1

Monday, September 17th

  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Post
  • Suicide Squad

Wednesday, September 19th

  • The Commuter

Saturday, September 22nd

  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Get Smart
  • The Lake House
  • Lolita
  • Mortal Kombat
  • North by Northwest
  • Payback
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Soylent Green
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • The Towering Inferno

Sunday, September 23rd

  • Early Man

 

Wednesday, September 5th

  • Boro in the Box

Thursday, September 6th

  • Living Still Life

Friday, September 7th

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Saturday, September 8th

  • The Pleasure of Being Robbed

Sunday, September 9th

  • Tiny Furniture

Monday, September 10th

  • Went the Day Well?

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Champagne Charlie

Wednesday, September 12th

  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Thursday, September 13th

  • Disorder

Friday, September 14th

  • The Wild Boys

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Eros Plus Massacre

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Street Life

Thursday, September 20th

  • Tonsler Park

Sunday, September 23rd

  • The Things of Life

 

 

Saturday, September 1st

  • The Bletchley Circle: Season 1 
  • The Bletchley Circle: Season 2
  • Born to Be Blue
  • Gangs of New York
  • Gone
  • Killing Gunther
  • La Catedral del Mar
  • Legally Blondes
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
  • Marvel’s Iron Man
  • Marvel’s Iron Man 2
  • Marvel’s Iron Man 3
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Monkey Twins
  • Moonstruck
  • The Mummy
  • The Mummy Returns
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • RoboCop 2
  • Saw VI
  • Sisters

Sunday, September 2nd

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, September 3rd

  • The Debt Collector
  • Power: Season 5 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 4th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)

Wednesday, September 5th

  • The Hundred-Foot Journey

Thursday, September 6th

  • I Kill Giants
  • Inferno
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Atypical: Season 2
  • Cable Girls: Season 3
  • City of Joy
  • Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 2
  • The Most Assassinated Woman in the World
  • Next Gen
  • Shooter: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Sierra Burgess is a Loser
  • Stretch Armstrong & The Flex Fighters: Season 2

Saturday, September 8th

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)

Sunday, September 9th

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Wynonna Earp: Season 2

Monday, September 10th

  • Power: Season 5 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Daniel Sloss: Live Shows
  • Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
  • The Resistance Banker
  • The Square

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Burn After Reading
  • Call the Midwife: Season 6
  • Jane
  • On My Skin
  • Rex

Thursday, September 13th

  • Life Happens
  • Nowhere Boys: Two Moons Rising
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Friday, September 14th

  • American Vandal: Season 2
  • The Angel
  • Bleach
  • Boca Juniors Confidential
  • BoJack Horseman: Season 5
  • Car Masters: Rust to Riches
  • The Dragon Prince
  • Ingobernable: Season 2
  • The Land of Steady Habits
  • Last Hope
  • Shooter: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Super Monsters Monster Party: Songs

Saturday, September 15th

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)
  • Cabins in the Wild, with Dick Strawbridge: Season 1
  • The Hangover
  • How to Live Mortgage Free, with Sarah Beeny: Season 1
  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Queens vs. Kings: Season 1
  • Three Wives, One Husband: Season 1

Sunday, September 16th

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, September 17th

  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • D.L. Hughley: Contrarian

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Julieta

Thursday, September 20th

  • American Honey
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Friday, September 21st

  • Battlefish
  • Dragon Pilot: Hisone & Masotan
  • The Good Cop: Season 1
  • Hilda
  • Maniac
  • Nappily Ever After
  • Norsemen: Season 2
  • Quincy
  • Rafinha Bastos: Ultimate

Saturday, September 22nd

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)
  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Sunday, September 23rd

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

 

 

Saturday, September 1st

  • Braven

Sunday, September 2nd

  • The Little Hours

Monday, September 3rd

  • Guardians of the Tomb

Tuesday, September 4th

  • Chronically Metropolitan

Wednesday, September 5th

  • The Mimic

Thursday, September 6th

  • Singularity

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Final Score

Saturday, September 8th

  • The Disaster Artist

Sunday, September 9th

  • The Ballad of Lefty Brown

Monday, September 10th

  • Psych: The Movie

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Never Steady, Never Still

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Hatred

Thursday, September 13th

  • My Friend Dahmer

Friday, September 14th

  • Murder on the Orient Express

Saturday, September 15th

  • Oddsockeaters

Sunday, September 16th

  • The Forgiven

Monday, September 17th

  • Devil’s Gate

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Affairs of State

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Wings of Eagles

Friday, September 21st

  • All the Money in the World

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to check back each week for a fresh round of new releases for the UK on streaming platforms Amazon Prime, MUBI, NOW TV, and Netflix.

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