Wednesday, 14 October 2009

LFF1: Celeb-tastic!

The 53rd London Film Festival kicked off tonight in Leicester Square with a far more glamorous opening night than we've ever seen: a star-studded world premiere for Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox (comments below). The film was shown to the press early this morning, followed by a press conference with (left to right) Eric Anderson, Bill Murray, Wes Anderson, George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Wally Wolodarsky and Jarvis Cocker. They're sitting at the table with the figures of their characters in the film. And yes, it was a pretty raucous session, with the always likeable Clooney fielding most of the questions and the hilariously deadpan Murray keeping everyone laughing.

Over the next 16 days, there will be more than 300 films and shorts screened at venues around the city. And this year there's an unusual number of massive movies with attending star power. Clooney will be back two more times - for The Men Who Stare at Goats tomorrow and Up in the Air on Sunday. We've got Viggo Mortensen on Friday with The Road, Julianne Moore with Chloe, Clive Owen with The Boys Are Back, and filmmakers like Michael Haneke, Gaspar Noe, Frederick Wiseman, Cristian Mungiu and Tom Ford. to name a few. I'll be blogging every day with comments and reviews - and I'll try to snap press conference/celebrity photos (like the above) whenever I can.

Fantastic Mr Fox
dir Wes Anderson; with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray 09/UK ***
The beloved Roald Dahl book has been transformed into a Wes Anderson movie complete with wacky capers, silly swearing and a story that centres around a quirky dysfunctional family. That's not to say it's a bad thing! It's great fun to watch, packed with hilarious dialog and witty sight gags. And the stop-motion animation is simply spectacular, harking back to a slightly jerkier age when things looked a bit more stiff, and yet were much more full of character detail, emotion and pure visual invention. But by shifting Dahl's tone, the film feels far more pleased with itself than it should be - sunny and silly and ultimately rather weightless.

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