Tuesday, 21 October 2008

LFF6: The backlog

OK, I know it's only Day 6 of the London Film Festival, but the dreaded festival backlog has already set in. This is the point where you realise you're spending too much time watching films and not enough time writing about them - I have about 15 films that I've seen but haven't yet written reviews of. And I have four more films today - when will I be able to write? Of course, it'll only get worse over the next 10 days, but that's the point, eh?

Meanwhile, last night's red carpet glamourpusses included Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Gwyneth Paltrow (Two Lovers) and Thandie Newton (W). Some festival highlights yesterday and today...

Sunshine Barry and the Disco Worms ***
Offbeat animation from Denmark, this lively and very silly film has pretty apallingly messy animation, even though the characters themselves are cute. What saves this story of a loser who forms a band with his pals is the music itself: all the classic tunes are here, and keep our toes tapping right through to the big finale.

Uprise [A Zona] ***
Portuguese director Sandro Aguilar's experimental examination of grief and tragedy is an extremely difficult piece of cinema - a virtually silent collection of swirling images that suggest moods and connections without ever making anything clear. This deliberate vagueness will alienate most viewers, although cinema fans will enjoy the ethereal quality of the film, plus the striking cinematography and clever editing.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil ****
Documenting the strange journey of Canada's heavy metal veterans, this film is like a true version of Spinal Tap as it follows two guys (Lips Kudlow and Robb Reiner) who have been hugely influential throughout their business but have never found the fame or fortune that their contemporaries have. It's also thoroughly hilarious, as Lips and Robb couldn't be better movie characters if someone had made them up.

Il Divo ***
This ambitious Italian drama traces government corruption on a grand scale, with a bewildering number of characters and complex interrelationships only a student of 1990s Italian politics could keep straight. But it's also a beautifully made film, with solid acting and some surprising emotional scenes along the way.

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