This morning the BFI London Film Festival announced its line-up for 2015. While there was. Lot to look forward to, there were also some glaring omissions (does LFF not like Eddie Redmayne??).
Now I’ve had some time to digest the line-up, here’s my (and this is very subjective) list of 14 films to watch.
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel star in Paolo Sorrentino’s drama about a curmudgeonly retired composer and an elderly film director. It went down a storm at Cannes and the supporting cast includes Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda.
Saoirse Ronan leads the cast of drama based on Colm Toibin’s novel, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby. Eilis emigrates from Ireland to New York where she establishes a new life, but then family tragedy pulls her back home. I’m especially looking forward to Julie Walters as Eilis’ landlady.
12. Black Mass
I’m not a fan of violence on screen but I am intrigued by this real-life story of mobster turned FBI informant, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. Johnny Depp stars but it’s a stellar supporting cast including Benedict Cumberbatch (who’s expected at the gala screening on October 11) and Joel Egerton.
11. The Program
A couple of years ago I covered the red carpet for the LFF screening of Philomena. I got to chat to the film’s director Stephen Frears who was getting ready to shoot his new film, a biopic of Lance Armstrong. Well, this is it. Ben Foster stars as the cyclist in this drama which deals with his rise and fall and the journalist (Chris O’Dowd) who discovered his secret.
10. Live from New York
Sitting in LFF’s laugh strand, this documentary is a look at 40 years of the iconic Saturday Night Live. I honestly think it’s a must-watch for any comedy fan.
9. The Lady in the Van
Hands up who doesn’t love Dame Maggie Smith? Thought so… She stars as the titular character in this adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play – the true tale of Miss Shephard and how she spent 15 years living on Bennett’s driveway. Dame Maggie is expected to attend the screening so I imagine tickets will be pretty hard to get!
8. A Man for All Seasons
The BFI have restored 1966 drama following Henry VIII and Thomas Moore. I’ve only ever seen it on TV, but the chance to watch Paul Scofield deliver his tour-de-force turn as Moore shouldn’t be missed!
7. Elstree 1976
Well done BFI for choosing probably the most-timely documentary you’ll ever get to programme as part of the festival. If you’re not sure what Elstree 1976 is about, imagine a galaxy far, far away…. It features interviews with the bit-players of Star Wars (as well as Darth Vader himself, David Prowse).
At today’s launch the Festival’s Artistic Director was keen to stress this year’s Festival celebrates strong women. Well you can’t get much stronger than the women who fought for the right to vote. Starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, I think this will be the perfect choice to open this year’s festival.
I am so excited Grandma is in the line-up. Lily Tomlin is a wonderful actress and I can’t wait to see this road-trip comedy in which she plays a foul-mouthed poet in her 70’s driving her granddaughter through LA. There’s talk of a possible nomination for Tomlin…
4. Steve Jobs
I get very,very excited whenever Aaron Sorkin writes a new film. Then she. He joins up with fellow Oscar-winner Danny Boyle and the film stars Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet…well…I may explode!
Everyone I know is excited for Carol. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes’ live story about two women in 1950’s America. Can it live up to the hype?
I really wasn’t expecting to see Trumbo in the festival but I am so glad it is! Bryan Cranston stars as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who was blacklisted in Hollywood after refusing to testi in front of the Committee on Un-Americn activities. Helen Mirren co-stars the infamous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Both Cranston and Mirren are expected to attend the screening on October 8. Beg, borrow Nd steal a ticket.
It may not be everyone’s must-see film of the festival, but it is mine. Anything that looks at American politics and media will always catch my attention, and this film is based on a true story! Cate Blanchett stars as TV producer Mary Mapea who worked with veteran newsman Dan Rather on CBS’s iconic series, 60 Minutes. When their research team uncover descrepancies in George W Bush’s military records the pair go live with the story – but it’s election year and Republicans won’t stand for it… Blanchett stars alongside Robert Redford as Rather with support from Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace and Dennis Quaid.