LFF 2017 Highlights Part 1

It is just about half way through the BFI London Film Festival, and there have been some great films shown. Here are some LFF 2017 highlights from the first week of screenings…

LFF 2017 Highlights – Unmissable

Call Me By Your Name

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is undoubtedly one of the most romantic films of the year. Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chamalet, the film offers wonderful storytelling, beautiful imagery, and great performances. READ MORE

Mudbound

Dee Rees’ Mudbound is a film with heart. The screenplay has a poetic quality, and is ably backed up by Rees’ directing and performances from the talented cast. READ MORE

Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary’s feature debut perfectly balances comedy with a sweet and sincere tale. Brigsby Bear is very, very funny without diminishing its dark premise. Co-writer and star Kyle Mooney stands out in particular. READ MORE

LFF 2017 Highlights – Best of the Rest

Spoor

Agnieszka Holland’s wonderful Spoor blends mystery and comedy with a thriller to create a rather memorable film. With a great central performance from Agnieszka Mandat, Spoor is a very enjoyable film. READ MORE

Wonderstruck

Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Brian Selznick’s novel is the right kind of whimsy. Transporting the audience to the New York of the 1920s and 1970s, Wonderstruck features some great performances. READ MORE

Ingrid Goes West

Aubrey Plaza shines as a social media-obsessed young woman in Ingrid Goes West. Matt Spicer’s debut is achingly contemporary and a lot of fun. READ MORE

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent blends technical achievement with an engaging narrative. Marvel at the hand drawn animation in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, whilst learning about his final days. READ MORE

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Noah Baumbach delivers yet again, with the brilliantly The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). The film features an enviable cast, and includes Adam Sandler’s best performance for years. READ MORE

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 4th-15th October 2017. See the full programme here.

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

Director Dave McCary’s feature debut Brigsby Bear is a funny and surprisingly heart-warming film. McCary and writers Kevin Costello and Kyle Mooney get the tone right. 

James is obsessed with children’s television show Brigsby Bear. The show abruptly ends when James’ life changes drastically. Nevertheless, he sets out

Given the subject matter, there are a number of ways in which the film could have gone wrong. Thankfully, the filmmakers get it right; towing a line between emotional and humorous. Brigsby Bear is funny without diminishing what is a dark premise. 

Jokes in the film hit the mark. Some of the humour is outlandish, but always funny. There a several laugh out loud moments. The screenplay does not simply rely on comedy however. The film has a sweetness that is endearing. The writers and director manage to create a film that is both funny and sweet, but never over sentimental.  

Protagonist James is charming to watch thanks to his naivety and enthusiasm. The concept of the television show is ripe for humour. Filmmakers acknowledge dark side to the narrative without sobering the tone too significantly. The relationships that James develops are a joy to watch, particularly friendship with Spence and his developing relationship with Aubrey. 

Co-writer Kyle Mooney delivers a great central performance as James. Mark Hamill, Ryan Simpkins, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. are also good. The rendering of VHS footage is a nice touch. Many viewers will be able to identify with nostalgia factor of the television show, but probably not quite to this degree. 

Brigsby Bear offers a sweet story which tackles a potentially harrowing subject in a way that gives joy and laughter, as well as a suitable arc for the protagonist. The film is a great watch. 

Brigsby Bear is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.