The 57th BFI London Film Festival is currently in full swing, following a grand opening with Paul Greengrass' much anticipated thriller Captain Phillips at Leicester Square last Wednesday.
Due to some recent travels, and the reason for the 1 month hiatus, I was unable to attend any screenings last week, but have made up for it this week with a new viewing every day joined by my stalwart comrade and brother, Charlie.
Although unable to obtain tickets for the Tom Hanks sandwich opening and closing the Festival - Saving Mr Banks has the curtain call - there are still a lot of brilliant films to enjoy for an array of different film fans. Here are the eight films I was lucky enough to get tickets for:
1. The Double - Based on Dostoyevsky's 1846 novella, Richard Ayoade's anticipated second feature after the weird and wonderful Submarine. Extremely atmospheric and intense, with a knockout performance(s) from Jesse Eisenburg, this is one of the most immersive indie film experiences I've ever had. (Monday)
2. Inside Llewyn Davis - The latest film from those maestros the Coen brothers is just sheer viewing pleasure, capturing the essence of 1960s Manhattan, and more specifically, the trials and tribulations of its titular character, a struggling folk singer trying to get by, with a mesmerising performance from Isaac Oscar, along with a list of ace supports. (Tuesday)
3. The Zero Theorem - Terry Gilliam's conclusion to his 'dystopia trilogy' (preceded by Brazil and Twelve Monkeys...) looks like a trademark flick from Gilliam's twisted mind, with a great ensemble cast including Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon, Peter Stormare, David Thewlis and Ben Whishaw. (Wednesday)
4. Kill Your Darlings - All grown-up and shaking off his Potter-past, Daniel Radcliffe stars as Allen Ginsberg, who alongside William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac is drawn into the aftermath and consequences of the murder of David Kammerer during the ensemble of the great 'Beat' movement. (Thursday)
5. Twelve Years a Slave - Hardly needing a synopsis, Steve McQueen's third feature (following Hunger and Shame) has already been shrouded in Oscar buzz. Based on the novel by it's focal character, the film sees Solomon Northup - a free black man - kidnapped and sold into twelve years of slavery. The film unites director with Michael Fassbender, alongside Brad Pitt, Beneditc Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor. (Friday)
6. The Invisible Woman - Ralph Fiennes assumes Director/Actor responsibilities again (as he did in Coriolanus) with this tale of Charles Dickens' secret mistress. Working from Abi Morgan's script based on Claire Tomalin's book, this is set to be a solid drama. (Saturday)
7. New World - Less mainstream than most of the above features, this South-Korean crime drama flows in the same vein as Infernal Affairs, as we follow the conflict between the police and the mob through the eyes of an undercover cop. Oldboy's Choi Min-sik takes centre stage as a dogged police handler. (Sunday)
8. Locke - Britain's Steven Knight has been a very busy boy, working on Hummingbird, Closed Circuit, Peaky Blinders and now Locke which sees Tom Hardy's Ivan Locke work through a series of dramas during a drive down the M6, with action exclusively restricted to inside the vehicle. (Sunday)
And that's what I've got going on this week; any comments about your own experiences at the 57th LFF would be most welcome, and if the week continues as it's started, then it's going to end very well.