All you movie lovers out there must be bubbling over with excitement, for October is the highlight of London’s cinematic year — yes, the BFI London Film Festival hits town! For two weeks our cinemas are brim full of the very best new, critically acclaimed films that 2015 has to offer with plenty of stuff connected to the capital. Hopefully you were organised and sourced your tickets early but if not, don’t worry, for some of the festival’s top gala films also go on general release this month, so you still have a chance to feast at the top table. Here’s our London-y pick of October’s top new releases.
By Our Selves — London talent, London set
Director: Andrew Kotting Certificate: tbc Release Date: 2 October 2015
Stars: Toby Jones, Freddie Jones, A Straw Bear
If the London Film Festival's a little too mainstream for you and you prefer to spend your Friday nights with a French New Wave box set, longing for the days pre-Nordic Noir when the Great Unwashed would rather stick forks in their eyes than watch anything subtitled, rejoice, for By Our Selves ticks all your obscure, avant-garde boxes. The marvellous Toby Jones and his real life father Freddie Jones, a family born and bred in Hammersmith, star in this frankly bizarre ‘documentary’ that retraces a four day walk from Epping Forest originally taken by poet John Clare. Daddy Freddie narrates whilst son Toby walks, pursued by a giant straw bear. Naturally.
Sicario — London talent
Director: Denis Villeneuve Certificate: 15 Release Date: 8 October 2015
Stars: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room. London born Emily Blunt has renounced our fair capital to instead take up US citizenship. But before we judge too harshly, it seems she herself may be ruing that decision, having recently come under fire for joking “what have I done?” after watching the recent Republican debate. That aside, Ms Blunt is clearly on a bit of an action heroine roll, building on the recent success of Edge Of Tomorrow by taking on the role of an FBI agent tackling the drugs war on the US / Mexico border. Already receiving stonking critical reviews, it seems Emily has found her movie niche, if not her political one.
Suffragette — London talent; London Film Festival Gala
Director: Sarah Gavron Certificate: 12A Release Date: 9 October 2015
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Anne Marie Duff, Meryl Streep
A hotbed of local talent (plus Meryl Streep) head up the much anticipated Suffragette, selected as the London Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala, no less. Fiercely talented Londoner Carey Mulligan takes the lead, adding to her admirable ‘strictly-strong-women-only’ list of roles. Hollywood sexism be damned, Carey aint never playing some feeble token love-interest. Emily Pankhurst would be very proud.
Crimson Peak — London talent
Director: Guillermo del Toro Certificate: 15 Release Date 16 October 2015
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver
Continuing on the feminist tip, we’re delighted to see Londoner Tom Hiddleston doing his bit for the equality cause. Our Tom sportingly gets his birthday suit out in Crimson Peak, to help “redress the balance” of there being far more naked ladies on film. What a decent chap. And if Tom’s booty isn’t reason enough to go see, it’s from acclaimed auteur Guillermo ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ del Toro to, err, boot.
Pan 3D — London talent, London set
Director: Joe Wright Certificate: PG Release Date: 16 October 2015
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund, Cara Delevingne
Got pint-sized Londoners to entertain over the autumn half-term holidays? London born director Joe Wright presents his take on JM Barrie’s classic, Peter Pan, filmed partly in the capital and also in 3D to push up ticket prices give the kiddiewinks even more of a treat. Cara Delevigne, party-girl-about-town turned critics-new-favourite-actress, puts her flowing locks to good use as the mermaid.
The Program — London talent; London Film Festival Gala
Director: Stephen Frears Certificate: 15 Release Date: 16 October 2015
Stars: Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Guilaume Canet, Jesse Plemons
Hot on the pedals of the Tour Of Britain’s final stage in London comes Stephen Frear’s biopic of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Having cut his teeth as an assistant director at Sloane Square’s Royal Court Theatre, Mr Frears has gone on to produce some memorable character studies in recent years, from The Queen to Philomena. With Ben Foster transforming himself into an absolutely uncanny likeness of Armstrong, we’re sure this won’t disappoint.
Superbob — London talent, London set
Director: Jon Drever Certificate: 12A Release Date: 16 October 2015
Stars: Brett Goldstein, Catherin Tate, Natalia Tena
Finally, London has its own action hero! Filmed in mockumentary style and almost entirely in Peckham (inspired by Delboy’s classic Batman & Robin shenanigans, perhaps?) it’s a surreal tale of Superbob getting ready for his first date in three years, whilst simultaneously trying to prevent World War Three. Which is very impressive, but what we REALLY want to know is can he make the trains run on time? First things first.
The Lobster — London Film Festival Gala
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos Certificate: 15 Release Date: 16 October 2015
Stars: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen, Ben Whishaw
AKA The Hot Ticket. Time-poor Londoners are no strangers to non-traditional dating methods. Should you yourself currently be involved in such a scheme, we respectfully suggest you may wish to give The Lobster a miss for fear of emotional trauma. Set in the dystopian near future, it imagines a world where singletons are arrested, transported to a disturbing hotel and given 45 days to find a ‘mate’. Should they not succeed, they are turned into animals and turfed into the woods. It went down an absolute storm at Cannes, winning the Jury prize and, far more importantly, the Palm Dog.
Spectre — London talent, London Set
Director: Sam Mendes Certificate: TBC Release Date: 23 October 2015
Stars: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Christoph Waltz
If you don’t know about this one, you must be clinically dead. Either that or it’s time to consider moving out from under that rock, even if it is less than £200 per week. Yes, for a shameful number of you this’ll be the first time you were in a cinema since Skyfall. And you won’t be back there again till Bond 25 hits the Imax. Don’t pretend you only go to keep your nan company.
Brand: A Second Coming — London Film Festival Gala
Director: Ondi Timoner Certificate: TBC Release Date: 23 October 2015
Stars: Russell Brand
Currently usurped in the liberal-lefty-beardy stakes by Jeremy Corbyn, the motor mouth with the messiah complex seeks to regain his crown with this biographical, stand-up based review of his life. Moving from Essex to London at an early age, then discovering acting at the Italia Conti drama school, you doubtless have your own opinion as to whether Essex’s loss was our capital’s gain. Either way, it would certainly be a quieter place without him.
By Ruth Sloss