In the first part of a new series, Pete Turner brings you details of the best new British films hitting cinemas next month…
October is always an exciting time for British cinema with the blockbuster season over, Halloween approaching and the London Film Festival bringing world cinema to the capital, as well as shining a much needed light on Britain’s talent.
Of course October 2012 also sees the return of a certain very British, very popular icon to cinema screens. You know the name. You know the number. More on him later…
But first let’s take a look at some of the other British films fighting for your hard earned pounds this month. Speaking of a certain super spy, first up is a documentary released to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of his cinematic outings. Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 charts the 50 years since Mr Bond first hit screens in Dr No in 1962. Odeon cinemas will be giving the film a limited release on October 5th and fans will no doubt be desperate to catch the nostalgic trip through one of the most successful film franchises (and longest running) ever made. With unprecedented access to key players and to Eon Productions’ extensive archive, the documentary focuses on three men key to the success of the franchise, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming. Director Stevan Riley looks beyond the films to reveal the changing social and political context that Bond has always reflected. This is definitely one for those that can’t wait till the end of the month for their Bond fix.
Jack O’Connell (haven’t heard of him? You will…) continues his steady rise to fame in October’s release of the second Michael Morpurgo adaptation of the year after Steven Spielberg’s War Horse hit UK cinemas in January. Private Peaceful is an independent production and a classic rites of passage story of two brothers and their teenage love for the same girl. It also deals with the pressures of their feudal family life, the horrors and folly of war and the ultimate price of courage and cowardice. It promises to be gritty and realistic (well, as much as the 12 rating will allow) in its depiction of the WW1 battlefields, but also feature love in the fields of Devon and colourful performances from British stage and screen stalwarts, Richard Griffiths and Maxine Peake. After seeing Jack O’Connell in the likes of Eden Lake and This is England, as well as a bigger role as a menacing thug in the recent Tower Block, Private Peaceful will be interesting to see how he handles a lighter leading role. It’s out October 12th.
Then there’s the quirky little indie known as Skyfall. No it’s not really quirky or little. Skyfall might be directed by the guy who made American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, but it’s still the return of none other than Bond. James Bond. British director Sam Mendes taking the reigns of the franchise is the absolute most exciting thing that has ever happened to it. Surrounding himself with the likes of Director of Photography Roger Deakins and filling the role of the villain with Javier Bardem just adds to the anticipation of this next Bond adventure. It’s out October 26th and it would be a shame not to see it on the biggest screen you can find.
As for those lucky enough to have access to the London Film Festival this year, keep your eyes peeled for the return of horror director Ben Wheatley with his new dark comedy Sightseers. A couple of odd campers turn natural born killers in the Yorkshire Dales with amusingly grim results. It follows Wheatley’s last success with the baffling but brilliant Kill List and looks set to continue his career as a master masher of genres.
The festival will also include screenings of My Brother the Devil and Seven Psychopaths, the work of two more British directors to watch out for. The former deals with the very close to home issues of being a teenage British Arab on the mean streets of Hackney and looks set to confront issues of prejudice, race and sexuality in a well-acted drama. Seven Psychopaths on the other hand, is the re-teaming of Colin Farrell with director Martin McDonagh after their success with the cult hit In Bruges. It may be set in California and feature Woody Harrelson in a starring role but it should maintain the same British sense of humour that made In Bruges such a guilty pleasure in 2008.
Let us know what British films you will be watching this month in the comments below and watch out for November’s Best of British at the end of October.