LFF Day 6 – The Party | The Endless | Custody | AlphaGo | Person to Person

The Party

Writer-director Sally Potter has assembled an all-star cast too numerous to bother typing out for what is a sharp, short (71 minute) comedy that takes place in one middle-class house. With its single setting and a plot delivered purely through dialogue it isn’t hard to image The Party unfolding on-stage rather than in crisp black and white on-screen.

The film moves at a moderate pace and the dialogue is frequently witty and wry. As in all good comedy plays the initial decorum gradually unravels as revelations cause people to lose their cool and relax what little filters that started the evening with. Each character is delightfully hypocritical as we listen to half a dozen middle-class liberals fail to live up to their own moral standards.

A brief but enjoyable affair which is all leading up to a final punchline that will deliver a satisfying chuckle. The cost per minute is high so perhaps one to watch at home?

The Party screens at the festival on 10th and 11th October and then opens in UK cinemas from 13th October.

The Endless

Directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead were last at the London Film Festival with their excellent Spring, a genre hopping romance, and this year return with a film they not only direct but star in as two brothers.

The brothers in question live miserable lives having escaped from a cult years ago and failed to integrate fully into society since. After receiving a mysterious videotape they decide to return to their formal cult for a visit to get some closure. Back at the cult they find everyone alive, well, and completely unchanged since the brothers left.

As the brothers gradually uncover the mystery lying behind the cult the film morphs out of the genre you thought you were watching and into something entirely different. Films like the recent Coherence come to mind as a similarly unpredictable and uncategorisable bedfellow.

There are lots of things about The Endless that really should not work, including some clumsy exposition, but Benson and Moorhead give such authentic performances that the rest of the film just falls into place. I can’t wait to see what new fever dream they come up with next.

The Endless screens at the festival on 10th, 11th, and 15th October.

Custody

Debut writer-director Xavier Legrand has created an unbelievably tense 90 minute drama set in the aftermath of a messy divorce and during the tricky first few weeks of a new custody arrangement.

The wife (Léa Drucker) wants nothing to do with her former husband (Denis Ménochet) and has done everything she can to keep him out of her life with claims that he is abusive. Stuck in the middle of this emotional tug of war is their young son (Thomas Gioria) who now must spend every other weekend suffering an awkward handover between his parents.

I won’t say any more about the plot but the film is a painfully suspenseful and difficult to watch ordeal. Everything is perfectly performed and executed but the experience is every bit as unpleasant as it should be.

A masterpiece I will never watch again.

Custody screens at the festival on 11th and 14th October.

AlphaGo

Go is an ancient Chinese board game with more possible board combinations than there are atoms in the universe. Some humans have mastered the game well enough to make their livings as celebrity Go world champions but it was always thought that computers would never be able to master a game with so many possible ways to play.

Meanwhile… Google’s DeepMind team were looking for a challenge and built a machine learning algorithm called AlphaGo with the intent that if it was fed enough information about past games, and taught the rules of Go, it could slowly learn how to play better than any human.

Last year in Seoul AlphaGo took on world champion Go player Lee Sedol in a best out of five game of Go. This documentary follows the journey of a group of programmers in the UK as they build an AI and take it to Korea to defeat a man whose life is built on the ancient game. The result is a gripping sports drama filled with beautiful nerds that celebrates determination, ingenuity, and shows that AI is unlikely to take over the world any time soon.

Absolutely brimming with charm and best watched not knowing the outcome of last year’s battle of human vs. algorithm.

AlphaGo screens at the festival on 11th October.

Person to Person

Not everyone is going to love Person to Person as the plot is secondary to the characters that scattered across this 16mm shot ensemble piece. The result of watching it will either be frustration that your time has been wasted, or delight at the time you’ve spent in this film’s warm embrace.

The effect of having been shot on 16mm gives the film a timeless quality allowing it to easily fit into 70s cinematic canon despite the presence of mobile phones and the internet. Something about this visual softness endeared the film to me and I fell fully for its easy charms.

There are a few plots to choose from here; a new shirt, leaked nudes, a murder/suicide, a broken watch, a new friendship, and a rare vinyl. None are particularly important and all are portrayed with dry wit and charm. A particular highlight is Abbi Jacobson as a trainee journalist studying under the seasoned pro of Michael Cera.

I can understand someone watching this New York set collage and finding it incredibly frustrating, slow, and inconsequential but I love its lightweight approach to storytelling and would happily watch hours more in this warm universe.

Person to Person screens at the festival on 11th October.

Infrequently Asked Questions 2012

Shame Full Frontal

People of the internet find Mild Concern through a wide variety of search terms and one of the more curious ways I spend my time is keeping an eye on what people Google to end up on this humble blog. I do feel sorry for a large number of Googlers when I can see that they aren’t going to find what they searched for here.

By far the most popular unsuccessful search the film fans of the world embarked on was trying to find some images of the nudity in Shame. They wanted to see Michael Fassbender and, to a lesser extent, Carey Mulligan in the all-together and were surely disappointed to find not a single bit of genitalia on display. I apologise to you, the internet, and to make it up to you I will now answer a selection of questions people entered into Google in 2012 which led them erroneously to Mild Concern. Now if they do their search again their questions will be answered.

All of these questions are genuine, and tell you a lot about the world today…

Is The Skin I Live In in English? No, it is in Spanish and is not for the squeamish.

How old is Yoda’s actor now? Frank Oz is 68.

Is that a wig? No, my hair is all natural.

Is there nudity in 388 Arletta Avenue? No. It does contain “one scene of strong gore and horror”.

How many times is “Harry Potter” said in the movies? I counted 107 but then I did fall asleep a lot.

Is Die Hard a survival movie? I guess so… although I’d say a survival movie would be someone battling against nature or the supernatural not Alan Rickman with a dodgy accent.

Is Cool Runnings a Christmas film? It is in my family.

Why is Rupert Giles called Ripper? Giles gained the nickname Ripper in his younger days when dabbling in the dark arts with five friends. Presumably it is an allusion to Jack the Ripper.

When is Fast Girls out on DVD? It’s out! Sorry we didn’t get to this question sooner.

Where was We Built a Zoo filmed? We Bought a Zoo was filmed in California.

Heroes Season 3 what is with Claire’s hair? Hayden Panettiere cut her hair and so had to wear a terrible, terrible wig.

What is the twist in Cabin in the Woods? There isn’t one.

What episodes of Misfits have sex in them? A lot of them so I wouldn’t watch if you’re too prudish nor skip any episode for fear of a sex deficit.

What football team does Nicholas Hoult support? I don’t know. I’m really sorry.

Who is on the front of After Porn Ends? Mary Carey

Why do people like Doctor Who? It is scary, funny, and has a lot of heart. Also, Karen Gillan is hot.

Is the Life of Pi film made not in non 3D? It was made in 3D so… yes? 3D is not in non 3D.

Why don’t people like Dr Who? They find it childish, silly, and irritating? Stephen knows.

Does After Porn Ends have nudity? Yes. Not one for the family.

How big is Kevin Smith’s fan base approximately? He has over 2 million Twitter followers and one fan who thinks I am a parasite.

How violent is Sightseers? Violent in short bursts with plenty of blood and caved-in skulls. All the deaths are swift though, this is no Hostel.

What happened to Cameron Crowe? He returned! With We Bought a Zoo and Pearl Jam Twenty. I saw neither.

How accurate is Lawless movie? It doesn’t matter, the film is boring as hell.

Is Ethan Hunt married in Ghost Protocol? Yes, to Julia Meade played by Michelle Monaghan.

Is Michael Cera mean? He seems lovely.

Is NOW TV worth it? Certainly not. Though they provide lots of lovely cocktails.

What is the guy’s name from Footloose that plays on Third Rock from the Sun? John Lithgow

Where can I see the complete pilot episode of BBC Lizzie and Sarah? Nowhere legal I’m afraid. Ask your most internet savvy friend and see if they can help.

Is there a disorder consisting of rape, dismembering, necrophilia, and cannibalism? I don’t think that is a disorder. That is you doing unthinkable sexual things to someone before and after killing them and then eating the remains. GET HELP!

How violent is the film I, Anna? “In one scene of violence a man and woman fight before a heavy ornament is used to strike a blow to the head. In another scene the victim of a violent death is found lying on a heavily bloodstained carpet with a bloodied face.”

What is pyjamas party? Attractive young women spend the night together gossiping, playing games, and fighting with pillows in slow motion and skimpy pyjamas. That or you stay up all night watching films at the Prince Charles cinema.

What’s the film about couple gets handcuffed together at a music festival? You Instead

I hope that clears things up. (If you want to see Fassbender’s penis Google will show it to you. The thing terrifies me.)

Three More for the Scott Pilgrim List

Because Monday’s post took a lot of work and was one of our least popular ever I felt the need to follow it up with three more things to do to pass the time before we get Scott Pilgrim in cinemas.

8. Watch the Cast Do Hundred of Interviews on Youtube

Thanks to the film being so close to being released over in the United States Micheal Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzmann and Anna Kendrick are doing the rounds on US talk shows. Worth it just to see Winstead trying to match Ramona’s expression.

9. Watch the Animated Prequel

The world’s movie blog with the worst tagline has the first clip from an animated short of Scott Pilgrim from Adult Swim. The short details some of Scott earlier days that were featured in the comics but didn’t make the film. Cera plays Scott while Whitman and Schwartzmann play different roles to their characters from the film. It’ll be on TV on the 12th so expect it online soon after.

10. Watch Joe Cornish Interview Edgar Wright

Another one for those of the London disposition. On Tuesday 17th August at the BFI Southbank Joe Cornish will be interviewing Edgar Wright about his career to date and looking into the future. Expect some Antman revelations and maybe a clip or two from his career so far.

Guaranteed this post will get less hits than the time I pretended Edgar was having an affair with a man.

Blah Blah Trailer Blah Blah Pilgrim

I tried to stop myself I honestly did. I at least refuse to embed the new Scott Pilgrim trailer and will hide the madness under a cut. What follows is a sequel to our previous screencap happy post.
Continue reading

Scott Pilgrim Trailer Highlights

This was a good bank holiday weekend for Scott Pilgrim fans as 6 new posters debuted at MCM Expo and a new trailer launched online after 100,000 people became fans of the official facebook page. If you haven’t seen the new trailer watch it below then click on in for my favourite bits from the two trailers. It’s getting image heavy in here!

Now let’s look at those highlights… Continue reading