Posted by: themoviecheese | October 29, 2015

Ten Must-See Films At This Year’s LEEDS FILM FESTIVAL

Ten Must-See Films At This Year’s LEEDS FILM FESTIVAL

As you all know, each year I attend the entirety of Leeds Film Festival, one of the biggest celebrations of film in the UK. The program they put together each year always brings a great mixture of old classics and cult films with a huge selection of innovative new features and shorts. This is my list of what I believe to be the most promising and “must see” films of the festival this year… (in no particular order)

10. Goodnight Mommy

Goodnight Mommy has possibly the scariest trailer in recent memory. It tells the story of two brothers waiting for their mother to return home after surgery. She returns – face all bandaged up – but the young boys begin to suspect she isn’t actually their mother. Just watch the trailer and tell me it’s not one of the creepiest fucking things you’ve ever seen.

9. Brooklyn & Carol

Brooklyn and Carol are the festival’s opening and closing films. Both films are set in the 1950s and deal with a theme of the difficulty of romance within that era. Both have also been receiving absolute rave reviews so far as well, with Brooklyn in particular currently holding a 100% rating on rottentomatoes.com. Huge Oscar contenders and featuring all star casts, with the likes of Saorse Ronan, Julie Walters, Cate Blanchet and Rooney Mara.

8. The Assassin

The Assassin is the latest film from visionary director Hsiao-Hsien Hou. Featuring astounding visuals shot within an odd 1.37:1 ratio, The Assassin has received great reviews from Cannes for it’s blistering visuals and martial arts poetry.

7. The Witch

If early reviews and that fucking trailer are anything to go by, then The Witch could very well be the very best horror film of 2015. The trailer is shrouded in absolute mystery and gives you a taste of how utterly depressing, yet enthralling the atmosphere will be.

6. Roar
Roar is a film I’ve wanted to see for years. Originally shot in 1981, Roar is a film that is rather difficult to explain. It tells the story of a quiet family home that is invaded by ferocious jungle beasts, such as lions…lots of fucking lions. The twist here is that all the animals are real, and more importantly, untrained. Director Noel Marshall thought it would be a good idea and make for a more interesting film that way. What results is a film that features actual genuine animal attacks. Most of the footage of people being mauled by lions are real. One of the reviews reads “It’s like Walt Disney went insane and shot a snuff version of Swiss Family Robinson”. Also, the trailer is freaking hilarious…

5. Victoria

I hadn’t actually heard of Victoria prior to watching the trailer at the LIFF Program Launch event, and that shocks me. Simply put, Victoria looks amazing. It’s a shot-in-one-take crime thriller that has been hailed as “Run Lola Run on even more crack”. The shot-in-one-take aspect here isn’t a gimmick either, it’s the genuine article. Whereas films like Hitchcock’s Rope and last year’s Birdman used various trickery to make the film merely seem like one take, Victoria genuinely is just one take, make even more amazing by the fact that the film is 2 hours and 20 minutes long!

4. Tag

This may be an acquired taste, but Tag is a must for me being the latest film from one of my favourite directors Shion Sono. Sono is one of the hardest working directors alive (he’s directed seven films this year alone), and like most of his films, Tag’s plot makes almost no sense what-so-ever. Something about a young girl who survives a bus being sliced in half, then being chased by a knife-wielding pig wearing a tuxedo? I dunno. Either way, I’m always in for a surreal treat when it comes to Sono, and I’m sure this will be no different.

3. Green Room

If I could only pick one film – just one – to watch during this year’s festival, Green Room would definitely be that film. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, the director of last year’s excellent revenge thriller Blue Ruin, Green Room features Patrick Stewart cast completely against type as a leader of a group of neo-nazi fascists and owner of a neo-nazi bar. When a young punk rock band play their usual anti-facism-themed music, all hell breaks loose and they end up trapped in this bizarre venue. Sounds pretty simple, but apparently there’s much MUCH more to this film than that simplistic sounding plot. Almost every single review for this film that I’ve read has told me not to watch any promotional material and not to read any spoiler ridden reviews. Funnily enough, there actually aren’t any trailers for Green Room available even if I did want to watch them. The only thing available is a short clip on YouTube that literally reveals nothing. That’s enough to ensure me that Green Room is the absolute number one must see film of the whole festival.

2. Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is being hailed as Kurt Russell’s big come back, along with Tarantino’s up and coming The Hateful Eight. Like that movie, Bone Tomahawk is also a western, but it’s a genre bending western that uses horror tropes to tell its story. The trailer looks great, and early reviews praise the performances and impeccible direction from S. Craig Zahler. It tells the story of a group of settlers who are kidnapped by a gang of vicious cannibals. Sherrif Hunt (Russell) gets together a team of gunslingers to set out to rescue them. With a great supporting cast including Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and grindhouse veteran/legend Sid Haig, Bone Tomahawk is a brutal and terrifying film that takes the concept of a John Wayne film and applies it to the Italian exploitation films of the 70s and 80s.

1. Black Mass

Most likely set to be the most popular film of the festival, Black Mass is the new gangster thriller from the director of Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace. It stars Johnny Depp in his first role in years that doesn’t require him to wear a face-full of prosthetics, or prance around as a flamboyant pirate. In this true story, Depp plays James “Whitey” Bulger, a notorious Boston criminal who eventually became an informant for the FBI to take down gangsters who were muscling in on his turf. Early reviews have had astounding praise for Depp’s performance, calling it his most important and compelling in years.

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