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  • 500 words
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      27.10.2014 17:49
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      'Junkhearts' - A Good London Film Festival Winner



      So, British social realism and urban grit anyone? This London Film Festival winner says you need more. First time director Tinge Krishan certainly thinks you need some more. We don’t but why not. Middle-class directors love to write and depict East London how they see it and they rarely get it right, even when they come from those streets. Junkhearts tries it best but more of the same, only Eddie Marsan’s lead performance its savior. Actors like Marsan have to give 100% to these projects as they are no leading men and so this type of movie that puts the food on the table.


      ===Plot===

      Ex soldier Frank (Marsan) is haunted by a violent past in Northern Ireland. He lives alone in his East London council flat, only PTSD for company, drowning his nightmares with booze and daytime TV. His successful and attractive single mom daughter Christine (Romola Garai) has disowned him and currently trying to care for her daughter and dyeing mom amongst her chaotic lifestyle of parties, guys and social drugs.

      Marsan stumbles into the equally chaotic world of Lynette (Candese Reid), a pretty black girl who is everything his daughter isn’t, a young rough sleeper in Soho. Despite Franks misgivings, he offers her a place to stay, which she soon exploits by inviting her Irish boyfriend Danny (Tom Sturridge) around, who is low level drug dealer and hangs with a like wise chavy crowd. He is soon threatening an already vulnerable Frank as the flat becomes a drug den and Lynette starts using again. Frank knows this will only end one way and sets about making that happen, not wanting to lose another sweet girl at heart looking for a father to protect her.


      ===Results===

      It’s not bad but only really watchable for Marsan’s performance, excellent at these types of unbalanced roles. It is a character study and no more. Marsan is not going to be in a romcom any day soon. Let alone a leading man. He was good in Tyrannosaurus with Olivia Colman and Pete Mullen and very funny in Worlds End. But he generally plays serious roles and a haunted moon face made for pathos and loneliness on film, his performance in The Disappearance of Alice Creed his best so far. Young Candese Reid is good alongside and enjoyed sending up the ‘Sarf’ London accent.

      It’s violent at times but the gritty stuff more cartoon than reality. We have seen it all before. It’s a bit of a muddle at times and somewhat ambitious in its attempt to pull so many strings together. We get that he is a soldier suffering post traumatic stress disorder but not quite sure why his daughter and mother would disown him at his time of need. I mean The Troubles was a good thirty years ago and so unlikely he would be still so unstable. I wonder if the Asian British writer and director got too timid and shied away from it being an atrocity in the Iraq War at the last. Saying that it’s plausible and worth a crack at a script on an illness that is believed to hit one-in-four returning troops. In America the military are so ashamed of the high numbers of PTSD that they try to hide it by denying veterans the right treatment. What soldiers hate most of all on the battlefield is seeing crippled and damaged soldiers allowed to return to the combat arena, a reminder what awaits them if they sign up for another tour or two.



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      27.10.2014 16:55
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      'Junkhearts' - a worthy winner!

      So, British social realism and urban grit anyone? This winner at the London Film Festival says there is more to come. First time director Tinge Krishan certainly thinks you need some more. We don’t but why not. Middle-class directors love to write and depict East London how they see it and they rarely get it right, even when they come from those streets. Junkhearts tries it best but more of the same, only Eddie Marsan’s lead performance its savior. Actors like Marsan have to give 100% to these projects as they are no leading men and so this type of movie that puts the food on the table.



      ===Plot===

      Ex soldier Frank (Marsan) is haunted by a violent past in Northern Ireland. He lives alone in his East London council flat, only PTSD for company, drowning his nightmares with booze and daytime TV. His successful and attractive single mom daughter Christine (Romola Garai) has disowned him and currently trying to care for her daughter and dyeing mom amongst her chaotic lifestyle of parties, guys and social drugs.

      Marsan stumbles into the equally chaotic world of Lynette (Candese Reid), a pretty black girl who is everything his daughter isn’t, a young rough sleeper in Soho. Despite Franks misgivings, he offers her a place to stay, which she soon exploits by inviting her Irish boyfriend Danny (Tom Sturridge) around, who is low level drug dealer and hangs with a like wise chavy crowd. He is soon threatening an already vulnerable Frank as the flat becomes a drug den and Lynette starts using again. Frank knows this will only end one way and sets about making that happen, not wanting to lose another sweet girl at heart looking for a father to protect her.


      ===Results===

      It’s not bad but only really watchable for Marsan’s performance, excellent at these types of unbalanced roles. It is a character study and no more. Marsan is not going to be in a romcom any day soon. Let alone a leading man. He was good in Tyrannosaurus with Olivia Colman and Pete Mullen and very funny in Worlds End. But he generally plays serious roles and a haunted moon face made for pathos and loneliness on film, his performance in The Disappearance of Alice Creed his best so far. Young Candese Reid is good alongside and enjoyed sending up the ‘Sarf’ London accent.

      It’s violent at times but the gritty stuff more cartoon than reality. We have seen it all before. It’s a bit of a muddle at times and somewhat ambitious in its attempt to pull so many strings together. We get that he is a soldier suffering post traumatic stress disorder but not quite sure why his daughter and mother would disown him at his time of need. I mean The Troubles was a good thirty years ago and so unlikely he would be still so unstable. I wonder if the Asian British writer and director got too timid and shied away from it being an atrocity in the Iraq War at the last. Saying that it’s plausible and worth a crack at a script on an illness that is believed to hit one-in-four returning troops. In America the military are so ashamed of the high numbers of PTSD that they try to hide it by denying veterans the right treatment. What soldiers hate most of all on the battlefield is seeing crippled and damaged soldiers allowed to return to the combat arena, a reminder what awaits them if they sign up for another tour or two.



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        19.12.2009 15:29
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        Be quick off the mark and be rewarded!

        The London Film Festival is something that, as a film buff, I have always wanted to go to but been a bit too timid about travelling around London to go to. Thankfully, my girlfriend lives in London so I'm used to the Tube now and decided to try and catch a screening this year. The festival screens a lot of obscure and also Oscar-caliber films months before their general release, utilising the numerous cinemas in Leicester Square as well as some more further-afield ones too.

        The first thing worth mentioning is that tickets go FAST. There is a BFI Members priority, and then they get a general release a week or so later, but they go within a few hours at most, so make sure you're quick off the mark or you will get stitched up! I got to most of the bookings too late, but did manage to book tickets for a screening of the brilliant THE ROAD (due out in January), and so ended up seeing it almost 3 months early! This is quite a satisfying feeling in itself, as well as the buzz that you're seeing the film with a really grateful and buzzed audience.

        The fact that this is so welcoming to those outside of the industry is a plus; gala tickets are quite expensive and I hope to grab a bunch of galas next year, but if you catch the matinee screenings you end up paying only about £8, which is a steal to see a film months in advance if you ask me. The staff are generally very friendly and it is a very exciting time to be around in London. I will definitely aim to be quicker off the mark next year and hopefully catch some screenings with the cast and crew actually in!

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        27.11.2000 23:28

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        I was lucky enough to bum a ticket for the London Film Festival Gala performance of Sexy Beast, a new brit gangster flick with Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane. Like the productions of Guy Madonna's Lock Stock... stable, this enjoyable story of money, love, the love of money and calamari looks like an extended advert. Good fun. Watch it. Anyway, there I was, Max Beastly (without Scary, mind) in a rather disgusting brown leather coat with a matching beret cap, the bloke off of the Flash commercial and me having a lager in the Cafe Royal before the screening. I don't like celebrity bashes much. You know everyone but they haven't got a clue who you are. So you eyebrow flash or nod a hello - just being polite you see, or is it habit? - and they ignore you and you feel stupid. And then I was rude about Amanda Redman's bum but that's another story... Anyway, I digress. This sexy beats film... It's about a retired blagger living the high life in Spain when a low-life from his past life turns up and threatens his life if he doesn't return to his past ways in London and rob a bank for Mr Big. Will he do it? I don't know, I was too busy looking out for celebs.

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        26.10.2000 03:24

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        For all Londoners and those from further afeild, I'd just like to tell you what I think about this year's FF. I haven't been to the London, or any, Film Festival before. But what makes me excited is the prospect of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous and Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being shown. Both of these movies are supposed to be excellent, and whilst I can wait for Almost Famous, I don't know if I can wait until January for CT,HD (starring the great Chow Yun Fat). This is the only film that would make me take a day off college for except for maybe a preview of Star Wars Episode II :-). As for the other films, look at the website :-).

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        23.07.2000 17:33
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        The BFI's London Film Festival takes place manly in October, though you can probably get listing for what's going to be round about now, useful as some of the films get sold out fairly quickly. Basically its a 'festival' where about 5 cinemas (including an Odeon in Leicester Square) show a whole host of films, many of which haven't been released in this country and may well never be, on different themes. Last year included films like 'Being John Malkovich', 'The Virgin Suicides' and 'The Insider'. It's a really good way to see unusual films, or even more popular films which haven't been released yet. You'll probably see the uncut version too - I saw 'The Virgin Suicides' last year and it was VERY different to the version which was finally released. There's bound to be something you'll like, though it can be pricey to book in advance - £8 a ticket. Booking on the day makes it £5 though things get sold out. There's also a 'mystery film' which was 'The Insider' last year. They're NOT all completely random films that no one understands and only film critics would be interested in, so I highly recommend it!

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