LFF 2017 Previews Part i:

The Obvious Choices.

Best have your BFI membership ready if you want tickets to these...

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)

It's difficult to explain just how excited we are about this, the latest from the madman behind In Bruges and Seven Psycopaths. Frances McDormand stars alongside Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell in this tale of a mother less than impressed with her local sheriff's attempts at catching her daughter's killer. Check out the foul-mouthed trailer opposite, honestly, how can this not be brilliant? It's also the Closing Night Gala - awesome.

Battle of the Sexes (Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton)

The excellent team behind the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine are back this year with this based on a true story tale of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and famous chauvinist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). A definite festival pleaser, hopefully this will also do justice to the more serious themes presented by King's relationship's and Riggs' attitude.

Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)

One of us (me) missed the apparently superb A Bigger Splash at the Festival and I'm not one to make that mistake twice. Starring Armie Hammer, how is absolutely threatening to be a great actor after his recent turn in Final Portrait, as the doctoral student who turns Elio's (Timothée Chalamet) head when he arrives for a research trip with Elio's father. Sumptuous bodies and scenery abound.... 

The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)

One of us (me) has never quite recovered from seeing Pan's Labyrinth at the cinema. I'm hoping this one doesn't stray quite in that direction but given that this is del Toro and this movie is a romance - well, anything is possible. The enchanting Sally Hawkins stars as the mute cleaner who forms a bond with an aquatic creature in a government lab. Michael Shannon (love him) is also along to spoil things for both the creature and its love. And it looks and sounds a bit like Bioshock. Which one of us (me) loved.

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert)

What to say about this one? Three tales of less than normal farmyard life. In French with what looks like a magical amount of slapstick. Looks like an absolute winner. There is something peculiarly hilarious about a French hen telling a hungry fox off for trying to intimidate her. Ace. 

The Florida Project (Sean Baker)

Once again filling a previous festival blank where we managed to miss Baker's utterly beguiling iPhone filmed debut Tangerine, we are not about to be missing this one. Here with a proper camera and an actual star in the form of Willem Dafoe, this follows six year old Moonee and her mates on their pursuit for ice-cream. I'm guessing there's a lot more than that as the trailer looks wonderful...

The Meyerowitz Stories [New and Selected] (Noah Baumbach)

In truth, this one could go either way but we're willing to give it a punt. Professional hipster oddball Baumbach can be an acquired taste (I know as many people who hated Frances Ha as loved it) but with this line up of talent, surely this is one for the largely bereft 'Good movies with Adam Sandler in' box. Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson join in with this comedy about a New York family...

Downsizing (Alexander Payne)

Speaking of acquired tastes, Payne can divid opinion as well. After 2013's Nebraska though, there are no issues here with him. This one has Matt Damon and Kirsten Wiig as the everyday couple who undergo the process of downsizing to, you know, help the planet. But mostly themselves. 

Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater)

One of our favourite filmmakers (and all around nice guy) Linklater returns from the awesome Everybody Wants Some! to slightly more serious ground. Lawrence Fishburne, Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston star as the old war buddies trailing across America to give Carell's son the burial he thinks he deserves. A tribute to Hal Ashby's 1973 classic The Last Detail (which we haven't seen).

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