London Film Festival 2013 Diary: Day 1

The Armstrong Lie:

2 FeatureAn exposition of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong as he trains for his eighth Tour de France victory. But as misfortune would have it, the story of the comeback becomes a story of Armstrong’s cheating career.

The Armstrong Lie kicks off my first film at this year’s LFF, a documentary about former Tour de France “seven time winner” cyclist Lance Armstrong. Director Alex Gibney’s first aim for the film was to chronicle Armstrong’s comeback. But as certain circumstances happened, the film would then focus of Armstrong’s alleged doping charges which he admitted and was found guilty for.

The film is about 2 hours long, which might be slightly too much but Gibney has thoroughly researched his ideas and has a lot of good, intimate footage of Armstrong and his team. We see the Armstrong that may well be the real him. A man who will do anything not too lose without any thought of the moral issue. He’s almost unapologetic and a serious liar. “I didn’t live a lot of lies, I just lived one big one – which is better, I suppose.” he says near the beginning of the film.

While the film is long, it’s still a decent documentary. Love or hate him, Lance Armstrong makes for riveting reading and his fall from grace story. Because of the misfortunes of the story it is a little disjointed but I think Gibney’s does great with deal he was handed. A solid enough start to this years London Film Festival 2013.

★★★☆☆

 

Enough Said:

1 PosterA divorced and single parent, Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter’s impending departure for college. She meets Albert (James Gandolfini) – a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance quickly blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), her new masasge client.

Enough Said is a very charming, funny and perfectly acted almost swan-song for the late James Gandolfini. He, and Julia Louis Dreyfus have the most perfect and natural chemistry on-screen. They really play of each other incredibly well.

The film also boasts a solid supporting cast of Catherine Keener, who plays Gandolfini’s neat poet ex-wife as well as Toni Collette and Ben Falcone which despite having less screen time is always funny.

Overall Enough Said is simply wonderful. It’s lovely adult romantic comedic drama in a Nora Ephron mould. The cast are perfect and the acting is impeccable. A rather bitter-sweet but always hilarious story. At the end you just feel like you’ve had a giant warm bear-hug from Gandolfini’s flawed but loveable character.

★★★★☆

 

 Afternoon Delight:

2 Feature copyRachel (Kathryn Hahn) is a quick-witted and lovable stay-at-home mom. Frustrated with the realities of preschool auctions, a lackluster sex life and career that’s gone kaput, Rachel visits a strip club to spice up her marriage and meets McKenna (Juno Temple), a stripper she adopts as her live-in nanny.

Afternoon Delight is a real strange film. For starters, it’s not very good. It’s incredibly disjointed and confused. It really can’t work out what it wants to be. It has moments of humour but did it match with its tone? I wasn’t really convinced.

The positive is the acting. Kathryn Hahn shows she can handle a slightly more dramatic role compared to her filmography and is generally very solid. The same can be said for Josh Radnor, Juno Temple and even Jane Lynch’s small but memorable performance.

Like I said before, it’s a very muddled story which simply doesn’t work. Full of characters that are unlikable to a point you don’t care a thing for them. Even Juno Temple (who I think is blooming amazing) can’t even drag this to anything past watchable. Starting to forget the last film she’s done where she kept all her clothes on.

★★☆☆☆

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