Room 237 – LFF Review

Room 237 has a simple conceit. It takes the wild theories of five people who have seen The Shining too many times and puts them up on-screen for the audience to view with incredulity. We never see the five theorists and are instead shown clips from The Shining, among other films, over and over again to illustrate their crackpot theories.

It is always fascinating to see just how much people can read into a film (and a film other than Footloose for a change) and the theories they present are impressively complex. Who knew that The Shining was Stanley Kubrick’s way of confessing to faking the moon landing/making a film about the Holocaust/exploring the genocide of Native Americans? The film has a subtle sense of humour and with no overriding narration it allows the theorists to present their theories unhindered.

Where the film falls down is in its lack of any footage of those who are speaking. Their stories are illustrated using clips from various films and scenes from The Shining are used and reused ad nauseam. Spending too much time in the Overlook Hotel can send you a little loopy, or more accurately make Jack the documentary a dull boy. It can also make it impossible to tell who is speaking as the five theories are intertwining with not all of the speakers sufficiently distinguished from one another.

Room 237 is a lot of fun and gives you plenty to think about the next time you see The Shining but can test your powers of concentration at times.

Sadly all the festival screenings have passed and I am not sure the film will ever get a UK release*. As I mentioned the documentary exclusively uses footage from other films and these are not films that the producers have rights to. I only know this because John Landis (legendary director of films including The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London) was in the same screening and made use of the Q&A session to ask whether the producer had the rights to the footage used and even accused the producer of stealing clips from his own films. An awkward moment that Landis’ compliments towards the film failed to alleviate.

*Turns out the film is out on limited release on 26th October 2012

56th BFI London Film Festival

And we’re off! The 56th BFI London Film Festival is in full swing and as is tradition Mild Concern will be turning into full festival mode for at least the next week. Armed with a press pass, a week’s holiday, and a small amount of disposal income we will be watching as many films as we can in an effort to breach the 30 film mark having successfully reviewed over 20 films last year.

To help make this deluge of reviews more manageable links to all the films we’ve watched will be placed below in a beautiful wall of hyperlinked images. Have a click around, it does wonders for our stats.

Films reviewed:

The SessionsHyde Park on Hudson

56th BFI London Film Festival Line-up Announced

It’s that time of year again. Yesterday was the line-up for the 56th BFI London Film Festival was announced. The festival runs from 10th – 21st October 2012 and we will be covering it more than you could possibly want. I will be trying to beat my personal record of 20 festival films and living off Starbucks and quiet cinema snacks for a week.

The full list of films can be seen on the BFI website but who needs that when below is my initial pick of films that might be worth a look along with a five word summary for each. It may not be comprehensive but this list is at least alphabetical:

The Body Corpse goes missing. Hitchcockian thriller

Celeste and Jesse Forever Can exes become best friends?

Frankenweenie Tim Burton animation – re-animated dog

Hyde Park on Hudson Bill Murray is Franklin Roosevelt

Kelly + Victor Passionate and transgressive love affair

Kiss of the Damned Estranged contemporary vampire sisters reunite

Love Story Documentary/fiction blur for love

My Amityville Horror Exploring the truth about Amityville

Paradise: Love Middle-aged sex tourism in Kenya

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology Documentary essay on cinema’s ideologies

The Road: A Story of Life and Death Stories of London’s many immigrants

Robot and Frank Jewel thief and robot butler

Room 237 What does The Shining mean?

The Sessions Iron lung hires sex surrogate

Seven Psychopaths In Bruges in Los Angeles

Sightseers Perfect holiday: caravanning and murder

West of Memphis Documentary about teens killing kids