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What are we watching this month?

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, premiering at Toronto 2017

August 2017

Searching for something to watch? Every month, members of the Film Team give a few pointers to the media that they’re particularly excited about – whether films, TV or games.


Wendy Mitchell, who looks after our Film Festival Selector screenings:
I'm looking forward to the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool, starring Annette Bening and Jamie Bell in the true story of how a young Liverpudlian actor fell in love with Hollywood's Gloria Grahame. I was lucky enough to visit the film set and meet the Liverpudlian inspiration himself, Peter Taylor, and get shown around his Liverpool landmarks. People are already talking about Annette for awards season nominations with this one. And we should mention that James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli is one of the film's producers, with this as a passion project for her for two decades. Oh, and the BFI is hosting a Gloria Grahame retrospective this autumn as a taster for the film's release.

I'm also loving Top of The Lake: China Girl, relocated from New Zealand to Australia for its second series. Elisabeth Moss is again stunning and although the story is very dark it's so cleverly told and wonderfully weird. Swedish-Danish actor David Dencik has a career-defining role as the totally creepy Puss


Tom Thornton, Film Team's new co-ordinator:
I went to see Dunkirk at the IMAX and I really recommend seeing it in that format. The film was made using IMAX cameras and they do the mega-huge screen size justice. The film’s sound is also totally immersive – It shouldn’t be surprising but the sound of bullets hitting boats, sand, people can really put you on edge – and thanks to an omnipresent score throughout and an obsessive attention to visual detail, I was gripped from start to finish.

Another wartime, but completely different film, Sophia Coppola’s adaptation of The Beguiled, set in the American Civil War is a wry, funny melodramatic portrayal of the book, which Coppola intended to make from a women’s point of view. Nicole Kidman’s Southern US accent is sometimes questionable but she has all the best lines. And poor, unwitting Colin Farrell doesn’t stand a chance.

Rachel Robey, who looks after projects across the Middle East and Africa:
I’m seriously looking forwards to finally catching Francis Lee’s debut feature God’s Own Country, on release in the UK from 1 September.  This is a sister project to The Levelling – a film that I produced – as they were both developed through Creative England's iFeatures scheme so I’ve been following its progress with great excitement for some time.  It’s been picking up awards left right and centre – most recently the Michael Powell Award at Edinburgh International Film Festival - and I really can’t wait to see it.

Coming out on August 8 is the new title from fantastic UK distributors Peccadillo, Tom of Finland, another film screened at Edinburgh this summer.  It’s a hugely enjoyable film that follows Tom from a soldier at the end of WW2 to a celebrated icon in 1970s San Francisco.  Pop fact, in 2014 Tom became the first homoerotic artist to have his work featured on a postage stamp!

Paul Callaghan, who ooks after our new Games & Interactive programme:
I am currently playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch. It’s wonderfully melancholic, and presses pretty much all of my buttons having a great big world to wander around in, weird surprises (I stumbled on the bones of a great creature in the northern ranges), and huge environmental puzzles a-la Shadow of the Colossus / Last Guardian

The Switch is an interesting little console as well, doubling as both a handheld & regular TV thing. I’m convinced, and hopefully there’ll be a bunch more games for it soon....

I’m really interested in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice from Ninja Theory. A key part of the story is about dealing with psychosis, and they were funded through Wellcome’s Public Engagement Fund, as well as working with mental health experts & Wellcome on the science & experience of living with psychosis. It’s just out now – and if you’re interested in how they made the game, there are a load of developer videos up on their site.

Click here to see more What Are We Watching recommendations from other Film Team colleagues last month