Luke Blackall: Bond is good again - but so is the London Film Festival

Man About Town: The series seems to be moving away from hack acting, gags which invoke the gag reflex, and bimbonic Bond babes to something altogether more serious

I write this just before I go to a preview screening of Skyfall, the new James Bond film. Security is so tight, we've been told not to bring phones, or they will be taken away from us at the beginning of the screening. While that's undoubtedly a pain in this era of iPhone-dependence, it has admittedly added to the spirit of secrecy and intrigue. All rather appropriate for a Bond film.

This creation of Ian Fleming has become a national obsession. Perhaps more so now that the films have become good again. Just as the nation's economy and sporting achievements have been subject to peaks and troughs over the past 50 years, so too have the quality of Bond films. If all three are at a low, then there is cause to worry.

Thankfully, the series seems to be moving away from hack acting, gags which invoke the gag reflex, and bimbonic Bond babes to something altogether more serious.

And in these serious times, the secret services are surely delighted with the continued success of the franchise, offering one of the best PR tools (and, presumably, a great recruiting posters) for their clandestine work.

None are more obsessed than the media. From 007-themed photoshoots with aspiring British actors to gossip-column speculation about the identity of "the next Bond", journalists (me included) like nothing more than a Bond tale.

So next week's premiere at the Royal Albert Hall will undoubtedly be covered widely across the press. What probably won't be talked about as much is the fact that the red carpet spectacular falls in the middle of The London Film Festival (LFF).

The 56th incarnation of the event has a brilliant line-up of films, with more than 200 being shown over 12 days. Tickets are available to the public, but the festival itself won't receive nearly as much publicity as Bond.

On Wednesday I went to the opening night, where Tim Burton (an adopted Londoner) presented his latest film Frankenweenie, about a boy's attempts to revive his dead dog, largely made in the capital's East End.

Awareness of the London Film Festival, like so many other film festivals across the country, remains hugely low and could do with some of Bond's publicity power. Film lovers who are waiting for Skyfall to come out could do far worse than go and see something at the LFF.

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