12 Films we’re looking forward to at the BFI 53rd London Film Festival*

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* We were only going to list 10 but, frankly, the programme for the 2009 Festival, announced yesterday morning, really does look that good...

The Men Who Stare At Goats: Based on Jon Ronson’s non-fiction bestseller about the bizarre activities of a secret unit in the US military, and starring Ewan McGregor as a journalist and George Clooney as a former ‘psychic soldier’, the comic potential is rich.

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A Prophet: Directed by Jacques Audiard (The Beat My Heart Skipped) and set in a French prison, this year’s Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner follows Malik, a young French Arab, whose battle for survival becomes a quest for control of the jail’s warring gangs. The (albeit short) clip looked superb.

MICMACS: After Amelie and Delicatessen, it’s no surprise that Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest offering promises to be a bizarre, visual feast. The story centres on one man’s plan to blow up two arms manufacturers, and if the director’s previous is anything to go by, will doubtless be laden with visual gags and witty wordplay.

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Up In the Air: We loved Thank You for Smoking, which Jason Reitman directed, and Juno, which he produced, so the prospect of a sharp comedy about corporate America, starring Clooney at his smooth, sardonic best, is always going to get us through the cinema doors.

The Road: We’ve been looking forward to the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s epic novel for months, and with the superb Viggo Mortensen in tortured, heavily bearded form as the unnamed father leading his son through a post-apocalyptic America, what’s not to be excited about?

The Informant!The US government decides to go after an agri-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president turned informant Mark Whitacre, played by an extremely rotund Matt Damon. Steven Soderburgh directs the latest in a series of collaborations with his favourite leading man.

Tales From The Golden Age: A feature collection of short films set in Romania’s Communist era, this was one of the hits at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Cristian Mungiu, who won the 2007 Palme D’Or at Cannes for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days writes, directs and produces, and from the short clip we saw today, this looks likely to be underscored with dark humour.

Don’t Worry About Me: Esquire favourite David Morrissey makes his directorial debut with this tale of a southern boy falling in love with a northern girl, set in Morrissey’s native Liverpool. We don’t know too much more at this point, but are willing to take a plunge on the basis of the novice director’s distinguished track record.

PreciousIn Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen, who is pregnant with her second child, is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. The tagline is: Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is… precious. Mariah Carey appears. With a moustache. Looks amazing.

The Limits of Control: Jim Jarmusch (Mystery Train, Night on Earth, Coffee And Cigarettes) directs the tale of a mysterious loner in the process of completing a criminal job. Tilda Swinton, with Lady GaGa blonde hair, looks set to supply the deft touches.

Extract: As well as being responsible for Nineties icons and pull-my-finger obsessives Beavis and Butt-head, Mike Judge also directed one of the most beloved comedies about work in the modern age, Office Space. At last he's delivered a successor, with Jason Bateman as a beleagured small businessman with a non-existant sex life and a loafer best friend (a bearded Ben Affleck) with a very bad plan.

Nowhere Boy: Artist Sam Taylor-Wood's directorial debut portrays John Lennon before he became the John Lennon: an ambitious 15-year-old torn between the uptight aunt who brought him up and the freewheelin' mother who comes back into his life. The screenplay is written by Matt Greenhalgh, who wrote Control, and Lennon is played by Aaron Johnson, who features in our forthcoming November issue. Done deal!