Sunday, 21 September 2014

Edinburgh Film Festival 2014:

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After my fantastic experience at Glasgow's Film Festival back in February, I was very excited to get the chance to attend this summer's Edinburgh International Film Festival, reviewing for WOW247 once again.  It's the first time I've been to EIFF and - although I had an amazing time at GFF - it was so nice to have my pick of new movies waiting virtually on my doorstep.

Unfortunately I could only make it along for three days of the two week long festival (thanks for that, dissertation) but I managed to squeeze seven film screenings into that short space of time.  I have to admit, I was very excited about getting a proper press pass with my photo on it, even if the photo was (quite embarrassingly) an old Instagram selfie...

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I kicked things off with Australian offering, The Infinite Man (click the link to read my review).  It turned out to be a pretty dark and puzzling comedy, but funny nonetheless.  Time travel causes most of the confusion (as it tends to do) in this starcrossed romance that I've dubbed a 'rustic sci fi'.  Catchy, right?  I'm hoping the term catches on.

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My second screening was the one I got most excited about, despite my well publicised fear of anything scary (particularly zombies).  Life After Beth stars the amazingly deadpan Aubrey Plaza (April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation) as well as a supporting cast full of familiar faces, including John C. Reilly and Anna Kendrick.  Following in the footsteps of films like Shaun of the Dead, Life After Beth is a RomZomCom which I found both funny and clever.  And I only had to hide behind my hands a couple of times (in a screening full of serious members of the press...).

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Next on my list was a 9am screening of a Romanian film called The Japanese Dog - the first Romanian film I've ever seen!  The story follows a recently widowed and grumpy (but loveable) old man as he reconnects with his friends and family.  It was simple, yet emotional and looked absolutely beautiful, especially the rural landscape shots.  Not a bad way to start off a day!

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Later that day, I saw Castles in the Sky starring comedian Eddie Izzard in a (mostly) serious role as Scotsman Robert Watson-Watt, the developer of radar.  I went into this screening not really sure what to expect, and came out knowing a lot more about the truly fascinating (and, in my opinion, quite surprising) true story of how radar came about during the Second World War.  Tim McInnerny does a truly awful Winston Churchill impersonation at one point, but it's fairly amusing, so don't let that put you off an otherwise very interesting and gripping movie!

After Castles in the Sky, I stuck around in the Cineworld lobby for an open press photo call with actress Aubrey Plaza and director Jeff Baena for Life After Beth, complete with a troupe of zombies.  I absolutely love Aubrey in Parks and Rec, and I'd really enjoyed Life After Beth, so I was looking forward to seeing her in the flesh in my hometown.  

I did see her in the flesh and snap a few photos but then - totally by accident, if I'm honest - I actually managed to (sort of) stalk her to the cinema's bar, introduce myself and get a photo.  She did her signature April glower especially for me, Jeff Baena took the photo, I babbled to them both about how much I loved their film and then I ran away.  It was all very exciting and totally surreal!

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The following morning I was present and correct (clutching a coffee) for another 9am screening.  Greyhawk is a really heartbreaking and at times nervewracking British drama about a blind man's unrelenting search for his guide dog and best friend, set in a run down council estate.  It reminded me a lot of the Michael Caine film Harry Brown, bleak, full of despair and painfully realistic.  Greyhawk was a gripping watch, with some brilliant acting.

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After Greyhawk, I rushed across to Edinburgh's Odeon for a bit of a curveball screening: The Nut Job.  I chose this animated kids' film because I'm a big kid who loves animated movies, and also because it stars great voice actors like Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fraser.  Although I enjoyed this cute comedy adventure about a group of wild animals plotting to gather enough nuts to survive winter, I do think that The Nut Job is aimed primarily at children, with very few jokes for the adults watching.  Sadly, in my opinion it doesn't quite capture the magic that a lot of my favourite Pixar films and other animated movies do.

After The Nut Job I sought refuge from the rain in the nearest Starbucks (as I had done a few times already that week) to start writing up my reviews.  Once I'd regained some strength, I headed to the Filmhouse for my last film of EIFF 2014, which also turned out to be my absolute favourite of the whole festival!

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To be honest, I really wanted to see We'll Never Have Paris purely because I love Paris, and also because it was written and co-directed by Simon Helberg (AKA Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory).  Quinn (Helberg) and his longterm girlfriend Devon (Melanie Lynskey) go through a rocky patch that results in Melanie suddenly moving to Paris - cue Quinn's fight to win her back.  I had a feeling this film would be good, but I didn't expect it to be quite as hilarious or quite as realistic as it turned out to be.  It perfectly encapsulates pretty much every human insecurity there is, and is simultaneously pant wettingly funny and very moving.  I can't wait to see this film again as soon as I can!

1 comment:

  1. I want to see all that movies! Especially Castles in the sky...

    Greetings! Caro
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