Monthly archives "June 2016"

Hunt for the Wilderpeople *****

New Zealand/ Director Taika Waititi /102mins

Synopsis: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

Writer/director Taika Waititi returns with his fourth feature after his vampire mockumentary ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, with a broad visual comedy based on Barry Crump’s novel ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a troubled city teen is placed into the care of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) an old fashioned outgoing woman who loves the countryside. However her shy unwelcoming husband Hector (Sam Neill) is not to happy with the new addition to the family. When tragedy strikes the authorities insist  the boy goes back into the system. Ricky decides to run out into the wilderness, but Hector catches up with him. Both parties go on the run with the authorities in hot pursuit.

This charming, nostalgic, wacky, offbeat comedy is driven by a hilarious script and fantastic performances by all. The deadpan humour comes thick and fast with the narrative. The twists are well placed and the overall story never drags. 

The look of the film has a very Eighties feel, which is funny as it would not be out of place as a double bill with one of that time periods classic family adventure movies The story is broken down into 11 episodic chapters every time Ricky encounters a new situation. 

What really makes the film work is the overall dynamic between the two protagonists who have great chemistry together. Dennison is a true revelation with accurate comedic timing and likeable screen presence. It is not very often that Neill shows his funny side, so it is a refreshing treat to see this veteran actor in a different genre.

A warm, funny, heartfelt, coming of age, buddy movie  will warm the hardest of hearts.

Reviewed by Paul Logan 


Edinburgh International Film Festival welcomes a galaxy of stars

Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced special guests who will be attending this year.

Jury Panels

Kim Cattrall, Spanish filmmaker and actress Icíar Bollaín and  Clancy Brown are on the Michael Powell Jury.

Angus Macfadyen, Sadie Frost and Matt Mueller, editor of Screen International are the International Jury.

Producer Steve Abbott, Dougray Scott, and Doctor Who’s Freema Agyeman will sit on the Documentary Jury.

Short film producer Rebecca Mark-Lawson, film development executive Hilary Davis and filmmaker Ashley Horner will be judging the Short titles in competition.

In Person Events

Cult indie auteur Kevin Smith will be talking through a career that includes the likes of Clerks, Dogma and Red State. The filmmaker, a previous winner of the Audience Award at Edinburgh, will be joined on-stage by his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, rising star of his latest comedy YOGA HOSERS. Smith will also attend both screenings of YOGA HOSERS with his daughter, chilling horror anthology HOLIDAYS, and BATMAN: THE MOVIE. In addition to the aforementioned Golden Globe-winning Kim Cattrall, audiences will also have the opportunity to hear from the prolific Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, whose MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE screens at the festival and Outlander star and iconic on-screen figurehead of the Cinéma du look movement Dominique Pinon, who will also be attending the screening of the film that made his name, the seminal kaleidoscopic thriller DIVA, introducing the film alongside its iconic director Jean-Jacques Beineix, whose BETTY BLUE is also set to screen over the course of the festival.

Notable Guests

Hollywood legend Meg Ryan will be in attendance at the Festival with the directorial debut of her elegant and moving period film ITHACA, which features a cameo from her Sleepless in Seattle co-star Tom Hanks; Golden Globe-nominated Dundee native Brian Cox has two films premiering at the Festival, and will be in Edinburgh for both THE CARER and THE FORSAKEN while indie darling Robert Sheehan will return with the cast of hedonistic thriller JET TRASH. Other notable guests gracing the Festival this month include Will Poulter, Sebastian de Souza, Preston Thompson, Alma Jodorowsky and director Chris Foggin all in attendance for the screening of coming-of-age drama KIDS IN LOVE, which stars Cara Delevigne; director Rebecca Miller, in town to present love triangle comedy MAGGIE’S PLAN, starring Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke; Brady Corbet, director of feature debut psychodrama THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER; filmmaker Jean-Paul Rappeneau for the UK Premiere of French drama FAMILIES; Hans Petter Moland, director of A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH and much-loved Golden Globe-nominated star of dystopian thriller THE WHITE KING, Jonathan Pryce. EIFF patron James Cosmo will also join Clancy Brown at the HIGHLANDER screening; director Nick Love will be in attendance of the screening of AMERICAN HERO; and the legendary filmmaker Lizzie Borden attend a screening of her film REGROUPING, which has only been screened to the public four times, once in 1976 when it premiered at the EIFF. Michael Smiley will be in attendance supporting the screening of MY NAME IS EMILY and Joanne Froggatt and Tom Riley will attend the World Premiere of STARFISH. 

Diane Henderson, EIFF Deputy Artistic Director said: “In this special year we’re proud to welcome so many exciting and talented guests from all over the world. Some we’re lucky enough to welcome back and others are here for the very first time. If you’d like the chance to rub shoulders with your favourite actor, director, animator or producer, or the opportunity to meet the stars of tomorrow, then EIFF has it all. Join us at a screening, a Youth Hub event, or pop into EIFF HQ at Filmhouse, where guests and audiences will mingle until late every night of the Festival.”

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) takes place from the 15th to 26th June 2016.

The Nice Guys ****

Running time 115 mins Cert: 15

Synopsis: In 1970’s Los Angeles, Washed-up private eye Holland March (Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) must team up to investigate the case of a missing girl (Margaret Qualley) and the connected death of a porn star.

After showing that he can handle big action blockbusters with Iron Man 3, screenwriter and director Shane Black returns to a smaller but incredibly enjoyable action comedy.

Black has always had a way with pacing and clever dialogue, The Nice Guys is no exception in which audiences is given well balanced action with witty wisecracks. Not really surprising considering he is the genius behind Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Last Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout and even Lethal Weapon.

Black along with co-screenwriter  Anthony Bagarozzi provide classic noir aspects, channelling such classics as L.A. Confidential in particular the scene reuniting Crowe and Kim Basinger together. 

Neither Crowe or Gosling are particularly well known for their comedic chops. However both actors play off incredibly well towards each other as the  odd-couple protagonists.

While it is Crowe and Gosling’s platform, acknowledgment should also be given  to  Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s savvy teenage daughter. Rice holds her own with leading men.

If there is any flaws it is the MacGuffin that has been chosen, which is  interesting however this element never really flows particularly well within the confines of storyline. Also while the film is funny, there not as nearly as many comedic moments as the exceptional Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Fortunately, Black and his cast make it easy to get swept away in the wild ride that The Nice Guys offers its audience, and the enjoyment one gets from watching Crowe and Gosling bumble their way through a perfectly re-created 1970s LA far outweighs any storytelling issues in the film.

Flawed, but incredibly smart, the question is why Shane Black is not making more movies, when his current output is almost flawless. Hopefully his next foray into blockbuster country with The Predator will be equally good.

Reviewed by Paul Logan