Results for category "EIFF 2017"

EIFF 2017: Part III



Teenage Superstars: *****

Director Grant McPhee, UK. 2017. Running time 110 mins.

Grant McPhee returns with a follow up tohis EIFF award winning The Big Gold Dream, which focused on the Edinburgh based indie labels Fast Product and Postcard Records. This documentary focuses on 80’s Glasgow bands and labels including Creation Records, Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits, The Pastels, Jesus and Mary Chain,  Primal Scream and the Vaselines.

McPhee along with co-writer Angela Slaven have made an incredibly researched documentary which is comprised not only of interviews, but also archive footage and music videos charting the success and friendship amongst the band members. Enlighten get antic dotes from Stephen McRobbie, Alan McGee, Eugene Kelly, Duglas T Stewart and Norman Blake ranging from how they they started to being idolised by Kurt Cobain. The film is also narrated by Kim Deal from The Breeders / Pixies.

A minor flaw is some of the people mentioned, do not appear in the film notably Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie. However this is a throughly entertaining and educational piece of work even if not being aware of the bands or scene itself.


The Dark Mile **

Director Gary Love. UK. 2017. Running time 87 mins.

Veteran TV director Gary Love makes his feature film debut with a dark psychological thriller set in the Highlands. 

Claire (Deirdre Mullins) and Louise (Rebecca Calder) decide to take a holiday to spend more time together, onboard a small boat. Claire is a  workaholic who relies on modern luxuries, while Louise likes quiet and natural things as well as hiding a secret. During the journey they meet and even appear to be stalked bystrange local characters and are terrorised by a large black barge which is following the girls.

All the hallmarks of the genre are there and the filmmakers are clearly influenced by such classics including ‘Deliverance’ and ‘The Wicker Man’. However the pieces feel disjointed. The locals are depicted in a patronising stereotypical way as countryside folk out of touch with everything who abuse their family. The two leads who give great performances are so unsympathetic, as they belittle the other people they encounter and are fuelled by their selfishness that it is really hard to care what happens to them. 

The well executed tension that is built throughout the piece is wrecked by an anti climatic ending which is badly realised and makes no sense whatsoever. Which is a shame as the film is beautifully shot, some of the twists are interesting and the performances are good.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

EIFF 2017: Part II


Okja: *****
Director Bong Joon-ho UK, US, South Korea. 2017. Running time 118 mins.

The director of ‘The Host’ and ‘Snowpiercer’ returns with this bizarre, but fun fantasy piece made for Netflix.

CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) and her company the Mirando Corporation have bioengineered super pigs to provide the world with a new sustainable food source. Ten years later, one of the specimens, Okja has been raised into an enormous beast by Mija (An Seo-hyun) in the mountains of Korea. When Dr. Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhaal) claims back Okja for the corporation, Mija heads to Seoul to retrieve her friend.  She is joined  by the Animal Liberation Front (including Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Devok Bostik, Daniel Henshall and Steven Yeun) who assist in the fight to retrieve Okja  and expose the real activities of Mirando.  

The script  co-written by ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’ Jon Ronson mixes  slapstick, dark humour, fantasy with environmental politics. The main theme being the dangers of genetic modification and the production of meat is a cruel business. 

Even compared to his last monster movie this film is bigger and crazier than Bong’s ‘The Host’, but also more grounded. The look of the film with colourful landscapes shot by legendary cinematographer Darius Khondji and the creature which is so realistic. 

Great performances from all the cast especially by An Seo-hyun who is the main heart of the film. While Swinton appears to relishing playing sisters who are evil in different ways. 

 By the end it is hard to hold back the tears with the emotional third act. It is a shame that this demented, but incredibly enchanting piece of work only has a limited time on the big screen before it is available for streaming for the masses. 


Cars 3 ***

Director Brian Fee . US. 2017. Running time 109 mins.

Is third time a charm for a franchise that was never really in demand or requested?
Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) has been winning races for years. Until new car Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) arrives on the scene and takes over McQueen’s place on top and leading him to a fatal crash. McQueen retires to Radiator Springs, but is lured back into the racing game with the latest in high-tech training software. Along with his new trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), they try and reclaim success for McQueen.

After an entertaining introduction to the world of Cars in 2006, Pixar brought the characters back in an overblown sequel lead by their most annoying character Mater(Larry the Cable Guy). Thankfully they have gone back to the drawing board as well as giving Mater less screen time. 

First-time director Brian Lee deserves the praise in making this sequel a success, by making the focus more on McQueen. The story has more of a personal arc with an overall message that will resonate with families of all ages. The plot is fairly slow and does not really take off until the second act.  Ramirez is also a welcome addition and an aspiring role model to girls.

Pixar has for many years lead the way with each movie advancing in more groundbreaking animation, however this time apart from the racing scenes there appears to be no impressive changes. 

While only reason that Disney/Pixar still make films in this franchise it is solely for the reason of merchandise.  A pleasant journey, but kids will enjoy this journey more than the rest of their families.
Reviewed by Paul Logan

EIFF 2017 Part I



That Good Night: ***

Director Eric Styles. UK, Portugal. 2017. Running time 92 mins.

One of the best English actors to grace the silver screen bids a cinematic farewell in this poignant drama.
 
The film is based on a stage play by N. J. Crisp and actor Donald Sinden. In his final role, the late John Hurt plays Ralph Maitland, a terminally ill screenwriter who is trying to rebuild his estranged relationship with his son Michael (Max Brown) by inviting him for a visit. However Michael brings his girlfriend Cassie (Erin Richards) along who Ralph takes an instant dislike to.During this time, Ralph is visited by a mysterious man in a white suit (Charles Dance), who could be an Angel or a representative of a euthanasia organisation. Pleading with the stranger to end his life while still trying to make things right.
 
The picturesque setting of a sun filled Portugal makes an ideal setting for the proceedings. The story is compelling and evokes great emphathy with the characters involved. This may be due to the great performances especially from Hurt who has so much to display within the story.
 
However the film is directed in a very pedestrian style, which makes the film feel less cinematic and more like something aimed for The Hallmark Channel.
 
An engaging story with terrific performances, but as a final send off not as memorable as the film could have been.

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy: *

Director Ben Browder. US. 2016. Running time 100 mins.
Bad Kids of Crestview Academy is a sequel to Bad Kids Go To Hell (originally released in the UK as The Haunting of Crestview High), which was adapted from a comic book of the same name.

Siouxie (Sammi Hanratty), a white trash student in the “undercrust” of the prestigious Crestview Academy, infiltrates the rich students’ Saturday detention in an attempt to discover the truth behind her sister’s alleged suicide at a party the week prior. As she interrogates the bad kids, a gay drug addict Brian Marquez (Matthew Frias), son of local politician Senator Wilkes (Gina Gershon) Blaine (Colby Arps), cat obsessed Sara Hasegawa (Erika Daly), and naughty pastor’s daughter Faith Jackson (Sophia Taylor Ali). As Siouxie tries to uncover the truth, the other students are slowly killed off one by one.
 
Overall look of the film is to make it similar to the source material, blending comic style animation with live-action footage with a mix of Breakfast Club thrown in too. But this is all that really can be recommend.
 
The characters in the story are ridiculous stereotypes. At one point the Headmaster (Sean Austin) states “It’s time to break stereotypes, not reinforce them!”, unfortunately the story could not do the same.
 
Cheap unfunny humour, multiple flashbacks and silly over the top gore. The filmmakers appear to be trying to emulate Troma, but without the fun.
 
Reviewed by Paul Logan

Edinburgh International Film Festival announces opening & closing films for 2017



Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced that the will open with Francis Lee’s award-winning debut feature God’s Own Country on 21st June 2017. 

Shot entirely on location in West Yorkshire, God’s Own Country is a contemporary tale of self-discovery and emotional awakening.

Johnny (Josh O’Connor) is a young man running his family’s sheep farm alone until the arrival of Romanian worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu). Supporting the central pair are acting stalwarts Ian Hart and Gemma Jones, who play Johnny’s stroke-afflicted father and formidable grandmother.

EIFF also announced they would close with the World Premiere of England is Mine, about the early life of singer Morrissey on Sunday 2nd July 2017. 
This much-anticipated film explores the early years of Steven Morrissey’s (Jack Lowden) life in 1970s Manchester. An introverted, uncompromising teenager, Morrissey finds himself frustrated with his working-class existence. He finds solace in the city’s underground gig scene where he meets Linder Sterling – an intelligent, self-assured artist – who encourages him to make his ideas of superstardom a reality.

Both films will screen at Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.

Cars 3 drives onto screens at Edinburgh International Film Festival 


The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) 2017 has announced that it will host the UK premiere of Disney.Pixar’s ‘Cars 3’ on Sunday, 25th June 2017 at 2pm at the Festival Theatre. 
 The film’s Story Supervisor, Scott Morse, will also be attendance.
To promote the event, the EIFF have set up a national art competition for children of up to 13 years. Children are asked to draw the ultimate racing car they would pitch against the movie’s main racing car protaganist, Lightning McQueen.  
Competition prizes will include tickets for the premiere and an opportunity to attend an exclusive story workshop with Scott Morse. Further details can be found on the EIFF website.  

Two schools performances will be held at Cineworld Fountain Park on Monday, June 26th; tickets cost £3 per pupil.

Directed by Brian Fee, (storyboard artist ‘Cars,’ ‘Cars 2’) and produced by Kevin Reher (‘A Bug’s Life,’ ‘La Luna’ short) the movie follows the continuing fortunes of Lightning McQueen. Owen Wilson reprises the role he voiced in previous movies.
 The original ‘Cars’ won a Golden Globe® for best animated feature film and two Annie Awards for best animated feature and best music in an animated feature production. Composer Randy Newman won a Grammy® for best song written for motion picture, television or other visual media (‘Our Town’). 
The film was nominated for an Oscar® for best animated feature film, as well as best achievement in music written for motion pictures, original song (‘Our Town’). ‘Cars 2’ was nominated for a Golden Globe® for best animated feature film, in addition to a large number of industry nominations. Between them ‘Cars’ and ‘Cars 2’ took over $1billion at the box office worldwide.
Mark Adams, EIFF Artistic Director, said: ‘Pixar Animation Studios is responsible for some of the greatest animated movies of our time and we’re thrilled to be continuing our relationship with the studio and providing such a treat for our younger audiences and their families in our 70th Anniversary Year with Cars 3.’

 Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Thursday 23 March 2017 and can be purchased via the EIFF website, www.edfilmfest.org.uk or by calling 0131 623 8030. Ticket prices range from £12, £8 (concession), £5 (under 16s).   
The 71st Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 21 June – 2 July, 2017. 
‘Cars 3’ goes on general release in the UK on 14th July 2017.