EIFF 2018 done and dusted

The Edinburgh International Film Festival for 2018 is over and done with, but did Supa Modo stay at No1 or did another film nudge it to No2? Nah! Supa Modo is a thing of rare beauty; there’s so many friends that I think would love it, I do hope it gets a decent release, not just a few arthouse cinemas.

A close second place was homegrown Anna And The Apocalypse, a fun zombie-filled musical set at Christmas (so a December release in cinemas would be great!) Typical teenager, she heads out to school, music blasting in her ears, singing and dancing down the street totally oblivious to everything around her – including that half the neighbours are now zombies attacking the still human half! This film has great songs, teenage angst, lots of laughs, plenty gore and fun ways to kill zombies; and whilst the young’uns were all generally excellent, it was great to see Mark Benton as Anna’s father and Paul Kaye is in blisteringly good form as a tyrannical Headmaster!

Joint third place to Unicorn Store and Humor Me. Unicorn Store, well, it has unicorn in it’s title (automatic points for that alone 😊) and Brie Larson not only stars in it but it’s her directorial debut, directoring no less than Samuel L. Jackson as the Salesman at said Unicorn Store. This is an oddball of a film with just the right amount of quirkiness and some beautifully played surreal and absurd moments. My only niggle was some of Kit’s (Larson) millennial traits, hey, I’m an older generation, they bugged me, ok!

Humor Me (clearly American from the misspelling of humour)  was a very different kettle of fish with the excellent casting of Elliott Gould and Jemaine Clement as father and son, along with great support from the likes of Bebe Neuwirth and Annie Potts (she’s wonderful as Meemaw in Young Sheldon)This is a slow charming film about families, aging and Jewish jokes; it has a well-balanced bittersweetness.

Also seen was Flammable Children by director Stephan Elliott (He did Priscilla Queen of the Desert). I did really enjoy it, just not as much as the above films but probably 4th equal with Blood Fest. It did have Guy Pierce and Kylie Minogue looking like you’ve never seen them before!! It’s an autobiographical look on Stephan’s early film-making career – think The Goldbergs in 1970’s Australia. Ah yes, this had a great Q&A afterwards, we found out he has upset family and friends with it and his sister says the queue outside her bedroom was not that long!

So that’s the Film Festival wrapped up, tomorrow the CAMRA Scottish Real Ale Festival begins at the Corn Exchange here in Edinburgh. Besides an awful lot of beer there’ll be 30+ ciders and perries, heaven 😊

Well, that’s my Film of the Fest found!

Three days since my last post and three more films from around the globe: Mug from Poland, The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond Of Matches a French Canadian film and Supa Modo from Kenya. Sometimes my ‘not getting’ a film is possibly as much to do with a different cultural way of looking at the world, as a film being ‘too arty’ for my tastes (or being just crap). Mug was ok, a very slow and deliberate film, not sure about the ending. The Little Girl …. was ok to odd, at least the ending made sense in it’s bittersweetness.

Sunday afternoon when the sun was blazing outside I hid myself away in the underground warren of the Odeon to see Supa Modo, jackpot!!! This will be, without doubt, my Film of the Fest this year. It had humour, pathos, grief, family issues, hope, defiance and just how amazing people can be when they come together. Jo, her sister Mwix and mother were brilliantly written and portrayed. We could see how the mother only wanted to protect her terminally ill daughter but she couldn’t see it was too much, Mwix’s love and positivity for her little sister was heartwarming and Jo herself just wanted to be a superhero. Just a perfectly formed film, and we even got a Q&A afterwards, despite it being the second showing! Usually there’s only a Q&A with the first screening (if there is one at all) so I wasn’t expecting there to be one.

Some films you hurry out of to avoid the Q&A, some films you wish you’d avoided the Q&A, but 5☆ to this one, Likarion Wainaina the director came across so well, he was interesting, informative and pretty cool. It was the sort of Q&A that makes you want to watch the movie again to appreciate the insights you’ve picked up; hearing about the children’s ward he visited that made him rethink the storyline and how he went back afterwards to show the film to the children; how the filming affected the lives of the people in the community. Yep, besides Best Film I’ll give it Best Q&A too!

There’s more musings on Q&As on last year’s Bruce goes to the movies

Toodle pip!

 

Late night at the Film Festival

Edinburgh nights in early summer are great, there’s always still that faint bit of light in the sky. It always takes me back to my college days, tipsyly walking back to my digs in Portobello after another night carousing at Grindlay Street Union. It was one such balmy night at one o’clock this morning as I left the Filmhouse, hence the photo!

First off after work I saw The Devil Outside, not horror but  disturbing and it left me with a sense of unease afterwards. An okay film but the ending was somewhat “huh!?!?” and by the end I felt it could have worked better as a tv series to really develop the characters.

Had a simple tea of mushrooms in cream on toast followed by a G&T to wash it down; strange, I don’t like cream per se, no cream cakes or trifle for me, but in recent years I find myself enjoying it in sauces like a little wicked decadence! At nearly eleven o’clock I headed out into the night.

Friday night in the old town has all manner of creatures out roaming. The Cowgate and Grassmarket will already be spawning debaucherous hordes. Spot the hapless family of tourists heading back to their hotel, anxiously trying not to make any eye contact. Despite the Cowgate being closed off to traffic after 10pm there’s always an odd car goes through, maybe a taxi and of course there’s always the pedicabs zooming about (my tablet just tried to turn pedicabs into pelicans, just as well I spotted that 😂!)

I made it to the Filmhouse in plenty of time to grab a drink from the bar to take into the Film. Blood Fest had attracted quite a crowd, and yes, being horror, there was Bob a few rows in front. Bob was a friend of a friend some years ago, I know who he is but he doesn’t know me, at least I don’t think he remembers me. I always see Bob at least once during every Film Festival, it’s a natural law it seems. Blood Fest was great fun, tongue-in-cheek, using all the cliched rules of the horror genre – think The Cabin in the Woods with added cheese!

By 1am on a weekend morning the Grassmarket/Cowgate route is not unlike a horror movie set, so I opted to head home via the Royal Mile. Interesting, another film being shot there by the City Chambers in the wee small hours, I wonder what this one will be. Will it appear at a future EIFF? Hmmm.

Toodle pip!

20180623_010900

There’s trouble at’ mill!

There was I all pleased with how quickly I sorted my choices to see at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018, ten tickets bought so I got the 35% discount, woohoo. All marked up on my calendar after a trip to darkest, dampest Yorkshire next weekend. Then this morning I gets a text, oh dearie me, someone failed to organise the piss-up in the brewery and I may have to head south the weekend after I had planned i.e. the first weekend of the Film Festival when I was going to see five films! Aargh!!

Yes, someone forgot one of the fundamentals of running an event – book the venue! Never assume, don’t put it by because it’ll be fine, turns out it isn’t fine at all, and everything’s been printed for that day, everyone’s expecting it that day, it’s traditionally that day! I’m hoping against hope that the situation can be resolved to restore tradition – and my films.

My initial reaction was, well I won’t be able to come down, but my second was a heavy sigh and acceptance that yours truly has to be there to help make it happen. Really, they couldn’t manage without me! I can still make the first film if I shorten my trip and the other tickets with my discount cost just £7.80 each so I reckon I could find takers for them.

So what will I be missing? Friday was to be humerous horror night with The Devil Outside then Bloodfest late on, Saturday’s film is Mug, a Polish film about a guy who receives a face transplant, it’s “a farcical comedy drama” and Sunday’s is Supa Modo about a young Kenyan girl who is terminally ill who believes she has superpowers. Supa Modo is the one I’m  most unhappy about missing but hopefully it will resurface with a limited general release in the UK at some point. You never can tell what will or won’t get picked up for distribution or how long it can take to appear.

My remit for EIFF tickets is films that most likely won’t get shown at the multiplex where I have an unlimited pass. At one time it was films that were unlikely to get any release in the UK but now that the tickets aren’t as comparatively expensive compared to usual cinema prices, it’s cheaper for me to see films at the Festival than at the Filmhouse the rest of the year.

Ho hum, it would be a shame if I had to miss the films, but as they say,  worse things happen at sea. Aaand, it’s now after midnight, later on TODAY the full Fringe programme is officially out! Yayyy!!!

Toodle pip!

How much fun is Joe Gilgun?

Blimey it’s a tad warm this evening, what happened to the thunderstorm I was promised?? One, it would have cleared the mugginess and two, I love a good bit of thunder and lightning. Even the forecast for tomorrow has now dumbed down to just rain in the afternoon. Rain was always on the cards for tomorrow, it being the Meadows Fair (it’s like a Glastonbury thing – rain and mud are inevitable).

This was to be a post about this year’s Film Festival but I’ve waylaid myself and watched the first three episodes of Preacher. How good is that??!!! I’m sooo tempted to put the next dvd on. Cooper, Gilgun and Negga, all just beyond brilliant! Joe Gilgun especially,  he’s so alive and exciting to watch. Tip, give the film Lockout a go, Gilgun is very entertaining as a psychotic Scottish criminal; it’s no masterpiece but it does also have a laconic Guy Pearce!

I’ve not read the comic books of Preacher, just perused the odd one in friends’ flats many years ago. I just stuck with Sandman at the time but I do remember liking the look of Preacher, hardly surprising as I’d been a big 2000AD fan from its beginning until I gave it up in the early 90s as it became too much into the artwork and not enough actual storylines. I do still have all my old 2000ADs back home, oo, what a fun distraction that would be. Then I could revisit Sandman! For lighter moments I could put Bloom County Babylon in the bathroom for my toilet-reading. No, no, no!! The Fringe programme is oot on Wednesday, that’ll be my reading for the next while.

Bruce goes to the movies II

So that’s another film festival done and dusted. I was pretty pleased with my choices, two retro, two Russian sci-fi, an Aussie musical, vampires in Hong Kong and crime in Japan and Taiwan, fairly global. EMO the Musical was a delight with it’s typical brusque Aussie humour and biting wit (think Tim Minchin), there’s something wrong if it doesn’t get at least a limited release here.

The two Russian films were subtitled but I think both Attraction and Guardians had dubbed versions. Guardians is superheroes Russian style, which is fairly cheesy but lots of fun with some pretty good special effects. Attraction was much the superior film for me, though I’m not sure the heroine would have been so inclined to help the alien if he hadn’t been such a hunk.

The Mole Song – Hong Kong Capriccio from Japan was my final film today and a fine finale it was. So colourful, crazy and full-on following the exploits of an undercover cop involved with a Yakuza boss and his teenage daughter.

My best film though has to be Time Bandits this afternoon. Daft, dark and utterly brilliant.

Bruce goes to the movies

It’s time once again for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, not that most people here notice it. Really, it doesn’t seem impinge on the consciousness of the Edinburgh public at all. I mention I’m going to see some films at the Festival and it’s “Oh has it come round again? Doesn’t seem like a year”.

Up until 2007 it was on in August, so colliding with the Fringe and International Festivals, as if the town wasn’t busy enough! It was usually over the last ten days of the Fringe, as we wised up to this we started waiting until the Film Festival programme came out before booking ourselves up and missing out on good films. Yeah, my Fringe buddy shared my love of films too and between us we could get the discount deals.

It’s good to go to screening where there’s a Q&A afterwards, even if the film turns out to be awful or dull, in fact that can be more fun watching the Festival guy trying to enthuse about the film with it’s director. Probably one of the most interesting Q&As was with Paul Schrader in 2005 after a showing of Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. This was his original prequel to The Exorcist before the studio decided to completely refilm it. Was he bitter? Not half! But he did have a great story to tell and he suggested we, if we hadn’t already, should watch the other version. Oo, we did, yikes!! It truly was awful and not just in comparison with Mr Schrader’s work, which, incidentally we thoroughly enjoyed.

That same year we saw the premiere of Tsotsi by Gavin Hood. What attracted us to it? Our keen sense of things to try was as honed for films as for stage shows, wow, it was a wonderful film and we came back again and again to Tsotsi’s fate after the final scene. Watch it and decide for yourself.

2006 saw the first cinematic outing for the Treadaway twins, Harry and Luke, in Brothers of the Head. I spotted this one as a few years before I’d bought a battered old copy of the book, written by Brian Aldiss, at the Meadows Fair. This was a very disturbing tale of siamese twins (with a third dormant head) with exploitation, rock stardom, jealously and rage. The third head doesn’t appear in the film version (I’m pretty sure), there was probably enough to do without that complication.

After the oddity of Brothers the following night was Clerks II by the great Kevin Smith, not the first showing, those tickets would have gone in a trice, but there still a huge buzz to be seeing it.

Mind, the biggest buzz of all my film festivals was the world premiere of Serenity, we queued quite some time for it, all the main cast were there and Joss Whedon, all very happy to meet the fans and not only at the premiere but all the additional screenings,  we saw Adam Baldwin at the fourth! Yeah, so I’m a Whedon fan.

This year? Saw Vampire Cleanup Department late last night, it has the cutest vampire ever and also probably the funniest way for vampires to get about that you’ll ever see. I have my ticket for Repo Man and another bit of nostalgia, not seen on the big screen before, Time Bandits. I do like a good festival.

 

One sleep to go

Where has the time gone already? Tomorrow the full Edinburgh Fringe Programme for 2017 is released. Ooo, I’m looking forward to hours of trawling through it, really it is fun.

I’ve just been going through the Edinburgh Film Festival programme but not a lot is leaping out at me so far. As I save all my spare pennies for the Fringe I don’t have a lot to spend on the Film Festival, and if you think cinema is pricey generally, Film Festival prices are higher still, though the difference is not as much as it was a few years ago. I do like going to the cinema and have an unlimited card for a nearby multiplex, so any film that will get a general release later is not worth paying to see (with some noteable exceptions like Hunt for the Wilder People and Serenity). Then there are the films that will obviously make it back to the local arthouse cinemas, also usually discarded.

The one film that I do intend to go see so far, is in one of the retrospective selections, Repo Man from 1984 directed by Alex Cox, haven’t seen it in the cinema but had it for years on video recorded from moviedrome on BBC2 with an intro from Cox himself. Man, that is one odd film, but like anything with the great Harry Dean Stanton in it, well worth watching.