Thursday, 18 June 2009

Fest Day 2: And away we go...

Sam Mendes, Carmen Ejogo and John Krazinski pose on the red carpet in the cool evening sunshine at the opening premiere of Away We Go in Edinburgh last night. The party after the screening was great fun - filling several rooms at the Teviot with happily festive film fans, including several actors from films showing in the festival, including Alan Cumming, Harry Treadaway and Brian Geraghty. Here are a few films showing today...

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
dir Rebecca Miller, 09/US ****
Like a particularly sensitive, feminine version of American Beauty, this film examines the myth of the American dream from the perspective of a trophy wife (the superb Robin Wright Penn) who begins to question her marriage (to Alan Arkin) now that their kids are grown. It's beautifully written and acted, with several surprises along the way. And even though it's a bit long and indulgent as a film, it's still powerfully emotional and packed with telling insight. > FULL REVIEW

dir Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew, 09/Ethiopia ****
The story of Olympic champion marathon runner Abebe Bikila is beautifully dramatised in this lushly photographed film that uses real newsreel footage for flashbacks. It's an amazing story of tenacity and duty, elegantly told. And if you don't know the details of Bikila's remarkable story, there are several astounding twists and details along the way.

High Life
dir Gary Yates, 09/US
The story of a 1980s bank heist gets a witty twist in this wry comedy - because these robbers just can't seem to shake their drug habits long enough to get the job done. The result is twisty and surprising, funny and sad, and packed with terrific performances from a lively ensemble cast that includes Timothy Olyphant and Rossif Sutherland. > FULL REVIEW

Van Diemen's Land
dir Jonathan auf der Heide, 09/Australia ***
From Australia's penal colony days, this gritty dramatic thriller tells a story that's not easy to watch, as eight men escape from their guard and run into the woods. But it's rather a lot further to safety than they expected, and when they run out of food, they start eyeing up the most obnoxious guy as the potential next meal. Filmed with extraordinary style and skill, it looks fantastic, and really gets us into the environment. We can practically smell and, erm, taste it! And we kind of wish it wasn't quite so vivid.

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