Friday, 25 June 2010

EIFF 10: A hero lies in you

The sun continued to shine on Thursday, even though it was a bit cooler outside. The festival is winding to a close - it was the quietest day so far, and things will crank up again today and this weekend. Still, filmmaker Steve Sale bravely walked the red carpet in his SOS costume for the premiere of his documentary Superhero Me then hung out in the press lounge for awhile.

Here are some Friday highlights...

dir Pascal Chaumeil; with Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis 10/Fr ****
This delightful romantic comedy refuses to play by Hollywood rules. So even though it's as predictable as you'd expect, it keeps the characters grounded in reality. And their dialog is peppered with truly terrific lines ... M O R E >

The Extra Man
dir Berman & Pulcini; with Paul Dano, Kevin Kline 09/US ****
Paul Dano is terrific in this comedy about a young guy named Louis in New York who builds a very offbeat friendship with his theatrical, eccentric flatmate Henry (Kline). The title refers to Henry's job as an escort for wealthy old ladies, a role that Louis takes to with alarming skill. The film is a bit soft around the edges, and also rather low key in its approach, but the offbeat characters are thoroughly engaging.

Get Low
dir Aaron Schneider; with Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek 09/US *****
If it wasn't enough that this film has a terrific cast that combines Duvall at his very best, Spacek at her most luminous and Bill Murray at his most restrained (yet still deadpan hilarious), it's also stunningly written, directed and photographed. It's a gentle story of lifelong regret - penitance and redemption, mixed with a deep romanticism and strongly gruff wit. Duvall plays a grouchy, scary hermit who decided to "get low" - get down to business - and tidy up the loose strands of his life before he dies. And while it may be slow and rather predictable, getting there is sheer cinematic joy.

Superhero Me
dir Steve Sale; with Steve Sale, Charlotte Sale 10/UK ****
With a Morgan Spurlock-like approach, filmmaker Sale explores the concept of real-life superheroes by transforming himself into one called SOS. And it's pretty hilarious to watch mim go through diet and fitness regimes, martial arts training, designing his costume, creating a back-story and even composing a theme tune. Not to mention ultimately gaining local notoreity. But along the way he meets a lot of other real heroes (in spandex and otherwise) who are making a difference in their communities. Funny and challenging.

The Kid
dir Nick Moran; with Rupert Friend, Jodie Whittaker 10/UK ***
Based on the amazing true story, this film traces Kevin Lewis' life from his insanely abusive home (Natascha McElhone is an evil mum who'd give Mo'Nique a run for her money) through various care homes and into a life of crime. It's an often harrowing journey - well-played by the cast, although the rollercoaster structure begins to feel a little repetitive as it goes along. Still, besides recounting a fascinating tale, the film also has some important things to say about society's responsibility to children who may be at risk. And how doing nothing only makes things worse.

No comments: