Friday, 18 June 2010

EIFF 3: Sunglasses at night

It was another sunny, warm day in Edinburgh on Thursday - I even wore shorts all day, including for a long walk around town in broad daylight until after 10pm. So for once the stars had a good excuse to wear sunglasses on the film festival red carpet last night. (Pictured: director Karl Golden , Emma Booth and Harry Treadaway on the red carpet for the World premiere of Pelican Blood at Cineworld, Edinburgh)

Even so, I managed to see five films yesterday (at least one too many), and it's been fun to notice the heavy emphasis this year on independent cinema, especially from Britain. I've got four again today that are slightly bigger name films. Here are three highlights from the festival today...

dir Ben Miller; with Noel Clarke, Johnny Harris 10/UK ***
Another small Brit film getting its world premiere here, this one struggles simply because it's a very dark drama about stand-up comedy. So we really want it to be funny, but as it follows a couple of guys trying to crack into the business, there are very few laughs. In addition, the central duo (Clarke and Harris) play their roles extremely broadly - more like the stage play it's based on - allowing for very little subtlety or nuance. But it's still a fascinating look at the rocky road to fame.

The People vs George Lucas
dir Alexandre O Philippe 10/US ****
This thoroughly entertaining documentary will appeal mostly to people just like me: those who were total Star Wars obsessives starting back in 1977. The film intriguingly traces the phenomenon of the film and its sequels (and yes prequels) through the eyes of the fans, with the emphasis on how George Lucas' tinkering withthe original trilogy and everything about the prequels felt like a betrayal to people who thought they owned this universe. Most fun are the literally hundreds of clips of fan movies woven into this doc. A real crowd-pleaser.

dir Gareth Edwards; with Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able 10/UK ****
First-time filmmaker Edwards makes an auspicious debut with this fiercely original film set six years after aliens have taken over Mexico. And they're pretty scary mammoth spider-squid beasts rampaging across the countryside. But the film is actially more of a road comedy, pairing a photographer with a rich girl as they traverse this landscape. The film is much more about them than the creatures, which constantly subverts our expectations (and perhaps what we want to see). But Edwards has made a remarkably effective film on a very low budget, and by crushing the formlae he has whetted our appetite for whatever he comes up with next.

No comments: