Sunday, 20 June 2010

EIFF 5: Armed and dangerous

Against all odds, the sun continues to shine brightly on the Edinburgh Film Festival - and today it's been warm again after yesterday's chilly breeze. The big event last night was the Toy Story 3 premiere, prompting the week's most surreal scene so far as festival patron Sean Connery struck a James Bond pose on the red carpet with Jessie and Woody.

The party celebrating the world premiere of SoulBoy was great fun later on, as the rousing beat of Northern Soul lured journalists, delegates and even the film's star Martin Compston onto the dance floor late into the night. But we were all back here at 9am for today's round of press screenings.
And here are some of today's festival highlights, including one of my best films of the festival so far...

Winter's Bone
dir Debra Granik, with Jennifer Lawrence 10/US *****
Based on the Daniel Woodrell novel, this film is a riveting exploration of old-society notions of responsibility and obligation, loyalty and betrayal. It deserves the awards it's swept up so far, and more are surely to come... M O R E >

22 Bullets
dir Richard Berry, with Jean Reno 09/Fr **
From the Luc Besson school of violent French thrillers, this film is far sleeker and classier than most, thanks to Berry's strong direction and lucid action set pieces. Jean Reno is also wonderfully understated as the "immortal" killer dragged out of retirement to protect his family and settle a score. This is a fiercely energetic movie that keeps us thoroughly entertained through its outrageously over-the-top action sequences, vivid characters and bonkers plotting.

Jackboots on Whitehall
dir Edward & Rory McHenry, voices Ewan McGregor. Rosamund Pike 10/UK ***
Kind of like a British Team America, this raucous alternate-reality WWII comedy romp features a cast of dolls, including Winston Churchill (hilariously well-voiced by Timothy Spall), trying to defend Britain from a German invasion. The action is frenetic and often hysterically funny as the German high command take over Buckingham Palace and the UK government is sent north to barricade behind Hardian's Wall and seek help from the barbaric, brave(heart) Scots. It's not quite clever enough to be a classic, but it definitely keeps us laughing.

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