Monday, 21 June 2010

EIFF 6: True infatuation

It's the longest day of the year here in Edinburgh, and the sky basically is never going dark - with the continuing bright sunshine outside. Meanwhile, inside cinemas we're watching some very interesting films - lots of independent movies, most of which use suicide as a major plot point. Is this a running theme this year? (Pictured: Brian Pettifer, Kate Dickie and Martin Compston at the premiere of Donkeys)

Here are some highlights on Monday...

The Runaways
dir Floria Sigismondi; with Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning 10/US ***
Stewart and Fanning are terrific as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in this take of 70s teens forming the first rock-chick band. So it's a bit strange how the filmfeels slightly off-balance, as it centres on Currie (it's based on her book). Sure, her story is perhaps the better of the two, but it's Jett we want to know more about. Even so, the film is packed with great music and extremely strong acting, including Michael Shannon as iconic music promoter Kim Fowley.

Barry Munday
dir Chris D'Arienzo; with Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer 10/US ****
Patrick Wilson goes against type as a schlubby nice guy in the dark rom-com about a guy who loses the abillity tohave children then discovers that an unmemorable one-night stand (Greer) is pregnant. As both of these characters adjust to the unpleasant fact that their lives are now intertwined, the film wins us over too.

dir Morag McKinnon; with James Cosmo, Martin Compston 10/UK ***
Set in Glasgow, this rough and grainy drama revolves around a knotted family situation that's made worse because no one is being honest with each other. We know this will all come out in the end, but we could never predict quite how it plays out on screen. Terrific performances from a fine cast that includes Cosmo and Compston, plus Kate Dickie and Brian Pettifer.

dir Ashley Horner; with Nancy Trotter Landry, Liam Browne 10/UK
This low-budget British romantic drama is about that giddy period when life kind of stops while we indulge madly in our passion for a new lover. It's an intriguing film, and very well played with raw honesty, and solid filmmaking. But the indulgent nudity feels somewhat leery as Landry barely ever puts clothes on (although Browne isn't shy either) . And the art-world plot feels a little contrived and pretentious. In the end, it's not so much true romance as mad infatuation, but that makes it rather endearing.

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