Thursday, 4 July 2013

Festival Days: Where are we?

The East End Film Festival moves into its second week with a remarkably ambitious programme screening at cinemas all over East London. Highlights for me will be attending the world premieres of two British indies: Simon Savory's Bruno & Earlene Go to Vegas (pictured) and Daniel Audritt's The Brightest Colours Make Grey. On Wednesday evening I caught up with Ben Wheatley's latest head trip A Field in England, which is every bit as mind-boggling as expected.

Meanwhile, the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival  wrapped up over the weekend, and now I have the excitement of catching up with those films as they are released in the UK. I've managed to see one of them this week - Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring had a mixed reception at Cannes, and I can see why: it's probably a bit too timely and prescient for most critics. I found it a clever, insightful exploration of today's fame-driven youth culture.

Other films I've caught up with this week include the animated action-comedy Turbo, about a souped-up speedy snail (comments are embargoed on this one). Gerard Butler's surfing drama Chasing Mavericks is a blanded-down true story that at least features plenty of terrific surfing action. Spanish filmmaker Pablo Berger's remarkable Blancanieves will struggle to overcome comparisons to The Artist (it's also silent, black and white) and Hollywood's two takes on Snow White last year. But this is a skilfully well-told story that's essential viewing due to its gorgeous emotional resonance. Renny Harlin's The Dyatlov Pass Incident will also suffer from comparisons to The Blair Witch Project. Despite a dodgy climax, this icy thriller is actually a better film, and it's based on a fascinating true mystery from 1959 Russia (plus added present-day fiction).

The next big movies screening to London critics will be Guillermo Del Toro's alien-invasion epic Pacific Rim and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's apocalyptic pub crawl comedy The World's End.

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