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2010 FrightFest Line-Up

Posted by: Matthew Turner 06/08/2010 @ 14:56
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 278
Films seen this week: A Town Called Panic, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Undertow, Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl, Going the Distance, The Expendables, Certified Copy, The Last Exorcism

FrightFest 2010 line-up
One of the best things about the Edinburgh Film Festival deciding to move to June is that it means I get to attend FrightFest, which always used to clash with the tail-end of the EIFF. This will be my third year of attending FrightFest and I'm really looking forward to it. Not counting the special screening of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which, like with John Landis and last year's showing of An American Werewolf In London will be followed by a discussion with Hooper himself) I've already seen four of the films in the line-up: Red Hill, Monsters, Cherry Tree Lane and the closing night film, The Last Exorcism, which I saw last night and heartily recommend. I'm also dying to see Monsters again, because although I felt it had some problems when I saw it at Edinburgh, I also saw it really early and the more films I saw after that, the better Monsters looked in comparison. I have to say, I'm dreading (and yet also looking forward to) the controversial A Serbian Film, though I've studiously avoided most of the horrible details so far as I don't want to spend the film waiting for them.

Other films I'm looking forward to include: opening night film Hatchet II (directed by FrightFest favourite Adam Green), Fanboys (a road movie comedy about a bunch of nerds trying to steal an early copy of The Phantom Menace – I really hope it ends with them all hating it), Burning Bright (in which a scantily-clad Briana Evigan gets chased by a tiger), a documentary on Video Nasties (Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape), Tobe Hooper's little-seen debut feature Eggshells,  high-school horror F (which friends have seen and said good things about) and Mexican shocker We Are What We Are, as I'm a sucker for a bit of Spanish-language horror. In the meantime I'm frantically trying to track down an uncut copy of I Spit On Your Grave before I watch the remake, so I can join in the anguished cries of “I can't BELIEVE they cut out the bit where [something really horrible happens]!” afterwards. Oh, and like most FrightFest fans, I'm extremely disappointed that Gregg Araki decided to pull Kaboom from the festival at the last minute, but I'll let FrightFest organiser Alan Jones have the last word on that. The full programme can be found by following the link at the bottom of this page.

Trailerwatch: Never Let Me Go
Never let it be said that this blog isn't right at the cutting edge of up-to-the-minute film news. Yesterday, it was officially announced (though that announcement was embargoed until midnight) that Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go would open this year's BFI London Film Festival on 13th October. Based on the best-selling novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day), it stars Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield as three friends who grow up in Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school, where they discover a chilling secret about their future.

I haven't read the book, but it seems to me that the trailer gives away much more than it ought to. If you want to go in cold, I suggest either not watching the trailer at all or putting your fingers in your ears and going “LA LA LA LA LA” whenever Charlotte Rampling appears. Other than that, I'm amused that the trailer goes heavily for the prestigious, high-quality literary adaptation angle but also sneaks in a cheeky hint at a lesbian kiss between Knightley and Mulligan at the 2 minute 12 second mark. All in all, it's a very exciting, not to mention Opening Night Gala-friendly cast (I was pleased to see Sally Hawkins in there too) and it's a great choice to open the festival. Its official UK opening date isn't until January 14th, so expect it to feature heavily in this year's Oscar speculation too.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's a pretty terrible week for new releases so there's only one new entry this week, with just Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky making it into the top ten. In fact, with the exceptions of Toy Story 3, Inception and The Karate Kid, the traditional summer blockbusters have been massively disappointing this year, but maybe that's a subject for a future blog post. (That said, fans of gunfights, explosions and punch-ups will be pleased to hear that The Expendables delivers massively on all three counts.) I would also urge you to catch both Splice and Down Terrace before they disappear from cinemas, as both are well worth seeing and both are a cut above the usual standard of films in their genres (sci-fi and British gangster flick, respectively). Interview-wise you can still read our interviews with A-Team stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley as well as our exclusive interview with Expendables star Charisma Carpenter.

1. Toy Story 3
2. Inception
3. Heartbreaker
4. Splice
5. Leaving
6. Gainsbourg
7. Down Terrace
8. The Karate Kid
9. Shrek Forever After
10. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

DVD Of The Week: Shutter Island (out now, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Martin Scorsese's brilliant psychological thriller Shutter Island, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane. Set in 1954 (and thereby allowing for some stylish hats), it stars Leonardo DiCaprio (in his fourth collaboration with Scorsese) as US Marshal Teddy Daniels, who heads to the remote Shutter Island hospital for the criminally insane with his new partner (Mark Ruffalo), in order to investigate the case of a missing patient (Emily Mortimer). However, with the head doctor (Ben Kingsley) behaving suspiciously and his sinister associate (Max Von Sydow) apparently unconcerned by the disappearance, it isn't long before Daniels starts to suspect a cover-up. This is easily one of the best films of the year and for my money it's also Scorsese's best film since Casino.

Everything about it is pitch-perfect, from the gorgeous cinematography to the fabulous costume and set design work to Robbie Robertson's terrific soundtrack and the performances from a superb cast that also includes Patricia Clarkson, Tedd Levine, Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Williams and De Niro lookalike Elias Koteas. Hell, even the storm sequence is the best storm sequence I've seen in a very long time. In short, this is a brilliantly directed, superbly written and thoroughly gripping thriller that packs a powerfully emotional punch. Sadly, however, there are no extras on the DVD – not even so much as a trailer. So rent it if you haven't seen the film but if you want to buy it then keep your fingers crossed for a 2-disc Special Edition. (Even the Blu-Ray only has two featurettes on it.)


by  oldbat  13/08/2010 @ 14:05
I liked the review of the film "Black Dynamite" however I cannot find out where it is showing? Is it too much to ask that when writing a review on the Edinburgh Review website the oerson concerned adds a note of where the film is showing?
by  Matthew Turner  13/02/2011 @ 16:30
I'm afraid it does sometimes happen that reviews are on the site even though the films aren't showing everywhere. However, the films should eventually make it to the different city venues - did you manage to catch it in the end? If not, it's out on DVD now...
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