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Edinburgh Film Festival Lineup

Posted by: Matthew Turner 08/05/2009 @ 11:56
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 133
Films seen last week: Sounds Like Teen Spirit (again), O'Horten, Voy a Explotar, Delta, Angels & Demons, Blue Eyelids, 35 Shots of Rum, Shadows in the Sun

Edinburgh Film Festival Lineup
Earlier today I attended the London press launch for the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival, which runs from 17th to 28th June. Since I never get to go to Cannes, Edinburgh is always the film-based highlight of the year for me and the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival lineup looks pretty exciting. I've already seen a handful of the films on offer this year, such as Greg Mottola's excellent Adventureland, Rebecca Miller's superbly acted The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and Claire Denis' 35 Shots of Rum, but I'm looking forward to unearthing several new gems.

Obvious highlights include Sam Mendes' Away We Go (the Opening Night Gala), Max Mayer's New York romcom Adam (the Closing Night Gala - see Films I'm Looking Forward To, below), Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker and Steven Soderbergh's potentially controversial The Girlfriend Experience, given that it stars real-life pornstar Sasha Grey. However, the film I'm most excited about is Duncan Jones' Sam Rockwell-starring sci-fi flick Moon, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago – I'm just hoping I can see it before anyone spoils it for me, because it strikes me as that sort of film. Anyway, I'll be covering the festival for ViewEdinburgh.co.uk and blogging about it on my Edinburgh Film Festival blog.

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Adam
As mentioned above, the Closing Night Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival is Adam, a delightful-looking New York romcom starring Hugh Dancy (rapidly becoming the Hugh Grant de nos jours) as a young man with Asperger's Syndrome and Rose Byrne as the woman he apparently falls for. It looks like the filmmakers have done their homework (see also Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, who's not explicitly identified as having Asperger's but displays many of the same traits), so this should also be interesting in a raise-awareness sort of way. At least it should help avoid real-life scenes like the hilarious final line in the trailer... Anyway, if you don't make it to Edinburgh, it opens country-wide on July 31st.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change this week with no less than six new films making it into the top ten. Chief amongst these are heart-warming competition-based documentary Sounds Like Teen Spirit (read our interviews with Trust and director Jamie J Johnson, along with our interview with Cheri director Stephen Frears), JJ Abram's brilliant reboot of Star Trek and Henry Selick's 3D animated version of Neil Gaiman's Coraline (fans of Gaiman and Selick will be delighted to learn they're planning future collaborations. Also worth seeking out are three catch-them-while-you-can arthouse releases: indie black comedy Momma's Man, quirky Norwegian drama O'Horten and Spanish anti-romcom Blue Eyelids.

1. Sounds Like Teen Spirit
2. Star Trek
3. Let the Right One In
4. Coraline (3D)
5. I Love You, Man
6. Encounters at the End of the World
7. Shifty
8. Blue Eyelids
9. O'Horten
10. Momma's Man

DVD of the Week: Sex Drive: Full Throttle Edition (2 discs, out now, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is teen comedy Sex Drive, starring Josh Zuckerman as Ian, a virgin who steals his brother's car and drives it across country with his two best friends in tow (Clark Duke and Amanda Crew), in order to hook up with a girl he met off the internet. The witty script expertly blends the road trip-slash-romance plot of comedy classic The Sure Thing (itself an update of 1935's It Happened One Night) with the edgier gross-out comedy style of films like Road Trip and American Pie. The result is a hugely enjoyable, frequently hilarious teen comedy with likeable leads and three stand-out comic performances from Clark Duke, James Marsden (as Ian's obnoxious brother) and Seth Green as a sarcastic Amish mechanic.

Extras include: a filmmakers' commentary with the director, writer and producer; a Making Of featurette, mini-featurettes on James Marsden and Clark Duke and what appears to be 18 minutes of footage of the actors goofing around with a video camera off set. However, in a welcome break from what usually happens with these types of film, the DVD package includes both the original theatrical cut and the “unrated”, 20 minutes longer version, which even the filmmakers acknowledge is “for fans only” and a bit rubbish. Other DVD companies, please take note: sometimes fans just want to be able to watch the theatrical version again.

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