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Edinburgh Film Festival Lineup

Posted by: Matthew Turner 27/05/2011 @ 09:56
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 167
Films seen in the last week: The Guard, Meet Monica Velour, Kung Fu Panda 2, Planeat, X-Men: First Class, Ghosted, Le Quattro Volte, Senna, Life, Above All, The Hangover – Part II

FILM OF THE WEEK: Heartbeats

Edinburgh Film Festival line-up
Last week saw the eagerly-awaited announcement of the line-up for this year's Edinburgh Film Festival. What with one thing and another, the Edinburgh Film Festival has had its fair share of problems this year, none of which was helped by a now infamous press release promising that it would be “moving away from the traditional concept of Film Festivals”, all of which struck fear into the hearts of Edinburgh-loving film journalists (myself included) everywhere.

It is fair to say that the finally announced programme has done little to assuage those fears though at least there are some actual new films at the festival after all, even if there are significantly fewer than in previous years. I'm still going though – I've got my accommodation and train tickets booked and will be there for the entire thing. Everyone already knows that it's going to be the worst Edinburgh on record so there's a sort of morbid fascination with seeing it all unfold first-hand. I'm also hoping for a sort of End of Days atmosphere, where everyone decides to just make the best of it and parties for two weeks.

That said, I have already seen a couple of the films (Meet Monica Velour and festival opener The Guard) and there are a handful I'm definitely looking forward to, including Scandinavian monster movie Trollhunter, true life combat drama The Bang Bang Club (starring Ryan Philippe), political thriller Page Eight (starring Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz), Festival stalwart David Mackenzie's Glasgow-set sci-fi thriller Perfect Sense (starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green), coming-of-age drama Albatross and Karl Golden's Ibiza comedy Weekender, starring Jack O'Connell (Cook, from Skins).

However, it's a shame that the festival didn't manage to land some of the more hotly-anticipated films, such as Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin – what's the point of Tilda Swinton being a highly-touted Edinburgh Film Festival patron if she can't even get her own film into the festival? I was also hoping for One Day (the key scenes of which are all set in Edinburgh) and also for friend-of-the-festival Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, based on the tenuous reasoning that they had Anti-Christ after Anti-Christ played at Cannes. All three of those films would have been cast-iron certs in previous years. Ah well. At least my Edinburgh Film Blog should be easier to keep up this year ...

Trailerwatch: Horrible Bosses
I hadn't heard of Horrible Bosses until it screened at a Showcase event a few weeks ago (I haven't seen it, but friends have), at which point I checked out the trailer to see what I was missing. On the surface, it looks like a lot of fun. For a start it has two of my favourite comedy actors named Jason (Bateman and Sudeikis), plus I've heard that Jennifer Aniston is really great in it and that she should play evil, manipulative bitches more often or something. At any rate, it's a refreshing change to see her play something other than her clean-cut, never-too-far-away-from-Rachel-from-Friends romcom persona, because we all know how well that's working out for her.

Anyway, the plot is that Bateman, Sudeikis and Charlie Day (from Going the Distance and TV's It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia) each have a horrible boss (Kevin Spacey, an almost unrecognisable Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston, respectively) that's making their lives hell, so instead of, you know, GETTING ANOTHER JOB, they decide to kill their bosses instead. With, hopefully, hilarious results. It's interesting that the bosses themselves have the funniest moments in the trailer – Spacey, Farrell and Aniston certainly seem like they're having fun, anyway. I can already see a giant flaw in the plot, which is that the Strangers On A Train 'You do my murder and I'll do yours' thing doesn't work if the murder-swapper is your best friend rather than a total stranger, but that's hopefully not going to matter too much.

I suppose I should mention Jamie Foxx too – I'm not a big fan of Jamie Foxx (Ray aside), but I like the idea of him as a “murder consultant”
named Motherfucker Jones, so we'll see what happens. The imdb also lists Donald Sutherland (as, I'm assuming, Farrell's dad) and Julie Bowen (one of my favourite unsung TV actresses - you may remember her from TV's Ed, though she was also Jack's ex-wife in Lost) as, I'm guessing, Day's fiance, while Lindsay Sloane is always good comic value too. It opens here on 22nd July so here's hoping it turns out to be good.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only two new entries this week, with just Xavier Dolan's stylish comedy-drama Heartbeats and South African coming-of-age drama Life, Above All entering the top ten. I really liked Angelo Frammartino's arthouse-botherer Le Quattro Volte too but a dialogue-free film in which the central characters (or, arguably, character) are an aging shepherd, a newborn goat and a tree is rather hard to recommend without a few qualifications. Actually, I've talked myself into it – that's getting onto the list too.

To make room, I've had to bump Meek's Cutoff, but you can still catch that if you hurry. I would also urge you all to check out Adele Blanc-Sec if you still haven't because a) it'll be gone soon and b) it's still my second favourite film of the year.

Interview-wise, this week we have press conference interviews with X-Men: First Class stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon (plus you can check out some rubbish pics from the conference) and you can still read our Pirates 4 interviews with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, as well as a semi-exclusive round table interview with Attack the Block stars Jodie Whittaker and Harry or Luke Treadaway. You can also still read our interviews with Attack the Block writer-director Joe Cornish and star Nick Frost, our press conference interviews with director Kenneth Branagh and the stars of Thor (Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston), our exclusive interview with Source Code director Duncan Jones, our equally exclusive interview with Adele Blanc-Sec director Luc Besson and Adele Blanc-Sec star Louise Bourgoin.

Come back next week for an exclusive interview with Asif Kapadia, director of the excellent upcoming documentary about Ayrton Senna (Senna).

1. Adele Blanc-Sec
2. Love Like Poison
3. Thor
4. Source Code
5. TT3D: Closer to the Edge
6. Hanna
7. Heartbeats
8. Le Quattro Volte
9. Win Win
10. Life, Above All

DVD of the Week: Barney's Version (out now, RRP £12.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Barney's Version, a comedy/drama directed by Richard J Lewis. Based on the novel by Mordecai Richler, it stars Paul Giamatti as Barney Panofsky, a grouchy Jewish TV producer, who looks back over his event-filled life and its three marriages (to Rachel LeFevre, Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike) as his memory begins to deteriorate. There's also the underlying question of whether or not he killed his best friend (Scott Speedman).

However, rather than concentrate on the murder mystery (or Barney's version of it), this is very much an engaging character study, exploring familiar ideas of family, friendship, loyalty and betrayal through the eyes of a not entirely sympathetic but always likeable lead character.
As such, Giamatti is terrific throughout and there's wonderful comic support from LeFevre, Driver and Pike as well as a scene-stealing Dustin Hoffman, who's perfectly cast as Barney's irascible father.

There are some fabulous scenes too, particularly a lengthy wedding sequence (Barney basically meets and falls in love with his third wife during his wedding to his second wife) and a superbly written dash-to-the-train-station scene that adds a delightfully knowing twist to that tried-and-trusted romcom staple. In short, this is a hugely enjoyable, emotionally engaging and darkly funny comedy drama with a sharply written script and terrific performances from a superb ensemble cast. Highly recommended.

That said, the extras package is pretty dismal and only includes a 10 minute Making Of featurette, featuring brief interviews with the three wives, Giamatti and the director but no sign of Hoffman. It's a particular shame that there are no deleted scenes, because Giamatti mentioned several interesting-sounding deleted scenes involving Rachel LeFevre's character in our exclusive round table interview back in January.


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