Day Three: Happiness

My bag smells of falafel. This is the problem when watching four films back to back and don't want to eat Hot Dogs made from pig's bums and other less identifiable meats or overpriced sugar filled popcorn. I was prepared. I learnt from the LFF. I had snacks and I had drinks to see me through the war. However my falafel escaped and fell to pieces, hence my bag smells of falafel. Could be worse I suppose. Could've been tuna. Anyway. I digress. Hugely. Today was an excellent day. Again I had slightly cocked up, getting my actors called Sarah P mixed up. You see I though Stories We Tell was directed by Sarah Paulson (whom I adore greatly). It's not. It's directed by Sarah Polley. Whom I like. In fact i kinda adore her now after the film. Apart from that no other glitches and it was a day filled with fun, laughter, sex lies and videotape. On film. I didn't have sex. Honest. The day ended with a joyous gay wedding in New York. Then Easyjet went and cocked it all up by delaying a 50 minute flight 3 HOURS. I have a word for them but I will say it under my breath as I am a lady. However if you're partial to a crossword, five letters beginning with c.....

9.05
Stories We Tell
I could whip out the Phillip Larkin quote again but it's not quite right in this case. A more fitting second title for this could be All About My Mother. Sarah Polley takes us on a journey through her family's history where some very old skeletons are taken out of the closet and presented for all to see. Brave.

Polley's parents were thespians and her brothers and sisters are articulate and good looking so it's a pleasure to hear from them and its fascinating watching each person recant their version of the story. Each one believes they are telling the truth and each one, in their own way, loved the shining star at the centre of the story, Polley's mother Diane. Using home movies and photos and a very sneaky cheat I won't mention as its a nice reveal Polley lets each party tell their side. Although of course as she is the editor the end product is her own personal version. Fascinating stuff.

11.10
Svengali
Despite being excited for this film (I adore Vicky McClure) my stomach sank slightly as it began as I thought, oh no, another crappy low budget Brit flick that's low on laughs and high on cringe. However it ended up surprising me by being sweet and actually funny with some great performances. Including one fantastic cameo by Alan McGhee.

Dixy is a Welsh boy obsessed with music and according to girlfriend Shell, in possession of a 'golden ear'. Finding a band called The Premature Congratulations Dixy takes Shell and off on the Megabus they go to the big smoke to seek fame and fortune. It doesn't quite work out like that.....

Johnny Owen wrote and produced and for the most part it's pretty well done. Small roles populated with class actors like Martin Freeman, Maxine Peak and a brilliant comedic turn from the wonderful Matt Berry. Also boasting a cracking soundtrack it's well worth a look.

1305
Frances Ha.
This is the one. If you follow us on Twitter you may know that I have been pretty obsessed with seeing this film. I love Noah Baumbach and I think I love Greta Gerwig although I couldn't stand Greenberg. I was concerned this film would disappoint. It did not. It is funny, sweet, old fashioned (in a good way). The script is great and the performances are all excellent with Greta Gerwig on the top. She is mesmerising and Frances is a fantastic comedy creation. I will write a full review tomorrow suffice to say its about a twenty something wanna be dancer learning how to live her life and manage her closest relationships. It rocks.

1530
Before You Know It.
Final film of the day. I was praying it wouldn't be as irritating as yesterday's and it wasn't. It was about twenty minutes too long but it's a pretty life affirming experience.

Following the experiences of three men in their 60's and 70's, two gay,one cross dresser as the director explores what it's like for each if them. The experiences are vastly different. The most heartbreaking for me was Dennis Creamer (!) the 73 year old cross dresser who was so brave and yet always so alone. There was some hope towards the end though. The other two were Ty from Harlem who runs a centre for geriatric LGBT and is having perhaps the best time of the three although is hung up on being proposed to now that gay marriage has been passed in New York State, which makes for some funny scenes. Lastly we have Rob, 'the mouth of the south' who owns the longest running gay bar in Galveston Texas but has more than his fair share if problems and lost the love of his life some years back.

It's always interesting if a little hard to watch at times but is certainly life affirming as Robert says 'you never think about getting old when you're young but before you know it it creeps up on you'.

So that's your lot from Edinburgh's fair city. Full reviews will go up for those we deem worthy (i.e all of them except that pesky one) over next few weeks.

Bye for now.

Broken McShark. Sorry Scotland.

Day Two: Parenthood

I was considering calling this section World War Z.  Where is everyone?? Each screening I've been to has had about 5 people in. Hardly buzzing. 

When I see a few films in a week a theme usually occurs. For example I saw Lore and Stoker two days about and although vastly different films they both had coming of age at their core. For three of the four films parenthood was a theme although admittedly this is a tad tenuous but hey, if I want to clutch at straws then I will damn it!  Also Alexander Skarsgard was in two of the four films. Brief reviews below.

9.05 am
The East.
If I am being honest I cocked up here as what I meant to watch was The Deep. This was my back up. It worked out OK as it is pretty good. Undercover agent Sarah (Brit Marling) is sent to infiltrate an Eco terrorism group but when she does she starts questioning what she believes is right and wrong

It's a great cast including Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Skarsgard and a brilliant Toby Kebbell. for the most part is pretty slick and entertaining. It doesn't quite deal with the big pharma subject as well as the constant Gardener did but it makes a pretty good attempt. My one gripe would be Marling. She wrote it so its not surprising she's in the lead role but for me she was too passive for me to engage with her. I would have preferred Page in the title role.  She's got a great face though and it's terrific she's writing films and getting them made. Go Brit.

1120
What Maisie Knew
It's no rest for the wicked as I run for a quick toilet break then come back to the same cinema same seat and settle down for my next go round with Alexander Skarsgard, this time with Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore. Phillip Larkin once wrote 'they fuck you up your mum and dad' and that sentence could have been written for What Maisie Knew; a New York drama through the eyes of 6 year old Maisie as her utterly self absorbed parents go back and forth vying for custody then abandoning her when life got in the way. She finds solace in the arms of Lincoln (Skarsgard) and Nanny Margot (Johanna Vanderham).

It's a lovely sweet New York drama in the same vein as The Squid and The Whale. Perhaps it doesn't always ring true but it's nicely directed and the cast are top class. Coogan is on great form although playing a millionaire womaniser may not be a huge stretch. The whole cast is fantastic. We heart Julianne Moore. The end.

1300
I Am Breathing
I ran the 0.8 miles to The Filmhouse to make this one and I'm glad I did although it was a harrowing experience. Neil Platt was a new dad, loving life as an architect in London and very much loving his wife when he noticed his foot was slapping on the floor when he walked. Thinking he just needed new shoes he was shocked to discover that, like his dad, he had motor neurone disease. He was 34 and his baby's first Christmas would be the last Neil would ever see.  Crying yet?  I am. Neil was an amazing person and equally amazing is his wife. The documentary charts Neil's demise and whilst it is incredibly upsetting it is also life affirming and nicely intercut with home movies of Neil before. It's incredibly moving. A must see.

1530
A Long Way From Home.
Last one. It's been a great day, the films have been fantastic so it's a shame I had to end with this film. It really is not my bag but I'm not sure it's anyone's.  How the hell it got made is beyond me. A 70 year old man had a late life crisis in France and develops a crush on a younger woman. It feels like an afternoon movie on Channel 5 and isn't helped by some dubious acting by Paul Nichols and Brenda Fricker.  Natalie Dormer and James Fox are pretty good but to be honest I had to fight every fibre if my being not to walk out.

So that's today!  Tomorrow holds treats and hopefully more people around to network with.

 

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Day One: Much Ado About Nothing

Ahhhhh Edinburgh. Here we are again. Most recently I was here for Brave and before that for a show I produced at The Fringe. And now this. The 2013 Edinburgh Film Festival. Today was a day of not much at all really. Started excitably by me leaving my laptop in the hallway but has only got better since then even though it has only involved waking for miles round Edinburgh on cinema recces. So tomorrow is when it all kicks off screening wise. Planning on seeing four films but being new to the accreditation route have no idea what I will get into. Let me say this, I WILL trample over people to get into Frances Ha and Stories We Tell. So tomorrow Hopefully will include The East, Everybody's Gone, I Am Breathing and A Long Way From Home. Or some random film I can get into. Either way it will be interesting......now I'm off to loiter at the Traverse and see who's about......

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EIFF Here We Come!

So here we go with our first accredited film festival.  Hurrah.  Shame we both have jobs so we can only touch in and out.  Nonetheless,  there is a hell of a lot of good stuff at the revamped EIFF and we are most excited for Frances Ha, Svengali, The Deep, Stories We Tell, I Catch An Invisible Cat...Oh and square sausages.  One of us had a show at The Fringe a few years back so we know all about the square sausage.  See you on the other side!