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|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Blog reviews from the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival|
Lucky Luke |
dir James Huth|
scr James Huth, Sonja Shillito
prd Said Ben Said, Yves Marmion, Sonja Shillito
with Jean Dujardin, Sylvie Testud, Melvil Poupaud, Michael Youn, Alexandra Lamy, Jean-Francois Balmer, Daniel Prevost, Bruno Salomone
release Fr 21.Oct.09,
UK Jun.10 eiff
From France, this hysterical Western farce feels rather a lot like a filmed comic book, with its cartoonish sets and characters, arch dialog and stylised action. It has hilarious echoes of Blazing Saddles, and also sees Dujardin back in OSS-117 spoof mode.
John Luke (Dujardin) was nicknamed Lucky because he's the only person who has ever survived the notorious Cheater gang in 1840s Utah. An ace gunslinger who maintains order without ever killing anyone, he is lured into a dangrous sheriff's job in Daisy Town, where he clashes with the evil Pat Poker (Prevost) and is seduced by the saloon singer Belle (Lamy). But he may need to team up with Jesse James (Poupaud), Calamity Jane (Testud) and Billy the Kid (Youn) to clean up the West.
That it's in French is half the joke, and the performances from Dujardin, Testud, Poupaud and Youn are particularly hilarious. In addition, the visual style is simply gorgeous, recreating the original comic strip images with vivid colour and snappy humour.
Me, Too |
dir-scr Antonio Naharro, Alvaro Pastor|
prd Manuel Gomez Cardena, Julio Medem, Koldo Zuazua
with Lola Duenas, Pablo Pineda, Isabel Garcia Lorca, Pedro Alvarez-Ossorio, Antonio Naharro, Maria Bravo, Daniel Parejo, Lourdes Naharro
release Sp 16.Oct.09,
UK Jun.10 eiff, US 19.Nov.10
Not only is this Spanish comedy-drama utterly charming, but it also addresses an extremely important theme with inventive characters and a snappy script. And the cast is excellent. It's about a man with Down's Syndrome (Pineda) who falls for his colleague (Duenas). Where this goes is completely unpredictable, as the film gently challenges stereotypes and prejudices we didn't even know we had. Without ever being pushy or preachy, the film makes its point clearly. And the story itself is so sweet that you'll want everyone you know to see it too.
My Words, My Lies — My Love|
dir Alain Gsponer|
scr Alex Buresch
prd Andreas Fallscheer, Henning Ferber, Marcus Welke, Sebastian Zuhr
with Daniel Bruhl, Hannah Herzsprung, Henry Hubchen, Kirsten Block, Peter Schneider, Henriette Muller, Simon Eckert, Alexander Khuon
release Ger 17.Dec.09,
UK Jun.10 eiff
Witty and entertaining, this German farce uses light comedy instead of sharp satire as it lampoons the publishing industry and the effects of fame on unsuspecting people. It's not a very ambitious film and is slightly uneven, but it's well-made and features another charming turn from Bruhl.
He plays an unambitious guy who finds an unpublished manuscript in a drawer and passes it off as his own to impress a girl. But she sends it to a publisher, sparking a literary phenomenon - and he's understandably not very comfortable with this fame. Especially when someone claiming to be the real author turns up. The film is warm and engaging but never very inventive, relying on a couple of clunky plot points and loud slapstick where more subtle wit would have worked better. Still, it's entertaining and probably ripe for an American remake.
The People vs. George Lucas||
dir Alexandre O Philippe|
prd Anna Higgs, Robert Muratore, Vanessa Philippe, Kerry Deignan Roy
with George Lucas, David Prowse, Ray Harryhausen, Gary Kurtz, Neil Gaiman, Mike White, Bill Plympton, Chris Gore
release US Mar.10 sxsw,
UK Jun.10 eiff
This thoroughly entertaining documentary will appeal mostly to people just like me: those who were total Star Wars obsessives starting back in 1977. The film intriguingly traces the phenomenon of the film and its sequels (and yes prequels) through the eyes of the fans, with the emphasis on how George Lucas' tinkering with the original trilogy and everything about the prequels felt like a betrayal to people who thought they owned this universe. Most fun are the literally hundreds of clips of fan movies woven into this doc. A real crowd-pleaser.
A Spanking in Paradise ||
dir-scr Wayne Thallon|
prd Andy Maas, Wayne Thallon
with Andrew Hawley, Simon Weir, Leo Horsfield, Danielle Stewart, Robert Harrison, John Gaffney
release Jun.10 eiff
Scruffy and rather oddly endearing, this loose and very low-budget British comedy tries to be racy but never quite manages it. Instead it's a sweet and rather improbable romp through the seedy side of Edinburgh. The story centres on a young human rights lawler (Hawley) who comes to town to stay with his uncle (Weir) while he waits for his American visa to come through. The hitch is that his uncle runs a brothel under the cover of the Birds of Paradise sauna, and several mini adventures ensue. Lively, offbeat characters make the film thoroughly disarming, as do some extremely silly set pieces. But while it's enjoyably watchable, the film isn't quite as funny as it could have been.
Street Days ||
dir Levan Koguashvili|
scr Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili, Nikoloz Marri
prd Gia Bazgadze, Archil Gelovani, Levan Korinteli
with Guga Kotetishvili, Irakli Ramishvili, Giorgi Kipshidze, Zura Sharia, Rusiko Kobiashvili, Eka Chkheidze, Zura Begalishvili, Gaga Chikhladze
release Geo 20.Jan.10,
UK Jun.10 eiff
There's a gritty, earthy realism to this film that makes it compelling viewing even though it's extremely bleak. But it's sharply well-filmed, and played with a raw intensity by its cast, most notably star Kotetishvili in a very difficult role. Not only does it make the situation in Georgia look rather hopeless, but it makes us wonder how many generations will need topass before things get any better.
It's the story of a low-life junkie on the streets of Tbilisi, and it develops anaskance charm that continually catches us by surprise as it follows Checkie (Kotetishvili) through a series of events that squeeze him from every conceivable side - including his wife, the cops, his dealer, a politician's teen son and the scary principal at his own son's school. Fortunately, the film is made with both dark honesty and an offhanded wit, which combine to draw us into the story so we really care what happens to Checkie and the people he is trying to protect.
Superhero Me ||
dir Steve Sale|
with Steve Sale, Charlotte Sale
release Jun.10 eiff
In the style of Morgan Spurlock, filmmaker Steve Sale puts himself right in the middle of his own documentary looking at real-life superheroes. The result is funny, challenging and hugely entertaining, but it lacks a real punch.
After talking to people about what makes a superhero, Sale sets out to become one, coming up with the name SOS, a costume, an origin story and even a theme song. After training in the gym and with a martial arts instructor, he hits the streets to fight crime. Ane he achieves some local fame as a result, mainly because he looks so ridiculous running around in yellow and red spandex.
It's pretty hilarious to watch Sale go through diet and fitness regimes, battle training, costume design and creating a back-story. Not to mention ultimately gaining local notoreity. But film gets more interesting as he travels to meet real heroes (in spandex and otherwise) who are making a difference in their communities. These include the rock band Justice Force Five in Brighton, Entomo in Italy and Master Legend in Florida. Even more impressive are the Street Pastors who selflessly provide assistance for wasted clubbers in some of London's dodgiest neighbourhoods. And they don't bother to wear a silly costume, unlike the others.
© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows
on the Wall