Tag Archives: Edinburgh International Film Festival

I didn’t know there was so much blood in “Snowman’s Land”

Walter’s a regular guy: he wakes up, eats some food and goes to work – killing people.  However, when Walter whacks the wrong guy in a men’s bathroom, his boss puts him on hiatus.  One of his hitman colleagues, Francois, tells him to take a job in the mountains: get some fresh air, time away from the world, relaxation!  Of course, vacations never turn out as you expect and given Walter’s line of work, the unexpected can be lethal. Continue reading


The Hunter

Like Police, Adjective, The Hunter is a slow-paced film which probably has more cultural significance than viewers outside its place of origin will recognize.

Ali Alavi, an ex-con who works the night shift, comes home to find his daughter and wife missing.  Ali goes to the police and discovers they were killed by gunfire between police and a rebel group.  Taking his rifle, he goes up to a hill and hunts cars on the freeway.

The film takes its time to arrive at the two main plot points and after he starts shooting cars, you’re not really sure why this is his reaction to the death of his wife and child.  It might be interesting to discuss the decisions made at the conclusion, but other than that, there’s not a strong engagement with the audience.  Very few characters interact with Ali, so we spend most of the time watching his moody mug go to his boring job, look for his family, and MINOR SPOILER run from the police SPOILER OVER.

None of this would be a problem if the audience were thrown more breadcrumbs to understand the character’s motivations – but something tells me there’s a cultural significance to the killing of his family by police/rebels that audiences outside of Tehran can’t grasp.

If you liked Hanake’s opaque Cache (Hidden), I’m sure you’ll love this.  For the rest of us, we’ll pass.

Edinburgh Film Fest Daily Roundup (part 8)

*I go into the dark to find out about The Dunwich Horror

*My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is dream cinema

other news

Scrambling around to find more films to watch as the festival comes to a close: Press screenings end Friday, festival officially ends Sunday.  Crazy.  When you’re in the middle of it you lose all sense of time.

Between screenings I’ve taken some pictures around Edinburgh.  I’ll have some up tomorrow.

reviews to come

The Hunter, Snowman’s Land

Edinburgh Film Fest Daily Roundup (part 7)

*Police, Adjective teaches me the finer points of the Romanian dictionary

*Putty Hill displays clunky melancholy

*Cigarette Girl has some issues

*Vindication finally arrives with some insider info on the production of Public Enemies

other news

The three films listed above were excruciating to watch out of the hardcore boredom factor.  It didn’t help that I watched them back-to-back.

My reviews may prove interesting for Police, Adjective‘s discussion of Romanian politics or Cigarette Girls issues of sex and violence, but they aren’t worth watching.

The unlucky selection of such bad films make me concerned for the rest of the festival.  As mentioned in the Police, Adjective review, there are films specifically known as “festival films.”  These are bad films with no distributor interest that get a few screenings as festival filler.

After the weekend, I’ve noticed fewer industry and press people around the festival, which increases my concern.  The strongest parts of the fest were definitely on display in the first five days, but this week includes a greater number of lesser known films.

reviews to come

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror (an audio film of his story), My Son My Son What Have Ye Done?

“Police, Adjective” lacks pulse

My current spate of reviews come from the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where I believe I just encountered my first dreaded “festival film” which  one writer described as:

“the submerged nine-tenths of the film production world that gets only one or two screenings in its lifetime, in a near-empty cinema in downtown Gdansk or wherever.”

I say this because watching Police, Adjective was more dull than spending three hours in hospital waiting room.*

Continue reading

Public Enemies was plagued by cast and crew tensions, technical blunders

For those of us who tried to warn the public that they were being swindled into buying tickets to an unfinished product with last year’s much anticipated Public Enemies (weak sound design, amateur framing, visuals that “looked like a wedding video” as my friend put it), the following offers some (belated) vindication.

A source at the Edinburgh International Film Festival said that technical details plagued the production of Public Enemies, thanks to Michael Mann’s mistreatment of the crew and poor management skills.

Crew members were financially and personally poorly treated and simple technological protocols (correct cables, lenses) were flouted.  The results were disastrous: A production designer quit, Johnny Depp had Mann apologize to the crew for his behavior, and the studio spent “$20-30 million dollars” in post-production trying to save the film.  Depp “hated Mann” for the way he ran the production.

It seems the crew got the last laugh though: The same source said that “thousands of dollars in office supplies” from Public Enemies were stolen and put to use for a film currently at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.  “You could say it’s a Michael Mann financed film.”

I’m a huge fan of Mann’s Heat and Collateral, but was dismayed by the poor production values of Public Enemies.  Though the film came out a year ago, I think it’s important to know the history surrounding a production so as to understand a film’s successes or failures.  There is the possibility that the person I spoke to could be some disgruntled crew member out to tarnish Mann’s image, but this person’s comments seem a reasonable explanation for the unusually bad quality of such a major Hollywood film.

EIFF Daily Roundup (part 6)

*I fall for Au Revoir Taipei

*Sir Patrick Stewart makes it so

other news

Au Revoir Taipei was a great break from multiple dramas in a row.  The Patrick Stewart interview was completely packed and it was cool to see him have such passion for his work (and the work of others) after so many years.  After the talk it made me want to start watching Star Trek: The Next Generation.  If DVDs and Netflix allow whole seasons of TV shows to be accessible, it would be interesting to go back and watch some older shows (especially Quantum Leap).

reviews to come

Police Adjective, Putty Hill, Cigarette Girl