Reviews & features: Edinburgh Festivals

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The Green Inferno

19 Jun 20143 stars

Eli Roth delves into jungle cannibalism and gives gorehounds plenty of gristle to chew on

A plane full of student protesters head off half-cocked into the Amazon trying to protect the rainforest and the indigenous tribes. After confronting a team of loggers, their ordeal really begins. On their way back to civilisation their plane crashes in…

Castles in the Sky

23 Jun 20142 stars

Eddie Izzard stars in Gillies MacKinnon's hamstrung WWII drama

It's receiving its world premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival, but this BBC Science commissioned pre-WWII drama feels very limited in cinematic potential by both its budget and its story. Directed by Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) and…

Finding Vivian Maier

23 Jun 20144 stars

An amusing, poignant and disturbing documentary about a talented and secretive street photographer

By turns amusing, poignant and disturbing, this documentary investigation into the work and life of the previously unknown but now posthumously-celebrated street photographer is never less than thoroughly intriguing. Looking for some visual material to…

In Order of Disappearance

19 Jun 20144 stars

Extremely black revenge comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vigilante Citizen of the Year

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance is set in a remote Norwegian town and stars Stellan Skarsgard as snowplough driver Nils Dickman, who has recenty been voted Citizen of the Year. When his son is killed by a vicious drug gang…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: The top 5 horror movies

17 Jun 2014

Featuring Honeymoon, Let Us Prey, Fish and Cat and Eli Roth's The Green Inferno

Fish and Cat (Mahi va Gorbeh) Inspired by rumours of a restaurant which served human flesh to its customers, this Iranian film uses a kite-flying competition to make urban visitors come into contact with creepy locals, testing slasher conventions to…

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War and peace announced as themes for Edinburgh International Festival 2014

18 Mar 2014

Programme highlights includes works involving The Kronos Quartet and Handspring Puppet Company

War and peace, conflict and conciliation are the grand themes being tackled in Jonathan Mills’ final year as director of the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2014 programme, announced today, explores music, dance, theatre and other arts not just…

Cathedrals of Culture

23 Jun 20143 stars

A '3D film project about the soul of buildings' featuring moments of inspiration and poignancy

This documentary portmanteau film comes laden with a pretentious subtitle (‘a 3D film project about the soul of buildings’) and a 165-minute running time, but for audiences willing to dive in regardless, it’s an interesting and unique film experience…

Set Fire to the Stars

23 Jun 20143 stars

Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones star in this often overwrought portrayal of Dylan Thomas

Writer-director Andy Goddard has enlisted some world class assistance in creating his debut feature film, an account of Dylan Thomas’ 1950 visit to the United States at the behest of literary academic John Malcolm Brinnin. Cinematographer Chris Seager…

Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

23 Jun 20143 stars

A welcome chance to catch up with the quirky artist’s heroic struggle for freedom

Following hard on the heels of Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry comes another feature length documentary about the Chinese artist and political activist, this time by Andreas Johnsen, who made the 2009 documentary Murder about anti-abortion…

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

23 Jun 20144 stars

Michel Gondry and Noam Chomsky examine the complexities of self-expression and conversation

Two men with unusual skillsets – a filmmaker whose work incorporates both mathematical precision and handknitted whimsy, and a scientific thinker who is also an impassioned social and political activist – discuss childhood, language, meaning and love in…

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Hellion

23 Jun 20143 stars

Newcomer Josh Wiggins delivers a stellar performance in this delinquent drama

Josh Wiggins makes a startling debut in Kat Candler’s Hellion, bringing to mind the scorching presence of River Phoenix in his portrayal of delinquent youngster Jacob Wilson. When he’s not setting fire to cars or tearing around on his dirtbike, Jacob…

The Anomaly

19 Jun 20142 stars

Noel Clarke's sci-fi puzzler squanders an interesting premise with repetitive action

You have to give Noel Clarke credit. Not only for his role as Mikey in Doctor Who or as an actor in Centurion, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Star Trek: Into Darkness and many others but he’s also written, directed and produced a series low budget Brit…

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

19 Jun 20144 stars

A beautifully shot, well acted and suspenseful teenage noir starring Mackenzie Davis

This feature debut of brothers Zeke and Simon Hawkins sets out its smalltown Texan noir ambitions early, with college-bound teenager Sue (rising star Mackenzie Davis, from That Awkward Moment) pointedly quoting pulp thriller writer Jim Thompson in a…

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

16 Jun 20143 stars

A beautiful but over-simplified family-friendly nature doc narrated by Morgan Freeman

At 40 minutes, David Douglas’ slender, family-friendly IMAX lemur doc is a hark back to the format’s days as a short-form edutainment outlet. Friendly, photogentic primates leap across the massive screen while Morgan Freeman’s subterranean tones…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: 10 of the best documentaries

13 Jun 2014

Featuring That Guy Dick Miller, Anthony Baxter's A Dangerous Game and #chicagoGirl

Atlas ‘A disturbingly beautiful and monstrously miserabilist trip into the gutter of civilization’ (filmcomment). Controversial French photographer Antoine d’Agata explores the underground world of drugs and prostitution in countries including India…

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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: A guide to the work of John McGrath

10 Jun 2014

The timely, Independence-themed work of the political playwright is given a festival retrospective

John McGrath was one of Britain’s most prolific writers, directors and producers. Born in 1935, he was a passionate socialist theatremaker. He’s particularly noted for setting up theatre company 7:84 in 1971, which became known around Scotland and…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Take a trip to the Island of Lemurs

10 Jun 2014

Writer-producer Drew Fellman discusses the IMAX doc, which is narrated by Morgan Freeman

It’s a cute, furry, animals-acting-like-humans narrative that could have been lifted straight from a Disney storyboard: a group of primates, fearing extinction on the mainland, board a naturally made raft and set sail for distant shores. ‘It’s the sort…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: 5 rising stars

10 Jun 2014

Featuring Dane DeHaan, Kelly Reilly, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Amy Seimetz and Laura Fraser

Dane DeHaan Following recurring roles in two semi-popular TV series (Timbo in vamp drama True Blood; Jesse in Gabriel Byrne psychology series In Treatment), DeHaan was able to fully showcase his vulnerable-but-dangerous side in underrated handheld…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: The top 5 comedies

4 Jun 2014

Featuring Life After Beth, Displaced Perssons and A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide

Anatomy of a Paperclip This odd title is only the start of the strangeness. Following a factory worker who spends his days bending wire into paperclips, this Japanese film floats between reality and his imagination. There’s a butterfly which takes…

Eddie Izzard, James Franco and Kristen Wiig among the stars of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

28 May 2014

The EIFF programme also features Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul

New films featuring Robert Duvall, Eddie Izzard, Nicolas Cage and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul are among the highlights of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014, the programme for which was unveiled today. Projects featuring input from James…

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Jazz, Juliette Binoche and a calendar change on cards for Edinburgh International Festival 2015

8 May 2014

Incoming director designate Fergus Linehan outlines his plans for change at the EIF

Fifteen months before the start of his first event, Edinburgh International Festival director designate Fergus Linehan has taken the unusual step of revealing some of his thinking behind the 2015 programme – as well as sharing details of a few of its…

Guide to working at the Edinburgh festival and taking a show there

6 Sep 2013

How to find a job and a room at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Most student cities and towns wind down for the summer as holidays are taken or resits crammed for a bit more diligently than first time round. But for the duration of August, Edinburgh opens the doors of every theatre, student union and church hall in…

Eh Joe

5 Sep 20134 stars

Atom Egoyan is a master at work as he brings Beckett from the screen to the stage

Atom Egoyan’s masterful staging of Beckett’s brief 1965 TV play Eh Joe, the first in a trio of the dramatist’s works from Dublin’s Gate Theatre at this year’s International Festival, is a thing of simple, ruthless beauty. Michael Gambon is the sole…

Dance Odysseys at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

30 Aug 20134 stars

An immersing four-day journey through dance

Sometimes it's nice to just dip your toe into the Edinburgh International Festival, other times it's fun to dive right in for full immersion. Happily last weekend's Scottish Ballet-led Dance Odysseys allowed audiences to do either, or indeed something…

The Poet Speaks: Homage to Allen Ginsberg - Playhouse, Edinburgh, 13 Aug 2013

30 Aug 20134 stars

Heartfelt tribute from two figureheads of modern American culture

The festival is awash with two-for-one deals, but you’d have to go some to surpass Tuesday night at the Playhouse: not just one colossus of modern American culture on stage but three – classical composer Philip Glass on piano, punk poet and singer Patti…