Reviews & features: Film

288 reviews

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Cinefringe brings international and experimental screenings to the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

16 Aug 2013

'It's the middle ground between a film festival and the spontaneous, edgy feel of the Fringe'

Although it wasn’t founded specifically for that reason in 2010, one advantage of CineFringe (tagline: ‘The official film festival of the Edinburgh Fringe’) is that it brings a film presence back to August in Edinburgh, ever since the International Film…


14 Aug 20132 stars

A documentary examining small town mentality in America that unfortunately loses momentum

Antwerp multi-media company Berlin's documentary focuses on the town of Bonanza, America, a once thriving, seedy place populated by miners, prostitutes and hard drinkers, now reduced to just seven permanent residents. Yet even here, the folks just can't…

Summerhall film programme at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

1 Aug 2013

Film and events including The Brothers Quay in conversation, Sven Werner and Pumajaw

Summerhall are embracing challenging visuals, sonic landscapes and innovative filmmakers in their programme of film events for the Fringe this year, showcasing a style of cinema a world away from the multiplex. Undoubtedly the highlight is The…

Michael Nyman: Man With a Movie Camera at 2013 Edinburgh Art Festival

1 Aug 2013

Installation of remakes by filmmaker and composer

Michael Nyman is best known for his work as a contemporary composer who has soundtracked myriad films, including several directed by the painterly Peter Greenaway, as well as scoring mainstream success for his work on Jane Campion's The Piano. Such…

Kubrick³ and Colour Me Kubrick spin two stories around the same man: Kubrick impersonator Alan Conway

31 Jul 2013

The London real estate agent successfully impersonated the director in the early 1990s

Surely the most astounding – and hilarious – true story to be dramatised at the Fringe this year will be Kubrick³. The PIT theatre company production, written and directed by David Byrne (not that one), tells the story of a conman who passed himself off…

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Michael Nyman: Man With a Movie Camera set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival

16 Jul 2013

Installation of ten film remakes by the composer, filmmaker and photographer

This installation of ten movie remakes by the composer, filmmaker and photographer Michael Nyman is the first exhibition of his work ever to be held in Scotland. Based on the 1929 documentary Man With a Movie Camera, these ten works (all sharing a Nyman…

Days of Grace

1 Jul 20133 stars

Atmospheric Latin American action movie in the same vein as City of God and Elite Squad

Showing up at EIFF an oddly long while after its Cannes debut – it screened out of competition there not this year, not last year, but in 2011 – Everardo Gout’s debut makes a late addition to that canon of stylised, ultra-violent Latin American crime…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013: Best of the Fest

27 Jun 2013

The Sea, Desert Runners, Frances Ha and The Bling Ring among the fest's encore screenings

The Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 has announced the line-up for its Best of the Fest screenings - those films which have had such a good reaction from festival audiences, they're getting screened again on Sun 30 Jun. Tickets go on sale…

Frankenstein's Army

27 Jun 20134 stars

Gory, inventive horror with fantastic bio-mechanical special effects

You've seen found footage horror and Nazi zombies before, but Frankenstein's Army mashes them together proving that a fresh approach can breathe new life into tired genre conventions. It's based around the wonderfully absurd idea that Victor…

The Conjuring

26 Jun 20133 stars

'Fact'-based ghost story from James Wan, director of Insidious, Saw and Dead Silence

'Based on a true story' has become the most over used cliché in horror cinema. It's become such a regular within the genre that viewers have become cynical, dismissing it also most as soon as it flashes upon the screen. *3The Conjuring*2 has slightly…

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Comrade Kim Goes Flying

26 Jun 20133 stars

An enjoyable, family-friendly drama from North Korean

When talking about North Korea, we tend to think of nuclear tests and one of the last Communist autocracies in the world. So when this North Korean/western co-production was billed in the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 programme as a…

The Sea

26 Jun 20132 stars

Restrained drama adapted from John Banville’s Booker Prize-winning novel

‘We’re known in Britain for making smaller films... Room with a View with a Staircase and a Pond-type movies. Films with very fine acting, but the drama is very sort of subsued and... subsumed? A word like that...’ So spake Lord Eddie of Izzard back in…

From Tehran to London

25 Jun 20133 stars

Mania Akbari's unusual study of relationships was cut short by Iranian governmental restrictions

This charged, unusual piece of work begins as an intense close-up study of a relationship that may or may not be in serious trouble, and concludes as a whole different kind of art work: one that takes on in very real terms the conditions under which…

Behind the scenes at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013

24 Jun 2013

The List talks to some of the people who help run the EIFF

We caught up with a few of the people working behind the scenes at the film festival and asked them about how the festival has changed, what makes their day and what keeps them going through the tough times. Answers from Diane Henderson, Deputy…

Magic Magic

24 Jun 20134 stars

Sebastian Silva's psycho thriller, starring Juno Temple and Michael Cera, will mess with your head

From the moment its repeating title flashes momentarily onto the screen, writer/director Sebastian Silva’s dark and unsettling drama runs deep with themes of perception, paranoia and tricks of the mind. Did we really just see that, or was it our…

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Monsters University

24 Jun 20133 stars

Pixar's Monsters Inc prequel, starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman, just doesn't hit the spot

It’s a Pixar film, so Monsters University of course has verve, comic confidence and copious visual polish. But less of its home studio’s famed precision has been applied when it comes to establishing who the film is actually for. Kids weaned on 2001’s…

Desert Runners

24 Jun 20133 stars

Enlightening doc about the amateur athletes attempting ultramarathons in hostile environments

Have you ever finished a marathon and thought, ‘that’s not quite the challenge I hoped it would be’? Of course you haven’t. No sane person would. But for a select group of people, there needs to be something more: the ultramarathon, a 250km-plus jaunt…

White Epilepsy

24 Jun 20134 stars

French artist Philippe Grandrieux's experimental exploration of the body

Philippe Grandrieux's work has often invoked the world of Francis Bacon, but in this almost purely experimental piece it is even more pronounced, as he takes Bacon's fascination with the triptych and the body and insists on utilising only the middle…

Like Someone in Love

21 Jun 20134 stars

A subtly tender film from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami seeks not so much layers of ambiguity as areas of it: pockets of his films contain mysteries that we know we'll never fathom. Yet often his work seems surprisingly transparent, simple in the minimalism of event, and the…


21 Jun 20133 stars

A Britpop comedy that has its faults but succeeds on a sweet and funny performance from Jonny Owen

This good-natured British music industry spoof began life as a series of short YouTube skits, and consequently runs out of steam a good while before its 90 minutes are up. But it is nonetheless a likeable showcase for its writer and star, Welsh comedian…

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Shun Li and the Poet

21 Jun 20134 stars

Quietly absorbing drama about the friendship between two outsiders in Italy

Single mother Shun Li (Zhao Tao) is a Chinese immigrant in Italy, who’s compelled to keep working for her handlers, until they decide that her 8-year-old son can join her in the West. Moved from seamstress duties in a textile factory on the outskirts…

Breathe In

20 Jun 20133 stars

Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones star in this misanthropic drama

Sometimes it’s hard to be a man - when your wife’s hobbies are collecting cookie jars and crushing your dreams; when your dreams of rock stardom are so distant that the evidence thereof is confined to C90 cassette tapes; and when the only person who…

Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz

20 Jun 20133 stars

Third instalment in the Nazi zombie series, starring Bryan Larkin and Michael McKell

Outpost was part of the first wave of the current mini-craze for Nazi zombie movies (sitting alongside Dead Snow, the genre has also spawned Nazis at the Center of the Earth and War of the Dead) and has become Scotland’s most successful horror franchise…

The Deep

20 Jun 20133 stars

A spare and reasonably compelling Icelandic survival drama from Jar City director Baltasar Kormákur

Charting a similar course to Life of Pi but minus the tiger and meta-fictional trappings, The Deep is the true story of a man’s survival in perilous waters after a shipwreck. The director is Baltasar Kormákur, who sprung to international recognition…

Upstream Colour

20 Jun 20134 stars

Primer director Shane Carruth delivers a compelling, beautiful and well-nigh impenetrable drama

‘I was born with a disfigurement where my head is made of the same material as the sun,’ unhelpfully explains a mysterious character in writer/director Shane Carruth’s highly anticipated follow-up to his much discussed indie sci-fi time travel puzzler…