Southside Advertiser Edinburgh / Entertainment  & Arts Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018 Reviews Page 1 Almost Fashionable: A Film About Travis, Two for Joy,Solis, The Apparition (L'Apparition),  Hearts Beat Loud. Wild Nights with Emily, Dead in a week (or your money back), Calibre, In Darkness,Mary Shelley, Meeting Jim,  George Michael: Freedom - Director's Cut, The Parting Glass, Papillon, Whitney, The Heiresses (Las herederas), Metamorphosis

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EIFF 2018

REVIEWS PAGE 1

Almost Fashionable: A Film About Travis, Two for Joy, Solis, The Apparition (L'Apparition), Hearts Beat Loud

EIFF 2018

REVIEWS PAGE 2

Wild Nights with Emily, Dead in a week (or your money back), Calibre, In Darkness

EIFF 2018

REVIEWS PAGE 3

Mary Shelley, Meeting Jim, George Michael: Freedom - Director's Cut, The Parting Glass

EIFF 2018

REVIEWS PAGE 4

Papillon, Whitney, The Heiresses (Las herederas), Metamorphosis

Almost Fashionable: A Film About Travis

Rating 15 -  Running Time  59 mins -  Year -  2018 - Country USA - Language English

Part of the Documentaries Strand

Neil Primrose, Douglas Payne, Fran Healy, Andy Dunlop, Wyndham Wallace

This film is about so much more than Travis on the 2016 tour of Mexico.  The four Scots musicians who make up the band Travis, struck on the idea of inviting for interview Wyndham Wallace, music journalist/critic with a view to making a documentary of their touring visit to Mexico.  Wallace admitted not being the biggest fan of Travis, however he took on his task. He questioned band members, fans, other music critics and ultimately reprogrammed his own analysis of the band.
 
What impressed me about the content of this film is how in touch the band members are with their fans and audiences.  The four men are sincerely nice people.  They were good friends before forming the band, and their mutual support and intellect shines through in conversation.
 
The appeal of their ballad rich and memorable music can be seen in fans' faces during Travis performances and voiced in encounters with photojournalist Wallace outside various Mexican stadia.  Travis' music genuinely comes from the musicians' hearts and is subconsciously saying    ( at least to me it is ) "join-in-and-have-a-pleasant-time-with-us".
 
Lyrics reach out to people universally as the songs are about family, mothers, fathers, girlfriends.  It is so natural and relaxing to tune into the central nerve running through their music.
 
Wallace's personal revelation towards the end of the film is striking in its honesty.  He admits having spent too long being a critic and found poignantly that being a fan was...nice.
 
Yes, there is indeed a quality in being nice.
 
Reviewed by Nordann Lyshelt.
 
 

Director of Photography: Cristian Pirjol

Editor: Sarah Iben

Produced by: Fran Healy, Sarah Iben

Music: Travis

Screenplay by: Sarah Iben, Wyndham Wallace

Two for Joy

Rating 15 -  Running Time  86 mins -  Year -  2018 - Country UK - Language English

Part of the Best of British Strand

Samantha Morton, Billie Piper, Emilia Jones, Daniel Mays, Bella Ramsey, Badger Skelton

Tom Beard excels as director and screenwriter in this his début feature film.  Thrust immediately into a family's gritty and gruelling existence, we see mother, son and daughter, each in their own personal, mental hell.  Teenager Vi, played immpressively by Emilia Jones, acts as carer to her mum, mustering young skills in an attempt to improve family life.  Samantha Morton as Aisha, the near bedridden depressive mother, reveals the emptiness and anguish raging within her.  Son Troy, too young and desperate for maternal comfort, is adrift.  Badger Skelton magnificently captures how young lives suffer under such all too familiar circumstances.

Changed surroundings and relationships move the story towards more critical situations.  Bella Ramsey plays Miranda, who becomes an even greater disturbance to the central family trio.  Aisha strikes an unlikely, yet entirely convincing friendship with lush Lillah.  Billie Piper 'is' Lillah, such is her performance.  While the women are ineffectual as their offspring take centre stage, Daniel Mays who plays the well-meaning Lias, struggles to normalise everyone's lives.  He is running against the tide, for he alone has a grasp on personal accountability.
 
This film seems to last longer than its number of viewing minutes.  In saying that, it was due to the subject matter, burrowing into many of society's modern tragedies, yet there is an admirable quality in how each character is portrayed.  This film does exactly what it set out to do, take you to another's world.  ......And suddenly we realise how precious a smile can be.
 
Review written by Nordann Lyshelt.

 

Director of Photography: Tim Sidell

Editor: Izzy Curry

Produced by: Emma Comley, Sadie Frost

Music: Rodaidh McDonald

Screenplay by: Tom Beard

Production Designer: Laura Ellis Cricks

Sound Production: Richard Kondal

Solis

Rating 15 -  Running Time  90 mins -  Year -  2018 - Country UK - Language English

Part of the Night Moves Strand

Steven Ogg, Alice Lowe

Solis is set in an undefined future time when commercial mining of asteroids for rare minerals and elements is a very lucrative business.  As with mining today, safety procedures are sometimes pushed to the limit of safety and beyond and, after an explosion, one surviving astronaut wakes up (his other crew member is dead in his seat) and finds himself trapped in an escape pod and heading rapidly towards a sun with many life support, propulsion and other ship’s systems failing.

Steven Ogg, from The Walking Dead, plays our solo astronaut Troy Holloway (an engineer) and being the sole person on screen for any length of time, let alone a whole film, is always a difficult task for any actor.  Steve’s only company is via his potential rescuer on his radio communication system Commander Roberts (Alice Lowe).  What starts off as a nightmare of a disembodied voice that anyone trying to get sense out of a call centre will sympathise with, slowly turns into a lifeline of hope that keeps Troy focused.  As the constant communication between the two develops, we slowly gain insights into both characters and their history.

Visually, Solis has gone for a very functional look to the escape pod.  There is nothing here that we would not recognise from present day technology.  This escape pod is old, the company are not investing in anything that does not bring immediate profit (sound familiar?).

There are some nice touches to Solis, and one of the best is that like the classic “High Noon”, we are as an audience operating on the same time scale as our stricken astronaut – roughly 90 minutes.  This though does bring about its own issues as moments of possible suspense are rendered obsolete by the knowledge that there is still 30, 40 minutes (or whatever)  of the film left to run and if this option is taken then things have to end early.  Steven Ogg as an actor though is skilled enough to still hold our attention span as an audience with even this obviously limiting time bomb ticking away.

I still have some issues though with some of the basic science at work here.  Even across the distances of space (we are never told how far), Troy and Commander Roberts seem to have the luxury of radio communication with no time lag (were they really that close to one another?).

Something about the basic premise of a crew (alive and dead) trapped in a small space vehicle whilst limited resources run out just reminds me of Apollo 13; different time, different place, but still a variant on the story.

When you set up a story like this, you ultimately set up only two possible outcomes; either Troy survives or he does not survive, and when no other people are involved to inter-act with inside the stricken vessel, that sets up even fewer options for character development.

Solis is, if anything, a glimpse that the future of space exploration may be more space exploitation run by powerful corporations and that man’s exploration of space is fuelled not by the need for exploration and knowledge, but simple human greed.

Review by Tom King

 

Director of Photography: Bart Sienkiewicz

Editor: Chris Timson

Produced by: Charlette Kilby, Alan Latham, Steven Ogg, Caleb Wilson

Music: David Stone Hamilton

Screenplay by: Carl Strathie

Production Designer: Tony Noble

Sound Production: Patch Morrison

The Apparition (L'Apparition)

Rating 12A -  Running Time  137 mins -  Year -  2017 - Country France - Language French

Part of the European Perspectives Strand
 
Vincent Lindon, Galatéa Bellugi, Patrick d'Assumçao, Anatole Taubman
 
 
French director Xavier Giannoli brings an epic subject matter of fascination to the cinema screen.  Simply put - when is a saint not a saint?
 
War wearied photojournalist Jacques Mayano returns home to native France from appalling conditions in the Middle East after the death of his friend and colleague. Enforced rest and selfrecriminations have not even begun to set in before he is contacted by a French cardinal.  To Jacques' dismay, Rome requires his assistance and presence.  Vincent Lindon, actor and filmmaker for over 30 years,  portrays Jacques with pathos and realism as each tired shadow of emotion and thought crosses his face.  His impressions of the inner world of the Vatican gently tickled his irritation, before he understood the full impact of its laborious workings.
 
This film, of over 130 minutes long, is divided into chapters, which is in itself an interesting mechanism.  Each character in this drama is isolated by theology, whether through belief or lack of it.  Jacques is asked to investigate the authenticity of a claim to a vision of the virgin Mary.  Anna, an 18 year-old village girl from southern France must be formally and painstakingly assessed for sainthood.  Galatéa Bellugi plays Anna, a complex, yet restrained cult figure, devoted to the Catholic church.
 
The story is told in a genuine and intriguing fashion.  Anna's church supporters are Father Borrodine ( Patrick d'Assumcao ) and the somewhat sinister Anton Meyer ( Anatole Taubmann ) whose efforts tend towards relics rather than merits.  There is an interesting procession of discoveries made in this film, not least Jacques' rigourous determination to examine faithfully the facts and ultimately examine his faith.
 
Reviewed by Nordann Lyshelt.
 
 
 
The film has English subtitles.

Director of Photography: Eric Gautier

Editor: Cyril Nakache

Produced by: Olivier Delbosc

Screenplay by: Xavier Giannoli

Production Designer: Riton Dupire-Clément

Sound Production: François Musy, Renaud Musy

Hearts Beat Loud

Rating 15 -  Running Time  93 mins -  Year -  2018 - Country USA - Language English

Part of the American Dreams Strand

Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Sasha Lane, Blythe Danner

“Hearts Beat Loud” by director Director Brett Haley has created a rare thing here – a work that just makes you feel better by brightening up your day a little. At its heart, this is the story of a father (Frank Fisher played by Nick Offerman) and his daughter  (Sam Fisher played by Kiersey Clemons) who have always been very close together being pulled apart in different directions.  In this “coming of age” story, Sam has inherited her deceased mother’s musical talent, but plans to study medicine rather than embark upon a career in music.

Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons work well here as father and daughter on-screen, and there is genuine warmth in their performances.  A well written script ensures that we get enough background on both to actually start to care about them as people and what is going to happen to them.

Sam has been brought up around music.  Her father is just about to close his vinyl record store, Red Hook Records, after 17 years in business, and they have been making music together in their home studio “jam sessions” forever it seems.  When Frank decides to upload their latest song to an online music streaming service, possibilities begin to change for Sam.

Developing alongside this story line is a very nicely handled one between Sam and her girl-friend Rose.  Will Sam choose Rose over leaving town to study medicine?  Ted Danson has a nice part here too as Dave the bar owner and long-time friend of Frank.  Toni Collette as Leslie, landlord of the record shop and potential romantic interest, makes a good contrast to Frank’s less than serious attitude to life.

Part of what attracted me to this film was the idea of someone running a vinyl record store, and I have to say that I am one of those sad “vinyl junkies” out there who recognised most of the album sleeves on the walls and in the record racks here.  There is some great music in this film too; a shame that so much of it though was handled so badly sound-wise by the cinema’s audio system which seemed better suited to action movies and car crashes.  The audio issues were a shame as the actors all performed the songs they were singing here, and did the job very well.  Songs were written by Keegan DeWitt (Wild Cub), and Blink (One Million Miles);  “Everything Must Go”,  “Hearts Beat Loud” and the others are simply great little songs.  Additional indie group songs viewed on Frank and Sam’s computers added to the sound and feel of this film.  There is a soundtrack of this film available; I need to add it to my listening list.

Hearts Beat Loud has no great message, no hidden meanings that you have to contemplate for days after leaving the cinema. Instead, it is simply a charming film that shuts out a sometimes harsh world for a little while.

Review by Tom King

 

Director of Photography: Eric Lin

Editor: Patrick Colman

Produced by: Sam Bisbee, Houston King, Sam Slater

Music: Keegan DeWitt

Screenplay by: Brett Haley, Marc Basch

Production Designer: Erin Magill

Sound Production: Jim Morgan

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