Archive for the ‘Film: Review’ Category

EIFF 2012: Killer Joe


You may never eat fried chicken again after watching William Friedkin’s opening film of the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival. The tone of the film is set straight away as we open on a disgusting looking trailer park in the pouring rain, a desperate and angry man hammers on a trailer to eventually be met by Gina Gershon naked from the waist down. This is a darkly funny film that can be shocking in parts, sad in others and everything feels dirty. Starring a strong ensemble cast with Matthew McConaughey at the centre in a creepy and sometimes scary performance. McConaughey is better than he has ever been as Joe with the rest of the cast also putting in stellar performances; Juno Temple plays the perfect balance of unstable and innocent, Thomas Haden Church and Emile Hirsch are a brilliant double act as dense father and son and Gina Gershon plays a wicked step mother. The plot of the film is a sort of bleak fairy tale about a hateful family trying to solve their money issues. Chris (Hirsch) needs money fast and so goes to his father with a plan to murder Chris’s mother and collect her insurance money. This is where Joe comes in; being a cop who kills people on the side. The one catch is that Joe wants his money up front or a retainer and unfortunately Chris’s sister Dottie (Temple) is Joe’s desired retainer. This film is worth watching for the acting alone, but see Killer Joe for trashy fun, a grotesque family drama that is extremely difficult to watch in parts but trashy fun none the less. Just

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don’t plan to eat at KFC afterwards.

EIFF 2012: Rent-A-Cat


I like cats, let’s get that out the way right at the start here. Rent-A-Cat does not disappoint on the cat quota, if cats are your thing then this film is for you. However this film is more than just a feature length viral cat video. Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa) is the wonderfully quirky lead of the

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piece who strongly believes in the power of cats to fill the holes in people’s hearts and by the end of the film so will you. The film is split into four episodes, each focusing on a different lonely person but the overarching story belongs to Sayoko and her search for companionship.

Cats may be everywhere in this film but loneliness is the main theme. An old lady, a business man and an employee at a car rental company all turn to Sayoko and her odd cat rental cart for help. Unfortunately all the cats in the world don’t seem to be able to cure Sayoko’s own loneliness. Sayoko’s is brilliantly played by Ichikawa, instantly likeable and charming the audience connect with her at once.

Unfortunately there are a number of problems with the film that let it down. Though I was charmed from an early point, the episodic structure and deliberate repetition throughout the film began to drag. The film repeats dialogue, metaphors and even structure in each episode of the film, it’s an interesting idea it just didn’t work to great effect other than to make the film feel longer than it actually was. The film has a run time of only 110 minutes yet it feels much longer.

The main character is engaging, it looks great and there are cats everywhere. This film has the potential to be great but unfortunately the structure lets it down.

King of Kong – High Scoring Documentary


King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters Dir: Seth Gordon

Cruising on a wave of geek chic, this documentary is an interesting portrayal of a vintage obsession, the drive and determination left over from a voracious decade – that of the 80’s, with its shoulder pads, oversized mobile phones, and importantly arcade machines. Though there were countless classic arcade games – Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Q-bert – this documentary focuses not on the culture of retro gaming, but one game in particular – Donkey Kong.

Following the brief history of competitive retro gaming, the documentary focuses in on Billy Mitchell, a world renowned arcade gamer and originator of many a record. Through his success we are gradually shown the world of Twin Galaxies, an institution devoted to global highscores, and an official body for competitive retro-gaming. Within this world, colourful characters emerge, each taking their small role in what could so easily be a carefully scripted opera, and one with a suitably synthesised 8-bit soundtrack.

The film itself is very cleverly paced and expertly pieced together, keeping you at a certain distance from the true narrative for the first third of the film, before slowly luring you in with real-life characters that seem to be from another galaxy. As each absurd brick is placed on an ever teetering tower of bricks, the inherent drama and fierce rivalry of a world – which is so outlandishly irrelevant to a wider community – becomes ever more fascinating. The result is a surprisingly powerful documentary, that is undoubtedly entertaining, with humour which can be enjoyed by even one without a passing interest in gaming.