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Film Review: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

16 Jun

*****

What is it that holds relationships, and in particular marriages, together? Love? Devotion? Routine? For Pippa Lee, the heroine at the centre of Rebecca Miller’s life-affirming new film The Private Lives of Pippa Lee the answer would seem to be “all of the above, with a side helping of luck.”

Opening in present-day America, somewhere in the suburbs of a genteel retirement community, Pippa Lee (Robin Wright Penn) and her older husband Herb (Alan Arkin) appear to be the perfect couple.

With Pippa happily agreeing to her husband’s decision to sell their city property and move to their new location, it takes a chance comment to trigger Pippa’s memories of her troubled past, leading her to wonder quite how she ended up in her current role of doting wife and mother.

Flashing back to Pippa’s birth and the horrified reaction from her mother Suky (a blisteringly good Maria Bello) to her baby’s “fur”, the young girl’s upbringing is detailed over the course of the film.

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EIFF 2009 Preview: Mesrine Parts 1 & 2

15 Jun

The next film to look out for at the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival is actually two films, two halves of a story about real-life French criminal Jacques Mesrine: Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One.

Covering the early life of the man who would go on to become notorious figure in the French underworld, Vincent Cassel stars alongside Gerard Depardieu and Mathieu Almaric.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct premieres on Saturday 20 June at 6.45pm while Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One opens on the same night at 9.05pm.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct trailer

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EIFF 2009 Preview: The Hurt Locker

15 Jun

With the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival just a few days away, there’s still time for a few short previews of some of the films I think are worth searching out: The Hurt Locker from director Kathryn Bigelow is one of the more populist ones.

The film is set in Iraq and revolves around the work of a bomb disposal team led by Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) as they deal not only with bombs but with the psychological problems that occur as a result. Guy Pearce and Ralph Feinnes co-star.

Described as a war movie for people who don’t like war movies, this could be a popular festival choice. The film premieres on Friday 19 June at 8.15pm, visit the EIFF site for details.

View the trailer on YouTube:

EIFF 2009 Preview: Wide Open Spaces

9 Jun

Updated: 18 June 2009Wide Open Spaces review

I’ve a sneaky feeling Wide Open Spaces, showing as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009, could be brilliant: it’s written by one half of the writing team behind Father Ted, stars one of the cast of Father Ted and has a suitably odd premise that might just work. I was wrong: it’s really rather terrible.

Written by Arthur Matthews, the film revolves around dissipated semi-intellectual Myles (Ardal O’Hanlon) and excitable, none-too-bright Austin (Ewen Bremner) who are enlisted by a dodgy entrepreneur to construct a tourist monument to their nation’s darkest days.

There’s a Facebook page open for business and the world premiere of the film takes place at Edinburgh’s Cameo cinema on Saturday 20 June at 7pm – full details can be found over at the EIFF website. Here’s a look at the film which gives a sense of its style:

EIFF 2009 Preview: Black Dynamite

9 Jun

In the run-up to the launch of next week’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, I’ll be posting the trailers to some of the films I think are worth spending your hard earned cash on.

First up, and in no particular order, is Blaxploitation spoof, Black Dynamite. Styled on those 1970s action flicks such which targeted the black urban audience, the film stars Michael Jai White as action hero Black Dynamite.

When The Man murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, Black Dynamite is the one hero willing to fight all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House.

Black Dynamite first screening is at the Filmhouse on 20 June at 9pm – visit the EIFF website for more dates. View the trailer on YouTube:

Film Preview: Reel Time, 8 May, Edinburgh Evening News

12 May

My Reel Time column for last Friday’s Edinburgh Evening News is now live on their site and covers bundle of my choices from this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival brochure.

There’s too much to see in too little time but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ll be doing some more previews on this site in the next day or so, so please come back to read those.

In the meantime head over to the Evening News site for the article then take a trip to the EIFF website to book a ticket or three…