EIFF Day 5

Jun 24, 2014 | Posted by in Edi Int Film Festival, Movies

Today is another embargo free day so happy days from that point of view. Had a mega busy day today with three Press & Industry screenings as well as attending the recording of the Empire Magazine podcast so got lots to talk about. The press screenings I attended were for the Noel Clarke directed sci-fi thriller The Anomaly, the Hugh Sullivan directed The Infinite Man and Jeff Baena’s Life After Beth.

The Anomaly

Set in the future, Noel Clarke plays a traumatised ex-soldier who wakes up in the back of a van with a young boy and no memory of how he got there. He finds himself experiencing life in spaced out bursts of under ten minutes at a time while finding himself drawn into a deeper plot that slowly unravels over the course of the film.

Tough writing a summary of this film as to summarise it would spoil much of it. The premise is pretty clever and will no doubt spark comparisons to Groundhog Day despite the fact that it is very different, for a start he isn’t repeating the same stretch of time over and over again. I really liked how the film slowly revealed parts of the story until it starts to slowly make sense, the audience is definitely learns at the same pace Noel Clarke’s Ryan does which really works for the story. Noel Clarke does a good job in the role as does Ian Somerhalder as Harkin Langham. Alexis Knapp’s Dana serves as a fairly typical love interest but she’s not terrible either. Brian Cox is also in the movie very briefly and let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with Brian Cox. The action scenes are very worth seeing, according to the Hero Hangout I attended they were filmed as one continuous take so if there were any mistakes then it would have to be done all over again. Doing it like this gives the action a realistic quality and the blows do look like they hurt. Noel Clarke is a bit too invested in slow motion for my liking but all in all a fun sci fi movie with an engaging enough mystery.

The Infinite Man

A man tries to recreate the perfect romantic weekend for his girlfriend so that it matches their idyllic anniversary from the previous year. Things quickly go horribly wrong when time travel is employed and the lovers are stuck in an infinite look from which there seems to be no escape.

Very much a comedy this and a clever one too. The film uses one location for 90% of it but uses every inch of that location. It also centers around a relatively short event that we see from every conceivable angle. It’s very confusing trying to figure out which version of the couple is which and where the specific events fit into the overall timeline of the film but the film uses that confusion for comedic effect, the audience isn’t really supposed to understand what’s going on as the characters are grappling with that understanding themselves. It might turn out that it’s all internally consistent but what we see is such a wonderful mess that it’s hard to say, really clever stuff and hilarious too.

Life After Beth

Zach (Dane Dehaan) is emotionally distraught after the death of his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) but is both delighted and confused when she returns from the dead with no memory of dying or resurrecting. As time goes on she becomes more zombie like and before long lives are in danger as the town has to fight to survive.

I loved this film a lot. In no way does it take itself seriously, the notion of someone resurrecting is treated completely tongue in cheek and nobody reacts in a way that anyone might consider realistic. Her parents who are played by John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon are particularly funny as they react with a sort of crazed denial that is just hilarious to watch. Aubrey Plaza plays the role with such innate innocence that she’s likeable even when she starts having urges of eating people. Dane Dehaan does  a great job of being happy, confused and terrified all at once as he doesn’t know what to do about all of this. The film runs the gamut of all the Zombie movie cliches you can think of and makes fun of each of them in turn. A clever comedy with a great cast and a hilarious script, can’t recommend this enough.

Empire Magazine Podcast

Empire Magazine’s weekly podcast comes to Edinburgh for a live recording with us as the audience and what a great time was had. The guests for the podcast were Brian Cox and Elijah Wood who all had plenty of interesting things to say about their careers and life experiences.

Brian Cox was amazing to listen to, I really could have listened to the guy all day. He has a long and fascinating anecdote about everything but spent a lot of time talking about his experiences on Braveheart and Rob Roy as well as numerous other career highlights. There seemed to be genuine pleasure in being back in Edinburgh and he spoke fondly about a great many things, there’s a reason that people consider him a legend. He also pointed out that like the other Brian Cox, he too is a professor so two people called Professor Brian Cox exist in this world.

I had no real concept of Elijah Wood’s public persona having not really seen him be interviewed a lot but he was really engaging, he’s clearly a clever guy and has a lot to say about a great many things. He’s clearly very talented and knows what he wants to do with his career. I also appreciated him continually turning to acknowledge the audience throughout being interviewed. A personal highlight for me was when an audience member asked him if he quotes his own roles in conversation which caused Elijah Wood to suggest ways he could do that using dialogue from Lord of the Rings.

The rest of the podcast was the presenters discussing movie news and reviews, I won’t go into any detail about what was said as the podcast goes live on Friday, if you listen you might well hear me cough or something.