Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 4 (Whisky With Vodka; The Extra Man)

The sun is continuing to hit Edinburgh with unseasonal (warm weather in June? how absurd) fervour. Although no single movie has emerged yet as a surprise hit there is the usual upbeat, laidback sense that I associate with the festival. This isn€™t the raw marketplace of Cannes; it is a small, relaxed festival and one gets the sense that the talent that attends enjoys that aspect. Added to the list of attendees this year is Ken Russell, whose Savage Messiah is showing as part of the €œAfter the Wave€ retrospective of post-British-New-Wave movies. Other interesting movies showing as part of this retrospective are Mike Hodges€™s (another Jury member this year) Pulp, with Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney, and Stephen Frears€™s Gumshoe. On Sunday a special screening of John Huston€™s great movie The Man Who Would Be King will be showing at the Festival Theatre, with Sean Connery in attendance. I may have to miss this, but it will be with a heavy heart if I do as it sounds like a great evening. Just two movies today, and if I cut short this blog it is because tomorrow I must rise early to catch Toy Story 3, a sentence I can say to almost any of my friends and watch the jealousy rise in their faces. A full report on that tomorrow. Today I started with Whisky With Vodka, a somewhat offbeat, gentle but rather mediocre German comedy about an aging actor with a drinking problem. As is traditional with such movies, he is trying to pull off another role without letting his self-destructiveness get in the way. The director, worried about the future of his movie, hires a younger actor to act as his stand-in, filming two versions of each scene, one with each actor. It is hard to imagine many actors going with this arrangement, although it€™s perhaps not so far-fetched: when Robert Altman made A Prairie Home Companion, Paul Thomas Anderson was hired as his stand-in in case he popped his clogs before filming was completed. Amongst its imperfections may be its wrongheaded evocation of Woody Allen, opening as it does with titles that are clearly a nod to the titles Woody Allen uses, using the Woody Allen font and playing over the type of jazzy, old-fashioned tunes he often employs. This simply draws attention to how much better Allen€™s movies are, both on a dramatic and technical level. Mediocre movies too often think it wise to remind us of great ones. I followed this with The Extra Man, a movie I knew nothing about except that Paul Dano and Kevin Kline starred in it. The opening credits also alerted me to the presence of John C. Reilly (hurrah), Celia Weston (hurrah) and Katie Holmes (oh...). I found it to be charming and funny, with a great turn from Kevin Kline, who we haven€™t seen enough of in the last decade. It does contain a montage in the middle, which is one montage too many for my liking, even if it does feature The Velvet Underground on the soundtrack. Nothing says €˜indie comedy€™ like the VU. I will leave it at that as my review of The Extra Man is available in full elsewhere on the site. For now I must attempt to fit in some sleep before the excitement of Toy Story 3, the only real blockbuster at this year€™s festival. Of course, such movies are not what the festival experience is all about. But when those who are not particularly movie-literate ask me what I€™m seeing at the Film Festival, it at least allows me to have something to impress them with. Adam Whyte is reporting everyday from the Edinburgh Film Festival. Previously; Edinburgh Film Festival 2010 Day 3: (The Hunter, Sodebergh's Doc, Cherry Tree Lane) Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 2 (Pelican Blood, Huge)Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 1 (The Illusionist; Son of Babylon)Edinburgh 2010 Review: THE EXTRA MAN Edinburgh 2010 Review: AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE Edinburgh 2010 Review: CHERRY TREE LANEEdinburgh 2010 Review: THE ILLUSIONIST
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I've been a film geek since childhood, and am yet to find a cure. Not an auteurist, but my favourite directors include Robert Altman, Ernst Lubitsch, Welles, Hitch and Kurosawa. I also love Powell & Pressburger movies, anything with Fred Astaire, Cary Grant or Katherine Hepburn, the space-ballet of 2001, Ealing comedies, subversive genre cinema and that bit in The Producers with the fountain.