Waking up at 7am to catch a train before running half way across a city isnt the way I would choose to start my Tuesday, but this year the wise heads at the Film Festival have moved the Press Office from its convenient spot near the Festival cinemas to the University, half way across town. After queuing for my press pass there was no way I was going to miss The Guard, which opens the festival Wednesday night, so I ran. It was, pretty much, worth it: the film is pretty decent, and kicked off a trifecta of pretty decent, though far for great, movies. The Guard is a safe bet for an opening night film. It has a reasonably well-liked star in Brendan Gleeson, has a lot of dark humour and is neither too subversive nor too populist to annoy people. The 1500 seats of the Festival Theatre will be full for the public screening, and I imagine it will go down well. Gleeson may be there, as, I imagine, will John Michael McDonagh, the writer-director. If that combination of names rings a bell it is because Gleeson was directed in In Bruges by Martin McDonagh, brother of John Michael. The film was reviewed for OWF by Robert Beames and I mostly agree with what he said, although I dont think its nearly as good as In Bruges (McDonagh is probably sick of the comparisons already). Underneath its unconventional exterior is a pretty conventional movie, but the wit in the script and, particularly, the performances make it work. Brendan Gleeson holds the whole thing together with his central character, an obnoxious, selfish policeman from Galway who helps a visiting FBI enforcer (Don Cheadle) track down some drug smugglers. Cheadle observes at one point, I cant tell if youre really motherfucking dumb, or really motherfucking smart. Or both. Its a role not everyone could get away with, but Gleeson is perfect, and very funny. Less irreverent, although almost as fun, was Nicolás Goldbarts post-apocalyptic Phase 7, about a small group of people in a quarantined building after a virus has apparently wiped out humanity. I was relieved so much of the film was set in the dark, as the white-on-white subtitles (the film is from Argentina) at the start were driving me crazy. This used to be a common film festival problem but its one Ive not run into in a while; why not simply use white lettering with black outline as standard? It sounds trivial, but I really doubt the filmmakers want the audience straining to read what the subtitles say. The movie, despite a promising opening, plays much as you expect it to, although it doesnt build from its opening as I wanted it to; its not intense enough. However of its type its pretty good (dont let the claim on the poster, From the Executive Producer of Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, put you off). It is well-made by a director with a feel for the genre. Another reason to see it is that Federico Luppi a name well-known to fans of Guillermo Del Toro co-stars. Hes credited, Boris Karloff-like, by just his second name at the start of the movie. All Ill say is that he looks kick-ass with sunglasses and a shotgun. The third movie I saw was the best, and one I shall review in full: Tomboy, a French movie written and directed by Céline Sciamma (best known for 2007s Water Lilies), concerning a young girl who dresses as a boy and tries to pass as one. Its not a remarkable achievement, but its an insightful, interesting exploration of gender and burgeoning sexuality. Tomorrow offers a couple of intriguing prospects, with documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World and Hungarian master Béla Tarrs latest (and, possibly, last), Turin Horse. Among the late additions to this years Festival programme is music doc Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon, which will show next weekend with the boys from Kings of Leon in attendance. Last year I saw a new print of The Man Who Would Be King in the same cinema, with Sean Connery introducing it. At least the Festival never gets too predictable.