Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 – Yoga Hosers (2016)

Set in in a small convenience store in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Yoga Hosers tells the story of two teenage clerks called Colleen! Colleen C (Lily-Rose Melody Depp) and Colleen M (Harley Quinn Smith) are best friends, when given a chance, they abandon their post in Colleen C’s fathers store and get up to hijinks; y’know, have a jam session in the stock room covering Anthrax songs etc. Their little minds are blown when they are invited to a senior house party by two classmates!

After managing to piss off Colleen C’s step-mother they find themselves behind the counter of the Eh-to-Zed on a Friday night missing their house party. They have a sudden brainstorm and decide, if they can’t come to the party, the party can come to the Eh-to-Zed! Eh!

That’s the basic premise of the plot from the girls perspective, what’s going on in the real world is that there is a string of mystery murders around Winnipeg, bodies found torn to shreds. These murders have caught of the attention of French-Canadian oddity Guy Lapointe. After publishing the story behind him and the ‘Manitoba Man-i-tee’ he questions the Colleens about the latest mystery murder victim who shopped Eh-To-Zed prior to his murder.

I don’t want to give away all the hooks, but the trailer does reveal the Colleens wielding hockey sticks battering little sausage people dressed as Nazis. My opinion on the film is largely positive, but I’ve followed Smiths career since Clerks II and I’m fanboy – so my opinion must be biased, right? It would be interesting I was able to watch this and have no association to Smiths world, I would easily write it off as something completely foreign and bizarre.

The acting in the film can be described in the girls on words; Basic. No-one should be going into this expecting Oscar award worthy performances, it’s aimed for kids, so comparing this with the shows parents are subjected to on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon – we’re not worried about sweeping performances, although Ralph Garman steals it, you’ll know him when you see him. I did love the insta’ character profile and the multicoloured transitions between scenes it gave me flash backs to the video game themes used in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

The tagline on the poster is A Movie for Kids from the Director of ‘Clerks’ and ‘Tusk.’ Kevin Smith explains that it’s aimed at Tweens. I think it’s the kind of film that their parents probably won’t want their to watch; poop jokes, swearing, flipping the bird (so much birds being flipped!) and the little sausage Nazi people! This could earn the film an edge in pop culture, kids passing around the bootleg VHS during their science class or nowadays dropboxing in it their hangouts (what am I typing!).

I highly recommend this film to Smiths podcast listeners (obviously 99% will be screaming at Smith to take their money), but the film is lacquered in references to Smiths podcasts, several notable cameo appearances and Hollywood Babble-On in particular listeners will be richly rewarded third act of the film.

Overall the film does have some warts on it, but this film is a riot for fans of Kevin Smith and his weird weed filtered world.


[Reviewed originally as part of 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival]

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 – Mr. Right (2015)

Martha (Anna Kendrick) doesn’t have much luck at relationships, although she is adorable and quirky her relations always seem to end with her partner finding someone more adventurous/slutty y’know the type. In a wine fueled rebound and an attempt to become adventurous she meets, a guy, through a collapsing stack of Trojan condoms – he’s different, charming in a homeless sense, he jokes about killing people. What more could a girl want?

The lovable mystery man (Sam Rockwell) is known to man as Clown Nose, why? Well prior to killing the men who have hired him to kill their targets – he wears a clown nose! Simples right? He kills the contract givers of the people they want killed. He kills, the killers – thus preventing the killings! This is how Clown Nose believes he’s doing the world a favour. Then he meets Martha and his life seems complete, apart from all those folk trying to kill him!

Described as modern take of Grosse Point Blank, Tokarev Director, Paco Cabezas delivers a romantic comedy with a deadly twist from writer Max Landis, writer behind American Ultra & Victor Frankenstein. I now feel that it “makes so much sense now” that I know it was written by Max Landis, his scripts and stories always seem to have this hyper child’s enthusiasm and energy about them. His work seems clear in the scene where Rockwell’s character discusses the natural connection between them as a couple, this flow and natural vibe between one-another.

Sam Rockwell does well, he essentially is a safe bet in all film roles, and he always just brings it to each performance. He’s charismatic and crazy rolled all into one. Anna Kendrick is different, she’s normally really good in the past roles I’ve seen her in, but the character of Martha plays out almost like a really awkward rambling female Jessie Eisenberg/Liz Lemon – its grating. Although combine Rockwell and Kendrick they play off of each other quite well. The knife throwing scene and some of the action towards the end will remind you of two young careless Nicholas Cages. Yes, I just wrote that.

The subplot that the duo get tangled in is surrounding crime family where the younger more hungry brother is trying to edge out his older sibling and take over the family business. We’ve also got Tim Roth appearing as a figure from ‘Clown Noses’ past, his character is tracking him down by exploiting low-level bounty hunters who struggle to outsmart Clown Nose. Hell, even the RZA shows up to provide some light humour in an amusing reoccurring role as nonchalant gun-for-hire Steve!

It is a fun film, definitely more zany and daft compared to the standard rom-com stencil.


[Reviewed originally as part of 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival]

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 – American Hero (2015)

American Hero follows the story of Melvin Hesper (Stephen Dorff), a down on his luck father who just wants to see his kid but parties, drugs and women always seem to spoil his true intentions. Backing up Melvin is his best buddy Lucille, he’s wheelchair bound, but his lack of mobility is made up for his razor sharp motormouth! Anything else? Well, Mel has a talent, the power of telekinesis, which he currently uses as a party trick to pick up chicks and screw over petty thieves.

But, after a major wake up call, Melvin decides it’s time to clean up their act and get his live back on track!

Well American Hero blew me away! From Football Factory writer and director Nick Love – I was thoroughly surprised by it. I went in blind, I had only read the blurb from the festival website and I left the rest for the screening. The story, the acting, effects and pacing – hell, it was all spot on honestly.

The casting and acting was perfect, Stephen Dorff (Blade) was giving me those Jack Nicholson/Jack Torrance crazy intense vibes, he’s special, totally underused. I love how beautifully tragic Melville is, he’s clearly a well read person, spooling off his knowledge on classic music, literature and banging out classical music on the piano, but this is diluted amongst his chaotic drug/party fuelled lifestyle. Once the parties are over, we’re given these shots of Melville running, just running with the look of fear on his face and the piano playing underneath it, reminiscing on the memories on his son – it’s heartbreaking.

Eddie Griffin (Undercover Brother), How good is he? That gravelly voice and whipping his ass about in a wheelchair and his no nonsense attitude – he was the perfectly. Together we’re given excellent, relaxed chemistry and where one cannot function without the other. Set in a post-hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, the supporting actors appear so authentic I have to imagine that those family’s are the residence that were left worst off after the hurricane.

The story is straight forward and it’s got a heart to it, the telekinetic spin on the story was inspired and the first 10 minutes the movie plays without acknowledging his powers or any kind of origin story. The only times I feel it doubts itself is when we’re given the impression that film is a semi-documentary, there’s plenty of times where they acknowledge the camera; Melville & Lucille talking to the folk off camera, throwing shit toward the camera and then I felt it was pretty much forgotten about in the second half as the story goes up a gear. This is my only fault with the film and it’s a very small quibble compared to everything I enjoyed about this film.

In 2016, the year where we’re given multi-million dollar superhero blockbusters almost monthly, American Hero can easily fall in amongst the X-Men and the Suicide Squads, but I implore you all to check this one out.


[Reviewed originally as part of 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival]