Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller)
Heller’s provocative comedy-drama about a teenager’s sexual and artistic awakening deservedly picked up Best International Film at EIFF 2015. Brit actress Bel Powley is astonishing as Minnie, a High School kid who begins a sexual relationship with her mother’s waster boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard). Based on a graphic novel by Pheobe Gloeckner about her own experiences growing up in 1970s’ San Francisco, animated sequences help express Minnie’s off-kilter view of the world. The film is also surprisingly sympathetic to all of the characters regardless how
questionable their behaviour is. This refusal to moralise turns what could have been a heavy-handed, obvious drama in a lesser storyteller’s hands into something more complex.
She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdonavich)
Unbearable Broadway farce from the once great Bogdonavich
hampered by the miscasting of Imogen Poots who murders a New York accent like it’s Joe Pesci getting beaten
to death with a baseball bat in Casino (1995, Martin Scorsese).
Manglehorn (David Gordon Green)
Latest entry into the eclectic career of Green is the
amiable tale of an ageing small town locksmith (Al Pacino) and his tentative relationship with a local bank clerk (Holly Hunter). Pacino is mercifully restrained as a male spinster who loves his cat and writes love letters to a long gone ex lover. Manglehorn is sweet and oddly funny. Stylish too. One shot in particular might turn out to be my favourite of the year.
Misery Loves Company (Kevin Pollack)
Engaging documentary by actor turned radio host Pollack who
asks a number of stand-up comedians and comic actors a series of questions based around their motivation for trying to make people laugh. When did it start? Why do they do it? And does it make them happy? There are some amusing anecdotes and theories about how comedy works even if nobody quite has an answer to the big question of why.
Every Secret Thing (Amy Berg)
Soapy drama about the murder of a baby feels like a Lifetime
TV movie but it does at least give a rare leading role to Diane Lane, the most under appreciated actress in Hollywood.
Brotherhood of Blades
Diverting wuxia about three ruthless assassins hunting down the former head of the Imperial Court who has fallen out of favour with the new regime. Plenty of impressive fight sequences although the leads lack star charisma.