Sunday, August 20, 2006

Star in my Eye line

Well, not a major superstar, but one of those "ooh that bloke's on telly!" moments yesterday, so at last I can say I have seen someone famous here - the bloke who plays the sidekick in Taggart! Robbie Reid? Ricky Reid? Can't remember. But anyway, he was in the bar of The Scotsman Hotel on North Bridge. The hotel is well worth visiting to sit at the bar and have a drink while watching the barmen prepare cocktails - they are virtuoso performers with a bottle of vodka. The smoked salmon is pretty good too.

OK, where did we get to? Oh yes, back to Friday, and the highspot of the week so far, "Clerks II". Huge queue, made up mainly of men who appeared to model themselves on Kevin Smith - Vivien and I were very definitely in the minority, both gender wise and in the lack of little beards and long overcoats. Shane Danielsen introduced the film by asking people to complete the voting form for the film which is competing for the audience award - you tear of the corner corresponding to your view - four categories ranging from "unmissable" to "not for me" - and said "but perhaps we should add a category 'f*cking awesome' ... and if you're offended by the use of the word f*ck in all its possible permutations, leave now and ask for a refund because you probably won't like the film." I can't really believe that anyone could stumble accidentally into a 10:30pm sold out showing of a Kevin Smith film not knowing exactly what they were letting themselves in for, and I'll predict now that "Clerks II" wins the audience award, partly because of the type of partisan audience it attracts, and partly because it is, if not f*cking awesome, very bloody good indeed. Then Kevin Smith himself was introduced, to a huge round of applause, made a small speech which was more about his dream of being Superman than the film, and then finally at about 11pm, the film. It is very funny, very rude, with some hilarious dodgy jokes about sex, but its also really quite touching in some ways. Dante and Randall are back, along with Jay and Silent Bob, and I felt the coarse humour was underscored by a sweet humanity about how difficult it is to grow up sometimes.

Then Shane Danielsen and Kevin Smith came back for a Q+A which was hysterical. KS is the sort of man who can take a question that could be answered by one word, and turn it into a riff on anything from religion to comic books via Lord of the Rings. "Would you make a comic book movie?" "No .... " followed by him acting out on stage how a comic book movie would look if it was done in Jay and Silent Bob style; "Would you make Dogma II?" "No..." followed by a very funny explanation of why not to make religious movies right now, and what was wrong with Mel Gibson's "Passion" and why Jesus should've been rescued by Ninjas - the only time I think I've seen Shane Danielsen lost for words. A brilliantly funny night.

Saturday began with a talk by Eddie Cockrell of Variety magazine on American cinema of the 1970s - at least that was supposed to be the topic, but he's one of those speakers who is both well informed and passionate about his subject, which resulted in an excellent and wide-ranging session.

In the afternoon, I got to a Fringe show, "WASP" by Steve Martin, performed by a student group - it wasn't bad, although the acting was a little over eager; the set was interesting and Viv is kicking herself that she doesn't have time to go because one of the cast is the image of a young Joe Fiennes - v cute!

Yesterday's film was "Jindabyne", an Australian film I wanted to see in Cannes but missed; directed by Ray Lawrence who did "Lantana", based on a Raymond Carver story, it was introduced by the star, Gabriel Byrne. It's beautifully shot, a hymn to the Australian landscape, and a really interesting exploration of the consequences of a bad decision, and the impact this has on the life of a small community. I don't think its as good as "Lantana", but that is one of my favourite films, so its a high hurdle to jump. But I liked it, and think "Jindabyne" is well worth seeing.

Then we went to a "Reel Life" session with Stephen Soderburgh, who had flown in from Los Angeles less than an hour beforehand, taking a break from "Ocean's 13" just to do the talk. What a man. He was interesting and very self-effacing, discussing his career, his involvement with George Clooney and Section 8 (which ceases to exist next March), talking about the films he's made and the business of Hollywood and modern film-making. Another excellent talk. I wish I'd been able to get to the sessions by Sigourney Weaver and Charlize Theron earlier in the week because they were apparently really good too. But I've heard some great people this week.

A slow start today - just seen a couple of Fringe shows, "Seven Points for Love", funny and clever play about Scrabble and the difficulties of proposing to your girlfriend. Well acted by a very sharp cast of three who had excellent comic timing, which is often the make or break point with these plays. Followed by "A Servant to Two Masters", another student production which was entertaining, if a little mixed in the acting department. A couple of the cast needed better direction, and definitely needed better wigs, but the actor who played Truffaldino was in a different league - good with words and with the physical comedy, and again, had the timing right.

And now I've got to try and track down someone who might be helping us with "Echoes", who is somewhere in Edinburgh, apparently - I have a first name and a phone number. And I've got a couple of films to see, and Viv just texted to say did I want to meet up with her and Lizz to see a comedian Lizz likes, at 11:30. Yeah, why not? I can sleep when I get home.


Blogger Mollywags said...

Exhausted just reading all of that, but it's great you are having such a good time. And why do M Billington etc have jobs when they can't produce anything like as good reviews as you do?! Hi Anna and Viv!
Love from us

9:50 pm  
Blogger Stacie said...

Ditto to the above--exhausted just following your entry! Busy weekend here too, but not as fun as yours.

7:39 pm  
Blogger Nez said...

Wow....well, me three! I was also thinking how exhausting that sounded!

I am tired myself from a weekend of frivolities at a wedding. It was a jolly good shindig, but I'm pooped now!!

8:22 pm  
Blogger Graffiti Living said...

There is a film based on a Raymond Carver short story and you never thought to tell me?! Shame on you! I know about Robert Altman's Short Cuts but that was a bit pants. Glad you're having fun in Scotland. Don't let the weather or lack of famous people get you down. Remember, there's plenty of sushi and sunshine when ya get back!

2:10 pm  

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