Episode 43 : EIFF 2009 Podcast Episode 04

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Added on Thu, 25 Jun 2009 15:55:00 -0700.
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Well, yank my crankhandle! It's another podcast from the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009! Five films covered, with a forty percent zombie hit-rate. What more could you want? Scott and Drew cover Stella, Pontypool, Adam, Romeo and Juliet vs. The Living Dead, and Giallo.

Essentially a coming-of-age tale, Stella this concerns the life of young girl just starting at a new school where she doesn't quite fit in. A loner by nurture and nature, this charts her growth as a person after making friends with the class bookworm. As a drama about personal development, Stella seems entirely reasonable and charming, purposefully avoiding the usual insistence on inserting arbitrary dramabombs into places where they have no right being. A charming and effortlessly watchable film.

For early morning talk jock Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) it might seem like another day at the office, but things are about to kick off in Pontypool. It's a zombie film, the twist being that for about the first half of the film you're not going to see anything approaching the living dead, the information coming in from phone calls and eyewitnesses. The pacing is well-considered, and there's also enough levity to keep things entertaining without undermining its atmosphere. A superb performance from McHattie, and a recommended refreshing change for horror lovers.

Adam is, in brief, a romcom where one of the characters is afflicted with Asperger's syndrome. An odd mix of complete cliche and complete diversion from cliche, the script's a bit of a mess but likeable performances from the leads ensure this is worth a look.

Imagine if you will, Bill Shakespeare's seminal rom-trag Romeo and Juliet, but with the Montague clan replaced by zombies. That's pretty much all there is to Romeo and Juliet vs. The Living Dead. It's a one joke outing, but in its defence, it's a pretty damn good joke. Having the good sense not to outstay its welcome at 84 minutes, it avoids stretching the joke too thinly. I trust I need not point out that it's a fairly silly thing to set out to do, but if it sounds like the sort of silly thing you'd appreciate then it's heartily recommended.

Dario Argento takes what I hope was an intentional turn into comedy with Giallo, the tale of a serial killer, the woman he captures, and the tough cop and victim's sister that try and hunt him down. There may be no useful build of tension, but there is a sense of comic timing and absolute absurdism that's too good to possibly have come about by accident. Frankly, I laughed a lot more often watching Giallo than I did with most of the last few years' comedies. Were it not for the nagging sensation that, actually, I was supposed to be taking this seriously then I'd be considering it for film of the year status. If it were taken seriously, I'd be considering it for worst film of the year, but I choose in this instance to look on the bright side.

That's yer lot for now. We'll be back soon!