Film, Hannah McGill

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Tom at the Farm

9 Apr 20144 stars

Xavier Dolan's fourth feature is insightful, intriguing & darkly lovely, if a little self-important

Filmmaker Xavier Dolan errs a little on the self-important side here, but so might you if you were only in your early twenties, on your fourth feature film as a writer / director (adapting, in this case, from a stage play by Dolan's fellow…

McLaren 2014 festival shines a light on underappreciated experimental filmmaker Norman McLaren

27 Mar 2014

Filmmaker Iain Gardner: 'Were he still alive today he’d be at the forefront of digital technology'

When it comes to Scottish icons, we hear a lot about bards and Bonds, hip musicians and blockbusting painters – but some trailblazers still slip under the radar, even when their work has transformed an industry or an art form. The Stirling-born…

Cinefiles: All you need to know about … Darren Aronofsky

18 Mar 2014

Some key facts about the director of Noah, Pi, Black Swan and The Wrestler

Aronofsky studied at Harvard and the American Film Institute. He was inspired to make low-budget films by Spike Lee’s debut She’s Gotta Have It, and Lee’s description of his own work as ‘guerrilla filmmaking’. His first short, Protozoa, was made in…

The Robber

18 Mar 20144 stars

Benjamin Heisenberg's minimalist crime thriller is a thought-provoking piece of work

Filmhouse’s distribution arm continues to snap up what the UK’s mainstream film companies have left on the shelf, with a long overdue release for this Austrian thriller. Is thriller the right word? Certainly the material – based on a true story, via a…

The Unknown Known

13 Mar 20142 stars

Errol Morriss' examination of Donald Rumsfeld lacks nuance and depth

The veteran documentarian Errol Morris here turns his penetrating gaze upon Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary under Gerald Ford and George W Bush. Comparisons are inevitable with Morris’ 2003 Oscar-winner The Fog of War, for which he interviewed…

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10 Mar 20143 stars

Katell Quillevere's French drama lacks the intimacy its title suggests

We first meet Suzanne as a bubbly child, living with her father and younger sister in a motherless but loving blue-collar household. A rebellious adolescence brings problems, however, and Suzanne's life quickly spins off the rails, to the perpetual…

Back to the Garden

10 Mar 20142 stars

Dull improvised ensemble piece

Anyone with a glancing knowledge of the film industry is aware that in any given year, scores of fine films fail to make it into cinemas, because it's judged that they don't have commercial potential. This happens, particularly in time of recession, not…

Wake in Fright

14 Feb 20144 stars

A fearsome treatment of Australian cultural identity, masculinity and violence

A fearsome treatment of Australian cultural identity, masculinity and violence, long unseen even in its native land due to the unavailability of a usable print, Wake in Fright has met with renewed praise since being restored from rediscovered negatives…

Stranger by the Lake

14 Feb 20144 stars

Alain Guiraudie's gay cruising thriller is an unusual and intelligent film

A mixed-up tone is customarily a negative trait in a film, but here the combination of gentle comedy, racy sex and murder works extraordinarily well, delivering a sophisticated, unpredictable and original modern noir. Pierre Deladonchamps plays Franck…

How to create your own Wes Anderson film

24 Jan 2014

With The Grand Budapest Hotel looming, we nail down the essential Anderson ingredients

Ahead of his new film being premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival, Hannah McGill helps build the perfect Wes Anderson movie

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Dark Days

21 Jan 20144 stars

Marc Singer's 2000 documentary on the subterranean homeless of New York remains warm and genuine

Marc Singer was a young Briton adrift in New York City when he discovered a community of people who had made their homes in disused underground tunnels, moved in with them to offer help, and then, with no filmmaking experience, begged and borrowed…


13 Jan 20143 stars

Claire Denis' latest is a needlessly tangled neo-noir with moments of great visual beauty

Films by Claire Denis offer certain pleasures as standard. Ravishing visuals, courtesy of her regular DoP, Agnès Godard. Stirring sounds from her musical collaborators, Tindersticks. Subtle performances from actors who tend to be awfully good looking.

Fill the Void

9 Dec 20133 stars

Elegant, claustrophobic drama about Orthodox Jewish traditions from Rama Burshtein

Where does family loyalty end and personal autonomy begin? This elegant but claustrophobic drama, written and directed by Rama Burshtein, a member of the closed-off Orthodox Jewish community that it depicts, sets its struggle between duty and instinct…


4 Sep 20133 stars

A sensationalist biopic of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfriend

‘Can we start with an easier question?’ asks our subject, when compelled to confirm that her name is Linda Lovelace. Linda Boreman became Linda Traynor when, in her early twenties, she wed shady strip club proprietor Chuck Traynor. She adopted her most…


14 Aug 20134 stars

Leslye Headland's hen party comedy is Bridesmaids but better: darker, franker and sharper-edged

Recently Evan Goldberg, the co-writer/director of the superior slacker comedy This is the End, was asked why he’d been unable to find a place for a funny woman in his main dramatis personae. His response amounted to: I’m not a woman, how can I possibly…

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Not Another Happy Ending

2 Jul 20133 stars

A slight but colourful romcom starring Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber

Scottish cinema is not customarily accused of being overburdened with eye candy, but EIFF’s Closing Night film has it in shovelloads. Playing successful but blocked Scottish novelist Jane and her impatient publisher Tom, gorgeous lead performers Karen…

For Those in Peril

2 Jul 20133 stars

Paul Wright's debut is original in its idea, style and conception, and made with loving dedication

Paul Wright’s feature debut is a sad, salt-streaked fable with the timelessness and sour melodrama of a sea shanty, if little of the boisterousness. Its style takes two strains of strongly Scottish-linked cinema - the grim social realist drama of…

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks

2 Jul 20134 stars

Provocative, illuminating documentary into Julian Assange and co from Alex Gibney

Extremely skilfully assembled by the Oscar-winning (for Taxi to the Dark Side) American documentarian Alex Gibney, this study of the activities and impact of Julian Assange’s legendary whistleblowing website presents no straightforward heroes or…

Days of Grace

1 Jul 20133 stars

Atmospheric Latin American action movie in the same vein as City of God and Elite Squad

Showing up at EIFF an oddly long while after its Cannes debut – it screened out of competition there not this year, not last year, but in 2011 – Everardo Gout’s debut makes a late addition to that canon of stylised, ultra-violent Latin American crime…

From Tehran to London

25 Jun 20133 stars

Mania Akbari's unusual study of relationships was cut short by Iranian governmental restrictions

This charged, unusual piece of work begins as an intense close-up study of a relationship that may or may not be in serious trouble, and concludes as a whole different kind of art work: one that takes on in very real terms the conditions under which…

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Behind the scenes at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013

24 Jun 2013

The List talks to some of the people who help run the EIFF

We caught up with a few of the people working behind the scenes at the film festival and asked them about how the festival has changed, what makes their day and what keeps them going through the tough times. Answers from Diane Henderson, Deputy…

Monsters University

24 Jun 20133 stars

Pixar's Monsters Inc prequel, starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman, just doesn't hit the spot

It’s a Pixar film, so Monsters University of course has verve, comic confidence and copious visual polish. But less of its home studio’s famed precision has been applied when it comes to establishing who the film is actually for. Kids weaned on 2001’s…

Breathe In

20 Jun 20133 stars

Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones star in this misanthropic drama

Sometimes it’s hard to be a man - when your wife’s hobbies are collecting cookie jars and crushing your dreams; when your dreams of rock stardom are so distant that the evidence thereof is confined to C90 cassette tapes; and when the only person who…

This is the End

11 Jun 20134 stars

Star-studded cast play themselves in end of the world film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

The apocalypse hits during James Franco’s housewarming party. What will the remaining gang of A, B and C-listers (all playing themselves) do to survive? Hard to imagine, isn’t it, how this could be anything other than obnoxious? A bunch of actors…

Stories We Tell

6 Jun 20134 stars

A warm, brave and thought-provoking piece of autobiography by Sarah Polley

The ‘we’ in question is the family of the filmmaker, Canadian performer, director and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sarah Polley; the stories being told are the personal and - as it turns out - changeable versions of its own history that exist within and…