Week 3

Committee Meeting

Monday 29th September, 7.30pm, Munro Room, Pleasance

Come get more involved in the society, volunteer for roles and the best part is, we’re off to the pub afterwards. See you there!

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Tuesday 30th September, 7.30pm, Teviot Study

Reel Talk

Thursday 2nd October, 7.30pm, Teviot Study

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our Reel Talk series, this is when industry experts come in and perform a talk on a subject of their choice, giving us an insight into what they do and the nature of the film industry. This week we proudly welcome Diane Henderson, the Deputy Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Come down to the Teviot Study at 7:30pm to hear Diane’s interesting insight into the industry which she works in and ask her any questions you may have. If you would like to work in the film industry one day or simply have an interest in how it operates, this talk is one you can’t afford to miss! This is event is free to everyone so is well worth a look.

Dallas Buyers Club

Sunday 5th October, 7.30pm, Pleasance Theatre

Week 2

Committee Meeting

Monday 22nd September, 7.30pm, Munro Room, Pleasance

Want to help run FilmSoc? Our committee meeting this week is our annual roles meeting, where you can sign up for any of our positions on offer, including House Managers, Film Booking Officer, Projectionists, and many more!

Click here to read the full list of Roles in FilmSoc.

Dazed and Confused

Tuesday 23rd September, 7.30pm, Teviot Study

Film Quiz

Thursday 25th September, 7.30pm, Teviot Study

Come and test your film wits in teams of up to 6. Top three teams win awesome prizes! Feel free to come in pre-arranged teams or find teammates on the night.

Sunshine on Leith

Sunday 28th September, 7.30pm, Pleasance Theatre

Week 1

Committee Meeting

Monday 15th September, 7.30pm, Munro Room, Pleasance

Welcome to FilmSoc! Join us for our first meeting to learn about how you can get involved in running the society. Followed by a trip to the pub afterwards.

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Tuesday 16th September, 7.30pm, Teviot Study

Film Discussion Group

Thursday 18th September, 7.30pm, The Brass Monkey, Drummond St

Topics: how Hollywood deals with the death of its celebrities and our favourite films of the summer. Afterwards we will be screening Robin Williams’ World’s Greatest Dad, so join us for some drinks, lively chat, and an awesome film

12 Years a Slave

Sunday 21st September, 7.30pm, Pleasance Theatre

About our committee

Every Monday FilmSoc holds open committee meetings where you can join our exec team to help run the society.


In our Week 2 committee meeting, we offer a variety of roles new members can take on, including (but not limited to):

  • House Managers- running our box office selling memberships and guest tickets
  • Tech team members- projecting our films and carrying out the technical set-up for our quizzes
  • Film booking officer- getting into contact with film distributors to book our screening licenses
  • Website/Social Media managers- updating our website and social media outlets with posts about our events
  • Front of House assistants- helping set up screenings and checking for memberships/tickets when letting people into our screenings and events
  • Quiz team members- helping write rounds for and running our quizzes
  • Socials team members- organising and running our social events, such as discussions and Reel Talks
  • Societies Liaison officer- getting in contact with other societies about collaborating with FilmSoc
  • Advertising team members- brainstorming and exploring new ways to promote our events
  • DVD Acquisition officer- in charge of finding out which DVDs the society needs for screenings and acquiring ones we don’t already have


Committee is also where you can have your say in what films we show.

Starting later this semester, we will begin programming for semester two. We programme in three sections–new releases, classics (anything not new), and foreign language films.

All suggestions are welcome, with the exception of films we’ve screened in the last three years. Not only is it a great chance to get your favourite films on the programme, but it is a great chance to discover new films.

Why you should join

Getting involved in running our society makes your FilmSoc experience that much better.

For one, our roles offer you a great opportunity to build experience that can help you get a job. That’s right, a job.

Want to work at one of Edinburgh’s festivals next summer? Festival companies always look for box office, front of house, and technical assistants. FilmSoc offers opportunities in all three of these areas, which will look mighty fine on your CV when applying for these types of jobs.

Plus, if you’re interested in a placement with or volunteering for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, being involved in FilmSoc is great experience to have.

And if job prospects weren’t enough to convince you of why you should join our committee, how about making super awesome cool friends?

If you’re in your first year at Edinburgh, you may be taking classes with hundreds of people crammed into a lecture hall. Not such a great way to meet people, is it?

Societies give you the chance to meet people with similar interests, and our committee puts on many social events, including cinema trips, pub crawls, and our annual murder mystery. Might be biased in saying this, but we’re a fun group to hang around!

Our committee meetings take place every Monday at 7:30pm in the Munro Room, which is just next to the Theatre at Pleasance where we screen our Sunday films.

Hope to see you there!


Freshers Week 2014

We’re hosting some great events during Freshers Week, so be sure to come along (whether you’re a fresher or returning student!).

Tuesday 9th September, 7:30pm, Pleasance Theatre

Despicable Me

Gru is a supervillan – heists and notoriety are all he cares about. When he adopts a trio of orphans as part of an everyday dastardly plan, he unexpectedly finds a family. Charming animation packed with great characters and hilarious antics.

FREE film screening!

Wednesday and Thursday 10th and 11th September, 11am-4pm, Cabaret Bar, Pleasance

Societies’ Fair

A chance to collect or buy your membership and find out more about the society, including how to join our awesome committee.

Thursday 11th September, 7:30pm, Teviot Study

Film Quiz

Know which film that quote is from? How about that soundtrack? The FilmSoc quiz is a fun chance to test your film wits and win prizes. Teams of up to 6. Feel free to come in pre-arranged teams or find teammates on the night. Prizes include DVDs and sweets!

FREE entry.

Friday 12th September, 8:00pm, Teviot Study

The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski is one of the great cult classics of our time, with something for everyone, from humour that’s alternately sophisticated, crude, and surreal, to the bizarre rug-centric mystery at the centre of its plot.

Come join us for The Big Lebowski, whether it’s your first or your tenth viewing of the only film with the distinct honour of having spawned its own religion.

FREE film screening!

Sunday 14th September, 7:30pm, Pleasance Theatre

The Lego Movie

An unimaginative labourer stumbles across an ancient artefact which he must use to fight criminal mastermind Lord Business. Clever dialogue, great casting, and surprisingly emotional moments bring life to this nostalgia trip

Our first official screening of the semester! Be sure to purchase your membership online beforehand. Guest ticket price £2.50 for non-members.

EIFF: Final films, awards and reflections

After having my pass scanned twenty-eight times, seeing the EIFF clip twenty-eight times, signing five embargoes, the wonderful fortnight has ended.  I have seen Elijah Wood and Brian Cox, Darth Vader and stormtroppers outside the Filmhouse, and I have seen many films: some good, some bad (Hyena, I Hate the Dawn, Korso, Palo Alto, X/Y, Aberdeen, Hide and Seek, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Cold in July, Koo! Kin-dza-dza, Miss Zombie, Displaced Perssons, My Accomplice, Castles in the Sky, Set Fire to the Stars, Daughters, Hellion, Coherence, Garnet’s Gold, Joe, The Anomaly, The Infinite Man, Life After Beth, We’ll Never Have Paris, Honeymoon, Uncertain Terms, The Guvnors and I Believe in Unicorns).


Watching all these films was tough and tiring, sometimes I was watching four in a day. The good thing was that everybody obeyed the code of conduct in the press screenings, everyone was nice, from cinema staff to EIFF volunteers. I did treat it almost like a job – watching films during the day and writing reviews at night. Most are pretty poor, I just ran out of time and I was burnt out near the end.

There were three stand out films for me: The Infinite Man, Hide and Seek (which won the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film) and Coherence. The Infinite Man especially is something that I would recommend for anyone – I will be contributing to its box office if and when it is released in the UK.

A thoroughly amazing and enjoyable experience and would recommend this to any future FimSoc member. And if there is any space next year I am taking it.


Final film reviews:

The Guvnors

A turf war arises in London between the old hooligans and the new hoodies. The lead actor (Harvey Sylvester) is from some band called “The Rizzle Kicks” who are a hip-hop duo. He stunningly plays Adam the leader of the teenage hoodie gang, this is the only good thing in it. For a story about gang life it has a severe lack of characterisation relying on cliché stereotypes. It is laughable, comical at times, init bruv.

I Believe in Unicorns

Davina, a sweet and innocent girl, is a home carer for her disabled mother. She meets Stirling, a grungy skater boy, and then the two fall in love. The film is interspersed with clips featuring Davina taking part in magical, mystical set pieces. I didn’t enjoy their company. They should just grow up.  Davina, if you don’t like the sex just say something, he isn’t a mind-reader. I just found myself looking for things that made her more annoying: not wearing a helmet whilst cycling, inefficient food storing in the fridge etc.

My week spot are films about teenagers – I even like Twilight – but I didn’t like this. I was seriously thinking my watch was broken – it was moving so slowly.



The Infinite Man still 7

EIFF: Just a little bit of name dropping amongst other things

Bumper post today! Highlights include Elijah Wood being genuinely surprised by a bottle of Irn-Bru, Brian Cox talking about Manhunter and five heavily pregnant teenagers grinding to the beat of “my neck, my back, lick my pussy and my crack”.

The Anomaly

First film that I have seen that has been officially certified by the BBFC (15). Two of the studios behind this are Unstoppable Entertainment and Tea Shop and Film Co, which really tells you all you need to know. Ryan (Noel Clarke who also directs) is in a van with a boy, they’ve been kidnapped. When they escape (rather easily) the camera reveals a futuristic London landscape. Time seems to have passed quickly for Ryan days, weeks and months. We see that there are two sides to Ryan: one is Ryan, the other is having his mind controlled. The real Ryan comes in bursts of ten minutes but the mind-controlled side is usually the form he takes.

The way its shot, the music and the effects (slow mo) makes it feel rather televisual. It’s a ridiculous, highly flawed script with Picasso inspired Baroque viruses. Alexis Knapp plays a prostitute who helps Ryan and wears very skimpy outfits. She is the cliché  hooker with a heart of gold. I do like Noel Clarke but you can second guess many lines.

The Infinite Man

The Infinite Man still 7

This is an Australian offbeat comedy film in which a couple go away for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary. They go to the same place as they did last year. He had planned everything they were going to do  but when ex boyfriend Terry arrives he wants her back. They only went out for two weeks and that was four years ago. But he seems to manage to win her over. One year later, he’s still at the complex. He’s built a time machine and then timelines get mixed up and he gets stuck in an infinite creation of himself.

This rom-com is smart, original and carefully plotted. It hits the right balance of confusing(ness?) and  intelligence. This is my favourite film I have seen so far at the festival. Can’t wait for the general release!
Some quotes: “Sexual congress in five” “coitus interruptus”

Life After Beth

Zak is at the funeral for Beth, his girlfriend, who died when a snake bit her. But Beth is found out to be alive and there is a hole in her grave. Did she dig out? Is she a zombie or did she resurrect like Jesus?

Aubrey Plaza plays Beth well with her comedic deadpan style. And Jerry from Parks and Recreation has a cameo! Anna Kendrick is also in this film and plays Erica whose mum attended Jazzercise (wtf is that?) with Zak’s mum. I laughed at a maximum of five times so it isn’t without merit but in The Infinite Man I laughed that in the first ten minutes. It relies on stupid “humour”, thoroughly disappointed.

Elijah Wood (left) being interviewed
Elijah Wood (left) being interviewed

The Empire Podcast

I was at the live edition of the Empire Podcast where I saw Brian Cox and Elijah Wood being interviewed and heard from Elijah himself that there is a rumour circling that Episode VII might be pushed back to Memorial Day 2016 (May 30th). Brian Cox talked about his role as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter, one of my favourite films of all time. And I also got a second free issue of Empire! And sorry for the shoddy camera work!

Brian Cox (left) being interviewed
Brian Cox (left) being interviewed

We’ll Never Have Paris

I saw this in Filmhouse Screen 2 and it was pretty packed. The last time I was there I watched Blue is the Warmest Colour and absolutely fell in love with it. Sadly I didn’t with Simon Helberg written We’ll Never Have Paris. Simon Helberg plays Quinn, a perfectionist, who is about to propose to his girlfriend of ten years, Devon, but another girl confesses her love for him.

The script is clumsy, very weakly structured, pacing thrown out the window. The on-screen chemistry between Quinn (Simon Helberg) and Devon (Melanie Lynskey) is surprisingly poor. It felt long even for a 97 minute film.


Newly-weds Paul and Bea, from Brooklyn, go on a honeymoon to a relatives country house in Canada. These two just irritate me. When the tone turns eerie and the story becomes a horror, I was quite pleased. Bea seems to change: can’t cook French toast any more, make coffee, started sleepwalking. And then it descends into Antichrist territory – it’s a great first date film! As a result of disliking the characters I did not find it that tense. Moral of the story? Don’t go to Canada.

Uncertain Terms

Five pregnant teenagers are in a home specifically designed for them. Their parents don’t want to/can’t look after them so are sent there. We learn about why they are pregnant and with the new handyman of the house being present, love, jealousy and redemption run rife. It’s a very understated slowly placed drama with some comedic moments. I wasn’t invested in the lead character enough to provide emotional connection. If five pregnant teenagers grinding and hip thrusting to “My Neck, My Back” by Khia is your thing then go see it.

EIFF: Shorts from the Film Academies

eiff shorts

Shorts from the Film Academies is a three-day programme at the Festival created by EIFF Director Chris Fujiwara and ECA Masters students on the Film, Exhibition, and Curation course. Each day features a selection of shorts made by graduates of ECA, Napier, the London Film School, and the National Film & Television School.

Today I checked out the programme’s second set of screenings, titled Pieces of Me, A Bit of Us. According to EIFF, the shorts in Pieces of Me, A Bit of Us ‘gently explore the fragile sensation of the “I” through different stories and unique perspectives.’ Not really sure if I would agree with this summary as some of these films explored absolutely nothing. Nonetheless, it was a good experience, so if you’d like a taste of something different at the Festival, check out the final set of screenings on Friday.

The best of the set: The Bicknell

ECA grad Genevieve Bicknell created an amusing and heartfelt documentary about her annual family reunion, which features her zillions of relatives dressing up in silly costumes. Apparently the theme for the year the documentary was shot must have been Dr. Seuss–her dad starts the movie trying to get fit into his giant green ham costume, and Genevieve is a green egg. It reminded me of Sarah Polley’s excellent documentary Stories We Tell in how it explored fascinating characters in one’s own family. At only 17 minutes, I just wanted to know more about this family.

The pretty much good: Cocoons

A film about people not acting their age–the kids try to be adults, the adults are like helpless children. On the one hand, this film was quite weird; on the other, its weirdness is what gave it a somewhat intriguing story (and a story in general, something many of the other films were lacking). The story centered on Stella, a young girl whose mother sits around all day trying on (and sniffing) nightgowns and her father sleeps all day. When Stella’s mother sells her dog without telling Stella, she tries to make money in an unusual way to buy her back. I quite like the concept of the film and its display of human ‘cocoons’–in one scene, Stella’s mother zips herself up in a garment bag and just lies there for a while. And I was especially impressed by the talent of the young actors.

The ehh: Thirteen Blue

There is a young girl surrounded by a lot of older women in her life. She seems unhappy, so she runs away. Not sure what else happens, or why it even matters.

The awful but short: 0.25 and Chasm

These were only 2-3 minute films, essentially about nothing. Just weird images. I feel like these were prototypical examples of bad student filmmaking. But at least they were short.

The awful but looooong: Lethe

Like the above, but 12 minutes. So long. Too long. Two French people walking and talking. Nothing really happening. So many typos in the subtitles it was distracting.

When it comes to student- (or really graduate) made films, I think 2 decent ones out of 6 ain’t bad.

If you’re interested, check out tomorrow’s final set a screenings, titled The Heart of the Matter.

Coherence still 3 _em and kev_

EIFF: Quantum physics, Scottish history and American social realism

Another day and three more films: Coherence, Garnet’s Gold and Joe.

A woman’s phone cracks mid conversation while driving to a dinner party and while at the party things turn stranger – more cracked mobiles, no Internet and a power cut. In the beginning of Coherence it felt that there were too many characters (eight in total at the party) but as the story progresses one realises that it is in fact central to the plot. They don’t know what is going on, we also don’t know what is going on. It’s confusing – but we are meant to be confused.  More weird things happen as we learn a comet is passing overhead – gravitational effects perhaps.

There are some poor moments in it though. OMG! The doorbell! How scary! Oh it was just the men that left earlier and who we were expecting to come back. It is laughable yet intriguing, it is just so bizarre. Light comic relief given by the granola candle wielding, Feng Sui enthusiast, ketamine user. This is certainly the funniest film so far.

What’s great about it is that a physics theory was chosen as the narrative structure to this film. The idea of coherence and decoherence. Where different realities mix in complicated web of entangled storylines. It is hard to conclude an idea like this and it definitely showed.

Coherence still 3 _em and kev_

I was pleasantly surprised by this amazingly paced tense film – you just have no idea what’s next.

Some great quotes from Coherence:

  • “We’re not splitting up, we’re just going in two different groups”
  • “If there are a million realities then I slept with your wife in all of them”

Great documentaries are informative and entertaining. Sadly Garnet’s Gold is neither of those. It focuses on Garnet who is short of money and maybe if he stopped smoking he’d have more. He is a man of great potential but fails to end ideas, he runs out of steam. He has no wife, no children. He found a staff in the Highlands twenty years ago and finds out that there is a hidden chest of gold meant for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Could it be in the same place as the staff was near Loch Arkaig, Lochaber? Garnet is very imaginative but it’s too optimistic about its chances and the film needs to get dragged back down to reality. All this talk about life and making the most of it was very thin and lacked any real sense of meaning. You could see Alexander Payne doing a fictionalised version with an even more eccentric Garnet. This film I would recommend but not Garnet’s Gold.

In Joe Nicolas Cage stars as the title character. A lead tree killer, who “kills” trees through poison. He comes across fifteen year old Gary and hires him. Gary’s father, Wade, is an alcoholic. Wade was also hired but beats Gary after they were both fired since his father was being lazy on the job. Joe takes Gary under his wing – the son he never had. Forces join together against Joe as he upsets numerous people with an ending that is heart-wrenchingly terrifying.

The dilapidated landscape and dusty atmosphere is shot to precision by director David Gordon Green and cinematographer Tim Orr. They get the tone spot on, nothing is over exaggerated. It is highly emotional, without ever delving into over sentimentality. This is adapted from a book written by Larry Brown. The performances are all outstanding with Gary being played by Tye Sheridan and Wade played by Gary Poulter who was a homeless man in real life and sadly died before the film was released. This is where I now berate Nicolas Cage and his performance. Quite the contrary – he was mesmerising, his best performance in years. It just goes to show that if he has the write director and lines behind him he can be terrific. Nicolas Cage is, and always will be, an enigma. A black hole where nothing makes sense and reality breaks down (see Community S05E02).

After much deliberation Coherence is my film of the day – the physics aspect got me. I am now off home to watch The Bling Ring.

Films mentioned in this post:

James Ward Byrkit / USA / 2013 / 89 mins
Emily Foxler, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Lorene Scafaria, Elizabeth Gracen / Fiction / English

Garnet’s Gold
Ed Perkins / UK / 2014 / 76 mins
Documentary / English

David Gordon Green / USA / 2013 / 117 mins
Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Adriene Mishler / Fiction / English

Castles In The Sky still 9 - Copy

EIFF: Three embargoes and three films

On Saturday I watched My Accomplice, Castles in the Sky and Set Fire to the Stars and signed embargoes for all of them. What that essentially means is that I can’t comment or review them until the day of their premiere which is today, I hope. It so happened that they were embargoed for the same day so I put them all together into this post. Enjoy.


My Accomplice

UK / 2014 / 92 mins
Dir: Charlie Weaver Rolfe / Cast: Alexandra Kalweit, Stuart Martin, Dimitrina Elliott, Alan Gilchrist, Kevin Woolley, John Fitzmaurice, Angelique Smith

On a replacement bus service to Brighton, a Scottish special needs worker tries to make conversation with an East German woman. Frank clearly is attracted to Ilse but she does not offer him anything. It is the story of the awkward beginning to their relationship.

It feels rather televisual and the supporting cast drag this film down. I hated the secondary characters (a homeless man, room-mates, colleagues) and just wanted it to focus on the central relationship. The music was awful and did not fit well with what I was seeing on screen – a cute awkward love story. There was even a song about avocados (cue avocadon’ts and vege tables). Leads Alexandra Kalweit and Stuart Martin are ultimately let down by everything surrounding them. It is full of nuances and little idiosyncrasies which just irritate me: odd characters and music being played live. Apparently billed as a comedy, it is anything but. You’d be lucky to get one laugh out of this one.

It’s annoying really. There is a good proper central storyline in this film but all the waffle around makes it unwatchable.

Castles in the Sky
UK / 2014 / 89 mins
Dir: Gillies Mackinnon / Cast: Eddie Izzard, Alex Jennings, David Hayman, Laura Fraser, Karl Davies, Julian Rhind-Tutt

Castles In The Sky still 9 - Copy

This is the story of the invention of radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) and its subsequent use in the Battle of Britain. Robert Watson Watt, a Scottish engineer, is tasked by the British Government to create the radio detector system. He is played spectacularly by Eddie Izzard. There is conflict within the Government, within Robert’s team and he barely sees his wife. The work consumes him as his relationship with his wife breaks down when he misses an anniversary.

There are some laugh out loud moments, although I think I was the only one to get the microwave one. It is full of cheeky humour. Inner spying and espionage run rife. A feel good film and I got emotional in the end. Great supporting cast especially David Hayman who plays Frederick Lindemann, a rival physicist. I could have done with more physics and explanations but that is just me.

Set Fire to the Stars
UK / 2014 / 90 mins
Dir: Andy Goddard / Cast: Elijah Wood, Celyn Jones, Kelly Reilly, Steven Mackintosh, Shirley Henderson, Kevin Eldon

Elijah Wood plays a literary professor at NYU in the 1950s.  He is tasked with accompanying the party crazed drunk poet Dylan Thomas when he tours the USA. Elijah Wood also co-produces this feature – I wonder if he tried eggs in Guinness. It is good that it focuses primarily on professor rather than the poet. This is where true conflict and drama takes place. Shirley Henderson (yes Moaning Myrtle) is in it. It is an excellent script. It is set up to be episodic but never feels like it.

As they try to get to Yale their relationship strains. Poet has children who are starving. The denouement happened very quickly and as a viewer I could have done with more time to digest and fully comprehend what I have just witnessed on screen. Thomas is played perfectly by Celyn Jones, who is also the co-writer. A stunning lively original score by Gruff Rhys. This film told me about a poet I knew nothing about and I have been listening to “And death shall have no dominion” a lot. Thoroughly recommend this.

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