Welcome to my second review report from this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. Hope you enjoy!

Finding Dory

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Although at first the idea of a sequel to Finding Dory seemed like a decision made far more out of financial than creative motivations, it turns out it’s a very worthy film in its own right.

The film takes place some time after Marlin (Albert Brooks) found his beloved son Nemo. This time the focus has moved from everyone’s favourite clownfish to the The loveable and forgetful Dory (once again voiced by Ellen Degeneres), who goes on an epic adventure of her own when she starts remembering her family from whom she got separated many years ago.

While the film doesn’t have the instant classic feeling of the previous one, it adopts a certain kind of comedic and dramatic rhythm all its own, thanks to a steady stream of laugh out loud funny gags, wonderful voice performances – Ed O’Neill steals the show as a particularly impatient octopus – and a firm grasp on making an audience tear up. 4/5

Slash

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Clay Liford writes and directs this engaging and intimate comedy that focuses on a particularly weird and wonderful area of fan fiction.

We follow Neil (Michael Johnston), a shy and awkward but creatively passionate high school freshman who loves nothing more than to write slash fiction – that’s fan fiction that involves well known fictional characters engaging in sexual acts – of his favourite fantasy Vanguard. Neil one days meets a fellow slash fiction writer, the alluring Julia (Hannah Marks), who encourages him to publish his work online in order to gain entry into a prestigious comic con event.

It’s a small scale film but it has a big heart beating at the centre of it all, not least in how it openly explores teenage angst and discovering your sexuality at an awkward age. It also has plenty of visual ambition, not least in how it brings Neil’s stories to life on-screen. 4/5

Irreplaceable

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This tender French drama-comedy stars François Cluzet (Intouchables) as Jean-Pierre Werner, a passionate and very talented country doctor who one day is given the devastating news that he has an inoperable brain tumour.

At first he tries to carry on as normal, treating his patients with all the care he usually does, but finds that the tumour is giving him symptoms that interfere with his work. So he is sent the help of a recently graduated doctor named Nathalie (Marianne Denicourt) who tries to ease his burden while trying to figure out if she can even put up with the job herself.

The film is a tad on the predictable side, particularly as it gets into the later stages of the film when Jean-Pierre’s illness comes to a head and the relationship between Jean-Pierre and Nathalie starts to blossom and complicate. But, even so, it’s still a touching, gently moving character piece with two great, complex performances at the forefront. 3.5/5

Bigger Than the Shining

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I wasn’t sure how much I could say about this, the great Mark Cousins’ latest experimental piece of cinema, including the intriguing note I was given pre-screening. Mark tweeted it recently so I’ll include that below:

As per request, I’m not going to go into specifics about what exactly the film entails but I will say that it was a fascinating and engrossing look at the idea of cinematic influence, whether overt or subconscious, and how that has (could have?) played out over the course of film history.

You’ll have to hunt around for the film as, like the note says, it’s going to be destroyed very early next year. But it’s well worth seeking out if you have the opportunity to in any way! Just when you think Mr. Cousins couldn’t do anything more to surprise the ardent film fan… 4/5