Edinburgh 2009: RT's 10 Must-See Movies

We pick the handful of features you simply can't afford to miss.

by | June 28, 2009 | Comments

Edinburgh 2009

The Edinburgh Film Festival has come to a close and Rotten Tomatoes thought we’d make a traditional look back over all of the films playing at this year’s fest and present to you – in strictly alphabetical order – our 10 must-sees. As a public-facing festival, Edinburgh’s selection attempts to combine the accessible with the artistic, and delivers a collection of movies both diverse and outstanding. From spoof comedies to harsh drama, from in-depth documentaries to cutting-edge animation, Edinburgh dares to be different and programmes a festival that’s at turns youthful and experienced, offering movies for just about any cinemagoer imaginable. And for us, it’s two weeks of life in dark rooms — just how we like it.

Edinburgh 2009

Black DynamiteMichael Jai White is silencing the jive talkers in this hilarious spoof of Blaxsploitation capers of the 70s. It really is the grindhouse that Grindhouse should have been, as White — the titular Black Dynamite — attempts to foil a plot to deal drugs to orphans that goes all the way to the White House. The jokes wear a little thin towards the end, but for the large part it’ll have you in stitches, and Jai White revels in the period humour as booms enter shots, actors miss cues and them poor orphans are all drugged up. – Joe Utichi
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

Le DonkShane Meadows and Paddy Considine are best known for their thoughtful, considered drama collaborations like Dead Man’s Shoes and A Room for Romeo Brass, so news of a mockumentary shot in five days with Considine taking on the character of a Northern roadie called Le Donk was ever so slightly worrying. We needn’t have taken the time to fret, though, because the result is riotously hysterical, and Considine revels in creating a character so desperate for attention that you can’t help but fall in love with him. Le Donk is shifting gear for the Arctic Monkeys and brings along a documentary crew for the week while he tries to introduce the world to a rapping prodigy he’s discovered. Meadows’ forte is in finding real heart at the centre of any story, and that continues here, for while the journey is brilliantly funny, you also get a sense of the character as a human being. We want more. – JU

Edinburgh 2009

Exam – From Stuart Hazeldine, who’s already making Hollywood waves working with Alex Proyas and scripting Paradise Lost, Exam is a modest British sci-fi thriller set in one room as a group of candidates from all sorts of racial and social backgrounds compete for a mysterious job. A blank sheet of paper sits in front of them and they’re told to answer the question on it. Over 80 minutes of real time, we enjoy their interaction as they try to figure out their situation and work with and against one another. It’s the kind of small-scale/big-impact sci-fi flick we don’t see enough of these days and it’s simply gripping from start to finish. It transcends its modest budget to deliver a slickly shot and incredibly entertaining experience. Expect big things from Hazeldine, and cross fingers and toes that Exam finds a distributor willing to give it a big release – you won’t want to miss it. – JU
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

Fish Tank
Red Road director Andrea Arnold proves she’s no one-trick pony with this stunning follow-up set on an Essex estate. Newcomer Katie Jarvis plays 15-year-old Mia, a would-be street dancer with a neglectful mother and a hilariously cheeky little sister. When charismatic Connor (Hunger’s Michael Fassbender) starts dating her mother, Mia’s world changes — but is it for the better? The ambiguity of their relationship drives both plot and characterisation forward in this beautifully observed, bitterly funny and utterly involving drama that marks Arnold as a true British talent. Watch out for a winning turn from up-and-comer Harry Treadaway, too. – Anna Smith
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism – It wouldn’t be right if a site about film critics didn’t include a documentary about film critics in its top 10. A critic himself, Gerald Peary goes on a journey of the American film writer, starting right at the beginning and presenting a detailed history of the art. Along the way, he gives faces to the faceless critics of newspapers, TV shows and websites and profiles them on what made them critics. Incredibly eye opening, and featuring contributions from the likes of Roger Ebert and Harry Knowles, it’s a documentary well worth watching. – JU

Edinburgh 2009

HumpdayLynn Shelton‘s hilarious comedy is also the winner of our second Rotten Tomatoes Critical Consensus Award, and joins the powerful company of Let the Right One In. Mark Duplass and The Blair Witch Project‘s Joshua Leonard star as a pair of straight friends for whom a drunken night turns into a harsh reality as they realise they’ve talked each other into having sex with one another for a local amateur art-porn festival. Deftly exploring masculinity and homosexuality as well as relationships both intimate and not, Shelton’s indie is a real treat. – JU
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

Mary and Max – This delightfully offbeat Australian stop-motion animation deserves to be a huge hit. Beautifully narrated by Barry Humphries, it tells the story of Mary Daisy Dinkle, a lonely Australian girl with a mother who spends all day “testing sherry” and a father who lives in his shed. After pulling a random address out of a New York phone box, Mary writes to Max Jerry Horovitz, an equally lonely middle-aged American. An unlikely pair of penpals is born as Mary and Max begin to share the intimate details of their lives. The animation is terrific, and the visual gags work just as hard as the verbal ones. Themes become darker as the film progresses, but Mary and Max never loses its sense of hope or Amelie-style charm. A must-see. – AS
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

Moon – Sam Rockwell stars in a futuristic sci-fi made by David Bowie’s son: what’s not to like? Turns out Duncan Jones (famously born Zowie Bowie) has inherited his father’s talent: this debut is an assured, inventive film that makes good use of its tiny cast. Rockwell is Sam Bell, an astronaut working solo on a space station on the Moon. It’s a lonely life, but his sentient computer Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) keeps him company and tends to his needs. Their odd couple friendship sets the film off to an amusing start, but events turn sinister when Sam discovers his doppleganger on the moon. All sorts of possibilities spring to mind — time travel, cloning, twins, the lot — in this intriguing thriller that pays tribute to cult sci-fis such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. – AS
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

Rudo and CursiGael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are reunited on the big screen eight years after Y tu mama tambien introduced them to international audiences and made a hot name out of director Alfonso Cuaron. This time it’s his brother Carlos behind the camera (he scripted the previous film) but the chemistry is still there as the pair play brothers who are plucked out of the Mexican slums to become overnight soccer superstars. But the fun comes when the duo start enjoying their manic lives a little too readily and tensions start to form between them. – JU
Find Out More

Edinburgh 2009

The September Issue – No-one in the fashion world commands more fascination and influence than Anna Wintour. The feared editor of US Vogue was the inspiration for Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, yet the real woman has remained shrouded in mystery — until now. Filmmaker RJ Cutler follows Wintour from the office to fashion shows, shoots and meetings as she plans the September issue of Vogue. The result is a fascinating portrait of a blunt, decisive and ambitious woman. And when Wintour ruthlessly kills pages commissioned by creative director Grace Coddington, the dynamic between the two strong-willed women becomes the centrepiece of an increasingly revealing documentary. – AS
Find Out More

Tag Cloud

Oscars films 2018 YouTube Premium Nat Geo 2016 Showtime Alien batman Apple TV Plus New York Comic Con game of thrones FXX obituary king kong toronto boxoffice Country period drama TV One theme song Podcast Disney Channel Schedule Comedy Central BBC America Sci-Fi Netflix SXSW American Society of Cinematographers royal family 2017 RT History Disney+ Disney Plus BAFTA dc Fall TV BBC One franchise NYCC Binge Guide Comic-Con@Home 2021 action-comedy politics Tarantino free movies Character Guide popular james bond Superheroe Star Trek discovery concert romantic comedy lord of the rings VH1 GIFs Sundance Now sag awards high school zero dark thirty witnail universal monsters fresh Star Wars Television Critics Association YouTube BET Awards A&E police drama Superheroes blockbuster laika docudrama finale dceu CMT 1990s Rocketman book MCU Family japanese golden globe awards boxing Walt Disney Pictures Sundance TV 73rd Emmy Awards The Witch Year in Review debate Mudbound Spike 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards cancelled TV series mockumentary young adult slashers Winners Mystery christmas movies Acorn TV justice league Thanksgiving BBC cars The CW TCA Winter 2020 2021 sports name the review Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Action Mary poppins remakes Columbia Pictures The Purge 24 frames Quiz godzilla twilight news rt labs critics edition Television Academy ESPN Toys Pride Month space TCA independent mutant screenings The Walking Dead international japan hollywood Cosplay Captain marvel jurassic park Hallmark Christmas movies HBO Go See It Skip It Opinion breaking bad Mary Tyler Moore Britbox Trophy Talk transformers scene in color IFC 93rd Oscars Pirates Trailer italian blaxploitation hispanic children's TV video on demand stoner LGBTQ reboot hist satire Lionsgate rotten reviews Syfy spain 99% Black History Month TCA 2017 Crunchyroll OneApp suspense spanish australia die hard Summer basketball FX on Hulu TNT Hear Us Out best game show cooking aliens strong female leads rt archives directors scorecard nbcuniversal superhero kong Awards DC Comics crime drama ViacomCBS kaiju science fiction target documentary Netflix Christmas movies Spring TV Lifetime television Calendar romance PaleyFest worst movies WGN 2020 Apple TV+ Rocky Comics on TV Chernobyl comic book movie Travel Channel Cannes cartoon miniseries Avengers CNN rotten movies we love live action cats Pet Sematary Amazon Prime Fantasy ID cancelled know your critic video aapi quibi robots Ghostbusters Rom-Com Horror Mary Poppins Returns travel cops dogs Watching Series Super Bowl war book adaptation true crime LGBT ratings Disney Plus streaming movies archives DGA fast and furious series natural history Pixar Trivia Premiere Dates renewed TV shows Winter TV pirates of the caribbean Funimation animated teaser Biopics sequel Apple festival Film Festival screen actors guild child's play 4/20 richard e. Grant diversity movie Sony Pictures Masterpiece Emmys biography venice Fox News rt labs Women's History Month Food Network adenture Shudder ABC Signature Awards Tour YA Tomatazos 71st Emmy Awards Martial Arts Wes Anderson Photos Turner Classic Movies 72 Emmy Awards green book 20th Century Fox Rock stop motion Hallmark DirecTV Teen Exclusive Video movies legend ghosts TruTV facebook WarnerMedia Mindy Kaling cancelled TV shows foreign comedies Holidays AMC Grammys tv talk marvel comics Esquire Comedy critic resources 21st Century Fox streaming nature mcc political drama Discovery Channel Film spinoff Musicals sequels SDCC football Infographic hispanic heritage month Crackle Nominations Paramount Network Interview Video Games Baby Yoda HBO Kids & Family psychological thriller CBS Endgame Marathons rom-coms crime Tokyo Olympics Marvel Western Set visit black comics Tumblr 45 Reality VICE Peacock First Look monster movies based on movie zombie canceled TV shows RT21 Freeform parents 90s Marvel Studios new york new zealand comic book movies Lucasfilm composers dragons Cartoon Network TCM PBS Dark Horse Comics The Arrangement TBS Polls and Games talk show 2019 Anna Paquin The Academy Comic Book latino CBS All Access Holiday sitcom Academy Awards razzies disaster Fox Searchlight singing competition toy story Heroines festivals prank a nightmare on elm street Warner Bros. technology critics The Walt Disney Company dramedy Creative Arts Emmys psycho saw Image Comics emmy awards serial killer Christmas HBO Max San Diego Comic-Con MTV scary movies OWN cults cancelled television Ellie Kemper TIFF Tubi comiccon Hulu jamie lee curtis Sundance Lifetime Christmas movies Amazon Studios Sneak Peek Adult Swim supernatural PlayStation marvel cinematic universe 007 NBC superman TV Land TV Amazon dark versus deadpool gangster Bravo binge Elton John joker NBA Election casting TV movies El Rey golden globes FOX indie posters GoT Paramount chucky Box Office nfl DC Universe canceled dexter A24 Disney stand-up comedy Pop ABC Family medical drama SundanceTV hidden camera Disney streaming service ABC Ovation TCA Awards south america Classic Film MSNBC asian-american Amazon Prime Video worst Pop TV Turner unscripted Vudu indiana jones GLAAD Legendary Broadway X-Men olympics criterion doctor who documentaries Countdown 2015 adventure crossover E3 Emmy Nominations halloween all-time what to watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina slasher Musical classics USA Network Red Carpet Paramount Plus CW Seed heist movie biopic revenge Marvel Television zombies IFC Films TLC APB BET anime thriller blockbusters harry potter Stephen King kids trailers wonder woman anthology Brie Larson comic vampires First Reviews History award winner Nickelodeon USA Spectrum Originals DC streaming service historical drama Black Mirror spider-man Arrowverse Starz women crime thriller Reality Competition spy thriller Pacific Islander Song of Ice and Fire Music Best and Worst new star wars movies mission: impossible king arthur werewolf ITV feel good VOD National Geographic adaptation social media President FX Drama YouTube Red docuseries french telelvision Animation halloween tv comic books TV renewals Epix Writers Guild of America Universal Logo spanish language cinemax Shondaland Certified Fresh E! Extras Valentine's Day elevated horror