Edinburgh International Film Festival top 5 picks

Snowpiercer. Pic: Comp

Snowpiercer. Pic: Comp

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Evening News film writer Jamie Neish picks five films you really should see at EIFF 2014 plus his own Critic’s Choice

THE Edinburgh International Film Festival – which this year turns 68 - kicked off last night with its Opening Gala, Hyena, a sleek British crime-thriller.

With a total of 156 films from a variety of different countries due to be screened across the city over the next 12 days, there’s plenty for audiences to discover.

In a bid to make deciding what to see a little easier, Evening News film columnist Jamie Neish has whittled down the colossal programme to provide a list of five must-see films, as well as his own Critic’s Choice for the more adventurous.

SNOWPIERCER

MANY thought Snowpiercer would somehow end up at last year’s festival, what with its director Joon-ho Bong sitting on the International Feature Film Competition jury. A year later and the star-studded post-apocalyptic thriller is finally ready for our consumption.

When a doomed experiment wipes out most of the population, those left board the Snowpiercer, a train that travels the world. It’s not long, however, before a class system evolves, and all are left fighting for their lives. Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Chris Evans, John Hurt and Ed Harris are amongst the big-name stars that feature in this futuristic epic that’s likely to knock your socks off.

Snowpiercer screens on June 22 and June 29

THE NUT JOB

THERE’S many films in this year’s For the Family strand, but the one that stands out most is The Nut Job. With a sterling voice cast that includes Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser and Maya Rudolph, The Nut Job is an animated heist film about a rat-tag group of animals who decide to steal from Maury’s Nut Store in order to feed them through the imminently approaching winter season.

Released in the US last year, and now finally coming to UK shores, this is one animation film with plenty of heart and humour to please those looking for a family day.

The Nut Job screens on June 29

C0LD IN JULY

WITH a performance from Dexter’s very own Michael C Hall at its core, this 80s-set, Southern-tinged revenge-thriller has an air of Killing Them Softly about it.

In an act of self-defence, small-time local Richard Dane (Hall) shoots a man dead. Initially praised, Richard’s newfound celebrity status soon unravels as he finds himself a target to his victim’s ex-con father (Sam Shepard). Described by Time Out as “one of the year’s best indie thrillers”, Cold in July hails from buzzed-about director Jim Mickle and will keep you on the edge of your seat with its twisty, pulpy narrative.

Cold in July screens on June 20 and June 23

A MOST WANTED MAN

PREMIERING at the Sundance Film Festival to solid reviews mere week’s before the unfortunate death of its star Philip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man is the latest film from Anton Corbijn, who last directed George Clooney in The American.

Due for release in the UK later this year, the film – featuring a cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe – centres on German spy Gunter Bachmann (Hoffman) as he attempts to unravel the whereabouts of an illegal Chechen-Russian immigrant.

Based on John le Carre’s suspense-filled international best-seller, A Most Wanted Man looks to tap into the fear that’s unavoidable in a post-9/11 world.

A Most Wanted Man screens on June 22 and June 28

THE ANOMALY

NOEL Clarke of Kidulthood and Adulthood fame directs and stars in the sci-fi actioner The Anomaly.

Taken captive, former soldier Ryan (Clarke) wakes up in the back of a van. In a race against the clock, Ryan must work out how he ended up there, and if there’s any way to escape. Liam Hemsworth, Brian Cox and Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder round out the cast of this claustrophobic, high-octane cat and mouse thriller. It’s a new direction for the multi-hyphenate Clarke, who’s due to take part in an on-stage interview at the festival, and sounds like a crowd-pleasing ride.

The Anomaly screens on June 19 and June 20

The EIFF runs until 29 June. For details of programmes and screenings visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk

Critics choice

HONEYMOON

IF you’re a little more adventurous in your cinema going, then there’s a whole host of intriguing-sounding films hiding in this year’s programme. The one I’d recommend seeking out is Honeymoon.

Rising British actor Harry Treadaway stars as Paul who sets to a remote cabin for his honeymoon with new bride Bea (Rose Leslie). Their seemingly idyllic getaway turns awry, however, when strange happening begin to plague the couple.

Directed by Leigh Janiak, Honeymoon drew acclaim when it premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year, and looks to send creepy shock-waves throughout Edinburgh when it makes its UK premiere later in the Festival.

Honeymoon screens June 27 and June 28