The View From Here

Preview -- Edinburgh Film Festival

Michael Bonner

Flying cocks, dead beagles and Michael Jackson’s private Burns Unit. Here’s our 5 Must See movies showing at next month’s Edinburgh International Film Festival...

Though it follows the likes of Thumbsucker and The Squid And The Whale, Jeff Blitz's debut takes the outsider-kid formula and spins it sideways, creating a cute, against-the-odds mini-drama about a boy with a stutter who joins the school debating team. The set-up seems familiar but the payoff is not, and despite the winning charms of its young cast, Blitz's film follows an altogether more subversive path.

Set in the shadow of a nuclear reactor, Mitchell Lichtenstein's gothic fantasy is part superhero movie, part castration complex, starring Jess Wexl as a prim teenage girl whose aversion to sex before marriage manifests itself as vagina dentata. Not afraid to explore the intellectual questions it raises, Teeth is also game for gore, so while the sexual politics of the scenario are busily debated, the odd cock comes flying off too.

Jack Black's co-writer Mike White directs this eccentric riff on the yuppie nightmare movie, with Molly Shannon as a neurotic PA whose life spirals out of control when her beagle dies. Populated by strange archetypes (Peter Sarsgaard's sexually confused vet, John C Reilly's survivalist neighbour and Regina King's nosy co-worker), it's romp that builds slowly into chaos, offering some superb, low-key observational comedy along the way.

Judd Apatow is America's hottest filmmaker right now, following the success of The 40 Year Old Virgin and this, the relationship comedy that held its own at the US box office against Pirates 3 and Transformers. Seth Rogen is the unlikely lead, a hairy-arsed Bud-guzzler who finds he's to become a father after a one-night stand. Apatow doesn't flinch from crudity, and anyone wondering where gross-out movies can go after the Farrellys and Borat will find the answer here.

John Waters' hilarious one-man shows are the stuff of legend, and this record of a two-night stint in NY offers hysterical insights into his warped mind. Why, he wonders, did Dorothy want to go back to boring old Kansas, and why the hell did Michael Jackson have his own Burns Unit in Neverland? Like a gay Inconvenient Truth, it's provocative, weirdly avuncular and, like it says on the tin, filthy like the man himself.

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