Got your social diary sorted yet? We're here to help - there are tons of great things to do in Edinburgh this week. Have a look through our round-up of all the best events and films that Edinburgh has to offer. You'll find theatre, art, music and more in our list, so have a look and plan a week's worth of things to do in Edinburgh.
Things to do in Edinburgh this week
John Constable's large-scale painting, Salisbury Cathedral From The Meadows, 1831, is shown alongside William McTaggart's The Storm, 1890.
Films showing this week
However cynical a pose you try to maintain, Paddington Bear will find the chinks in your armour. Voiced with perfect innocence by Ben Whishaw and gorgeously animated by Framestore, this profoundly likeable bear consistently toes the line of maximum charm without slipping into schmaltz. Miraculously, that’s also as true of this sequel as it was of his first big-screen outing, as the film goes bigger and darker without losing focus on the small acts of kindness that make its ursine hero great.As we rejoin Paddington and his adoptive family, the Browns, our hero is searching for the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday. He finds just the ticket in Mr Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop: a unique pop-up book. But while Paddington is saving up for it, a nefarious rival steals the book and frames Paddington for the crime. It’s no great spoiler to reveal that the baddie is Hugh Grant’s faded actor Phoenix Buchanan, a flamboyant weirdo who’s calibrated his levels of high camp to within reach of the summit of Everest. The plot has a whodunnit-and-how-do-we-prove-it element here that is a little more complex than last time, but crucially director Paul King and his co-writer Simon Farnaby once again show a perfect feel for Paddington’s humour, strengths and effect on the world. The bear’s guileless politeness even enables him to win over Brendan Gleeson’s Knuckles McGinty, the terrifying bully who rules Portobello Prison with an iron ladle. T
Rolling up with the kind of intergalactic swagger that gives us a cosmically infuriating phone prank within the first five minutes, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is a work of supreme confidence: witty, wild and free to roam unexplored territory. If JJ Abrams’s franchise-rebooting ‘The Force Awakens’ (2015) was the creation of a boy who lovingly dusted off old toys and put them through their expected poses, its superior sequel is made by a more inventive kid – maybe one with a sideline as his block’s most inspired D&D Dungeon Master –who asks: Why can’t a Rebel fleet be commanded by Laura Dern in a purple wig? Why can’t we have planets of blood-red sand, herds of rampaging alien cattle or adorable puffin-esque porgs invading the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon like wannabe copilots? That kid is writer-director Rian Johnson, previously a maker of such mind-colonising indies as ‘Brick’ and ‘Looper’. Here, he’s been given awesome licence to steer this beloved series into hyperspace. (His chapter should be studied by Hollywood execs tempted to entrust their billion-dollar properties to the humourless.) ‘The Last Jedi’ scrapes the psychologically dark edge of George Lucas’s original middle chapter, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, but carries that grandeur with ease. Centrally, Johnson creates a running head-to-head dialogue – almost a mystical form of FaceTime – between Rey (Daisy Ridley), rising warrior of the Resistance, and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, as tortured as he was in Martin Scorse
Italian writer-director Luca Guadagnino likes to show off his homeland as a place of sensual self-discovery. That’s especially true of his last two films, the exquisite Milanese romance ‘I Am Love’ (2009) – a film with the power to make you pack your bags and head off to the nearest airport – and the languorous island thriller ‘A Bigger Splash’ (2015). But he’s never given us the total swirl of sultry weather, budding libidos and teenage confusion that marks his new drama, ‘Call Me by Your Name’. It’s a triumphant, heartbreaking tale of coming out based on André Aciman’s acclaimed 2007 novel. When considered within the tradition of onscreen gay courtship, the movie takes its place alongside such all-time greats as ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Carol’ and ‘Moonlight’. It has a choking emotional intensity that will be apparent to anyone who’s ever dared to reach out to another. The movie takes place ‘somewhere in northern Italy’, but it’s actually set at the peak of Western civilisation – which, in case you didn’t know it, was the summer of 1983. In the breezy villa of a beloved American professor of antiquities (Michael Stuhlbarg), multiple languages are spoken by a loving family. Plates of food are passed around along with side dishes of intellectual debate and affectionate teasing. Girls in sundresses pedal to the lake on bicycles. A brilliant pop song, the Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Love My Way’, throbs out of radios and on the dance floor. And brainy discussions of art history compete f
Not the movie the notorious ice-skating flameout Tonya Harding probably deserves – but happily (for us) the one she’s gotten – ‘I, Tonya’ is a dazzlingly complex and exuberant treatment of a disgraced figure. It flies along like ‘Goodfellas': Director Craig Gillespie never passes up the chance to needle-drop on classic rock (from Supertramp, ZZ Top, etc.) or break the fourth wall with an into-the-lens confession. But as with Martin Scorsese’s ‘I always wanted to be a gangster’ crime epic (or more aptly, Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Boogie Nights’), the combination of supercharged style with so tawdry a story creates an unshakable tension, the kind that has you laughing and cringing at the same time. Ultimately, ‘I, Tonya’ feels like a major reclamation, not of Harding’s reputation but of the sports biopic itself, fallen into clichés since ‘Raging Bull’. Setting the tone with a surly, confrontational stare and her fuming lit cigarette, Margot Robbie – making the most of this gift of a role – drops the film into the touchy realm of paranoia and class envy. She refuses to be judged in the film’s series of faux interviews, and even as Steven Rogers’s satisfying script sends us backward in time to the angelic young Tonya (Mckenna Grace from ‘Designated Survivor’) twirling on the ice, we’re never far from a scene in which money is the film’s not-so-secret subject. Her Oregonian mother, the raging LaVona (a revelatory Allison Janney, swearing up a storm), constantly browbeats her daught
A sweet, deeply personal portrayal of female adolescence that’s more attuned to the bonds between girlfriends than casual flings with boys, writer-director Greta Gerwig’s beautiful 'Lady Bird' flutters with the attractively loose rhythms of youth. Anchored by an expressive mother-daughter story in which unconditional love and enmity often seem one and the same, and elevated by an entrancing Saoirse Ronan (easily among the best and most intimate actors of her generation), Gerwig’s accomplished second directorial effort makes you wish she’d spend more time behind the camera. With her keen ear for female familiarity (she co-wrote 'Frances Ha' and 'Mistress America'), Gerwig sets 'Lady Bird' during that exhilarating, confusing period known as high school senior year, when childhood-defining friendships start slipping away, hormones begin calling the shots and a better existence seems to await elsewhere. We follow the rebellious, opinionated Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson (Ronan, vanishing inside her funky, disorderly character) as she completes her final year of Catholic school in 2002. This is right after 9/11, during the Iraq War (often referenced in the background) and before cell phones got smart, further complicating teenagers’ lives. 'Lady Bird' spends her days quarreling with her equally strong-willed mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf, invincible), slacking off with her good-natured best friend, Julie (a pitch-perfect Beanie Feldstein), and dreaming of a liberal East Coast
There aren’t many writer-directors who could tell a story of small-town rape, murder, grief and guilt at the same time as taking you down all sorts of black-comic paths and having immense fun with the writing and acting along the way. But Martin McDonagh (‘In Bruges’, ‘Seven Psychopaths’) is one of them, and his bloody and ballsy third film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, takes his work to a new level of versatility and surprise. It’s almost a year since Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand, on absolutely roaring form) lost her teen daughter to an unknown rapist and murderer. She’s angry, as well as distraught, and she pays for a series of disused billboards outside her town to carry huge posters asking why no one has been arrested yet. She points the finger at Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), simply because he’s the sheriff, and that makes her public enemy number one. Everyone takes against her, from her abusive and philandering former husband (John Hawkes) to a rash and racist hothead young cop, Dixon (Sam Rockwell, a blinding performance, brilliantly comic, but so much more). Even the priest sits her down for a chat. But she’s having none of it: she just becomes more determined to fight anyone who gets in her way. From there, ‘Three Billboards’ takes all sorts of unexpected turns, and what starts off looking like a story of a wronged mother fighting for justice becomes much more muddy, unusual and meandering. Sure, she’s shaking things up, but is she going t
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's last film was 2012’s ‘Amour’, a harrowing yet moving story of old age underscored by love. His latest, ‘Happy End’ (don’t believe that title for a second), feels like a kick in the teeth of the earlier film, as though someone had accused European cinema’s high-minded provocateur of going soft and his response has been to reprise the suffering of ‘Amour’ but cancel the warmth completely. Bleak in atmosphere and teasing in its jigsaw construction of ensemble moments, ‘Happy End’ is a snapshot of roughly a year in the life of a Calais family. The Laurents run a major construction firm and live in old-money style with servants. But there’s nothing familial about them. They share the same DNA but mask their depressions, schemes and perversions from each other. Haneke reminds us, too, that just down the road from the Laurents is the Calais migrant camp: if we’re to read anything into the Laurents’s diseased privilege, we should assume Haneke is talking about much more than just one family. This is a state-of-modern-Europe morality play. At the head of the household is ailing Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who doesn't have a friendly word to say to anyone and is consumed with anger and regret. His daughter, Anne (Isabelle Huppert), runs the family business day-to-day and has a grown-up son, Pierre (Franz Rogowski), who has a drink problem and a chip on his shoulder about the family’s wealth. Anne’s brother, Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz), is an e
Sure, Christopher Nolan’s 'Dunkirk' blew us away with its immersiveness. But if you prefer your WWII movies to have a little dialogue, some shapeliness and a bit of powerhouse acting, director Joe Wright’s tense profile of the rising prime minister Winston Churchill is the war film to beat. Wright, it’s worth remembering, has been on those gory French beaches before with 2007’s ''Atonement', capturing the whole of the British evacuation and its surrounding chaos in a legendary five-minute tracking shot. As if pulling a been-there-'Dunkirk'-that, he now shifts to the tense strategy sessions, bunker hand-wringing and political gamesmanship that fed into England’s finest hour. 'Darkest Hour' is a film of verbal ammunition, and its calibre is high.At first you won’t believe your eyes, seeing Gary Oldman – still, in some perverse way, the alive presence from 'Sid and Nancy' – buried under what must be pounds of prosthetic facial architecture. (The radical makeup work is by artist Kazuhiro Tsuji.) But your mind quickly gets you where you need to be, as we watch Oldman’s Churchill roughing up our expectations: crouching on his bedroom floor to capture a wayward cat, downing a breakfast of Scotch and cigars and mixing it up with his cowed, dutiful secretary Elizabeth (Lily James). The performance is a marvel, not merely leaping over what could have been a stunt, but deepening into a soulful portrayal of wartime leadership, tinged with ego, doubt and the demands of a terrible moment.C
This debut from young Aboriginal Australian director Warwick Thornton, a cinematographer and veteran of short films and documentaries, is a near-silent, sun-bleached love story that plays out delicately between two teens living in a rundown community in the Australian desert. Barely a word is spoken between disaffected, petrol-sniffing Samson (Rowan McNamara) and wary, more sensible Delilah (Marissa Gibson) from start to finish; they communicate almost solely in looks and gestures. At first, it’s Samson who does all the chasing, but when Delilah’s grandma (Mitjili Gibson) dies and the community blames her, she seeks companionship with Samson, who himself has fallen out violently with his brother. Together they steal a car and head to town, where they end up indulging in a worsening solvent habit that threatens to ruin their lives entirely.Thornton is brilliant at capturing the isolation that marks these kids’ lives and inviting us into their bubble, a place where we come to see tenderness behind rough exteriors and understand the prejudices they face. The director plays a clever game with sympathy: he brings us closer and closer to Samson and Delilah but doesn’t demand that we feel sorry for them. It’s a smart approach that means we never feel manipulated, just guided by a sensitive and fearless commentator unafraid of revealing ugliness on all sides of the social divide – but who also believes that love can endure most hardships.
You might already know how the evacuation of Dunkirk in May 1940 turned out: how over 300,000 mainly British troops escaped from the beach and harbour of a northern French port while being bombarded by the Nazis. But the power of Christopher Nolan’sharrowing, unusual war film is that it tries hard, with real success, not to make any of this feel like just another war movie. Instead there’s a strong sense of this bloody, strange event unfolding in the unknowable way that those on the ground might have experienced it. It’s awe-inspiring and alienating, perhaps as it should be. At less than two hours (brief for the director of ‘The Dark Knight’ films and ‘Interstellar’) and keeping dialogue to a bare minimum, ‘Dunkirk’ gives us a short, sharp dose of the oddness and horror of war, dropping us right into the fray. It’s a staggering feat of immersive terror, blessed with such knockout photography that it has to be seen on a massive screen if at all possible (Nolan shot the film in two large formats, Imax and 65mm). It looks, feels and sounds like a nightmare, balancing naked suffering (drowning, shooting, shelling, crashing, burning) with a strong hint of otherworldliness: Nazi propaganda leaflets spookily dropping from the sky; strange foam washing up on the sand, dislocating aerial shots of sea meeting land. Nolan gives us three interlocking chapters, offering three different perspectives. There’s ‘The Mole, One Week’, taking place on the harbour wall from which thousands were