Glasgow Film Festival 2009 now on
The Glasgow Film Festival 2009 has begun, and this year I'm going to try and make some ten films, much more than the few I made last year. The festival is running from the 12th until the 22nd of February – yes, my apologies I've been so caught up in the BAFTA event I've fallen behind again – and the programme is looking really strong.
There's a good mix of Scottish and worldwide, with some great Hollywood premières as well, not to mention a few specialist events and a cracking retrospective on the stunning Audrey Hepburn and a shorter one on the equally stunning Errol Flynn.
There's definitely a sign of expansion with the Glasgow Film Festival, and they have split the programme into strands: Audrey Hepburn, European Cinema, Special Events, FrightFest, Errol Flynn, World Cinema, Music and Film, Shorts, Independents, Scottish, Documentaries, Animation, Mexican Cinema, and Youth.
We're already a few days down, my fault and apologies GFF, but there are still loads to come, and here's a small taster of what you could be seeing.
Last Chance Harvey: The UK première of the film starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as Hoffman hits the romantic spot once again in a tale of a man who finds the chance of love late in his life.
Nosferatu: A special screening of the classic black and white first foray into vampire territory with the silent film based on Dracula which still boasts the scariest Dracula on screen to date for me.
The Dungeon Moor Killings: The director Jim Hickey introduces and is Q&A'd on his Scottish horror film which sounds superb and has me wondering if I should get an extra ticket, oh no, too late, I've missed it! The story is of a man who heads out into some remote Scottish moors to investigate the story of a big cat terrorising locals. Meeting up with a friend, two girls, an a guide, the story builds on dynamics in the group, and the realisation that there's something more behind the events, something more sinister and much more human.
Let the Right One In: Many might have already seen this interesting take on vampires before, but here we get the director Tomas Alfredson to introduce and be interrogated after the film. The story of a young boy who is bullied and the arrival of a child who defends him and befriends him, and he comes to realise that she's actually a vampire. Nothing innocent or sickly sweet about this tale.
Who Killed Nancy?: Director Alan Parker will be doing the introduction and Q&A at both screenings of the film, usually it's only one so this is a bit of a treat. The film is a personal journey for Alan Parker who responded to the request from Sid Vicious' mother to investigate the murder and show that her son wasn't to blame. From accounts it would seem that many of the New York cops weren't entirely convinced he was to blame, especially as he was convicted without trial by noon the next day. An interesting documentary to be sure.
Grace: Director Paul Sollet also attends for an introduction and Q&A of his horror film starring Jordan Ladd. Grace is a horrifying idea that also sounds a little silly, but the reviews have been very good so far. Ladd plays a woman whose baby dies insider her at eight months, but she insists on carrying to term, and when she does give birth the baby has come back to life and seems to have a desire for human blood.
Friday the 13th: The Hollywood remake was shown here, although not the first showing in the UK, since it was playing at the cinema anyway, probably seems a good choice for the FrightFest.
I Sell the Dead: Director Glenn McQuaid is attending to introduce and be grilled on his horror film starring Dominic Monaghan and Ron Perlman about a grave robber who looks back on his crimes.
The Unborn: Another Hollywood horror starring Meagan Good and Odette Yustman with performances from Gary Oldman, Idris Elba and Carla Gugino. This one features a sexy lady in her underwear on the poster, so don't expect loads, mind you it is written and directed by David S. Goyer. The film sees a young woman fighting to stop the spirit inside of her taking control, the spirit of the dead twin she absorbed in the womb. Yuk.
Bigger, Strong, Faster: A documentary from America that looks at the use of steroids in America and what drives people to use them. Although it looks to athletes and the obvious cases, it also examines things such as Tiger Woods receiving eye correction surgery, the use of legal steroids in athletes, and the use of steroids by the director and his two brothers. It looks like an insightful and worthwhile journey.
Synecdoche, New York: This is definitely an early look at the Charlie Kaufman story of a theatre director who is struggling with his work and the women in his life and decides to take on the most ambitious project of his entire life, building a life-size replica of New York in a warehouse as part of his next play. Huge cast and incredibly odd stuff.
Tokyo!: Three slightly off beat directors take a look at Tokyo through stories they have written and directed. Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax and Michel Gondry are the three names, so you can see that this will offer something rather unique.
Tyson: A documentary that looks into the man himself, starring the man himself, and with his permission too. This will hopefully be a revealing look into the fighter who destroyed his own career.
There are tons more, but here are the films and events that I'm going to try and attend. There are no separate press screenings, so you may see me there looking tired after working all day and driving back and forth each night!
Good: Another strong film I'm looking forward to and one that may well be attended by Jason Isaacs and Jodie Whitaker who will be Q&A'd afterwards by the audience. The film leads with Viggo Mortensen and along with Isaacs and Whitaker also stars Steven Mackintosh and Mark Strong. It tells the story of a man who writes a book regarding his personal views on assisted suicide after he struggles with the illness of a close family member. Based in the time of the Nazi party rise to power, they use the book, and him, for propaganda purposes and he's caught up in events, realising all too late what he is involved with.
One Day Removals (Filmstalker review) : Writer/Director Mark Stirton, regular on Filmstalker, will be attending the screening to be grilled afterwards. I better start thinking of some good questions! The film tells the story of two Aberdonian removal men who are having the worst day of their lives, and it just keeps getting worse with each dead body.
New Town Killers: Richard Jobson writes and directs this film which sees two private bankers offer money to people on the lower end of Edinburgh society to play a game. The game is a twelve hour life or death game which sees them having to survive the two higher society killers. Dougray Scott leads the film.
Outlander: The Hollywood Viking-Predator story with huge effects. I'm not expecting loads from the film other than entertainment and effects, however it does star James Caviezel, Sophia Myles, John Hurt and Ron Perlman.
Bronson: This could be a really interesting surprise at the festival. This is the story from Brock Norman Brock and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn that has Tom Hardy playing the man renamed Charles Bronson who has spent the last thirty-four years in prison, thirty of them in solitary, for continuing acts of violence while incarcerated. This looks a powerful film, and it could have a lot to say about violence in our society and what drives a man to violent acts.
Franklyn: This film written and directed by Gerald McMorrow seems an unusual tale that has the story of four different people split across time and other worlds, meeting together through the journey of a single bullet. It looks fantastic and I have no idea what it's going to be like. It does carry a cast of names such as Eva Green, Bernard Hill, Ryan Phillippe, Sam Riley and Susannah York.
Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood's final acting performance as the racist Korean veteran who has an Asian family move in next door and begins to do battle with the local gangs in order to save the future of the boy in the family.
Hush: Mark Tonderai wrote and directed this horror story of a couple driving on a British motorway late one night. The guy who is driving sees a speeding truck's back door fly open and witnesses a woman being brutally bound in a cage. The door shuts fast before he can awaken his partner, and when they argue at a local service station about what they should do, she leaves him. He chases after her to find that she's been taken by the truck and he chases after them.
Mr 73: Daniel Auteuil plays an ex-cop who sees a chance at redemption by protecting a woman from the man who was convicted of killing her parents and has just been released from prison.
Religulous: Bill Maher looks at the state of religion, particularly organised religion, in the world today and probably takes a good sideways blast at some of the more fringe elements.
So that's a cracking line up, and there are many, many more films to be had in the remaining week of the film festival, plus there are still tickets to be picked up and bargains to be had. I'd recommend heading over to the Glasgow Film Festival site and I'll be seeing you at some of the screenings with some live coverage from the Q&A's, and reviews when I can get the time to write them up.