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February 12, 2015

Grant Page, star of Stunt Rock (dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1980)

I’m blogging for Glasgow Film Festival again this year (over at their website, here). The main festival runs from Wednesday 18/02 to Sunday 01/03, with an Opening Gala of Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young. We’re taking a slightly different approach with the blogging this year, so most of my work will be done before the festival starts, meaning I can concentrate on Matchbox Cineclub (we have a film in the programme this year, Stunt Rockand we’re hosting an alternative opening party at The Squid & Whale for folks missing the sold-out Opening Gala), both days of FrightFest and generally seeing as many films as humanly possible. For the official GFF blog, I’ll be doing picks of the programme, previews of the films nominated for GFF’s inaugural Audience Award and interviews with the GFF team.

Here’s what’s been posted so far (I’ll keep this list updated as we go):

Sean Welsh’s Picks of the Programme

Theeb: 5 Things You Need To Know

Meet the Programmer: Corinne Orton

Appropriate Behaviour: 5 Things You Need To Know

Meet the Programmer: Emma McIntyre

Meet the Programmer: Sean Greenhorn

When Animals Dream: 5 Things You Need To Know

The Wonders: 5 Things You Need To Know

Meet the Programmer: Iain Canning

52 Tuesdays: 5 Things You Need To Know

Mardan: 5 Things You Need To Know

Tender: 5 Things You Need To Know

Life in a Fishbowl: 5 Things You Need To Know

Radiator: 5 Things You Need To Know

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night: 5 Things You Need To Know

Meet the Programmer: Allan Hunter

And here’s the trailer for Matchbox’s contribution, a special free-but-ticketed, director-endorsed* screening of Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Stunt Rock:

* Trenchard-Smith called it, ‘A great movie to see after a wee dram’, and hopes everyone at the screening has a great time.**

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 09.11.54

**And Sorcery, the band who put the Rock into Stunt Rock, agree.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 09.12.29

GFF 2015 Trailer Binge

January 24, 2015

Here are all the trailers I’ve found so far for the films programmed at Glasgow Film Festival 2015. The playlist is drawn from/limited to YouTube, so there are a number of trailers and clips lacking in English-language subtitles while others are missing entirely. Nevertheless, it’s 125 videos long so there’s plenty to get stuck into.

If you’re looking for something more concise, try GFF’s clip reel:

And if you just came looking for something awesome, our trailer for Stunt Rock at GFF is here:

Tickets are on sale from Monday 26 January at 10am, although FrightFest tickets are already on sale and you can pick up a FREE ticket for Matchbox Cineclub’s Stunt Rock screening here.

Matchbox Cineclub #2: Stunt Rock (Glasgow Film Festival)

January 22, 2015

Our second monthly screening at The Old Hairdressers is also going to be part of Glasgow Film Festival 2015, folding into their Strewth! strand. We’re bringing the Ozploitation to the GFF party, specifically Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Stunt Rock (1980), by kind arrangement with the director himself. Here’s the blurb we wrote for the brochure:

“Death Wish at 120 Decibels! No, the tagline doesn’t make sense, but when you’ve named your film Stunt Rock, there’s not much else to say. A high-octane, death-proof vehicle for Mad Max stunt coordinator and industry legend Grant Page, Stunt Rock is a shamelessly crowd-pleasing mix of blood-curdling stunt work and Spinal Tap-esque rock music (courtesy of magician-musicians Sorcery). As thin on plot as Page is thick of hide, Stunt Rock is an unfiltered, hilarious blast of pure cinema.”

Our supporting feature is Stunt Love (Dir. Matthew Bate, 2011), a short documentary, by kind arrangement with Australia’s Closer Productions. Here’s the trailer:

The event is free, but ticketed. Seating is limited, so we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

Tickets are available via EventBrite, here:

More up-to-date information at the Facebook event page here.

Finally, here’s the absolutely awesome poster designed for us by Stephen Kelly:

"Matchbox Cineclub #2: Stunt Rock" poster by Stephen Kelly

Matchbox Cineclub on Facebook

Matchbox Cineclub on Twitter

Matchbox Cineclub on Vimeo

Matchbox Cineclub #1: The Beaver Trilogy & Rubin And Ed

January 17, 2015

“My cat can eat a WHOLE WATERMELON!” On Thursday night, at The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, we launched the latest Matchbox Cineclub venture – a monthly movie night. Despite torrential rain and gale force winds, I’m delighted to report it went off with nary a hitch (although we’ll probably have to figure out a way of introducing and cueing the programme at the same time) and a good time was had by all. By kind authority of the director himself, we screened a double bill of work by Salt Lake City filmmaker Trent Harris – namely The Beaver Trilogy (79-85; 2001) and Rubin And Ed (1992).

We set the tone with a warm room, some mood lighting and a soundtrack of Olivia Newton-John’s 1977 Greatest Hits album. Those pouring in when the doors opened snatched up the front row tables and availed themselves of the programme note handout we made (which you can see in some of the pictures above – check it out for yourself here). After some previews (our Matchbox trailer and a vintage one for Xanadu), we launched into the genre-defying, absolute singular (triangular?) experience of The Beaver Trilogy. After a short break and some context-setting clips, we finished up with lost American classic Rubin And Ed.

A huge thank you to everyone that came along, to Rebecca Wilcox and Rob Churm at the Hairdressers and to Chris Boyd (pictured, toasting, above) for the sterling help setting up. We can’t announce next month’s line-up until Wednesday 21/01, when the Glasgow Film Festival 2015 programme is announced, but we are very excited about what we have in store for February (and for the coming months too!). We’ll be back at The Old Hairdressers on the third Thursday of every month in 2015 – join us!

If you want to know more about Trent Harris and his work, we encourage you to go to his website,, where he’s also selling, exclusively, DVDs and Blu-rays of his films as well as a couple of his awesome books.

Matchbox Cineclub on Facebook

Matchbox Cineclub on Twitter

Matchbox Cineclub on Vimeo

Poster illustration by Sarah Amy Fishlock

Poster illustration by Sarah Amy Fishlock

View History 2015 #1

January 4, 2015

The Brain Gremlin in Joe Dante's Gremlins 2: The New Batch

I’m going to try to keep track of what I watch and what I’m up to this year, and then post one of these every Sunday. Seems like a relatively simple concept, so let’s see how badly I can fuck it up. This week’s a short one, since I’m taking it from 01/01/15. And I didn’t see anything brand new this week, so maybe it’s fitting to start with some prime Joe Dante…

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (dir. Joe Dante, 1990)

22 Jump Street was good, but this will always be the original and best meta-sequel. Things I love about Joe Dante’s Gremlins 2: Haviland Morris vamping it up like she never would again; the Batman (1989) logo produced when the Bat Gremlin smashes through a wall; Actual Gremlins interrupting Leonard Maltin’s TV review of Gremlins; the perfectly prescient response to the snarky analysis of movie logic (a murderous Gremlin erupts, with excellent timing, from a computer terminal); Ticking off the Danteverse cameos from Henry Gibson (The ‘Burbs), Paul Bartel (Hollywood Boulevard), Rick Ducommun (The ‘Burbs), Jason Presson (Explorers), Archie Hahn (most everything after Innerspace) and even Dante himself; The Hulk Hogan-assisted messing with the fourth wall a la Hellzapoppin'; the unrivalled and unrepeatable mixture of physical (Dick Miller takes the secret entrance into Clamp Enterprises) and stop-motion effects (Bat Gremlin, Gizmo’s dance), CGI (Lightning Gremlin!) and puppetry (Tony Randall’s Brain Gremlin); the Busby Berkeley homage; pretty much every single thing about it.

Locke (dir. Steven Knight, 2013)

The main thing I love about Locke is that Tom Hardy appears to have chosen a Welsh accent on a whim – it’s irrelevant to the plot, the film isn’t set in Wales and none of his character’s family or associates appear to be Welsh – which is the kind of touch I always tend to appreciate. The economy displayed and creativity employed is impressive, with almost the entire film being shot in one confined location – it cheats even less than Phone Booth on this score – Ivor Locke’s car, as he makes a midnight run while his entire life falls apart. I’m not sure I have much more valuable to suggest about Locke from this distance, except the relatively mundane point that it wouldn’t have worked at all without Hardy’s subtle and nuanced execution of writer-director Knight’s admittedly elegant and purposeful script. It reminded me of the disingenuous statements you often hear employed by established filmmakers when they make a film with next to nothing – but draw on all their experience, industry contacts and, most importantly, the largesse, talent and box office draw of their stars. Locke lives and dies on the performance of Hardy, whose strengths it perfectly capitalises on. If nothing else, the depth of emotion and intellect Hardy manages to squeeze from the material suggests he’s going to have absolutely no problem conjuring a charismatic Max Rockatansky from the rumoured 20 lines of dialogue he’s been given in Mad Max: Fury Road.

50% of Role Models (dir. David Wain, 2008)

“You white, then you Ben Affleck.” This was on TV Saturday night when I got in from work and made dinner, but I managed to pull myself away halfway through, having already seen it a bunch of times – and owning it on DVD. On his worst day I love a bit of Paul Rudd but he also co-wrote this, so it’s actually approaching Peak Rudd (previously recorded in a special few facial expressions in Wet Hot American Summer). Role Models reminded me I have this gem on my shelf to watch at some point:

To confirm, that is (a) a DVD menu screen someone has uploaded to YouTube (b) Paul Rudd – not a Brian Singer life model decoy – in pole position ahead of a lot of Asian actors, all of whom we can comfortably predict have a lot more to do in this film, which is (c) a Hong Kong film starring Rudd as an FBI agent named Ian Curtis. It’s generally understood the action chops he displayed in Gen-X Cops 2: Metal Mayhem swung him his upcoming Ant-Man role. (By the way, I lied, I watched the whole thing.)

Cosmopolis (dir. David Cronenberg, 2012)

Maybe it’s because of Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, but when Robert Pattinson’s Eric Packer, a bored and tail-spinning billionaire, taxes himself with the eternal question, “Where do all these limos go at night?”, my interest in this film sagged appreciably (everyone knows they go to a depot and chat to each other). Like Locke, although to a less successful extent, the majority of Cosmopolis takes place in a vehicle – one of those limos – and most accents are not inherent to their employers. Robert Pattinson, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, an Englishman and two Canadians, all employ the kind of American accents only found in movies. However distracting, I really don’t mind this artifice, nor even Pattinson’s occasional De Niro-isms. In fact, I love these things the way I love Ryan Gosling’s fake American-tough-guy real voice. The real problem with Cosmopolis is almost everything else about it – it’s mannered and alienating and not in a particularly interesting or worthwhile way. It’s written – adapted by Cronenberg from Don Delillo’s novel – and shot like one of Max Fischer’s plays, although Fischer seems to have had more of an effects budget. The only sequence that truly broke the malaise for me was Matthew Almaric’s brief appearance as André Petrescu, the Pastry Assassin (“Ah, son of a bitch, I glop you good!”). Otherwise there’s a whole lot of work required from Pattinson in drawing anything remotely compelling from the turgid dialogue. Paul Giametti is the engine of the almost successful climax, and it’s equally awe-inspiring and terrible that he should be able to elevate material like this so persuasively to such a level of (mock) profundity. However, despite Giametti’s best efforts, there’s more truth and depth in Big Fat Liar than this, a fundamentally annoying film.

Next week: The Night Is Young AKA Mauvais Sang, Ant-Man teaser, Birdman.

Two weeks hence: Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, Matchbox Cineclub @ The Old Hairdressers and Werner Herzog in Conversation with Paul Holdengräber: “Guidance for the Perplexed”.

The Top 5 Best Films of 2015*

January 1, 2015


*No comesies-backsies. Four sets, actually, to cater to my indecision and/or over-excitement. Without further ado, and arranged by release date:

The What-Could-Possibly-Go-Wrong Top 5 of Sure-Fire Hits

1. Birdman (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu) | Released January

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron (dir. Joss Whedon) | April

3. Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. George Miller) | May

4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Francis Lawrence) | November

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (dir. JJ Abrams) | December

The Presumably Awesome Top 5 of Extremely Promising Films

1. Bitter Lake (dir. Adam Curtis) | January

Trailer available here.

2. Inherent Vice (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson) | January

3. It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell) | February

4. Tomorrowland (dir. Brad Bird) | May

5. Crimson Peak (dir. Guillermo del Toro) | October

The TBC Top 5 for Films With No Confirmed Release Date

1. The Hateful Eight (dir. Quentin Tarantino) | TBC

2. On The Milky Road (dir. Emir Kusturica) | TBC

3. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (dir. Roy Andersson) | TBC

4. Queen of the Desert (dir. Werner Herzog) | TBC

5. Burying The Ex (dir. Joe Dante) | TBC

The Knife’s Edge Top 5 for Cautious Optimists

1. Chappie (dir. Neill Blomkamp) | March

2. Jurassic World (dir. Colin Trevorrow) | May

3. Terminator Genisys (dir. Alan Taylor) | June

4. Ant-Man (dir. Peyton Reed) | July

5. The Fantastic Four (dir. Josh Trank) | August

The Top 10 Best Films of 2014 (plus the worst, and the meh)

December 31, 2014
The Dance of Reality (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2014)

The Dance of Reality (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2014)

Every time this comes around, I tie myself in knots over how I’m supposed to pick my top films of the year. I’ll spare you as much of the working as I can, but I’ve settled on a simple premise – if someone somehow sat out 2014, what films would I direct them to first? This is them, in descending order:

Top 10 Films of 2014:
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (dir. James Gunn)
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson)
3. The Dance of Reality (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky)
4. The Guest (dir. Adam Wingard)
5. Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
6. Under The Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
7. Cold In July (dir. Jim Mickle)
8. Starred Up (dir. David Mackenzie)
9. Blue Ruin (dir. Jeremy Saulnier)
10. What We Do In The Shadows (dir. Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi)

More Top Films of 2014, in no particular order:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dir. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo)
22 Jump Street (dir. Chris Miller, Phil Lord)
Calvary (dir. John Michael McDonagh)
The Lego Movie (dir. Chris Miller, Phil Lord)
Nightcrawler (dir. Dan Gilroy)
Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)
Dawn of The Planet of the Apes (dir. Matt Reeves)
Welcome to New York (dir. Abel Ferrara)
Edge of Tomorrow AKA Live Die Repeat (dir. Doug Liman)
Her (dir. Spike Jonze)
The Double (dir. Richard Ayoade)
Big Bad Wolves (dir. Navot Papushado, Aharon Keshales)
Finsterworld (dir. Frauke Finsterwalder)

Top 5 Meh Films of 2014:
Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher)
Godzilla (dir. Gareth Edwards)
X Men: Days of Future Past (dir. Brian Singer)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (dir. Marc Webb)
Mood Indigo (dir. Michel Gondry)

Top 5 Disappointments of 2014:
Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan)
The Zero Theorem (dir. Terry Gilliam)
The Congress (dir. Ari Folman)
A Most Wanted Man (dir. Anton Corbijn)
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (dir. Francis Lawrence)

Full Disclosure Top 10 Films I’ve missed of 2014:
1. Birdman (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu) (bit harsh, yes, given it’s only out this week)
2. Leviathan (dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)
3. The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent)
4. Locke (dir. Steven Knight)
5. Maps To The Stars (dir. David Cronenberg)
6. Paddington (dir. Paul King)
7. Citizenfour (dir. Laura Poitras)
8. Only Lovers Left Alive (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
9. Joe (dir. David Gordon Green)
10. Two Days One Night (dir. Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne)


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