img undertheskinTechnically, the Glasgow Film Festival is not yet over at the time of writing (I still have at least six more films to see, aiming for a total of 30). The overall line-up of films may not have packed as many big-hitters as last year (Stoker, The Place Beyond the Pines, Byzantium and Cloud Atlas all premiered at the 2013 GFF), but by god, they can pick an opening film: Wes Anderson’s wonderful comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel was both an impressive coup for the festival and truly delightful way to kick things off, even if the opening night party dismally failed to include any Mendl’s cakes (the delicacies featured prominently in the film).

Sadly, I won’t be here for the Closing Night gala (I have an Oscar party to get to), but Jonathan Glazer’s haunting and mesmerising Under The Skin looks certain to close the festival in similar style, not least since large parts of it were shot in Glasgow using hidden cameras, meaning potentially that audience members may spot themselves on screen during the street scenes.

img thelunchboxI’ve listed my Glasgow Top Five below (with review links where possible), but the unreviewed highlights included charming Indian romance The Lunchbox (in which a man and a woman who have never met communicate via notes left in a delivery service lunchbox, recalling Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around The Corner) and Jason Priestley’s directorial debut Cas & Dylan, an emotionally engaging and laugh-out-loud funny road movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany, who on the strength of her performances in this and TV’s Orphan Black is destined to be a huge star.

One of the best things about Glasgow is its wonderfully eclectic programming and while there were many talks, discussions and events that I didn’t manage to get to, there are two particular stand-outs. The first was Dark Blood, River Phoenix’s uncompleted final film that had been restored by 81 year-old director George Sluizer, who narrated the missing scenes. The director gamely turned up for a hugely entertaining and jaw-droppingly frank Q&A, which must surely have left leading lady Judy Davis’ ears burning.

The second event was a screening of twenty minute short Black Angel, a mediaeval death fantasy that originally played before The Empire Strikes Back on its original cinema run and hasn’t been seen since. Director Roger Christian was present for a fascinating hour long Q&A session afterwards (“We couldn’t afford a dragon, so we got a bat,”) which included some delightful anecdotes about his time as a set decorator on Star Wars (he is, essentially, the father of the Light Sabre, or as he calls them, the Lazer Sword).

img metalheadAll in all, it’s been a fantastic festival, with my only real complaint being that it hasn’t stopped bloody raining in nine days. It’s almost as if the weather WANTS us to spend the whole time in a cinema …

Glasgow Film Festival Top Five
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Metalhead
3. Zero Charisma
4. The Lunchbox
5. Cas & Dylan

Special mentions: Blue Ruin, Mood Indigo, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Grand Central and Ilo Ilo

I could also do an alternative Glasgow Film Festival Top Five comprised of films I had already seen at different festivals, which would look like this:

1. Under the Skin
2. Locke
3. Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed
4. The Past
5. Starred Up

By Matthew Turner

img wearewhatweareThere are six new films out this week (eight if you count Bollywood releases, though they are not screened for press), but sadly it’s a pretty dismal week for new films and none of them have made it into the top ten. Of the ones I’ve seen (I’m at the Glasgow Film Festival this week), the best of them is We Are What We Are, an American remake of the Mexican cannibal movie

I was disappointed with both Ride Along (lazily written, not nearly as funny as it thinks it is) and The Book Thief (curiously uneventful, left me completely cold).

img unforgivenFull disclosure: at the time of writing, I have not yet seen As The Palaces Burn, Non-Stop or Unforgiven, though I am planning to see the latter two at some point. Of the films I have seen this week, I highly recommend Wes Anderson’s wonderful The Grand Budapest Hotel (the opening night film at the Glasgow Film Festival) when it opens on 7 March next week. Also worth looking out for: Blue Ruin (May), Cas & Dylan (no UK release date yet) and Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo.

img grandbudapest2This week’s new interviews include an interview with Ride Along star Kevin Hart and one with director Tim Story and producer Will Packer; an interview with Stranger By The Lake director Alain Guiraudie; and an interview with actor Peter McDonald, co-writer and co-star of The Stag (showing at the Glasgow Film Festival). 

1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
3. Stranger By The Lake
4. American Hustle
5. Dallas Buyers Club
6. The Lego Movie
7. Mr Peabody & Sherman
8. Nymphomaniac
9. Her
10. Only Lovers Left Alive

By Matthew Turner

Hannah HollandHannah Holland knows her east London hangouts. The girl about town, DJ and Batty Bass boss spreads herself around these locations when DJing, playing bass in her band Black Gold and Buffalo or enjoying some rare down time. Here, she shares her – until now – best kept secrets, as well as a special mix from New Year’s Eve to get you in the mood for her turn on the decks at Night Train in just over a week’s time. 

Bars and pubs 
George and Dragon
My favourite boozer – it’s like the inside of a John Waters movie.

Dalston Superstore
My home from home – drag queens hanging from the ceiling upstairs and an excellent cosy club in the basement.

Intimate, cosy restaurant in Dalston with top-notch cuisine. 

Pavilion Café
One of the best fry-ups in east London, albeit a little crowded. But if you time it right, it’s perfect.

Ivy’s Mess Hall
Another Dalston gem that serves incredible South American-style food, with lovely service and potent cocktails. It’s also good for daytime coffee and cakes.   

Dance Tunnel 
The East End’s newest rave den where you’ll find the most cutting edge DJs on an incredible sound system, after which you can grab a slice of pizza from Voodoo Rays upstairs.

Hannah Holland headlines Night Train on Saturday 8 March at Egg London. For further info visit