The Lost Boys secret screening at Glasgow Film Festival

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) has a history of putting on special one-of-a-kind screenings in unusual settings. I am always super excited by the announcement of their Special Events strand and this year I was lucky enough to get tickets for The Lost Boys secret screening, which was programmed to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary (try and not cry – yes 30 years!).

Back in the day, I had the poster, watched the VHS at least 50 times and listened to the soundtrack on repeat. In fact, my husband and I’s shared love of this film is definitely one of the reasons we got together and The Lost Boys was one of our table names at our wedding. So kudos Joel Schumacher!

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We arrived at the Glasgow Film Theatre on a cold February evening to board one of six buses, filled with like-minded 30-somethings; all giddy with anticipation. With a motorcycle escort (very cool), we set off towards our soon to be disclosed secret location, chatting away at every turn off about where we could possibly be heading.

And it was… motorcycle rev… M&Ds Theme Park at Strathclyde Country Park. It was the perfect choice of location, considering that a lot of The Lost Boys is set at an amusement park and beachside boardwalk. We had over an hour to take in the attractions, rides, arcades, comic book stand and vampire face painting stall. I particularly enjoyed a romantic chips dinner on the ferris wheel.

World famous comic book artist, Frank Quitely, whose work is about to be the subject of a retropsective at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, introduced the film. He explained that he was chosen for this role due to his and the film’s close connections with comics and horror, but he admitted, to a chorus of boos, that he hadn’t actually seen the film!!!  He was humorously self-deprecating about this and signed off by saying, ‘well I am not even going to say enjoy the film as you obviously will, I just hope I do’.  He doesn’t seem to be on twitter so I couldn’t tweet him to ask if he enjoyed it, but let’s just assume that a man of such esteem surely will have.

the-lost-boys-movie-poster-1987-1010469510We then all sat back to enjoy the cult classic which Empire film magazine describes as a “supremely watchable example of something the 80s did right”.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Lost Boys – the set up is that a family of three, mum and two teenage boys, move to the fictional Santa Carla (murder capital of the world) for a new start, only to find that the place has a goddamn vampire problem. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest and the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman), the fast paced and tight 1 hour 37 minute feature is a witty and bloody coming-of-age that contains timeless one liners, eccentric characters & clothing choices and a soundtrack that just keeps giving.

Look at your reflection in the mirror. You’re a creature of the night Michael, just like out of a comic book! You’re a vampire Michael! My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out, buddy!” Sam (Corey Haim)

Top five picks of Glasgow Film Festival 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) launched their programme last night. And seriously, what a programme! There are over 310 performances to choose from at this year’s event – now one of the largest film festival’s in the UK. It is a festival that attracts massive audience numbers, which is probably a direct response to the fact that the organisers clearly love their audience and programme innovatively, yet without pretension.

The eclectic programme is divided into 17 strands – there’s everything from Dangerous Dames dedicated to Hollywood’s most badass film noir females and Pioneer showcasing first and second features from directors who display distinct talent and vision; to returning and ever popular strands, such as the Stranger Than Fiction (documentaries) and FrightFest (horror).

But for Audience Adventures, there is one major strand worth checking out – Special Events. These one-of-a-kind screenings offer an immersive experience for film-goers, with many taking place in pop-up cinemas within well-loved city venues.

Here’s my top five pick of this year’s GFF:

The Princess Bride at Maryburgh Halls (Feb 25)
princess-bride-the

Enter an enchanted forest for a treasure hunt, fencing performances and a chance to rediscover this swashbuckling, hilarious adventure that is magical for children and adults alike.

The Thing at Snow Factor (Feb 23)
thing-the-1John Carpenter and Kurt Russell = always a winning combo! Dress warm and trust no one for this ski slope screening of an 80s horror classic, which sees a crew of researchers in the Antarctica picked off one-by-one in chilling circumstances and settings. Ice bar anyone?

Move at the Joytown Grand Electric Theatre (Feb 18)
movereA pop-up audio-visual experience which aims to transport its audience through time and space to celebrate Europe. Rarely seen archive film will be brought to life by musicians and dancers, with a party to follow in one of Glasgow’s most exciting new venues.

Raving Iran presented by Sub Hub at Barras Art and Design (Feb 19)
raving-iranre

Raving Iran follows two young men who continually risk their freedom in order to share banned Western music in their home of Tehran, culminating in one epic blow-out. The screening will be accompanied by Iranian street food, with more activities to be announced soon.

Secretary at SWG3
secretaryre
This 15th anniversary screening of Secretary – a sweet romance between a dominant lawyer and submissive secretary – will be followed by a party featuring Torture Garden performers and a specially curated playlist. Dress up encouraged!

Other Special Event films on the line-up are: The Big Easy, Dirty Dancing, Surprise Film and The Wee Govan Pipers. There are also two sold out screenings in this strand, which went on sale at an earlier date, Lost Boys (sold out) and Lost in France (sold out) – both of which would have been in my top five if there had been tickets available. For more information visit glasgowfilm.org.

Glasgow Film Festival 2016 Preview

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF 2016) is back next month, brightening up our fourth consecutive month of winter, or is it fifth?  I was at the Festival programme press launch last night and I can confirm that GFF 2016 is going to be the biggest, most innovative, star-studded, premiere-filled festival to date. Press launches – you know the drill.

But, here’s the thing. It is ALL that! The GFF team sure know how to deliver a programme and Glasgow audiences – living up to their Cinema City title – sure know how to pack out a screening. It’s a dream team akin to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

GFF 2016 includes 308 events, a belter of an opening gala with the UK premiere of the Coen Brother’s latest offering, Hail Caesar!, special guest Richard Gere (“I got nowhere else to go… that would compare to Glasgow!”), and multiple offshoot sister festivals, including the only youth film festival in the UK to be programmed by 15-18 year olds.

Most excitingly is the Festival’s continued commitment to ‘Total Cinema’ events, with classic films reinterpreted in unique and iconic settings across the city. So for those of you looking for something a bit out-of-the-ordinary from your film experience, check out my top five picks of the fest:

  • Romeo + Juliet, Trades Hall, (Sat 27 Feb) –  The city’s opulent Trades Hall will be turned into the Capulet mansion costume ball, complete with fish tanks and angel wings, for this screening of Baz Lurhmann’s visionary adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. I was 14 when this film came out – and I wanted nothing more in life than to lock eyes with a floppy haired boy through a fishtank. I owe it to my teenage self to make this happen!
  • Network, BBC’s Glasgow HQ at Pacific Quay (Mon 22 Feb) – An intimate screening of biting media satire Network, within a perfect setting. Peter Finch took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of the troubled news anchorman, who delivers one my favourite film speeches of all time: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”.
  • Con Air, Secret Location (Thu 18 Feb) – Audience members will be collected at the GFT, assigned a uniform, handcuffed to their partner, and loaded onto the prison bus! Expect to be put through a convict’s paces as you head to a secret location for a screening of a 90s action classic starring the deliriously talented Nicolas Cage.

  • Thelma and Louise, The Grand Ole Opry (Sun 21 Feb) – Ridley Scott’s ultimate road trip movie will have a special 25th anniversary screening at Europe’s largest Country & Western saloon, The Grand Ole Opry; complete with lasso-work and lined-dancing. I take it Brad Pitt will be there in a cowboy hat, surely, right?
  • Where You’re Meant to Be, Barrowland Ballroom (Fri 19 Feb) – Glasgow based raconteur, Aiden Moffat, best known for his songs about sex, drugs and male anxiety, decided to rewrite his country’s oldest songs during the historic year of 2014. I saw Moffat perform these songs in the Barrowlands in the euphoric summer of 2014, pre the Commonwealth Games and Referendum. It was magicial, witty and relevant. Moffat will return to the Barras for a live performance and world premiere of the documentary which captured his journey that year.

The full Festival programme is online now. A limited number of tickets are on sale now, but the vast majority of tickets will go on sale from 10am on Monday, January 25.

 

Top five picks for Festival 2014

Festival 2014We are at the beginning of one of the most exciting months in Glasgow and Scotland’s history. The world’s greatest athletes and around one million visitors are about to descend on Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. And while the sport is exciting and all that, it is the massive cultural programme running alongside the Games that really appeals to me.

Culture 2014 has been running all year, as a nationwide programme of events inspired by the multicultural Commonwealth and the unique aspects of the host city and nation.

During Games time (July 23-August 3), Culture 2014 will pause to allow the focus to fall purely on Glasgow, as the city hosts the biggest party it has ever thrown – Festival 2014. Running alongside the sporting action, Festival 2014 will see Glasgow transformed with an invigorating mix of entertainment and culture filling the city’s streets, spaces and stages.

There is so much to choose from, with the programme featuring family events, theatre, intimate shows, outdoor spectaculars, film, music, fashion and more. If you live within travelling distance of Glasgow, I would encourage you to take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime gathering of prominent international and Scottish artists as they turn Glasgow into the epicentre of culture for two weeks.

Most of the events are free-of-charge or cost under £5. And you don’t need tickets to enjoy the fun, simply take a saunter around Glasgow Green and the Merchant City – the two main sites for live entertainment.

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of choice on offer, then here are my top five Audience Adventure picks of the fest for those seeking an extra special cultural experience this July.

Cargo Cinema ActionCargo Cinema Action! (Saturday, July 26), Custom House Quay, Clydeside
An outdoor cinematic spectacular, taking over the River Clyde for a day-long celebration of Glasgow and film. Cutting edge arts collective, 85A have been working with Glasgow Film (Theatre and Festival) to create an interactive event, which is set within the fictionalised film shoot of an abandoned Russian cruise liner that is drifting eerily towards Scotland. Step onto the colossal set docked at the Clydeside for an adventure in film, theatre and the senses.  The show will be performed five times throughout the day, with a different live band providing the score each time. Come night fall, the cruise ship will be transformed into a musical playground with light installations, live music, films and an open-air caféFree, reserved ticketing via glasgowfilm.org

Tin ForestThe Tin Forest Festival (various shows and dates from July 24-August 3), South Rotunda
The Tin Forest Festival is a two-week programme of events, focusing mainly on Glasgow’s industrial past and creative future.  The festival is the culmination of one of the National Theatre of Scotland’s most ambitious projects to date, involving contributions from over 100 theatre makers from across the Commonwealth as well as everyday Glaswegians, who have been involved in an eight month outreach project. My top two recommendations for the festival are: Dear Glasgow – a one-off interactive event, which invites audience members to give voice to their hopes and dreams for their city, with the aim of creating the blueprint for a better Glasgow.

A Puppet Theatre Experience, where audiences of 10 or less, meet a crabbit old man who has decided to take it into his own hands to create a better world. The 30 minute promenade performance uncovers a weird & wonderful new world and oddball cast of eccentric puppets en route.
Tickets for all events cost £5/£3 via thetinforest.com  

That Sinking Feeling PosterThat Sinking Feeling (Friday, August 1), Kelvingrove Bandstand, Kelvingrove Park
Three films by celebrated Glaswegian director, Bill Forsyth, will be screened at the recently refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand – Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero and his lesser known debut film, That Sinking Feeling. Costing just £5,000 to make, That Sinking Feeling follows four unemployed and hapless Glaswegian teenagers as they embark on a plan to make money out of stolen sinks. The film has been out of copy for years, so this a chance to watch the fully restored print, within the beautiful setting of Kelvingrove Park (which I believe actually features in the film). Discover or rediscover the warmth, wit and charm of Forsyth’s work and find out just why he’s known as the ‘Capra of the Clyde’!
Free, non-ticketed


Sound to the SeaSound to the Sea (Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2), Science Centre
Cryptic – an arts collective known for ‘ravishing the senses’ with left-field performances – have joined forces with the Science Centre to create one of the largest scale events on the cultural programme. Billed as a night-time nautical extravaganza, Sound to the Sea will bring together specialists in outdoor art, pyrotechnics and aerial dance to create a visually and musically stunning event. Musicians, including Treacherous Orchestra, Miaoux Miaoux and Model Aeroplanes, are lined up to perform on boats and ships, which will double as stages. Expect fireworks, flares and feats of the unimaginable in this night-time celebration of Glasgow’s history, industry and dynamism. Free, reserved ticketing via glasgowsciencecentre.org

Admiral FallowGlasgow Mix Tape (Saturday, August 2), The Living Room, Glasgow Green
Glasgow record label, Chemikal Underground will bring together an array of the city’s independently-minded musicians to provide a showcase for the city’s legendary music scene. Anticipate the feel of a mini music festival, with acts including Admiral Fallow (pictured), Edwyn Collins, The Bluebells, Lloyd Cole and more. Great music, pals and beers; come rain or shine – it’s got the makings of a classic summer’s day out. Free, non-ticketed

 

 

All Night Horror Madness

All Night Horror Madness is an evening of horror films screened back-to-back from 11pm till dawn, taking place at Glasgow’s Grosvenor Cinema and Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema.

This was my second attempt at All Night Horror Madness. Attempt does seem like the most appropriate word here, as whilst great fun, it is a bit of an endurance test. In a previous outing, I only managed two of the four films – Nightmare on Elm Street and I Drink your Blood. I therefore approached this year’s event with little confidence that I could go the distance, considering there were now five films on the bill, and booze and caffeine were out, as I have my own little monster growing in my belly. But I’m pleased to say that I made four out of the five, calling it a night at 6.30am.

The entire evening had a fantastic vibe – it may seem like an anomaly but horror film fans are known to be some of the best behaved and genial audiences out there. Armed with snacks, comfy clothes and an open mind, we all hunkered down for an evening of gore, thrills and chills. The films were interspersed with raffle draws, chats to neighbouring new friends and vintage trailers, which were very comical indeed.

Like a mix tape, the line-up and order of a horror movie marathon must be meticulously composed. The right balance of lightness, humour, serious gore, bat-shit crazy, knowing tropes and shocker moments must be struck to keep the audience from entering lulls and considering the cosy bed that awaits them at home.

Here’s the line-up for last month’s All Night Horror Madness at the Grosvenor Cinema and my thoughts on what I saw:

The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (1974) – A hugely entertaining opener. Awkwardly dubbed from Italian to Mancunian, the film included, comical displays of 70s sexisim, zombies, your standard unsympathetic police, a begrudging hero and *spoiler alert* an ending stolen straight from pivotal horror film Night of the Living Dead.

Don't be fooled by those innocent blue eyes

Don’t be fooled by those innocent blue eyes

Brain Damage (1988) – Director Frank Henenlotter’s follow-up to Basket Case (if you haven’t seen it seek it out – it’s one of the best in the schlock horror cannon). A young man awakes to discover that a friendly phallic-shaped monster has taken up home in his central nervous system, administering him with an almighty high that comes with a deadly price. Deranged, 80s synths and neons, crude death by blow-job scene, chatty little creature, Basket Case cameo = ideal second choice.

Sleepaway Camp (1983) – Painfully shy Angela attends her first camp, only for a murderer to start picking off youths and staff who do anything immoral. Angela and her protective older cousin Ricky should be safe, as they are the good guys, right? Ideal mid way movie, delivering on the horror and comedy in equal measure and a shocking closing shot that resulted in quite the audible reaction from the crowd.

Fright NightFright Night (1985) – This was a favourite of mine on VHS as a young teen, so I was looking forward to revisiting it. William Ragsdale stars as the teenager who no one believes when he accuses his neighbour of being a vampire. It still stands up as an enjoyable horror romp and you can see why it was chosen to be remade with a stellar Hollywood cast in 2011. However, I felt it was too straight and lengthy to be movie number four on the bill, resulting in me bowing out at the end. Oh come on – no booze and caffeine, remember?!?

DemonsDemons (1985) – I didn’t make it this far, but it does sound like a perfect closer to All Night Horror. Produced by Italian horror master Dario Argento, Demons sees a group of teenagers trapped in a cinema alongside some, you guessed it, demons. This was also the only film of the night to be screened in 35mm print, with the graininess and authentic feel of print often adding to the horror viewing experience.

 

 

Glasgow Film Festival 2014 programme launch

The Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) celebrates its 10th birthday this year. In the space of a decade, it has grown from humble beginnings to become one of top three film festivals in the UK.

And the 2014 programme, which was launched last night, looks set to be the Festival’s biggest and best to date!  Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is the Opening Gala film, marking the first of 60 UK premieres lined up for the 11-day Festival.  Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel, Under the Skin, will bring the Festival to a close – a perfect choice considering much of the film was shot in Glasgow.

Grand Budapest Hotel       Brochure

This year’s relevant and varied focus strands include: Cinechile, exploring the resurgence of film-making in Chile; Game Cats Go Miaow, ideal for gamers, who love their movies; and 1939: Hooray for Hollywood, showcasing Hollywood’s golden year, with screenings of each of the best picture Oscar nominations from that year, including the likes of, The Wizard of Oz, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Stagecoach. 1939 was also the year that The Cosmo Cinema opened on the site where the Glasgow Film Theatre now stands, providing a double cause for celebrations.

But the strand that I’m most excited about is Events and Pop-up Cinema, which will see screenings take place in dramatic venues across the city. The Festival has a reputation for curating unique ‘total cinema’ experiences. Previous years have seen The Warriors screened in the depths of Glasgow’s Underground, The Passion of Joan of Arc in Glasgow Cathedral, and Jaws in the hold of a moored boat.  And this year, there is an abundance of choice for those looking for some extra special magic from their cinema-going experience.

Here are my top five picks of unusual events to see at this year’s GFF:

  • Potholing Expedition Seeks Recruits – Brave audience members will be going underground to watch a mystery film screened in a newly opened space deep underneath Glasgow Central Station. My bet is The Descent and if it is, eeeek, this will be terrifying!
  • Tron: Off the Grid – Former industrial warehouse, turned arts venue, The Glue Factory, will be transformed into a retro-futuristic arcade for a screening of 80s classic Tron.  Remember this is the 80s, so bring cash, both for the bar and for the arcade machines.
  • Street Food Cinema: Goodfellas – GFF are teaming up with the Street Food Cartel to create a pop-up cinema/cafe in the stunning Briggait, Glasgow’s former fish market, turned arts space.  They are screening four films with complementary menus – Ratatouille, Withnail and I, When Harry Met Sally and Goodfellas. Scorsese’s epic gangster tale with glorious pasta and red wine wins for me!
  • Cargo Cinema, ACTION! The Launch Party – This is a preview of one of the specially commissioned Festival 2014 shows (Glasgow’s cultural festival coinciding with this summer’s Commonwealth Games). The innovative arts collective 85A will lead the evening, which comprises visual art, short films and live music.
  • Cinema City Treasure Hunt – This interactive game can be undertaken at any time during the Festival, as you simply download the Walking Heads Cinema City Treasure Hunt app and then set off exploring Glasgow’s cinema and film history.  Solve the riddles of the tour and then attend the live quiz finale to find out if your team has won.

These are just five of the unique events taking place at GFF 2014 but I urge you to pick up a copy of the programme now and get your highlighter pen out, as there are 187 events to choose from.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (January 24th) from glasgowfilm.org.

Gravity at The Imax

science centre and imax

Imax Cinema at Glasgow Science Centre

I went to see Gravity in 3D at Glasgow’s Imax Cinema last week – Scotland’s largest cinema screen and now under the new management of Cineworld.

I’d enjoyed The Dark Knight in Imax previously, and while I was wowed by a couple of specific scenes (the opening and the hospital explosion), I had never been fully enough impressed to want to pay the extra money to return.  My favourite films would be my favourite films whether seen on Blu-ray on a projector with a bucket of buttery salted popcorn or on a grainy VHS copy on a 14 inch telly with a slice of toast.

But there are some films that just have to be seen on the big screen.  2001: A Space Odyssey was not meant to be seen on an iPhone; Inception was not meant to be seen on an airplane TV screen; and Gravity was not meant to be seen on a dodgy download copy.

Gravity is 100 % a cinema film.  The biggest cinema screen with the best sound system is THE only way to see this film.  It is absolute event cinema.  Forget narrative, forget dialogue, forget having two of world’s biggest movie stars; this is about being out there in space and being part of it all – where the farthest outer reaches of your vision are in space, where your eardrums are in space, where your heart is pounding like you’re in space.  It’s a visual treat and, at times, a visual assault, as you feel your head jolting backwards as space debris hurtles towards you in 3D.  And complementing the cinematography is a stunning and reverberating score.

When viewing Gravity as simply a film, it is a basic high concept premise of two astronauts battling against the odds to get home to earth, with ‘danger alert, danger avert’ on repeat, and competent but unremarkable dialogue.  However, we don’t even need to go into any of that, as it is all secondary to what is an all-sensory breathtaking cinematic experience.  

Oddly it’s a film that I don’t imagine I’ll see again.  I feel like I could never get more out of it than I did on that first viewing.  The shock, the fear, the tension, the mesmerising immersion – could a second viewing capture all that again???

So it comes down to this – Gravity is a very good film, but it is an exceptional experience.  For my friends who love film but don’t go/have the opportunity to get to the cinema – on this one occasion, do your damnedest to get to the cinema.  See Gravity big and see it loud!