Top 10 films to see at Glasgow Film Festival 2014
#10 – The Grand Budapest HotelA lot of people are excited about The Grand Budapest Hotel, and just because I’m not one of them doesn’t mean it shouldn’t appear on this list (in fact, it’s so popular it’s already sold out). The film — which stars Bill Murray, alongside other Wes Anderson regulars — looks just as fastidious, micromanaged and exhausting as every other of the director’s production, so if you thought Mr. Fox was fantastic and the Tenenbaums were royal there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy this one too.
#9 – A Long Way DownAdapted from Nick Hornby’s bestselling novel, Pascal Chaurneil’s A Long Way Down tells the story of four New Year revellers — disgraced journalist Martin (Pierce Brosnan), depressed carer Maureen (Toni Collette), failed musician JJ (Aaron Paul) and disturbed teen Jess (Imogen Poots) — who meet atop local suicide hotspot Topper’s House. Though the subject matter may seem bleak, the book is often as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. The casting for once seems completely spot on, and done right this could be something very special indeed.
#8 – Dark BloodInitially abandoned due to the death of one of its leading actors, Dark Blood is only now seeing the light of day. Starring River Phoenix, alongside Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce, the thriller sees a couple break down in the desert near what was once a nuclear testing ground. Although his film is still technically incomplete, director George Sluizer has worked to bridge the gaps in footage with his own narration, and will be in Glasgow to detail the challenges he faced, and explain his reasons for overcoming them.
#7 – The Scribbler
Adapted from a graphic novel — because diversity — The Scribbler reunites the cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (well, Dawn and Faith) and sends them to investigate The Siamese Burn. A world premiere being featured as part of festival-within-a-festival FrightFest, The Scribbler — a psychological horror exploring multiple-personality disorder — could be the perfect antidote to all of the literary adaptations showing elsewhere.
#6 – The DoubleA melancholic story of young love between two Welsh school children, directed by Moss from The IT Crowd; it’s safe to say that 2010’s Submarine was not your typical Brit-flick. For his sophomore effort, The Double, Richard Ayoade has chosen to adapt another novel, this time by Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, the film sees a man driven insane by the sudden appearance of a doppelganger.
#5 – Mood IndigoWith the horrors of Green Hornet safely behind us (though, as The Odd Life Of Timothy Green proved, that particular colour is still very much jinxed), it is finally possible to get excited about the new Michel Gondry film. The Science Of Sleep director, who is probably still best known for 2004’s Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, is back with a romantic drama starring Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou, based on French novelist Boris Vian’s 1947 work, Froth On The Daydream. 2015’s Best Adapted Screenplay category is going to be a bottleneck, so it makes sense to get a few in early.
#4 – The Zero TheoremOstensibly the final instalment in the director’s unofficial “dystopian satire trilogy”, which so far includes Brazil and 12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam’s latest — The Zero Theorem — sees a reclusive computer programmer develop a formula to help determine the meaning of life. With a cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw, Matt Damon, The Kumars at No. 42 host Sanjeev Bhaskar, and a bald, eye-browless Christoph Waltz, the film is already making The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus sound pretty plain by comparison.
#3 – Half of a Yellow SunHot off the back of his Golden Globes/Academy Award/BAFTA-nominated turn in 12 Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor will next be seen in Half Of A Yellow Sun, an adaptation of Orange Prize-winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s acclaimed novel. (Yes, another one — you may as well take a shot of alcohol.) Seriously, get down to Waterstones, they probably have three for the price of two. The film also stars Thandie Newton, and tells the story of two sisters caught up in the Biafran war.
#2 – Beyond The Edge 3DThe last few years have seen feature documentaries finally hit on mainstream success, with the likes of Senna, Catfish and This Is It scoring high at the box office and entering the public consciousness like never before. Beyond The Edge could well be the next breakthrough hit. Leane Pooley’s latest, a 3D docu-drama that combines archive footage with dramatic recreations, tells the story of Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay and their team of sherpas and porters as they attempt to conquer Everest.
#1 – Under The SkinThe film that brought Black Widow to Bonnie Scotland, and to which we will be forever indebted, Under The Skin — by this point it goes without saying that there’s a book with the same name — sees an alien posing as Scarlett Johansson pick up hitchhikers on the A9. It’s already screened at Venice and Toronto film festivals, where it earned some very encouraging reviews. With sightings of a famous Hollywood actress over at Loch Ba, Nessie will likely never hold quite the same allure again.