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Film Newspaper Writing YouTube

Edinburgh Festivals coverage 2012

It’s that time of year again in Edinburgh, when you can’t walk a few paces without someone thrusting a Fringe flyer in your face and posters of comedians you vaguely recognise from the telly are plastered everywhere.

Though it’s been a few years since I reviewed Fringe shows for the Edinburgh Evening News, in my Thursday column I have had the opportunity to promote film-related events, including 10 Films With My Dad, An Appointment with The Wicker Man and The Beta Males’ Midnight Movie Theatre.

I was also invited by the Edinburgh International Festival Backstage team to be interviewed for a short video about film music in theatre, alongside EIFF Artistic Director, Chris Fujiwara, and acclaimed composer, Shaun Davey:

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Film Newspaper Writing

Tram Man is a superhero for the Capital

Electric Man
Electric Man

Once in a while my weekly Edinburgh Evening News column doesn’t make it from the printed page onto their website so I publish it here instead. Here’s the piece that went into yesterday’s paper:

It’s been another summer of comic book movies, with Avengers Assemble and Spider-Man already released and The Dark Knight Rises about to hit screens around the country.

Last week also saw a raft of new superhero films announced at the high profile San Diego Comic Con, Iron Man 3 and Captain America 2 just some of the blockbusters announced for 2013 and beyond.

Also making waves at Comic Con was the only UK feature film to screen at the festival, Edinburgh-set comic book movie, Electric Man.

Described as The Maltese Falcon meets Kevin Smith’s Clerks, the film follows the misadventures of two Edinburgh comic book fans, Jazz and Wolf, who run a comic shop on Candlemaker Row.

As the pair struggle to find £5,000 to prevent the shop being shut down they also discover a priceless first edition comic is in their possession. Unfortunately for our heroes, the comic is also wanted by another collector who’ll do anything to get it back.

“The original draft of the script has been around since the early 90s, after the idea for a sitcom pilot came to me one night when I was in college,” says the film’s co-writer and director, David Barras. “It did the rounds for a few years, with the BBC interested in commissioning it at one stage.”

I watched the film in 2011, in a slightly different cut to the one which premiered in San Diego, and found it a fast-paced romp that doesn’t take itself seriously. The actors, including 1980’s legend, Fish, do a good job throughout.

My own idea for a superhero film is still in development, though whether anyone will greenlight Tram Man, the story of a hero avenging the city’s evil tramworks, remains to be seen.

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Film Filming Interview Magazine Writing

Getting animated about Brave

As the world slowly goes mad for Disney-Pixar’s Brave, the US release taking in over $65 million at the box office on opening weekend and the UK premiere taking place in Edinburgh last weekend, my coverage of the Scottish-set film has started to appear in a few places.

Last month I mentioned that I’d contributed an interview with Brave’s director, Mark Andrews, to the new Highlands of Scotland Film Commission’s iPad magazine, which is now available to download from the App store.

I also took part in a recent press junket, with stars of the film such as Kelly Macdonald and Robbie Coltrane in Edinburgh to discuss the film. The interviews will appear closer to the film’s Scottish release on 3 August (it’s out in England and Wales on 17 August).

As a result I reviewed Brave on my site, ReelScotland, before covering it for the Edinburgh Evening News on Thursday ahead of its Edinburgh International Film Festival screening.

As for that press junket I mentioned, Scotland’s tourism agency, VisitScotland, today published a new video from the trip we took to Dunkeld and I spotted myself 0.18 in, taking this photo on Instagram:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fcOFLX6TDY&w=560&h=315]

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Film Newspaper Online Writing

The Raid in the Edinburgh Evening News

Last week I went along to a screening of The Raid, the new Indonesian-set action film from Welsh director Gareth Evans.

Much as I enjoy an intelligent and well-scripted piece of cinematic art, I also have the occasional craving for a piece of slam-bang nonsense that gives Die Hard a run for its money.

Here’s my piece in this week’s Edinburgh Evening News on The Raid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWlmhMSnVdM

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Film Interview Online Writing

Cannes preview of Highlands of Scotland Film Commission iPad brochure

I may not be heading to Cannes in person this year but some of my work will be premiering there as part of the Highlands of Scotland Film Commission’s impressive new iPad brochure.

I’ve been working with the team on various projects for the last few months and the brochure is one of the most exciting ones. I’ll have a few interviews in there, one of which is with the director of Disney Pixar’s Brave, carried out at the recent London press screening.

The Creative Scotland website has more on the brochure, which will be launched at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June as an app, along with a gallery of images:

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Film Interview Newspaper Online Writing

Brave coverage on ReelScotland

I was in London a few weeks ago to attend a screening of the first 30-minutes of Disney-Pixar’s upcoming animated movie, Brave, a film that Scottish tourism bosses hope will repeat the success of Braveheart in the mid-90s.

I wrote about the film’s European premiere in Edinburgh this June for the Evening News but had an opportunity to write a feature for my own site, ReelScotland, this week. I’ve also added a clip of my question to director Mark Andrews that has been repeated on many other sites, that of what other Scottish films the animators at Pixar watched while making the film.

Brave is out in the UK on 17 August.

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Interview Online Twitter Writing

Return to the TCM Classic Film Festival

It was just under year ago that I wrote about my visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival, something of a mecca for classic film fans around the globe.

Guest appearances from Kirk Douglas, Warren Beatty, Peter O’Toole and Eva Marie Saint were just the icing on the cake of a four day event which saw some of the finest films ever made screened in the heart of Hollywood on LA’s most historic screens.

I enjoyed the Festival so much that I’ve decided to head back again next week, this time covering it for the esteemed classic film magazine, Cinema Retro, who have commissioned me to see as many films as possible in the alloted time.

This year the decisions are as difficult as they were in 2011, with screenings of Rio Bravo and The Pink Panther (introduced by Angie Dickinson and Robert Wagner respectively) clashing, while Casablanca is shown at the same time as the 50th Anniversary screening of Dr No.

You can see a list of the full line-up on the TCM website and there’s more from my interview with TCM host, Robert Osborne, on my classic film blog, Holyrood or Bust.

I’ll be tweeting about my trip and recording my thoughts for Cinema Retro while trying to arrange a few interviews along the way.

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Film Filming Online Writing YouTube

The future of film criticism is in the past

Being a classic film fan can be a lonely experience, one of those people who regularly scans the TV listings for 1am repeats of Clarence Brown films or documentaries about RKO.

This past year has found me immersed in cinema history, through my visit to the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF), my work running the Park Circus blog and my weekly Edinburgh Evening News column.

A few weeks ago I wrote in the paper about the arrival of Scorsese’s Hugo and new silent film, The Artist, both of which celebrate the early days of film, while on Thursday I noted the arrival of Edinburgh’s IMAX screen and the need to keep an eye on some of the smaller films in the city.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8K9AZcSQJE]

As I’ve discovered through working with Park Circus, the world is increasingly looking to the past for its entertainment, something I’m more than happy to be a part of.

I’ll be visiting the IMAX for Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol in a few weeks, and appreciate the need to promote quality new cinema via sites like my own www.reelscotland.com, but I also think it’s my responsibility to tell readers about our rich cinematic heritage, as I did back in September for the Evening News.

It’s also the reason I recently started another blog in the shape of Holyrood or Bust. With the huge volume of DVDs and Blu-rays currently being released, not to mention cinema re-releases and films such as The Artist, it’s a golden period for those wanting to write about classic film.

My most recent post was requested by a friend in New York, Will McKinley, who is a viewer and fan of the US TCM channel. Though I’m unable to watch the channel, I did become a convert to TCM during the TCMFF and used their recent Buster Keaton season to launch the site in October. This time, Will asked if I could write a post to celebrate the return of TCM host, Robert Osborne, to the screen after a short absence.

I obliged by using an excerpt from an interview I carried out with Osborne in LA earlier in the year:

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I’m now gearing up for a 2012 filled with even more classic films, including another trip to Bristol’s Slapstick Festival, the second Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema here in Scotland (see my video interview below), a return to Los Angeles and a few other projects that are in the early stages.

Through my work I’ve discovered a vibrant community of classic film fans it’s been a privilege to engage with them on various websites, via Twitter and, most importantly, in cinemas around the world.

Here’s to another classic year of film coverage in 2012.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W9MIKcPObSI]

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Interview Newspaper Online Writing

Yuki 7 infiltrates the UK

Before I go any further, please turn your speakers up and press play on the trailer below – I’ll see you in 2 minutes 22 seconds:

How cool was that? As a spy fan, and someone who appreciates a decent homage, I was bowled over by Yuki 7 when I first heard about her. She’s the creation of US illustrator Kevin Dart, a man with a love of the movies and a finely tuned sense of humour (he likes Jim Henson, who I may have mentioned on this blog a few times).

After watching the trailer I got in touch with Kevin regarding the possibility of running a feature in my Edinburgh Evening News column, with an associated interview on the Reel Time blog. I’ve not read about Yuki 7 in any UK press up to know, so I’m not sure how widespread her fame is on this side of the pond.

For someone working on the release of his second high profile book, Looks That Kill, Kevin was generous with his time. The feature ran today in the paper and I duly tweeted about it, but it’s impossible to get across just how gorgeous this book is until you see it. With a bonkers, Avengers-ish, plot and some truly eye and mouthwatering illustrations, this is a book for anyone who misses those 60s spy movies that jumped on the Bondwagon back in the day.

Looks That Kill cover, courtesy Kevin Dart
Looks That Kill cover, courtesy Kevin Dart
Inside the pages of Looks That Kill, courtesy Kevin Dart
Inside the pages of Looks That Kill, courtesy Kevin Dart

I’m hoping a few more people now sample the world of Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls and I can’t wait for the promised short film he mentions in the interview and the third book in the series. In the meantime, head over to the Yuki 7 website and find out what all the fuss is about.

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Online Writing

ReelScotland one of The List’s Best Scottish Websites

ReelScotland comes 10th in top Scottish websites list
ReelScotland comes 10th in top Scottish websites list

I received some fantastic news tonight via the medium of Twitter: my film website, ReelScotland, has been placed at number 10 in The List magazine’s round-up of Scotland’s Best Websites.

According to the magazine, “ReelScotland gives the kind of dedicated independent view on Scotland’s film and TV industry that was surprisingly lacking when the site launched last year”.

The idea for the site stretches back to the end of the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival, in the city’s Filmhouse bar, when various thoughts and theories about the state of film journalism in Scotland finally coalesced in my mind. Though there was a lot going on in the country in the area of film production and exhibition, it wasn’t easy to find information about it all in one place.

While I didn’t ever think I could cover everything, and I was already writing about film each week in the Edinburgh Evening News, I wanted to at least feature some of the lesser discussed areas, such as the work of new filmmakers, smaller festivals running in rural parts of the country and news about how Scotland’s talent is reaching out to the rest of the world. Most importantly, I didn’t want it to be parochial.

After a soft launch in March 2010, with some fine contributions from two other local film fans and writers, Ross Maclean and Richard Bodsworth, ReelScotland was born, with the intention of featuring some of the best film-related content in the country.

With plans for a redesign and some new features, plus an increase in the use of video and audio, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next 12 months.

Right, that’s enough self-congratulating for one night, now I’ve got to go and have a closer look at the other 29 on the list…