The last time we saw Paul McCartney on stage at Hyde Park was a year and a day ago. Then, he joined Neil Young for a coruscating version of “A Day In The Life”, sharing vocals with Neil and helping coax waves of feedback from Old Black. It was a major highlight during a tremendous run of shows last summer at Hyde Park that also included Bruce Springsteen and Blur.


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In one of those funny little coincidences that come along every now and then, I’ve just finished reading the film pages in the next issue. Among them is a very fine review of Francis Ford Coppola’s latest, Tetro. And now, I’ve just watched the trailer for Somewhere, the forthcoming film from Sofia Coppola.


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As part of our Great Lost Films feature in the current issue of UNCUT, I wrote a piece on the making of The Last Movie, Dennis Hopper's follow-up to Easy Rider. One of the people I spoke to was The Last Movie's screenwriter Stewart Stern. At one point during our interview, Stern mused dryly: "It was never quiet around Dennis."

Certainly, Dennis Hopper - who died today aged 74 – was too tempestuous a personality ever to be considered quiet, even by Hollywood's colourful standards.


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Many years back -- the last century, in fact -- when we were putting UNCUT together, Allan and I drew up a list of canonical film makers whose work would become central to the magazine’s editorial remit. Our A list included Scorsese, Tarantino, Peckinpah, Coppola, Stone, Hill, Hawks, Ford, Eastwood, and so on.

In the intervening years, the list has pretty much stayed the same. With, arguably, one exception: Francis Ford Coppola.


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Thinking back to Brass Eye’s 2001 “paedophile special”, and in particular the furore it caused among certain sections of the media, it’s easy to see how misunderstood Chris Morris often is. Typically outraged, the Daily Mail described the episode as “a spoof documentary on paedophilia.” Which is missing the point. The programme was a savage attack on the media's own thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction to a serious issue. It clearly didn’t stop, though, large sections of the press demonstrating their own thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction to the show.

It seems likely, I’m afraid, that those same sections of the media will be up in arms about Four Lions, Morris’ directorial debut, a “jihadist comedy”, no less, focussing on four wannabe suicide bombers in Sheffield. Which is a pity, as Four Lions is an extremely good film; far more than **just** a comedy about suicide bombers.


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At the time of writing, the Oscars are three days away, and some folks, it seems, are getting jittery. Avatar, James Cameron’s lumbering 3D epic – seen by many as a shoe-in at Sunday’s ceremony – doesn’t appear quite the sure bet it was a few weeks ago. The reason? The significant head of steam built up by Kathryn Bigelow’s bomb disposal drama, The Hurt Locker.


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This year’s Academy Award nominations have just been announced. No great surprises, I see – plenty for The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air and **whisper it** Avatar in the big categories. But it’s certainly grand to see the likes of Kathryn Bigelow, Jeremy Renner, Jeff Bridges, Michael Haneke and Jacques Audiard in there, at any rate. Anyway, here’s what’s what in the key categories, with my take on the nominations, for what it’s worth.


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Sad news reaches us of the passing of Edward Woodward, who died today aged 79.


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It perhaps says much about John Lennon – the callow 16-year old version, that is – that he’s really only a supporting character in his own biopic. This Lennon has yet to develop into the sardonic, quick-witted Beatle we know from interviews and newsreel footage. He’s not even quite the Lennon we saw in Ian Softley’s Backbeat, despite the events of that film taking place soon after Nowhere Boy finishes.


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This year's London Film Festival kicks off next Wednesday (October 14) for 2 weeks. As usual, there's a ton of UNCUT friendly films screening, plus a particularly strong selection of music documentaries. So, for those of you umming and ahhing about what you might go and see, let us make some suggestions...


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Editor's Letter

"Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye": Cosimo Matassa 1926-2014


Among my post last week, I received a nice care package from Ace Records that included one quite weird Duke Ellington album ("My People"); Volume 3 of their "Where Country Meets Soul" series (I cannot recommend Ralph ''Soul'' Jackson's version of ''Jambalaya'' highly enough); and, maybe best of...