I have to admit, rather pathetically, that my cumulative knowledge of claymation is limited to the exploits of Morph on Tony Hart’s TV shows and, of course, Wallace And Gromit. Profoundly ill-equipped as I am, I nonetheless caught up with Mary And Max this afternoon. I will report now that this is some clear distance away from the cosy world of Aardman. Oh, yep.


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As films go, it’s hard to ignore a movie where the top-line talent is Christopher Walken, William H Macy and Morgan Freeman – three actors, it hardly needs saying, who are pretty much UNCUT incarnate. It’s a shame, though, that this fortuitous convergence of talent isn’t given a better vehicle. That’s not say The Maiden Heist is a bad film – it certainly isn’t – but it perhaps lacks the oomph you’d think they’d merit.


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It says much, perhaps, about the enduring appeal of James M Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice that it’s been adapted three times already for cinema and, astonishingly, even once as an opera. This year, you can add two more adaptations - Vasilis Douvlis' The Homecoming and Jerichow, from writer-director Christian Petzold.


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I first met film maker Andrea Arnold at the Sundance festival in 2003, when she was premiering her short film, Wasp. An eventual Oscar winner, Wasp was a bleak but compelling slice of socio-realist cinema about a single mother trying to raise her kids on a claustrophobic London council estate. Arnold revisits, to some degree, the themes of Wasp for Fish Tank, her second full-length feature. Already highly praised in Cannes – it was one of only three British films in competition – it’s certainly the best film I’ve seen since arriving in Edinburgh.


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It’s been five years since director Shane Meadows and his long-term on screen collaborator Paddy Considine last worked together. That was for Dead Man’s Shoes, a violent revenge drama that took Considine’s natural, wired intensity and amped it up to an uncomfortable degree. Considine tends to specialise – for Meadows, at least – in charismatic, explosive figures and while his run of movies together with Meadows has proved thrilling and memorable, you might have cause to wonder where they could take their collaborations next.


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Quite where American indie cinema can go next, so thoroughly has it been co-opted by the mainstream, is a big question. Writer-director Lynn Shelton offers, at least, a moderately novel solution with Humpday. A bromedy about two friends who set out to make a gay porn movie, it feels at times like a mumblecore take on a Judd Adaptow movie. Although, of course, while Apatow’s films ultimately serve to reinforce the strengths of the masculine dynamic, Shelton seems to set out to dig around in the frailties of the male ego.


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For a film that opens with a woman walking through the snow, it’s perhaps apt that the subjects under scrutiny here are a collection of cold, rather wintry folks. The woman in question, Hannah (Sophie Rois), is a single mother living in a remote Alpine village, whose discover of the body of an elderly woman sets up the narrative of this excellent, slow-burning domestic drama.


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I'm up in Edinburgh, in case it needs some minor clarification, for this year's Film Festival. As usual, there's a satisfyingly wide array of movies to see, and I'll be blogging a couple of times a day between now and Tuesday to report back the highlights. Presently, I'm off to try and see Kathryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker, an Iraq War drama that's got many of my peers up here in quite a lather of excitement. Meantime, here's one of the best movies I've seen so far.


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Sad to report that David Carradine died yesterday. The star, of course, of Kung Fu, The Long Riders, Boxcar Bertha and Kill Bill, he was an old-school UNCUT hero.

As a tribute, here's some extracts from an interview Damien Love conducted with Carradine in December 2003, ahead of his appearance in Kill Bill Vol 2. It's great stuff - some yarns about teaching Dylan kung-fu, buying cars with Scorsese and an incident involving a dog and a very delicate body part...


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Yes, I know it's nice and sunny outside and you're probably thinking of a post-work pint. Meantime, I've briefly taken time out from putting together the next issue of UNCUT to scour the Internet for the best new trailers.

And here's 3 I thought might take your fancy.


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Editor's Letter

Steve Gunn, "Way Out Weather"/Nathan Bowles, "Nansemond"


How does a questing psychedelic guitarist transform themselves into a classic singer-songwriter? By compromising, in many cases. Steve Gunn, however, is managing the transition with uncanny elegance. Maybe you've already heard the latest album from this languidly prolific Brooklyn guitarist: it'...