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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STAR TREK
HHHH
DIRECTED BY JJ Abrams
STARRING Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg
OPENS MAY 8, CERT 12A, 126 MINS
Rebooted with energy and wit, Star Trek has pulled off another generational shift. JJ Abrams may have invited flak from fans by claiming he wasn’t a big admirer of the science-fiction giant’s 43-year past (ten films, six separate series), but he’s ensured its future will now extend well into the 21st century. The new model is a sleek machine, marrying just the right degrees of cheeky irreverence, fresh ideas and awareness of when not to mess with a proud heritage. In short, it’ll please everyone, while never being as bland as that might sound.


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As Bob Dylan, garbed in another of the natty Pimp-My-Confederate-General ensembles that have served as his working clothes these past few years, steps onto the stage of the Playhouse on Sunday into a jolting “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”, there is the small matter of him having just this afternoon officially clocked up his first Number One album in the UK for almost 40 years with Together Through Life.


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In an era where science fiction movies are, perhaps aptly, about pushing forward the boundaries of digital technology, it’s refreshing to find a movie like Moon, which seemingly makes a virtue of its analog approach to film making. This is, I think, the first film to rely almost completely on model work, as opposed to CGI, since Blade Runner in 1982. In fact, on almost every level, Moon is retrofitted sci-fi, most conspicuously indebted to movies like Silent Running, Solaris, 2001 and Alien. It’s almost as if Star Wars never happened.


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The Father, The Sun And The Holy Ghost… An interview with Hiss Golden Messenger


One bright Sunday morning, MC Taylor is driving through his patch of North Carolina, past New Hope Creek and the Eno River, over the Chatham County Line and the James Taylor Bridge in Chapel Hill, near the Haw River and the valley that he has meditated upon in song these past few years. Through...