Film features

Rolling With The Punches: Ray Winstone
From Clash, April 2014.
“I think we’re the only animal on the planet that kills to store up food. Alright, a squirrel gathers nuts, but that’s hardly the same thing. But then we’re also the only animal that f*cks all the time when we don’t necessarily want to breed.”

Broken Celluloid Dreams: Cinema and The American Dream
From Clash, June 2014.
The aimless nature of ennui drifted through to the close of the decade. Now it wasn’t just the first jobbers struggling to define their existence. Office veterans were beating each other brainless just for kicks in Fight Club. When American Beauty’s Lester Burnham realised that the highlight of his day was a morning wank, it started a life-affirming chain of events that resulted in his neighbour blowing his brains out. What might’ve started as a healthy mind-set ended with no mind at all.

The Wounded Woe of Withnail and I
From Clashmusic.com, September 2014.
Alone with the wet wolves of London Zoo, his enormous potential is finally evident for all to see. And so Withnail departs to the tears-of-a-clown circus waltz of the closing theme. At best, his fate is uncertain; at worst, as per the original ending, Withnail exits in a self-shot pool of claret.

Going Solo: Cillian Murphy
The cover feature from Clash’s April 2012 film issue.
Sometimes when Murphy wants to focus on a particular idea, or if he’s struggling to recall a film or album title, he’ll crunch his eyes in fierce concentration. For those brief moments, he looks like he’s been transported to another headspace entirely. That’s exactly what happens here.

“Crusty old bastard” John Goodman
From Clash, December 2013.
“I was sitting around for a couple of months and the phone wasn’t ringing and it was very difficult because I thought I’d pretty much had it. I was trying to start to think of what I could do to create work for myself.”

The Dark Heart of Humanity: Werner Herzog
From Clash, April 2012.
“He says that his life is in order and he looks at the world differently. He sits back and looks at life. What all the birds are doing, what the ducks are doing and the hummingbirds? Pause. ‘Why are there so many of them?’ Cut: end of film.”

A Cuban Chronicle: 7 Days in Havana
From Clash’s 2012 film issue and the cover of a newspaper printed by Soda Pictures.
The road linking José Martí International Airport to central Havana is a shock for the senses. Relics from Detroit’s 1950s automobile industry drift by – Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Dodges – all modified to remain just about roadworthy with the use of spare parts taken from everything from Ladas to tanks. Billboards extol the virtues of the socialist ideal and celebrate the revolutionaries of the past. And then in the Plaza de la Revolución, the most surreal sight of all emerges as two tower-block high tributes to Che Guevera and Fidel Castro light up the night sky.

A Brief History of the Hoodie in British Film
From Grolsch Film Works / Grolsch Canvas.
In the summer of 2005, Britain found a new enemy when the Bluewater shopping centre banned the hooded top in a bid to banish anti-social behaviour. Soon enough the humble hoodie became symptomatic of everything that was wrong about the country: an unofficial uniform of the disruptive and disreputable.

In Conversation: Craig Roberts
From Clash, February 2016.
There’s a bonus feature on the DVD of Seth Rogen’s comedy Bad Neighbors which focuses on the myriad of humiliations meted out to Craig Roberts’s fetidly-named character Assjuice. In-between clips of Assjuice’s torment – eating dog food, waking up to surprise anus and the like – it cuts to Roberts as himself. “Another day,” he deadpans in his trademark sardonic fashion, “another dollar.”

In Conversation: Stacy Martin
From Clash, February 2016.
Faye’s nihilistic attitude reflects the experience of elements of today’s society: simply, if it’s impossible to progress, why care? That concept, together with the trend of prohibitively expensive apartments escalating in metropolises all over the globe, means that this cinematic version of High-Rise is perhaps even more relevant to today’s culture than it was back when Ballard put pen to paper.

In Conversation: Vicky McClure
From Clash, July 2016.
Although The Secret Agent is undeniably a period drama, it echoes Peaky Blinders’ ability to make yesteryear brim with intensity while also drawing parallels with the current day. Issues of terrorism are often presented as a binary war of good versus bad, but The Secret Agent demonstrates the deeper issues that inform such actions: the nuances of each individual’s motivation and some intense personal dilemmas.

Remembering David Bowie at the Glasgow Film Festival
From Clashmusic.com, February 2016.
Coming just weeks after his passing, this isn’t a wake but nor does it feel like a celebration: it’s a chance for fans to re-experience an artist at the height of his powers, and an early example of a legacy event that will surely be reprised with different projects all over the world for years to come.

Frank Talking: Domhnall Gleeson
From Clash, May 2014.
The concept of identity within music is wonderfully varied. Some artists are an enigmatic mesh of flamboyance and image in which the individual’s ‘real’ personality is masked under layers of symbolism. Others flourish by presenting themselves as little more than the duckin’ and divin’ geezer next door, even if the actual truth can be somewhat different.

Pulp Fiction: Through the Valley of Darkness
From Clash, December 2014.
It’s the box which best encapsulates the film’s anarchic balance of layered meaning and apparent triviality. Its contents can be whatever you want it to: it purely drives the plot forward. Even for low ranking gangsters Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) it doesn’t matter. Their free will is dictated by the demands of their boss Marsellus (Ving Rhames). Simply: get it, or get a cap in yo’ ass.

Double Take: Dostoevsky’s influence on the world of film
From Clash, April 2014.
One of the earliest descriptions of Raskolnikov – “exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair” – is effectively the prototype on which every Hollywood leading man pitched to an audience of teenagers is built upon; even more so if you add a smidgen of Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff to the mix.

Boyhood’s Daddy: Richard Linklater
From Clash, July 2014.
“I wanted it to feel like how you remember your life. A lot of the time you think, ‘Why do I remember that?’ It seems so insignificant. It’s funny what has shifted out, and what’s still there. And also, with those ‘big events’, you often feel like you’re playing a role or something, like it’s not even you, it’s you going through some obligatory thing that you have to do.”

Sense and Sexuality: Sophie Kennedy Clark
From Clash, February 2014.
“Being flung in to a situation where your mum calls you up and asks, ‘What have you done today?’ And you have to tell her in a round-about way that you have spent the afternoon pulling orgasm faces for a photographer isn’t a conversation that I’d like to repeat.”

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