BROADWAY legend George M Cohan, as brought to celluloid life in Yankee Doodle Dandy, knew a thing or 200 about putting on a show.
As do Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter, curators of the Glasgow Film Festival (February 14-24), which this year has Jimmy Cagney, the screen version of Cohan, as the subject of its retrospective. With more than 270 films, from red-carpet galas of new releases to low-fi American indies via Scots classics, Brazilian trailblazers, and an interview with the First Minister, Scotland's most exciting film festival is top of the world, ma. Booking opens today.
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The hottest tickets for the biggest films, many screening here in advance of the rest of the UK. This year's curtain up gala is Populaire (February 14/15), a French romantic comedy set in the 1950s and starring Romain Duris. Closing gala Much Ado About Nothing (24), is Joss "Avengers Assemble" Whedon's stylish take on Shakespeare. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are among the stellar cast of Cloud Atlas (17/18), an adaptation of the David Mitchell best-seller. Steve Coogan plays Paul Raymond, "King of Soho", in the biopic The Look of Love (15/16). Scotland's James McAvoy is a detective with a mission in Welcome to the Punch (24), while Drive's Ryan Gosling continues his winning streak in the crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines (23/24). An unusual way to look after an aged parent is unveiled in the comedy drama Robot & Frank (24), starring Frank Langella. Richard Gere is initially on typically smooth form as a high flier heading for a fall in Arbitrage (18/19). Kristin Scott Thomas is at home in the sophisticated French drama, In the House, and the perennially cool Christopher Walken plucks the heartstrings as an ailing musician in A Late Quartet (22/23). Pan's Labyrinth creator Guillermo Del Toro, wearing his producer's hat, helps to chill the blood in the horror Mama (16), and plenty of shocks await in Stoker, with Nicole Kidman (16/17).
Teenager Eloise Laurence has a star-making debut in Broken (19/20), set to be one of the biggest British film hits of the year. Brian Cox stars in the crime thriller Blood (15/16), while the story of how The Undertones and other Northern Irish bands were born is revealed in Good Vibrations (18/19). Timothy Spall is a policeman on Harry Treadaway's case in the noirish Taking the Rise (21/22).
Scots on screen
Filmed in Glasgow, the chiller Citadel (16/17) finds a young father to be discovering that living in the city can be hard. Scott Graham chooses the Highlands for his debut feature, Shell (21/24). A certain man in the news is the subject of Kevin Cameron's Alasdair Gray – A Life in Progress (21). James Cosmo, star of works from Trainspotting to Game of Thrones, is in the chair for an unmissable In Conversation session (16). There's a film-themed treasure hunt around the city (23) and a walking tour (17/19).
Next year belongs to Brazil, with the World Cup being staged there. Two years later, the Olympics arrive. Make yourself sound knowledgeable about the country's cinema with a selection of films ranging from the adventure story Xingu (21/22), and a documentary examining the Cold War tussle over Brazil in The Day that Lasted 21 Years (20/21), to the comedy Prime Time Soap (17/18).
All angels with dirty faces not wishing to be public enemy No 1 with their friends should make a white-heat dash, clutching a fistful of roaring twenties, to the box office or on-line booking site now to see a selection of Cagney's greatest movies.
Alex Salmond is quizzed about his screen loves by comic book writer Mark Millar (19). How much fun does a Calamity Jane Barn Dance (17) at the Grand Ole Opry sound? The superlative thriller at sea Dead Calm (20/22), with Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill is showing at, where else, The Tall Ship. Jane Birkin sings live at The Arches after the premiere of the documentary Souvenirs of Serge (January 29). Your guess is as good as anyone's what the Surprise Film (20) will be. Get on board for a grand day out with the children as Disney's Peter Pan shows at the Tall Ship (23).
Another chance to see such classics as Jaws (21/22), showing at The Tall Ship; Sunset Boulevard (16); The Black Pirate, with Douglas Fairbanks Snr (24); and Michael Cimino's still controversial Heaven's Gate (17/18).
Eli Roth's post-earthquake horror Aftershock has its premiere (23). Barry Levinson (Wag the Dog) unleashes deadly parasites on a Chesapeake Bay town in The Bay (23). Vampires are on the prowl in Neil Jordan's Byzantium (22), starring Gemma Arterton. Zombies, zombies are everywhere in Detention of the Dead (22), and a radio show host tunes into something she shouldn't in The Lords of Salem (22).
Ginger Baker, the drummer of Cream, is given the documentary treatment, complete with contributions from fellow band member Eric Clapton, in Beware of Mr Baker (22/24). Showing as part of the Eurovisions strand is Beyond the Hills (15/17), a Romanian drama from Cannes winner Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 days). Inmates of a maximum security prison put on a performance of Julius Caesar in the Golden Bear winning Caesar Must Die (15/16). Viggo Mortensen is a man with a plan in the thriller Everybody Has a Plan (21/22). Not so amusing pirates are the villains in the Danish thriller, A Hijacking (20/21). If you liked REC you'll be delightfully chilled by what one of the directors did next in the thriller Sleep Tight (18/19). The sound of a glass ceiling being smashed can be heard in the drama Wadjda (17/18), a film set in Saudi Arabia directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour. Susanne Bier (After the Wedding, Brothers) displays her directorial elegance again in the sweet romantic comedy Love is All You Need (19/20), with Pierce Brosnan. Bop along to The Secret Disco Revolution (22/23), a documentary showing as part of the music and film festival strand.
Jack Black plays a funeral director with a difference in Richard Linklater's black comedy Bernie (15/16). Power corrupts in Compliance (17/18) when a fast food worker is accused of theft. Time-travel meets comedy horror in John Dies at the End (15), and read all about the gothic goings on in Southern thriller The Paperboy (17/18).
What's up docs?
Former leaders of Israel's secret service break cover in The Gatekeepers (17/18). The drugs business is dissected with satirical humour in How to Make Money Selling Drugs (18/19). Having put a fresh slant on chess champion Bobby Fischer, Liz Garbus reveals new sides to a screen icon in Love, Marilyn (15/16). If you think it's cold here in February, pay a visit to the Village at the End of the World (19/20) in Greenland.
Buy tickets from GFT box office, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, or by telephone from 0141 332 6535. Visit www.glasgowfilm.org/festival. Saver deals are available.