Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting” and the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting,” the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers,” and “The Sense of an Ending” with Jim Broadbent.
Twenty-one years on from the full on frontal assault that was “Trainspotting,” the old gang is back together but the only things that truly binds them is a shared past. “You’re a tourist in your own youth,” says Sick Boy/Simon (Jonny Lee Miller).
At the center of it all is Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor). The last time we saw him he was a wastrel and double-crosser who cheated his friends out of £16,000 in a drug deal. After hightailing it to Amsterdam he’s now a fitness freak who spends more time running in a treadmill than running from the law.
His former friends, now all in their forties, are in various states of personal disrepair. “The wave of gentrification has yet to wash over us,” Simon quips.
Sick Boy/Simon is still a dodgy dude with a King Kong size Coke problem, who makes ends meet by blackmailing the wealthy customers of his prostitute business partner Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova).
Spud/Daniel (Ewen Bremner), still an impressive mash-up of ears, teeth and gangly limbs, is now a pathetic creature that chooses heroin addiction over a life with his wife Shirley Henderson) and child.
The fourth member of the group, Begbie (Robert Carlyle), he of the bad attitude and broken pint glasses to the face, is indisposed, locked up but with a way out and a gut full of hate for Renton.
Loosely based on author Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting” follow-up novel “Porno,” the new film from Danny Boyle, asks if it is ever possible to go home again—in this case Edinburgh—especially if home involves a dangerous psychopath with a grudge and an ex-BFF who wants revenge.
“T2 Trainspotting” does something quite remarkable. It places nostalgia in the rear view mirror while, at the same time, celebrating bygone days. To see Mark confront his past complete with the emotional attachments and entanglements that come along with it feels like a universal reckoning, a reminder that the world changes even if we don’t.
That’s the beating heart of the film, the rest is window dressing, It’s fun to hang out with these almost lovable villains for a couple more hours, to catch up on old times, immerse ourselves in their down-and-dirty lives and even get a new Choose Life riff but a heavy air of regret hangs over the proceedings. It reinforces the idea that we can’t relive the glory days no matter how hard we try. It’s a middle-age truism brought to vivid life by Boyle and cast.
In revisiting the past the director does, however, put an intimate spin on the story with clever visual integration of past memories—present day characters mournfully share the screen with their younger counterparts—and a melancholy sense that no matter how hard we try to move forward ultimately our lives are simply a continuation of everything that came before. As Renton says, “choose history repeating itself.” It’s not a thunderbolt revelation but revisiting these characters—particularly the tragicomic Spud—puts a face to those anchored in the nostalgia.
For fans of the original film “T2 Trainspotting” will be an enjoyable ride. It is as good a sequel to a classic film as you could hope for. It’s a shame the returning female characters played by Kelly MacDonald and Shirley Henderson are relegated to cameos and the original’s sense of infectious anarchy has been dulled somewhat but the film’s mix of redemption and regret are ample replacements.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with Andrew Carter to discuss the weekend’s big releases, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting” and the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.”
Richard’s CP24 reviews for Michael Fassbender as iCon Steve Jobs in the movie of the same name, Ellen Page and Julianne Moore as LGBT trailblazers in “Freeheld,” Deepa Mehta’s “Beeba Boys” and the Alison Brie rom com “Sleeping with Other People.”
Richard’s reviews Michael Fassbender as iCon Steve Jobs in the movie of the same name, Ellen Page and Julianne Moore as LGBT trailblazers in “Freeheld,” Deepa Mehta’s “Beeba Boys” and the Alison Brie rom com “Sleeping with Other People.”
“Steve Jobs” is a portrait of a person who sought perfection in his work but admits that personally he is “poorly made.”
The film, directed by Danny Boyle, isn’t a biopic but rather an impressionistic look at a man told through three vignettes pulled from crucial moments in his career. The vast bulk of the movie takes place backstage at the launches of the Macintosh in 1984, the Nextcube in 1988 and the iMac in 1998. It’s a three act play populated with characters from Jobs’s life, like his daughter Lisa, her mother (Katherine Waterston), the visionaries’ “work wife,” marketing chief Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), Apple CEO John Scully (Jeff Daniels) and computer geeks Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogan) and Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg).
What follows is a flurry of words and ideas from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that don’t act as a traditional biography but as a tool to peel away the layers of the man’s personality to provide a an intimate glimpse into his psyche. Jobs’s life has been the subject of features, documentaries, books and much speculation but the new film is the first attempt to truly turn the camera on the man and really see what was going on behind his steely gaze.
Michael Fassbender is on screen virtually every second of the film, anchoring the action by allowing Sorkin’s crackerjack script to take center stage. This is a movie whose special effects are the performances and the actor’s facility with the dialogue. Fassbender spits out vast blocks of words, nailing the cadence of Sorkin’s voice, milking every line for maximum effect. As nimble as that performance is Jeff Daniels appears to have been born to speak Sorkin’s rat-a-tat dialogue.
Sorkin, who after pending “The Social Network” has cornered the market on writing vivid portraits of troubled computer nerds, is the real star here. His script is kinetic, complicated, unrelenting and yet accessible. Whether it’s historically accurate may be up for debate, but this isn’t a documentary, it’s a sketch of a man that’s not concerned with the details–iPods and iPhones don’t even rate a mention–and certainly doesn’t play as an ad for Apple. Instead it Steve Jobs as an almost Shakespearean character, a man with a vision but who remained a “closed system” even for those who knew him best.
Steve Jobs changed the world. His unrelenting perfectionism changed the way we communicate with one another but Sorkin and Boyle were astute enough not to try and reinvent the biopic. This is a bold film that thinks differently about its subject, but at it’s heart it is about a typical movie subject. Think Charles Foster Kane, a person who wasn’t a nice man, but was a great man.
28 Days Later begins with a great horror movie premise. A group of British activists free infected animals from their cages, unleashing a deadly “rage” virus on the human population. Twenty-eight days after the virus took hold of the city, a bicycle courier named Jim awakens from a coma, unaware of the devastation. In one of the year’s best cinematic sequences, horror or otherwise, Jim leaves the hospital to find a deserted London. Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) infuses the shots of the empty streets with a sense of dread. As Jim wanders through the vacant Piccadilly Circus the feeling of foreboding grows as he realizes that something catastrophic has happened here. And that’s just the first ten minutes. (The scenes of London’s deserted streets were shot just after dawn on weekdays. Because of the traffic, they could only shoot for a couple of minutes each day. Crewmembers frequently had to stop and ask clubbers not to walk into shots.)
Boyle deftly juggles two distinct ideas in 28 Days Later. It is a full blown Halloween flick, complete with drooling angry zombies, (although hard-core gore fans will be disappointed, most of the horror here is psychological) but at its core it is also a compelling study of human nature and the will to survive. Each character is fully rounded, and none are superfluous in this tough drama.
Selena (Naomie Harris), for example, isn’t a damsel in distress, nor is she simply a hard-nosed zombie killer. She is a layered character, a normal person who is placed in an unimaginable circumstance and is dealing with it on an instinctual level. She isn’t a killer, but she’ll kill to survive. “Staying alive is as good as it gets,” she says grimly.
Boyle (and screenwriter Alex Garland) give a wide berth to the stereotypical character traits found in horror movies – the screaming girlfriend, the witless teen, the gung-ho monster slayer – and instead concentrate on developing believable characters and situations in an unbelievable scenario.
In addition to believable characters 28 Days Later also re-invents the cinematic zombie. Gone are the lumbering, “We’re coming to get you,” living dead from years past. Boyle’s ghouls move with frightening speed, hissing at the scent of human flesh, and attacking at random. These are the zombies that nightmares are made of.
Shooting on digital video this time out, Boyle has left behind the visual showiness of Trainspotting and the austere picture-postcard look of The Beach, trading those in for a grainy, almost documentary feel. The jagged feel of the video gives the movie a sense of urgency and energy which seems appropriate for the subject matter. Unlike Soderbergh’s Full Frontal this material actually benefits from the use of video.
28 Days Later runs out of steam as the third act winds down, but up until its closing minutes it is as good as speculative fiction gets.
At a time when many directors are leaving Bollywood for less exotic locations, Irish director Danny Boyle, following in the footsteps of Wes “Darjeeling Limited” Anderson, set his latest film in the New York of India, Mumbai, the most populous city in the world. Taking the lead from its setting Slumdog Millionaire is a chaotic movie; part nightmare, part fairy tale.
When we first meet Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), he’s an eighteen-year old orphan at a crossroad. As a contestant on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? he is just one question away from winning it all—20 million rupees, but as the show breaks for the night he is arrested for cheating. After a brutal night of questioning he begins to tell his story in an attempt prove his innocence. Told primarily in flashbacks Jamal recounts a troubled life in the slums of Mumbai with a violent brother and a mother killed when he was just a child. The only ray of hope in his life was Latika (Freida Pinto), an orphan girl who enters and exits his life. Each story reveals the life experience that taught him the answers to the game show’s questions; all set against the vibrant backdrop that is India.
Slumdog Millionaire is a wild ride from Boyle’s hyper visual style, to the pulsating musical score, to the elements of the story that binds together Romeo and Juliet, Bollywood gangster pictures, the Usual Suspects and an occasionally tender coming-of-age story. Boyle pulls out all the stops, leaving the quiet, austere feeling of his last film, Sunshine behind for a frenetic pace that assaults the senses—in a good way. Like the slum lifestyle he portrays the film is relentless, a barrage of images, music and sound. His characters are constantly on the run, and the movie is just as restless as they are but luckily for us Boyle keeps the story on track pushing it forward with every frame.
Boyle is a chameleon of a filmmaker, switching styles with every film, but he is a master of telling realistic stories with complicated parallel character threads. From the edgy Trainspotting to the heartwarming Millions to the intense 28 Days Later his films are immersive experiences that use images and music to maximum effect. Slumdog Millionaire is his most complex movie yet encompassing everything from romance to action, comedy to anguish, treachery, greed and yes, even a musical number (stay through the credits!). Exhilarating filmmaking and one of the year’s best.