Tag Archives: Danny Boyle

T2 Trainspotting

29 Mar
Johnny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor reprise their roles as Sick Boy and Renton, both a little older but not much wiser

It’s been 21 years since Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor shocked audiences with that creepy dive into a fecal-fleeced toilet in Trainspotting, somehow making being a heroin addict a hilariously biting — albeit tragic — trip along the way. Part gonzo romp, part sad social satire, the stylish weave followed the vein-piercing antics of four Edinburgh junkies, slaves to skag and capable of doing anything to score their next fix — including ripping off their best mates. Not a great lot to throw in with, but a highly entertaining one as the fix-needing squabbles reached the near hyperbolic absurdity of the Three Stooges.

At the end of that 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s cult novel, one of the four is dead and another runs off with the group’s hard-earned drug money, which leave affairs in a difficult place to pick up, but Boyle and his screenwriter John Hodge, who adapted T1 and has collaborated with Boyle on several other projects, have a real feel for the lads and leverage Welsh’s 2002 follow up, Porno to give the middle-aged blokes a shot at redemption before heading off for the nursing home.

We first catch up with McGregor’s Renton (the guy who stole all the money and — as the film has it — ruined everyone else’s life) now living in the Netherlands and who appears to have made good on his promise at the end of Trainspotting to change, but a small cardiovascular event trips him up (literally) and sends him back to Scotland where he learns his mom has passed. A quick check in with old pal Spud (Ewen Bremner) finds unhappy times for the sweetly pathetic user who’s been unable to shake his monkey. The reunion is cemented by an uproarious eruption of vomit that becomes one of the film’s most lingering images the same way excrement took center stage the last time. Next up on the reunion tour is Sick Boy (Elementary‘s Johnny Lee Miller) who half wants revenge but also needs Renton to help launch a massage parlor that’ll offer happy endings to those in the know. Renton agrees partly out of remorse and old time’s sake but also because he’s drawn to Sick Boy’s girlfriend and house-madam-to-be, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova, who’s sultry, yet knowing presence lights up the screen). Continue reading

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Steve Jobs

16 Oct

Michael Fassbender stars as Steve Jobs in a scene from the film, "Steve Jobs." (Universal Pictures/AP)

Steve Jobs,” the new bio-pic about the iconic Apple entrepreneur, is a film in love with men (a man) who possess prescient clarity.

To underscore that notion, the film opens with a clip of Arthur C. Clarke back in the ‘70s, extolling the virtues of the computer and how it will change the lives of humans one day. H.G. Wells scored some great future picks too, but both those men were primarily writers, neither of them produced or pushed product, something, that the film, helmed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin, asserts Jobs did with unbridled ardor and rabid commitment.

Clearly Boyle and Sorkin have swallowed the “visionary” pill and are all in. It’s easy to get that too as they’re working with Walter Isaacson’s biography, which Jobs had a hand in before his death. As the film suggests, the digital maestro, currently in everyone’s pocket, was also a master strategist laying the roots of his stratagem and giving them years to germinate before reaping the rewards. As a result, one can’t walk away from “Steve Jobs” without a sense that maybe Jobs saw this coming, his own hagiography, and planted the seeds to brand his legacy and ensure the enduring future of Apple and all things preceded with a lowercase “i”.

Michael Fassbender appears in a scene from, "Steve Jobs." (Francois Duhamel for Universal Pictures/AP)

The film’s told uniquely in three chapters, each taking place in the moments leading up to a product launch (staged demos in velvet adorned opera houses) that Jobs, a fan of simple design and closed systems so hackers and hobbyists can’t muck with his perfection, proclaims will change the computing industry.

We launch back in 1984 with the unveiling of the Mac, but Jobs (played by Michael Fassbender) is in a mad arrogant snit because the machine crashes when it tries to say “Hello” and the fire department won’t allow him to shut off the exit signs to gain total darkness for the overall wowing effect. In the first five minutes, as Jobs runs through a gambit of nail-in-the-coffin problems, much akin to Michael Keaton’s stressed thespian in “Birdman,” but a far different bird, one drinks in an effortless multitasker, a brilliant human able to pull from both the left and right lobes, and an intolerable a—hole with small glimmers of compassion within. In all three product launches, he’s tended to by his loyal head of marketing, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet bringing great nuance to a woman clearly in a thankless role and radiating with a deep care for her beloved tormentor) who’s the only one who able to push back and still have a job. Continue reading