Monthly archives "January 2017"

T2 Trainspotting *****

Running time 117 mins Cert: 18

Synopsis: First there was an opportunity……then there was a betrayal. Twenty years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much remains the same. Mark Renton (McGregor) returns to the only place he can ever call home.They are waiting for him: Spud (Bremner), Sick Boy (Miller) Begbie Carlyle). Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.
Almost 21 years since the release of the original made such an impact, there some  fearful in-trepidation whether the cast and crew could pull off a worthy sequel. The answer is thankfully a big Yes.

Screenwriter John Hodge  and Director Danny Boyle have made a great decision not not make the second film more of the same, but make the sequel a contained story that reminisces the first film. The are new scenarios which have glimpses of the past within images or even just through the music.

The central theme is one of regret within the script which partially based on Irvine Welsh’s sequel ‘Porno’ and also has elements from the ‘Trainspotting’novel itself. Each character no better off since Renton left them with the money.

Sickboy has lost the lust of life and adventurous spirit he always had, becoming a bitter and cynical middle aged man. Renton has self loathing and even has a new version of the Choose Life speech which is more powerful this time around. While Spud is still a junkie, he has lost his family, his home and what was left of his self respect. While Begbie has been locked up for killing a man and has not changed at all in all those years.

The film has more drama, but still has comedic elements which mostly revolve around Spud and Begbie. But Sickboy and Renton do have the best scene in the film revolving around the year 1690, which is hilarious. While the plot of the friends helping to assist Sick Boy with his new business venture in a Sauna is not as developed as it could be.

All the main cast provide the same great performances. Other characters from the original including James Cosmo, Shirley Henderson and Kelly MacDonald also return, but have very limited screen time. While this may seem to be pointless and bring no benefit to the story, they do serve purpose within the narrative.

Danny Boyle yet again provides bold and energetic direction inspired by the auteur Nic Roeg, by using all sorts of camera tricks which merge this new film with scenes from the original.

Even the soundtrack mixes the old with the new. In the present the sounds include Mercury-winning Edinburgh alt hip-hop trio Young Fathers, Brixton  rockers Fat White Family, alternative indie Londoners Wolf Alice and the funny demented Irish rappers Rubberbandits. While classic songs are provided by Blondie, Queen and Run DMC. Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’ makes a welcome return in the form of a Prodigy remix and Underworld’s make an alternative version of their hit song with ‘Slow Slippy’.

Not quite as dark or as funny as the original, but as sequels go this a welcome success and almost as good as the first. A bit long and sentimental at times. Nevertheless it is funny and entertaining. 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Silence ****

Running time 161 mins Cert: 15

: The story of two Catholic missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Catholicism was outlawed and their presence forbidden.

Director Martin Scorsese returns with his passion project which completes his religious trilogy after making ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.

Based on the 1966 novel of the same name about Jesuit missionaries sent to 17th century Japan, where they endure persecution in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”) that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising of Catholic Christian peasants during the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule. 

The story was influenced by the Catholic Endō’s experience of religious discrimination in Japan.
The scope of the film is beautifully envisioned by Scorsese along with his production designer Dante Ferretti, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and editor Thelma Schoonmaker. All involved give the film a kind of Malick and Kurosawa influenced vision. Japan’s Edo period has been painstakingly recreated.

All performances are equally strong, although at times a bit distracting as the Priests give a not entirely convincing Portuguese accents There are some great supporting turns by Tsukamoto, Kubozuka aka the Inquisitor and Tadanobu Asano as the Interpreter. 

The pace is fairly slow & with a lengthy runtime may test the faith for any audience. But it must be said that it is worthwhile for ambitiousness and complexity of the piece, while not a film that could be revisited unlike Scorsese’s other masterpieces.
A beautiful piece of art crafted by a filmmaker like no other, however not as strong as his other works.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

The Good, the bad & the Ugly of 2016

The past year on the whole was an impressive year for films. Here is what we consider the best and the worst of 2016.

The Best:

1. Zootropolis: A fantastic, funny and beautifully realised animated masterpiece from Disney with a great moral message.

2. The Jungle Book: Who would have thought a remake of an animated classic would be as good as the original.

3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople: A hidden gem of a comedy from the person behind ‘Flight of the Concords’.

4. Spotlight: A shocking controversial true story made in the spirit of ‘All the Presidents Men’.

5. Arrival: Slow, but beautifully made Sci-Fi with great performances.

6. Room: Powerful drama on how a kidnapping affects a family.

7. Pete’s Dragon: Another remake which should have not worked, but this fun and less campy version of the classic original was a joy to watch.

8. Hell or High Water: Perfect Sense’s David MacKenzie directsthis humorous    modern day western with fantastic performances by all.

9. The Nice Guys: Shane Black’s 70’s set comedic action flick was under appreciated at the time of the release. But    is definitely worth a watch.

10. Moana: Disney Animation appears to be going through another Golden Age. This tropical adventure story from the directors of Aladdin is a funny and touching piece of entertainment.

The Worst

1. Batman vs Superman: A dull, overblown with bad CGI comic book movie. Believe it or not Affleck is the only one who rises above this mess.

2. Yoga Hosers: Not even Kevin Smith fans, could defend this terrible comedy which involves Nazi Sausages taking over the world.

3. Inferno: Yet another Dan Brown adaptation from Ron Howard and Tom Hanks and yet again another boring piece of cinema.

4. Warcraft: Duncan Jones followed his first 2 great films with a boring action flick filled with dodgy CGI in a genre that has never worked.

5. Independence Day: Resurgence: 20 years after the original, it was a sequel nobody wanted or needed.

6. Ice Age: Collision Course: A franchise running out of ideas, which should have been thawed out a long-time ago.

7. Nine Lives: Not as bad as critics made it out to be. Christopher Walken has a few funny moments. However a badly animated cat and underwritten sugary script, makes you wonder by all involved agreed to sign onto the project in the first place.

8. X-Men: Apocalypse: Another disappointing comic book flick, but this time with a weak villain and a drawn out storyline.

9. Ride Along 2: The first film was fun, but the sequel was overblown and loud, funnily enough not all due to Kevin Hart.

10. Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising: A rehash of the first film with more or less the same ideas from the original.