Review: T2 Trainspotting

Director: Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs, 127 Hours, 28 Days Later, The Beach, Trainspotting)
Novel: Irvine Welsh
Screenplay: John Hodge
Producers: Bernard Bellew, Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, Andrew Macdonald
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Steven Robertson, Ewen Bremner, John Kazek, Shirley Henderson
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 117 min.



My original posting of this review can be found at Afro Film Viewer


The 90’s seem so very far away now. Talking to some people I know, it’s ancient history. Time makes fools of us all, and trying to explain dial up internet, Ibiza Uncovered and Gazza’s goal at Euro ’96 to younger generation millennials will no doubt leave some us feeling foolish. The same could almost be said for Trainspotting. When first released in 1996, the film was a cultural phenomenon. For us Brits, it was as iconic to the 90’s as Britpop and bleached blonde hair. If you didn’t know that Irvine Welsh’s series of vignettes was a novel, you certainly knew it was a movie. Shallow Grave (1994) introduced us to Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle, but it was Trainspotting that truly broke them out. From the thumping drum of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life which launches the film, it’s uniquely comic yet bleak portrayal of junk addiction, to the simple yet brash mugshot poster, everything about the film screamed iconic.

20 years after Boyle introduced us to “perfect day” overdoses on skag, we are reintroduced to Mark Renton and his so-called friends in a film which isn’t really aiming for the same never say die exuberance that infiltrated our hearts. Why would it? Danny Boyle, one Britain’s more idiosyncratic directorial exports, is quick to let us know that two decades have really slapped these guys in the face. So much so, that even the consideration of playing Lust of Life pains the listener. Of course, this is not about the loudness of the track, but more the memories it digs up. We re-encounter Renton hit with physical health problems, but, like all his mates, he is haunted by his moment of betrayal which in turn left his friends in the gutter.

Instead of revelling in golden-hued nostalgia, T2 works best when its characters are reminded that their past is rife with sin. Trainspotting was drenched in a youthful nihilism which motivated every character, T2 has Renton and co look deep within themselves with a deep sense of regret. The film’s poignancy lies within what the characters have thrown away in the last twenty years. There’s no doe eye back slapping at the heady days of their youth. These people hurt each other and it shows. We like to think that such deep old wounds will heal over fine. They don’t. There’s always scar tissue.
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Cinecast Episode 263 – A Little More NOS

You thought the comment section for our review of Pixar’s Brave was brash? Wait until Matt Gamble can actually use his voice. His attempts at putting Kurt into his place is always entertaining and Kurt goes for a Dude-ish zen approach to defend the latest Pixar from such quick dismissal. There is love for the rather unusual pairing of Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and after all the harping on Brave, 100% forgiveness for the silly fun that is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Throwing horses apparently goes further than Bear pratfalls.

Being the halfway point of 2012, we indulge in our need to put together five lists and the gang all throws out their ‘Best of 2012 – So Far’ choices. A quick watch list involves Frankenstein, The other September 11th, fast cars, Jordana Brewster and Louis C.K. It’s a packed episode, so give it a whirlybird on your electronical doodad!

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



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R3view: Brave

Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi
Brenda Chapman
Katherine Sarafian
Starring [voices]:
Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson
MPAA Rating:
Running time:
100 min

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it is too late.

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And the Crowd Goes “Whooah!” [Brave Trailer]

The right way to market a film in my opinion (or one of the right ways): release a small clip from the film rather than a hodge-podge of elements from the best parts of a movie. This way gets me far more interested in checking out the rest of the movie. And to be honest, that last twenty seconds or so is pretty much all it took. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ll pay to see any Pixar movie that comes down the pike anyway (yes, even after the semi-disaster that was Cars 2), but I have to admit I had some serious doubts about Brave. Not anymore. I’m in. See you there on June 22nd.


Trailer: Brave


Ymight have caught this in front of Cars 2, but Pixar finally put the trailer for their 2012 Animated film online in HD. That’d be the Scottish princess/archer adventure titled, simply, Brave. You can only hear Kevin McKidd on the voice over here, but it looks as though Pixar has grabbed a lot of the hard working Scot character actors for this one, even snapping up Craig Ferguson from Dream Works (he had a significant role in How To Train Your Dragon). Robbie Coltrane, Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, and Julie Walters round out the voice work in the film. If those first three names don’t get you excited, then, well, there is little help for you. This one, judging by the trailer, is going to be very earnest, and with no sign of Larry the Cable Guy. Whew.

The teaser is tucked under the seat.
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Cinecast Episode 184 – Death Lottery

The 4 hour barrier is broken as The Documentary Blog’s Jay Cheel joins Kurt and Andrew on the longest Cinecast ever – you know it is even longer than the previous epic length TIFF show. What do we talk about? For starters, Kurt & Jay examine the Let The Right One In remake, Let Me In (*SPOILERS*), in painstaking detail, and how not to process American remakes of foreign language films. Next we move along for a solid hour on Never Let Me Go (*SPOILERS*) which keeps going on the vibe of comparing source material to eventual film adaptation and why you probably should not do that. More Carey Mulligan talk as Andrew skims and sums up Wall Street 2 with out spoilers. Then, a spoiler-free discussion on Catfish follows, although only Jay caught it, so it is more of a discussion on fake/faux-Documentaries, and ‘narrative-ethics’ which leads to more more talk on I’m Still Here, with a little Last Exorcism and The Blair Witch Project to round things out. Next we move along to the avant garde and barely-narrative Cannes Palme D’Or winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and a lot of other films we watched: An overview of the “Middletown” documentary series, a bit of Daybreakers-Redux, a bit of Season 6 of “LOST” (you guessed it, with *SPOILERS*), and more avant garde cinema with Last Year At Marienbad. We also debate the finer points of Steve Buscemi and the cast and crew of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Finally (finally!) at around the 4 hour mark, our DVD picks round out a show that carried us well into the wee hours of the night recording. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed chatting. It may be long, but it is a solid and whip-smart show this time around, although we are biased on that front.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


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ALTERNATIVE (no music track):

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Boardwalk Empire Trailer. Who Needs the Theater? This is Gonna Be Radical!

Just as LOST goes off the air, a lot of people are “lost” wandering aimlessly through the channels wondering what to do now with their lives. That question, at least for me, was just answered when I caught the promo trailers for “Boardwalk Empire”, the next in line destined to be part of HBO legacy of quality television.

With this cast, crew and subject matter, it’s all I can do to restrain myself from calling the cable company to get HBO hooked up right this second.

If you paid attention throughout that promo, you might’ve noticed the ridiculously awesome cast. Besides Steve Buscemi (looking like possibly his best work since Reservoir Dogs) and the recently always great Michael Shannon (really, those two names are enough for me), there were splashes of Kelly Macdonald, Dabney Coleman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Gretchen Mol and Michal Pitt.

Then of course Scorsese’s name is tacked on there for some reason and the series creator, Timothy Van Patten is no slouch either. You might not recognize the name, but he’s directed a few episodes of “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Deadwood,” “Rome,” and “The Wire.” Basically this just looks amazing. WIth HBO backing it, I really don’t have much doubt in that assumption.

Under the seats is another promo with a little more detail as to the story of the series that begins this fall. Thanks to Switchblade Comb for the heads up on the new promo.

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Cinecast Episode 148 – Top 10 Actresses of 2009; Avatar

Episode 148:

Anticipated for many months now, James Cameron’s Avatar is finally upon us and all we can muster up is a lot of bitching. Maybe not fair to a guy we have grown up with and loved over the years or to a movie that is not based on a video game, remake or previous existing property, perhaps. The criticism is as valid as the heap of praise for the last monster-sized blockbuster of 2009. We switch gears from negative to positive rather abruptly with our top ten picks of best female performances in 2009 and even reminisce on some Mike Judge and other DVD releases this week. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below and by all means post your own top ten. We’d love to see it.
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Cinecast Episode 143 – An Education on Amputated Toes

Episode 143:
Welcome to another episode of the Cinecast. These Richard Kelly discussions are always fun to get into and we disagree vehemently on almost each one. Enter The Box into our lives. I chose to push the button, Kurt throws the damn thing out the window. It’s a good discussion. We also have sneak peeks of Fantastic Mr. Fox and An Education. We have weekly DVD picks and some of those good old-time conversational tangents as well. An “F” this week in the home-work assignment department as we forgot to dish one out – blasphemous after seeing An Education. Next week we will dive into the portal of time for Mayan scheduled disaster and cheese, we talk bit about Roland Emmerich and rationalizing anticipation for 2012.

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MSPIFF Review: The Merry Gentleman

The Merry Gentleman one sheet

Director: Michael Keaton
Writer: Ron Lazzeretti
Producer: Steven A. Jones
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Michael Keaton, Tom Bastounes, Debbi Burns, Bobby Cannavale
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 110 min.

Full disclosure: big Michael Keaton fan here; huge. From Mr. Mom to My Life to The Company to Jackie Brown, if having me in stitches is the goal, it is success constantly and consistently. If you just need a confident, cool (and believable) cop for your police procedural film you can look no further than Keaton. He can be the creepy guy as in Pacific Heights or take on the role of relentless villain in Desperate Measures. And to this day he’s stars in the one film that can still get me to lose some water weight through the eyes with a wonderful performance in My Life. I personally believe he should’ve been nominated for an Oscar at least twice and he’s been a staple of my film watching career since I was old enough to hold a remote control and flip to HBO. And now, to my great pleasure, he’s slipped behind the camera for his latest outing, The Merry Gentleman. So yeah, big time bias here.

The Merry Gentleman stars Kelly Macdonald as Kate; a woman escaping an abusive husband to a new city and hopefully a new life. As a rather attractive young woman she has no shortage of advances from men and understandably no shortage of paranoia and distrust either. Until through circumstances that unbeknownst to her are of her own doing, she is approached seemingly coincidentally by an older gentleman who seems to be rather good natured, but also very quiet and private. Little does Kate know that her new gentleman friend, though very gentle and quiet around her is actually a cold-blooded, professional hit man. After Kate makes a 911 call to police due to seeing something odd in her workplace, she is romantically pursued by the lead investigator, who of course gets very interested in her past and who her new, quiet friend is.
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