Trainspotting (1996)

trainDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan

 

Plot: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drugs Mess Up Lives

 

Story: Trainspotting starts as meet Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict living in Scotland that enjoys the fact that whenever he is high nothing in the world matters. Renton has Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller) who join him in the drugs but Tommy (McKidd) and Begbie (Carlyle) along with family telling him he is wasting his life.

Deciding he wants to pack in the drugs Renton goes on his own mission to kick the habit joined by the Sick Boy who can kick it whenever he wants. We see how Renton goes back and forth with his decision to quit as we see how his friend’s fall deeper or even look at new options.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting

 

StoryThe story of one man’s look for the answers to whether he should quit heroin or not is fascinating because it is how he see what happens in his friend’s lives which can help him make the decision which can save his life. We get some truly shocking glimpses into just how far an addict will go for their next score. We do get the full look at how far the journey is for Renton which will always get compared to Requiem for a Dream for subject matter even though this did come first.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all played to what could be called the extremes, we have Renton who is the addict trying to get over his own problems struggling along the way, but it is the fellow characters have their own vices be it the drugs, drink or violence which all gets show through the film. When you look at the performances this is a full cast of impressive performance from start to finish.

SettingsWe have most of the film set in Scotland where we get to see the what can only be described as the poor side of the country and just how they would search for an out of their life.

Final ThoughtsAs I am not the biggest fan of drug related movies I have been avoiding this one for years but with the sequel out this year I went with it. I found it to be everything I thought so I did enjoy the storytelling process and the performances but my personal preference will always lay with Requiem for a Dream.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at how drugs can affect life of one person and the people in it.

Ratingcard

 

 

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Shallow Grave (1994)

shallowDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay)

Starring: Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Ken Scott, Keith Allen, Colin McCredie, Victoria Mairn

 

Plot: Three friends discover their new flatmate dead but loaded with cash.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgotten Classic

 

Story: Shallow Grave starts when Juliet (Fox), David (Eccleston) and Alex (McGregor) are searching for a new flat mate in the centre of London, the friends have fun while interviewing potential candidates until Hugo (Allen) walks into their lives.

When the friends don’t see Hugo after he moves in they enter his room to find him dead but they also find a large suitcase of money. The friends decide to dispose of the body and keep the money for themselves but this only leads them to learn the true characters coming forward as they also find themselves being hunted down by the people the money actually belong too.

Shallow Grave is a character driven thriller that shows how all friendships could be pushed to the limits when it comes to money. This films shows us just how things can go even if it was just slightly too far to the extremes. I think the tension building through the film shows how the story continues to grow and you simple just don’t know where things will end up going. The negatives would be that we just don’t get enough time to learn where the money really came from or what happened to Hugo.

 

Actor Review

 

Kerry Fox: Juliet is the doctor of the friends who welcomes Hugo into the house and using her skills when it comes to how they can dispose of the body. She is a free spirit not involved with either of the two guys. Kerry is good in this leading role playing both sides of the situation well.

Christopher Eccleston: David comes off as the slightly stuck up while working in a tax office we get to see how his life is run by routine. When he wants to say no to the money he gets pulled around only to find himself having to do the dirty work which makes him more dangerous than the other two thought. Christopher shines as the guy you just don’t know about throughout the film.

Ewan McGregor: Alex seems to be the loud mouth flaky character of the three who always seem to just get by. He will also get the others in trouble but will stand with them to clean up the mess. Ewan is good and shows how he can play the both sides of the story well.

Support Cast: Shallow Grave has a supporting cast which all help with the final story but in the end we are only really follow the main three characters.

Director Review: Danny BoyleDanny shows us just how capable of a director in this is debut in a feature film where he balances the three characters throughout the film.

 

Crime: Shallow Grave gives us the cover up of a crime which only leads to more as the battle between the friends continues.

Thriller: Shallow Grave does keep us on edge through the whole film as we wonder just what will be happening next.

Settings: Shallow Grave has most of the pivotal scenes within the flat showing just how all the characters will be tested through the film.
Special Effects
: Shallow Grave has simple effects when needed but doesn’t turn to them for the sake of it.

Suggestion: Shallow Grave is one I do think people should be watching just to see where Boyle and the stars have come from. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances.

Worst Part: We don’t learn enough about where the money really came from.

 

Believability: The breakdown of the friendship could be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: The award winning thriller that’ll bury you with laughs.

Trivia: Danny Boyle has stated that of the films he has directed, this is his father’s favorite, and that whenever a new film directed by Boyle junior is released (including Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which won the academy award both for best film and best director) and he asks Boyle senior’s opinion, his father’s review is always the same – “It was good, but not as good as ‘Shallow Grave’.”

 

Overall: A true classic with all the tension you could desire from Danny Boyle.

Ratingcard

 

 

Steve Jobs (2015)

jobsDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay) Walter Isaacson (Book)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Sarah Snook, John Ortiz

 

Plot: Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicentre. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Drama

 

Story: Steve Jobs starts as Jobs (Fassbender) is about to release the Mac in 1984 and we follow as along with his assistant Joanna (Winslet) are struggling to make the computer just say ‘Hello’ we also follow how Jobs deal with his ex Chrisann (Waterston) who is trying to get Jobs to accept his responsibility to his daughter Lisa.

We move to 1988 for the release of the ‘Black Cube’ under the company name ‘Next’ as all the former friends and co-workers have come to witness this new release. We get to see how his relationship with Wozniak (Rogen) and John Sculley (Daniels) change between the releases.

The final act is set in 1998 where the IMac is being released and how Jobs can finally give the world his perfect design.

Steve Jobs is a very interesting look at one of the most important men in technology history. We get to see how his attitude was what made him difficult to work with. We see how even after he failed he came back stronger even though he made enemies. My big issue with this is that if you don’t know anything about Steve Jobs and the people involved this feels very distant for the audience to relate to. If you didn’t know anything about Jobs you won’t learn that much about him because this is just his reaction towards his releases with the people who would be the closest to him.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Fassbender: Steve Jobs is the brain behind the Apple, we follow his life in three different times with three different releases that show his personal battles with people within the company and in his personal life with his estranged wife and daughter. Michael gives us a brilliant performance in this role through three different time periods.steve

Kate Winslet: Joanna Hoffman is the assistant to Jobs, she has been with him through all of the releases trying to keep him prepared for both success or failure but struggles to witness his behaviour towards his daughter. Kate gives us a great performance in this role working brilliantly with Fassbender.joanne

Seth Rogen: Steve Wozniak is the former partner of Jobs who started in a garage building the first computer, they have their differences through the years but Jobs does stay loyal to his old friend. Seth gives us a great supporting performance showing he can do the serious roles too.waz

Jeff Daniels: John Sculley is the marketing man who came into Apple from Pepsi who clashes with Jobs through the years, they both clash over how the world should work with Jobs wanting people to think and Sculley wanting to make money. Jeff gives us a great supporting role which is something you would always expect from him.daniels

Support Cast: Steve Jobs has a great supporting cast that all give us great performance with their interaction with Jobs.

Director Review: Danny BoyleDanny gives us a great film because of the subjects it was covering but unless you know the story it will fall short to the unknown person.

 

Biographical: Steve Jobs shows three big moments in the life of this brilliant minded man as we see how he real nature is portrayed.

Settings: Steve Jobs uses the settings which is mostly back stage areas before a big release.
Suggestion
: Steve Jobs is one to try, I do think it will be hard for some people to understand. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Fassbender is brilliant.

Worst Part: If you don’t know the Jobs story you will find yourself wondering what is happening.

 

Believability: Based on the real man and events leading up to the big releases.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 4 Golden Globes Including Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Original Score.

Oscar Chances: Will get a few nominations.

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

Tagline: Can a great man be a good man?

Overall: Great performances, great story but not understanding leaves us feeling empty.

Ratingcard

Trance (2013)

logoDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge (Screenplay) Joe Ahearne (Story)

Starring: James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson, Danny Sapani, Matt Cross

 

Plot: An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mind Bending Resolved

 

Story: Trance starts with Simon (McAvoy) at an art auction explaining about the improved protection of the art work during the auction. Simon explains the rules of what to do during the robbery only for a real one happen with Franck (Cassel) and his team. Simon ends up knocked out and the art work missing, Simon ends up with amnesia which leads to Franck and his crew to find Simon after he is released from hospital.

Franck and his team interrogate Simon trying to find the missing art work, but failing to get answers they said Simon to a hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Dawson) to try and find the memory locked in Simon’s head. It doesn’t take long for Elizabeth to prove herself and uncover what is really going on. Elizabeth, Simon and Franck team up to uncover the truth about the painting as we see Elizabeth try to learn about the whole team.

As the memories start getting deeper we see the mystery continue to grow and we are left wondering just who is working for who and what is really going on with the artwork.

Trance starts by taking us in one direction only to throw everything around during the story leaving us wondering what is or isn’t real. It does end up answering the questions I think and with the twists and turns it all gets resolved even if it confuses the hell out of you on its way. The story is smart, slick, sexy and stylish and grabs your full attention as it all unfolds. I do like the idea that is could be considered a revenge film even if it never gets sold as one too. I would say it is all nicely put together to surprise you but with so many you can get few up of finally understanding something before it all gets blown away again. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

James McAvoy: Simon an art auctioneer who in an attempt to stop a robbery gets knocked out gets amnesia. He is then forced to work with the robbers and a hypnotherapist to try and uncover the missing artwork but his personal gambling problems could be hiding the truth. James gives us a good performance and I think we get to see some range in his character. (7/10)

 simon

Vincent Cassel: Franck the art robber who along with his team wants to find the piece of art that Simon has hidden. Franck has to be patient as he knows that moving too fast won’t get him the artwork he wants. Vincent does a good job and we never know as the film unfolds if he is good or bad. (7/10)

franck

Rosario Dawson: Elizabeth a hypnotherapist who takes over Simon’s case trying to find the memories that are stuck in his head so the missing artwork can be found. Over time we get to see that she might have an alternative motive for her action. Rosario does a good job in this role as she also ends up being very brave with this choice with all the added nudity required. (7/10)

lizzy

Support Cast: Trance has a supporting cast that is mainly the rest of the crew that are all there to try and push the mind set of Simon in a different direction.

 

Director Review: Danny Boyle – Danny does a good job giving us a mind bending crime caper that keeps you guessing throughout. (8/10)

 

Crime: Trance puts us in the middle of a robbery that is the centre of the whole film as we see if the missing artwork can be found. (8/10)

Mystery: Trance keeps you guessing from start to finish to what is actually going on. (10/10)

Thriller: Trance does make you want to see where the painting is or what is going on until the end. (8/10)

Settings: Trance keeps most of the settings a very simple apart from when Simon is under trance where we get very beautiful and colourful location. (8/10)

Suggestion: Trance is a film to give a try, it may not be for everyone because of the amount of twists in the story but in the end it works out nicely as a mind bending film. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Stylish idea.

Worst Part: Misleading from the start.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $24 Million

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

Overall: Trance is a film that will really keep you guessing but at least it explains everything by the end of the film.

Rating 75