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‘Trainspotting 2’ Reunites Ewan McGregor With Original Cast

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Trainspotting MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s hard to forget such an iconic film as Trainspotting that set a distinct tone for British pictures of the 1990’s. During an era where Pulp Fiction captivated the decade with Quentin Tarantino, director Danny Boyle certainly stood out as a top director to watch with this being his earliest masterpiece.

Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, it’s a milestone of filmmaking on the subject of heroin junkies and the UK punk aspect. The freaky scene of a dead baby crawling around a ceiling in a hallucinatory vision is still hauntingly etched in my mind.

Trainspotting Baby MovieSpoon.com

Yep, not a great mental image.

Since Trainspotting, Boyle has become a notable director with a packed filmography. He dabbled in science fiction with the cult classic Sunshine, received an Oscar win for directing Slumdog Millionaire and most recently did an exceptional job directing Steve Jobs.

Now he is returning to his big hit that put him on the map. Though it may not carry the rather blunt title of Irvine Welsh’s sequel novel, Porno, the original cast is returning for this production. Considering it’s been twenty years since Trainspotting was released, the actors certainly have aged quite a bit.

In fact, Boyle is counting on them appearing much older to continue the story. But what have these actors been up to this whole time? Take a look back at the legacy of Trainspotting’s cast.

Ewan McGregor

The young protagonist of Trainspotting was just starting out in the 1990’s with notable romantic roles in A Life Less Ordinary and Emma. But he’s perhaps better known by most movie-goers as the young Obi Wan Kenobi of the Star Wars prequels (1999-2005). Since then, McGregor has had a steady career of consistent roles in everything from action (Black Hawk Down) to musicals (Moulin Rouge) to animation (Robots). He’s also been very active on the theatre scene, starring in productions of Guys and Dolls and Othello. He was last seen in this year’s Jane Got a Gun and is also slated to appear in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast.

Ewen Bremner

Trainspotting Ewen Bremner MovieSpoon.com

Ewen Bremner fights in the Ridley Scott film ‘Black Hawk Down.’

Bremner has had a decent amount of work as a supporting actor in such blockbusters as Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor, both of which he starred alongside Ewan McGregor. Most of his work has been in television appearing as King James in Elizabeth I and Harold from The Lost Room. He is currently set to appear in 2017’s Wonder Woman.

Jonny Lee Miller

Jonny Lee Miller Elementary Trainspotting MovieSpoon.com

It’s ‘elementary,’ of course. Miller stars as the famed Sherlock Holmes.

Miller already had a bit of a name for himself before when Trainspotting with 1995’s Hackers. Suggested for his role in Trainspotting by McGregor, Jonny’s Scottish accent was so convincing that it led to many believing he was in fact Scottish. His presence wasn’t that large on the movie scene, though he was at one point considered for the role of James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. He has, however, kept very busy with TV roles. Miller guest-starred on many British programs before finally landing his most notable role as Sherlock Holmes on Elementary.

Robert Carlyle

Carlyle may not have as full of a filmography as McGregor, but he has certainly stood out as recognizable talent in the years since Trainspotting. He won multiple awards for his role in 1997’s The Full Monty. He had the chance to play a James Bond villain in 1999’s The World is Not Enough. But fans of TV’s Once Upon a Time will know him best as the sinister Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, cackling and plotting against storybook characters. Stargate fans will also recognize him as the lead on the short-lived Stargate Universe. His latest role was the titular lead in 2015’s The Legend of Barney Thomson, a dark comedy that he additionally directed.

Kevin McKidd

Trainspotting Kevin McKidd Rome MovieSpoon.com

McKidd plays a stalwart Roman soldier in the scandalous ‘Rome.’

McKidd certainly has had some rather interesting roles since Trainspotting. His presence in TV certainly took off, appearing as Father Deegan on Father Ted and Lucius Vorenus on Rome. Gamers will most likely know him better as the voice of John MacTavish from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game franchise. Kids may recognize him in the role of Poseidon from Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. He has additionally done voice work for the animated movie Brave as Lord MacGuffin and the more adult animated video Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox as Thomas Wayne.

As you can see, most of the cast has risen in their talents so that a Trainspotting sequel is sure to have more marquee value than its predecessor. There’s already a lot of enthusiasm from Boyle, the cast and even the original author. In particular, Robert Carlyle noted that the script he read was quite emotional. If the positive energy generated by all involved is anything to go by, we could be looking at a daring return to form for the already legendary director.

Trainspotting 2 is set to film sometime this year with a tentative release date of 2017.

[author title=”About The Author” image=”http://popstermedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mark_mcpherson-300×221-150×150.jpg”]Movie nut Mark McPherson has been all about movies since working at a video store in his youth. His talents range from video editing to animation to web development, but movies have always been his passion to write about.[/author]


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Review: “First Moon” is an Emotional and Exciting Race to Space

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Damien Chazelle’s take on Neil Armstrong’s tough road to making it to the moon may not be the most accurate but it is certainly entertaining. Similar to how he directed intense jazz players in Whiplash, he lets us feel everything in Neil’s missions, from the rickety and nightmarish howling of straining spacecraft to the deepest fears of death always one error away. While the accuracy and motivation are debatable, there’s no denying that Chazelle locks us in as tight as Armstrong was to that rocket and never lets us go.

Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong as a pilot of few words, so focused on the next mission he pushes aside the death of his young daughter to get back to work. He doesn’t let it affect him but Chazelle’s direction suggests it does in a pocket of his mind. To keep his mind off such a traumatic event for his family, he pursues and is accepted into the Gemini program for the ambitious mission of traveling to the moon. His tone doesn’t sit well with his wife Janet (Claire Foy). She’s willing to stick with him, raise his son, and have another child, but she can’t stand the toll. Her husband is so distant and plainspoken, hiding all emotion that it drives her nuts to see his comrades bite the dust in the dangerous testing leading up to the ultimate launch. There’s a good man in there but he’s committed when it comes to the business of reaching the stars.

Armstrong’s journey always keeps us in the cockpit where he is, witnessing with his limited scope of what the glass and gauges allow. It’s intense to listen to the alarms go off, the metal straining, and the static-laced radio voices calmly state firm instructions and warnings. Few times do we cut away from the chaos when things spin wildly out of control, sometimes literally when a test of docking procedures sends his craft hurtling through the darkness of space as the grinding speed never seems to stop. He faces many fearful challenges, including a test of the lunar lander that goes up in flames. Yet he shakes off the dirt and keeps going. One person heading the team asks if all this will be worth the cost. “It’s a little late to ask that question,” Armstrong responds.

The few times we do cut away from Armstrong focuses on his wife trying to keep it together, expertly played by Claire Foy. Janet strains and stresses, sure, but she realizes that if she doesn’t try to snap Neil out of his tunnel vision that she’ll lose him before she knows it. One of her best scenes features her finally confronting Neil before heading off to the grand launch, shouting at him to say something to his children instead of treating it like one long business trip. But as they sit the kids down and Neil tries to explain where he’s going, he treats it more like a press conference than a family meeting and Janet coldly realizes this is her husband.

Where the film unfortunately plateaus is in its finale of when Neil Armstrong and the cocky Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) finally make the landing on the moon surface. Chazelle keeps this section quiet and contemplative, letting the original transmission audio fill in some of the gaps. It’s perhaps too contemplative the way the imagery and soft soundtrack tries to bring Neil’s grips with death to a realization. It’s a scene that perhaps comes off melodramatic but Chazelle’s direction keeps us more in the moment than rolling our eyes at the emotional bells and whistles of a realized character. The exceptional cinematography becomes astounding to be lost within, from the great use of lighting and shadows everywhere from the cramped quarters of the capsule to the hallway of the Armstrong household.

First Man is definitely an intriguing and gorgeous film, one that should certainly be seen in IMAX for the full effect of its well-shot sequences, but it still feels lacking as Chazelle’s lesser film. This fault mostly lies in how Armstrong’s aim shuts out most of the other elements of the film, including his co-pilots who have arcs that peter out as the mission takes on greater importance. While the film succeeds at making us stare directly into Armstrong’s psyche, there are too many distractions that I sometimes wish the story veered off course from its obvious target.


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Review: David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” Revives The Fear and Terror

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After numerous sequels, remakes, reboots, and even a failed divergence of trying to weave the saga into an anthology, it is ultimately David Gordon Green’s take on Halloween that is the worthy successor. It may have taken forty years to find that perfect follow-up but, as we’ve seen from the likes of Blade Runner 2049 and Mad Max: Fury Road, several decades can make a world of difference for a sequel. And though we had to suffer through a long road to get here, we’ve finally arrived at the true Halloween film I’ve been pining for. And it feels so good to have a slasher picture so grim, beautiful, straightforward, and intense.

Despite being titled as Halloween, like another dreary retread, this new film acts as the true sequel forty years later, ignoring previous entries. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the role of Laurie Strode and she’s been waiting for her attacker Michael Myers, preparing for his return. He’s been locked up in solitary confinement for decades but Laurie is no fool when it comes to horror movie logic. She’s had plenty of prep time and nightmares that never cease to keep her pumped for Michael’s next rampage. And it’s coming up quickly when Michael is transferred to a high-security prison and makes his escape during transport.

It’s back to basics for the classic killer, slowly slipping back into his groove of intimidation and murder. He gets back his old attire by swiping a mechanic’s uniform to fit his massive frame and acquiring his old iconic Halloween mask that looks as though it hasn’t been washed since the 1970s. He’s a ways off from Laurie’s home but works his way over by attacking the neighborhood of Laurie’s family that includes her daughter Karen Strode (Judy Greer), her teenage granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), and Karen’s husband Ray (Toby Huss). Taking a stroll on Halloween night, he breaks into homes, finds some weapons, and begins his night of many stabbings with his following piano theme.

What makes this film so effective is that it never feels the need to delve deeper into Michael’s past, keeping his motivations a silent enigma hidden behind his mask and heavy breathing. There are many attempts to understand him, as with nosey podcasts journalists hoping to land a story and a curious psychologist who wants to know Michael’s secret of evil. Michael won’t spill the beans; he’d rather spill guts. Even Laurie, with her rocky history of not being trusted by her family, obsessed with keeping her home safe, and driven mad by Michael’s existence, has a tone that feels more natural than expositional. She’ll never slow down to explain herself when it comes to the dangers of Michael or how her odd house of tricks functions for trapping the killer she knows will come. She, too, will be interviewed by the podcasters and she won’t give them much, as though her wish to survive the night and kill Michael won’t come true if you tell.

David Gordon Green’s direction is superbly on track for matching the style of the original. The atmosphere always carries a creepy and intimidating feel, that familiar and simple John Carpenter style score piercing the tension almost as sharply as Michael’s knife. Michael’s kills are kept clever, bloody, and chilling; sometimes he’ll go as simple as choking someone to death with his giant hands and sometimes he’ll bring his boot down to splatter brains into the pavement. For as elaborate as it seems, I dug how Laurie’s secluded home comes with a slasher security system, including multiple door locks, an underground bunker of supplies, and special locks she can use to secure rooms she’s already explored. It turns Laurie into more of the screaming warrior than the scream queen she was originally known for. And there’s something oh-so-satisfying about transforming her into the gritty grandma with an arsenal of guns.

I doubt most jaded modern horror audiences would be as spooked into terror at the almost quaint killing spree of Michael Myers with his classic tactics but Halloween keeps a focus by maintaining its style and tone with grace. It’s a brilliantly shot film, from the checkerboard floors of a mental institution to the darkly lit interiors of Laurie’s stronghold, including some subtle callbacks and an alternate take on familiar shots. It’s viciously violent, slowly establishing that nobody is safe from the massacre via Myers, including kids. There are even a few twists thrown in to keep the story more interesting. Ultimately, it’s a wickedly faithful throwback to what made Halloween so gripping and infatuating before the saga descended into Stonehenge mysticism, a reality show, and dreams of white horses.


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“First Man” Fumbles In Crowded Weekend, “Venom” Drops and Tops

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October is proving to be a crowded month for genre pictures and Oscar-worthy films. As such, it’s astounding that a superhero film has managed to set records for the month. Venom, Sony’s Marvel movie about the anti-hero, continues to be at #1 in its second weekend with a weekend gross of $35 million. This brings its domestic total to a towering $142.8 million, covering its $100 million budget. Once again, not far behind it is A Star is Born, the musical drama with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, ends up at #2 with a weekend gross of $28 million, the domestic total sitting at $94 million, still great for a $36 million budget.

There were a host of new releases this weekend but weren’t as successful as they trailed behind the top two. First Man, the Neil Armstrong movie starring Ryan Gosling, only made $16.5 million, a major disappointment for the $59 million film. Just beneath it was Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, a sequel to the 2015 family horror film based on the books by R.L. Stine, coming in close with $16.2 million. Further down was Bad Times At The El Royale, the all-star ensemble campy thriller, making $7.2 million. Expanding for the weekend was The Hate U Give, the racially charged drama, but the expansion to over 200 more theaters did little to push it up the chart, making $1.7 million.

Though Venom took the big dip for the weekend with a 55% drop, it still ended up being the biggest money-maker of the weekend. It’s no surprise that the other big drop was for The House With A Clock In Its Walls falling 45% because there’s not exactly enough room for two Jack Black scary family comedies. Both Smallfoot, the animated comedy with the voice of Channing Tatum, and Night School, the education comedy starring Kevin Hart, each had only 35% drops. But it was ultimately the comedy A Simple Favor that took the biggest hit of dropping 59% to #10 in the box office.

View the full top 10 of the weekend box office below:
Venom ($35,700,000)
A Star Is Born ($28,000,000)
First Man ($16,500,000)
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween ($16,225,000)
Smallfoot ($9,300,000)
Night School ($8,035,000)
Bad Times At The El Royale ($7,225,000)
The House With A Clock In Its Walls ($3,975,000)
The Hate U Give ($1,765,000)
A Simple Favor ($1,380,000)

Next weekend will be far less crowded with a heavy-hitter horror film aiming for the top spot. While The Hate U Give will be expanding even more into 2,300 theaters, the new Halloween, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, will be hitting 3,700 theaters, presenting the biggest threat to Venom’s quickly draining box office.


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