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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]


Box Office

“Glass” Glows Amid Dim Weekend

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The weekend of the Super Bowl found the box office low about as expected with not a single film making over $10 million for the weekend. As such, there were very few surprises with which films ended up where. Just as with last week, Glass is at #1 for its third weekend, coming in with $9.5 million, shaping up to be another financially successful film from M. Night, though it’ll start dropping as we head into February. Just behind it is the dramedy The Upside, pulling up close with $8.8 million as it expanded into a few more theaters for the weekend.

The premiere for the weekend, Miss Bala, a cartel thriller, only debuted at #3 with a box office debut of $6.7 million. Not a very strong opening but it did manage to get just above the December box office hang-on superhero movies of Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, still in the top 5. Green Book, coming up on awards season, soared higher in the box office upon expansion and The Kid Who Would Be King, unfortunately, won’t be seeing much of an audience going into February.

Debuting in a very limited engagement is Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, a WWI documentary with restored footage. The film had originally opened the last week of December in a handful of theaters but thankfully expanded into more theaters where it was strong enough to make it to #10.

Glass ($9,535,000)
The Upside ($8,850,000)
Miss Bala ($6,700,000)
Aquaman ($4,785,000)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ($4,410,000)
Green Book ($4,317,000)
The Kid Who Would Be King ($4,200,000)
A Dog’s Way Home ($3,510,000)
Escape Room ($2,900,000)
They Shall Not Grow Old ($2,405,000)

Next weekend is all about the LEGO. LEGO Movie 2, the animated sequel, will be hitting over 4,000 theaters. Also opening will be the thriller Cold Pursuit in 2,500 theaters, the killer-kid horror The Prodigy opening in 2,500 theaters, and the gender comedy What Men Want in 2,800 theaters.


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“Glass” Holds Firm, “King” and “Serenity” Sink

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M. Night’s Glass already had a lot of hype for being the most anticipated movie of January and the popularity is proving it. Now in its second weekend, the thriller has made another $19 million and has shown itself to be a box office success even in the colder months of January where it’s not exactly pulling in the largest of box office numbers. Not exactly a twist from a director known for twists.

The premieres for the weekend didn’t fare well at all. The Kid Who Would Be King, Joe Cornish’s kid-oriented fantasy of modern knights and demons, debuted only at #4 with a weekend gross of $7.2 million, lagging not far behind Aquaman which made $7.3 million. It seems strange that family entertainment wouldn’t be a bigger hit in a month with little of that. But then again, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is still in theaters and still doing well at #5, proving to have the legs to stick around into February as it continues to win awards for being a groundbreaking animated film.

Also debuting lower is Serenity, a new drama by Steven Knight. This one doesn’t seem as surprising given both the lack of promotion for the picture and the abysmally negative critic reviews, declaring the film as an early front-runner for the worst of the year. The movie only came in at #8 for the weekend with a gross of $4.8 million.

Worth noting is that Dragon Ball Super: Broly is still hanging in the top 10, latching onto the #10 spot with a gross of $3.6 million. Though not the biggest box office compared to its competition, it’s a big success for FUNimation pushing anime into theaters given they’ve yet to have as big of a release as this one and for such a long time. Most anime they release in theaters are only present for a weekend if that and tend not to crack the top 10 as often. Dragon Ball Super has become the exception and may lead to more anime screenings to larger theater counts in the future.

See the full top 10 for the weekend below:
Glass ($19,049,000)
The Upside ($12,240,000)
Aquaman ($7,350,000)
The Kid Who Would Be King ($7,250,000)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ($6,150,000)
Green Book ($5,413,000)
A Dog’s Way Home ($5,225,000)
Serenity ($4,800,000)
Escape Room ($4,275,000)
Dragon Ball Super: Broly ($3,600,000)


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Review: “Alita: Battle Angel” Fights Faithful, Dark, Fun

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When it comes to films based on Japanese anime and manga, they have a record far more stumbling than that of video game movies. These types of movies have been plagued with everything from confused direction (Dragonball Evolution) to cheap translations (Fist of the North Star) to awkward whitewashing (Ghost in the Shell). But Alita: Battle Angel may just be the first film to break that mold, at least from a translation point.

One would hope that the screenplay writer James Cameron would put some dedication into this project he had been talking about making happen for nearly two decades. Surprisingly, he matches the source material well. The world is perfectly defined with a cyberpunk dystopia of the far future, the elites residing in a metropolis of the sky while the poor cyborgs struggle on the surface world of garbage. Also present is the grim atmosphere which I questioned if Cameron would delve into, given that the original story was a depressing one of pathos, amputation, decapitation, bifurcation, and the murdering of a dog.

Keean Johnson (left) and Rosa Salazar (center) in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

The film has all of this in telling the story of Alita (Rosa Salazar), a mysterious teenage cyborg found with very little of her body in a heap of dumped robot parts. Determined to rebuild her and give her a new life as a teenage girl is Doctor Ido (Christoph Waltz), committed to being a charity of a cybernetics doctor when so few can afford so much in artificial limbs they need. Alita is a kind girl, made all the more sweet with those artificially giant eyes added digitally. While this may really give her the look of an uncanny valley creation in hopes of replicating that anime style, it works well in defining Alita as both an artificial being and fitting in with the odd nature of cyborg society.

There’s a progressive build of Alita discovering both the world around her and uncovering her cloudy past. She takes as much of an interest in the fast-paced violent sport of Motorball as she does the scrappy young Hugo (Keean Johnson), potential boyfriend material. But she’ll soon come to learn that not everybody is who they appear to be, as both Hugo and Ido have secrets they haven’t revealed as the web of corruption in the city runs deep. All of it relates back to the giant floating paradise in the clouds that everybody shoots for, including the smug gangster leader Vector (Mahershala Ali) who acts as a puppet for those above, sometimes literally. Everyone wants to make it to the top and they’re willing to break any rule to get there.

Rosa Salazar (Alita) and Keean Johnson (Hugo) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

Of course, it’s no shock that Alita is the girl to shake things up and fight the system. This is where director Robert Rodriguez takes the helm of this project and gives it his own flavor of slick and violent action. He really pushes that PG-13 rating to the limit of how much you can get away with in dicing up cyborgs, staging intimidating barroom brawls and vicious battles on a giant racetrack. Even for a director known for plenty of violence in his films, Rodriguez still manages to cram in a number of ouch-worthy moments where characters are sliced in half or have their faces chopped at an angle. Also present is Rodriguez’s trademark humor that manages to fit in snugly amid the more tragic parts of this cyberpunk tale.

Alita still has a few kinks in the armor with some clunky bits of dialogue and emotions that run a little flat here and there. But I must admit I was surprised with how well this film holds together for being so ambitious in pursuing such a story, sticking to its essentials while still giving off a vibe all its own. I recall far back as being a teenager when hearing about Cameron’s plan to adopt the original manga into a live-action movie and doubting it would ever see the light of day, especially with his crowded schedule and the lacking adaptations over the years. But, lo and behold, I’m astounded to not only see the movie made but that it’s also well-made and true to its roots. A solid picture for fans of the manga/anime and a pleasing cyberpunk tale for newcomers of a teenage cyborg kicking metallic butts.

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.


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