T2 Trainspotting (2017)

T2 Trainspotting
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: Irvine Welsh’s Porno
Sequel to: Trainspotting
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Shirley Henderson, James Cosmo, Irvine Welsh
Seen on: 13.3.2017

Plot:
Twenty years after the events of Trainspotting, the now clean Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Scotland for the first time. He wants to see his family and to catch up with Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), though he’d rather not see Begbie (Robert Carlyle). He suspects that Begbie is still very angry with him from when he left. Simon is angry, too, but once they get over the inital anger, they are back to making plans of how to make their lives more than it is. But the past can’t be left behind that easily.

T2 Trainspotting captured most of the mood of Trainspotting perfectly, although it does lack some of the inescapable energy of the first one. That being said, I’m very content with this sequel so many years later.

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Re-Watch: Trainspotting (1996)

Trainspotting
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: Irvine Welsh’s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Shirley HendersonJames Cosmo, Irvine Welsh
Seen on: 12.3.2017

Plot:
Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommie (Kevin McKidd) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) are friends. At least as much as you can be friends with anybody you share a heroin addiction with. And don’t necessarily like each other all that much. As they tumble through Edinburgh, alternatively looking to buy the next hit and to kick the habit altogether, their paths cross with the same people over and over again, people like the violent Begbie (Robert Carlyle). They all struggle with their own problems but at least they are not stuck in the wheel of capitalism. Or that’s what Renton tells himself.

It’s been many years since I saw the film (although some images have burned themselves into my retina, they are that present in my head). Re-watching it now, I’m still very much taken with it. It’s a really great film, despite a couple of weaknesses.

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Byzantium (2012)

Byzantium
Director: Neil Jordan
Writer: Moira Buffini
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma ArtertonSam RileyJonny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Uri Gavriel, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Tom Hollander
Seen on: 1.1.2017

Plot:
Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Clara (Gemma Arterton) had to leave their old town in a hurry and have ended up in a small coastal town where they try for a new start. Being centuries old vampires, this is not the first time they had to do this. Eleanor is struggling with what she is, while Clara is pragmatic enough to always fall on her feet. She quickly finds Noel (Daniel Mays), who owns a run-down hotel, and with him shelter and work. Meanwhile Clare meets Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a student with leukemia, and feels immediately drawn to him. But they aren’t save yet.

Byzantium has a great set-up and a great cast and it could have been utterly brilliant, but it did neither justice. To call it disappointing almost isn’t strong enough.

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Frankenstein

Frankenstein
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Nick Dear
Based on: Mary Shelley‘s novel
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, Ella SmithKarl Johnson, Naomie Harris
[I saw the version with Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature way back when. This time I saw the vice versa version.]

Plot:
Victor Frankenstein (Jonny Lee Miller) experimented around and managed to create a man (Benedict Cumberbatch). Horrified by what he’s done, he leaves the Creature to his own devices. As he stumbles through the world, utterly forsaken, the Creature tries to find his place in the world, a place that is inexorably connected to the man who created him.

It was fascinating to see both versions of the play – and to notice the way my perception shifted just by switching the roles and even though everything else stayed the same. But seeing the play for a second time also made its faults much clearer to me – and that is especially the way it treats its women.

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Frankenstein

Frankenstein
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Nick Dear
Based on: Mary Shelley‘s novel
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, Ella SmithKarl Johnson, Naomie Harris
[I saw the version with Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature. But there’s also a vice versa version.]

Plot:
Victor Frankenstein (Benedict Cumberbatch) experimented around and managed to create a man (Jonny Lee Miller). Horrified by what he’s done, he leaves the Creature to his own devices. As he stumbles through the world, utterly forsaken, the Creature tries to find his place in the world, a place that is inexorably connected to the man who created him.

Frankenstein was an excellent production that looked great, was entertaining and very well-made. It has one big fault though, in the shape of a completely unnecessary rape scene.

Frankenstein

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Dark Shadows (2012)

Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: the TV show
Cast: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper

Plot:
At the end of the 18th century, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) and his family emigrate to America, where they build up a town and acquire a lot of wealth. With them came Angelique (Eva Green) and her family as servants. Angelique falls in love with Barnabas. But when he tells her that he doesn’t share her feelings, she gets so angry that she curses him to be a vampire, kills the woman he loves and buries him for almost 200 years.
In 1972, Barnabas is freed and returns to his family – or what remains of it. But also Angelique is still there and ready to pick things up right where they left them.

I was not one of the people bemoaning yet another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration – I usually like when they work together and the trailer for this film looked perfectly charming. But unfortunately the film was very disappointing.

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Emma (2009)

Continuing the adaptation watching after finishing the book, is the BBC’s newest Emma, a miniseries directed by Jim O’Hanlon and starring Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Jodhi May, Louise Dylan, Blake Ritson, Tamsin Greig, Laura Pyper and Rupert Evans.

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Jodhi May) and Mr Weston (Robert Bathurst) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Louise Dylan). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Jonny Lee Miller), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Blake Ritson). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

This miniseries is definitely the most literal adaptation of the book so far – little wonder, since it’s also the only one that gets four hours to tell the story. It has a surprisingly modern feel to it, which doesn’t always work and high production values, but around the middle it just stopped holding my interest.

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Mansfield Park (1999 and 2007)

After I finished reading Mansfield Park (review), I decided that I have to watch the two movies that were made. There’s the 1999 version with Frances O’Connor and Jonny Lee Miller and the 2007 version with Billie Piper and Blake Ritson. [There’s also a 1983 version, but I couldn’t find it].

[Oh my Goodness, I just discovered that they’re making a new Emma, and for meta’s sake! With Jonny Lee Miller and Blake Ritson!]

Plot:
Fanny Price lives with her aunt and uncle, the Bertrams, and their children, Thomas, Edmund, Maria and Julia. During all of her childhood with them, she has heard by the well-meaning but rather insensitive people around her that she’s not much worth and that she’s forever obliged to them. Only Edmund has ever shown her any real kindness. Thus she grows up a shy young woman with very strong principles and very much in love with Edmund, who doesn’t suspect a thing.
When the siblings Henry and Mary Crawford move into the neighbourhood, things get shaken up quite a bit.

Both movies were okay, but neither were great. I did like the relationship between Fanny and Edmund in the 1999 version a little better (I’m sorry, Doctor, I’m really sorry!), but overall I liked the 2007 version better. But I don’t think there’s much lost if you watch neither.

Mansfield-Park-Posters-1999

[SPOILERS]

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