Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting” and the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.”
Twenty-one years on from the full on frontal assault that was “Trainspotting,” the old gang is back together but the only things that truly binds them is a shared past. “You’re a tourist in your own youth,” says Sick Boy/Simon (Jonny Lee Miller).
At the center of it all is Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor). The last time we saw him he was a wastrel and double-crosser who cheated his friends out of £16,000 in a drug deal. After hightailing it to Amsterdam he’s now a fitness freak who spends more time running in a treadmill than running from the law.
His former friends, now all in their forties, are in various states of personal disrepair. “The wave of gentrification has yet to wash over us,” Simon quips.
Sick Boy/Simon is still a dodgy dude with a King Kong size Coke problem, who makes ends meet by blackmailing the wealthy customers of his prostitute business partner Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova).
Spud/Daniel (Ewen Bremner), still an impressive mash-up of ears, teeth and gangly limbs, is now a pathetic creature that chooses heroin addiction over a life with his wife Shirley Henderson) and child.
The fourth member of the group, Begbie (Robert Carlyle), he of the bad attitude and broken pint glasses to the face, is indisposed, locked up but with a way out and a gut full of hate for Renton.
Loosely based on author Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting” follow-up novel “Porno,” the new film from Danny Boyle, asks if it is ever possible to go home again—in this case Edinburgh—especially if home involves a dangerous psychopath with a grudge and an ex-BFF who wants revenge.
“T2 Trainspotting” does something quite remarkable. It places nostalgia in the rear view mirror while, at the same time, celebrating bygone days. To see Mark confront his past complete with the emotional attachments and entanglements that come along with it feels like a universal reckoning, a reminder that the world changes even if we don’t.
That’s the beating heart of the film, the rest is window dressing, It’s fun to hang out with these almost lovable villains for a couple more hours, to catch up on old times, immerse ourselves in their down-and-dirty lives and even get a new Choose Life riff but a heavy air of regret hangs over the proceedings. It reinforces the idea that we can’t relive the glory days no matter how hard we try. It’s a middle-age truism brought to vivid life by Boyle and cast.
In revisiting the past the director does, however, put an intimate spin on the story with clever visual integration of past memories—present day characters mournfully share the screen with their younger counterparts—and a melancholy sense that no matter how hard we try to move forward ultimately our lives are simply a continuation of everything that came before. As Renton says, “choose history repeating itself.” It’s not a thunderbolt revelation but revisiting these characters—particularly the tragicomic Spud—puts a face to those anchored in the nostalgia.
For fans of the original film “T2 Trainspotting” will be an enjoyable ride. It is as good a sequel to a classic film as you could hope for. It’s a shame the returning female characters played by Kelly MacDonald and Shirley Henderson are relegated to cameos and the original’s sense of infectious anarchy has been dulled somewhat but the film’s mix of redemption and regret are ample replacements.
Cineplex Events has today announced that the widely popular Great Digital Film Festival will now be known as Flashback Film Fest. The event is Canada’s only coast-to-coast festival, bringing a line-up of sci-fi, fantasy and fan favourites back to the big screen. This year, Cineplex Events and renowned film critic, Richard Crouse, curated a line-up of 17 of the most blood-pumping, thrill-inducing and heart-warming films in cinema that will screen in over 24 cities across the country from February 3-9, 2017.
Please click here for a message from Richard Crouse and Cineplex Pre-Show Host Tanner Zipchen.
“We wanted to give the festival a new name that better reflects how it has evolved and why it has been so popular over the years,” said Brad LaDouceur, Vice President, Event Cinema. “Flashback Film Fest fits perfectly with our Event Cinema business which offers guests exciting, unique content that ranges from classic films to renowned stage productions. We take them on tours of famous galleries and put them courtside at sporting events without them ever having to set foot on a plane, or in this case, a time machine.”
“The great thing about this festival is that audiences will have a chance to relive these movies in the way they were meant to be seen; on a big screen, with an audience,” said author and film critic, Richard Crouse. “The best and most powerful way to see a movie is to fully immerse yourself in the theatre experience, surrounded by people who are enjoying it just as much as you are. I’m personally looking forward to seeing films like Fight Club, Blade Runner – The Final Cut, Pulp Fiction and Shallow Grave in all their glory.”
The 2017 Flashback Film Fest Line-up includes:
Air Force One (1997) *20 year anniversary
Blade Runner – The Final Cut (2007) *10 year anniversary/35 year anniversary of original
Blood Simple (1984)
The Fifth Element (1997) *20 year anniversary
Fight Club (1999)
The Fugitive (1993)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Princess Bride (1987) *30 year anniversary
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Running Man (1987) *30 year anniversary
Shallow Grave (1994)
Starship Troopers (1997) *20 year anniversary
Tickets for festival films cost $7.99, $6.99 for 5 or more films and new this year film fanatics can buy the “I Want It All” pass for $69.99 allowing them access to all 17 films for a price of $4.11 per admission. For a complete list of show times, or to purchase tickets, visit Cineplex.com/FBFF .
Welcome to the House of Crouse. This week Robert Carlyle gives us news on the upcoming Trainspotting sequel while Canadian news legend Peter Mansbridge tells us how he joined the ranks of Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket and Aladdin and became a Disney character in Zootopia.
The Legend of Barney Thomson is a movie Robert Carlyle was almost destined to make. The Once Upon a Time star not only plays the lead character, he directed the Scottish black comedy about an awkward barber who unwittingly becomes a serial killer.
“I was offered this four or five times purely as an actor over a period of five or six years,” he says. “I was over here in Vancouver working and a friend of mine said he had a Scottish script that I might be interested in. I said, ‘Of course I’ll read it,’ and it was that again. I can’t get away from it.”
The script is based on The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson by Douglas Lindsay, a novel The Scotsman described as “gleefully macabre.”
Carlyle, a Maryhill, Glasgow native, liked the screenplay but says, “there were certain aspects of Glasgow culture that were missing from it.”
“In Glasgow we have a way of speaking to one another that is kind of harsh. That was missing.”
He drew from personal experience to find Glasgow sites that “fitted in with Barney’s life.”
“A lot of the locations you see in the film like the Barrowland Ballroom are places that are kind of dying and might not be around for much longer so I thought this was an interesting way of documenting some of these places.”
Initially he signed on only as an actor but soon found himself doing double duty.
“Believe me when I say, it certainly wasn’t my idea. I don’t know if (the idea) came from the financiers or not. I can’t remember but from whichever source it came from it seemed to be an interesting hook to hang this on that not only was I going to be in it but direct it also. That enthused the financiers.”
The first time feature film director says he took his lead for the tone of the movie from the book and the script.
“Let’s not have the camera moving around and spinning around in circles. Let’s spend the time on the performances and not the camera angles, which you end up cutting anyway.”
He recruited an all-star cast, including Sir Tom Courtney, Ray Winstone and his old Trainspotting cast mate James Cosmo. In a casting coup, he hired two time Oscar winner Emma Thompson to play against type as Barney’s monstrous mom.
“Many, many years ago at the beginning of my career she did a piece on Scotland TV called Tutti Frutti,” he says. “She’s played a Scot in that, from Glasgow. I thought, ‘She’s remarkable. I thought she was English.’ Then suddenly I realized, she is English and just did this terrific accent. There’s not many English people who can do a Scottish accent that well.”
The Legend of Barney Thomson has already won Best Picture at the Scottish BAFTAs and Carlyle is keeping busy on the small screen as Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin on Once Upon a Time.
It’s his next project, however, that has the Internet buzzing. In May he’ll reprise the role of the pint glass-wielding psychopath Francis Begbie in the sequel to Trainspotting alongside the film’s original director and cast.
“We were all very emotional when we read it,” he says, “even Danny (Boyle), because these four characters have followed us around for twenty years. Where ever I go people are talking about Begbie. It is very close to us.”
28 Days Later begins with a great horror movie premise. A group of British activists free infected animals from their cages, unleashing a deadly “rage” virus on the human population. Twenty-eight days after the virus took hold of the city, a bicycle courier named Jim awakens from a coma, unaware of the devastation. In one of the year’s best cinematic sequences, horror or otherwise, Jim leaves the hospital to find a deserted London. Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) infuses the shots of the empty streets with a sense of dread. As Jim wanders through the vacant Piccadilly Circus the feeling of foreboding grows as he realizes that something catastrophic has happened here. And that’s just the first ten minutes. (The scenes of London’s deserted streets were shot just after dawn on weekdays. Because of the traffic, they could only shoot for a couple of minutes each day. Crewmembers frequently had to stop and ask clubbers not to walk into shots.)
Boyle deftly juggles two distinct ideas in 28 Days Later. It is a full blown Halloween flick, complete with drooling angry zombies, (although hard-core gore fans will be disappointed, most of the horror here is psychological) but at its core it is also a compelling study of human nature and the will to survive. Each character is fully rounded, and none are superfluous in this tough drama.
Selena (Naomie Harris), for example, isn’t a damsel in distress, nor is she simply a hard-nosed zombie killer. She is a layered character, a normal person who is placed in an unimaginable circumstance and is dealing with it on an instinctual level. She isn’t a killer, but she’ll kill to survive. “Staying alive is as good as it gets,” she says grimly.
Boyle (and screenwriter Alex Garland) give a wide berth to the stereotypical character traits found in horror movies – the screaming girlfriend, the witless teen, the gung-ho monster slayer – and instead concentrate on developing believable characters and situations in an unbelievable scenario.
In addition to believable characters 28 Days Later also re-invents the cinematic zombie. Gone are the lumbering, “We’re coming to get you,” living dead from years past. Boyle’s ghouls move with frightening speed, hissing at the scent of human flesh, and attacking at random. These are the zombies that nightmares are made of.
Shooting on digital video this time out, Boyle has left behind the visual showiness of Trainspotting and the austere picture-postcard look of The Beach, trading those in for a grainy, almost documentary feel. The jagged feel of the video gives the movie a sense of urgency and energy which seems appropriate for the subject matter. Unlike Soderbergh’s Full Frontal this material actually benefits from the use of video.
28 Days Later runs out of steam as the third act winds down, but up until its closing minutes it is as good as speculative fiction gets.