[Guest Post] Film Review: T2 Trainspotting

[Guest Post] Film Review: T2 Trainspotting

The following blog post was written by Patrick, from The Blog from Another World, as the second part of our second collaborative series and again, the focus seems to have been on trains! You can read our previous posts, talking Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting here, and about Paula Hawkin’s The Girl On The Train, here and here.


I love Danny Boyle and I love Trainspotting. When T2 was announced, I was worried that the film would be a cash grab, a lazy retread. Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon had already disappointed me with Jason Bourne (2016), which was an ill-thought through bore. However, after watching Trainspotting again for my article with ReadandReview2016, the stakes were raised very high. Impossibly high?

No. Not at all. Danny Boyle is the finest British filmmaker in modern cinema. There is no doubt in my mind about this. T2 is fantastic. Possibly even better than the first.

Boyle performs camera moves, positions and set pieces which are truly thrilling. He and his director of photography Anthony Dodd Mantle work with light and shadow and perspective to create meaning.

He’s a director who inspires me and this might just be the biggest risk of his career. He pulls it off and shows a maturity and an evolution of film-making style which makes us understand just how much experience and persistence matters. In preparation for watching T2 I watched A Life Less Ordinary, the Boyle directed film which came after Trainspotting and before The Beach. The film is a flawed and underwhelming work despite a career best performance by Cameron Diaz.

My reason for watching A Life Less Ordinary was to remind myself of Boyle on a bad day (but even his low point is better than many director’s best).   Slumdog Millionaire and Steve Jobs are big favourites of mine but T2 takes his best work and betters it.  It’s funny, sad, euphoric, tragic and utterly brilliant.

The story of T2 follows Renton, Sick Boy (now Simon), Begbie and Spud as they deal with the modern world twenty years after the events of the first film.

This film is a wonderful look at ageing, our modern world and the responsibilities of adulthood. The characters feel deeper and emotionally richer although some plot strands don’t go anywhere and seem added in for nostalgia’s sake (the re-appearance of heroin is pointless).

The four leads are superb. Ewan McGregor is the best he’s been since the original film, Robert Carlyle has aged Begbie in the most perfect way and Ewan Bremner is the heart of the film. Only Jonny Lee Miller isn’t stretched, with Sick Boy always being a secondary character.

This film has a rollicking pace and heaps of style. It captures the spirit of the original whilst moving in an entirely new direction, away from drugs and toward some kind of recognition. For the first time, Renton is forced to face the consequences of his actions and it’s an explosive moment. I personally loved this scene (not a spoiler) which captures the hard edged but joyful tone of the original and is a perfect storm of music, action, comedy and character.

This film is the best thing I’ve seen all year. It would take a lot to top this, and I can’t wait!

***

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please give it a ‘Like’. . Thanks to Patrick for writing this film review. You can find his other film reviews here:

Monster Book Challenge Day #5: Demons [Reblog] Book Review: Horns

Monster Book Challenge Day #5: Demons [Reblog] Book Review: Horns

Image via hypable.com

Challenge Week: Monster Book Challenge Day #5: Demons

Welcome to the final day of my Monster Book Challenge! So far, there have been book reviews on vampires, zombies, witches and ghosts. Today’s chosen monster is… Demons [sort of]!

  • Title: Horns
  • Author: Joe Hill
  • Published: 2010

I don’t know about you, but I get demon/devil vibes from a book with a title like Horns – not to mention Daniel Radcliffe’s portrayal as Ig with some creepy looking horns in the 2014 film adaptation. Hence, my decision to feature Horns.

However, this is where I leave my opinions on Horns, as I haven’t actually read the book!

If you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you’ll noticed that the following Horns book review is actually a reblog from Stephanie’s blog at Adventures of a Bibliophile.  I’m a follower of Stephanie’s and I absolutely loved reading this book review, and thought it just perfect for Halloween, so I thought I’d share it with you all.

You can find Stephanie’s review below – read and enjoy!

That’s all from me; I hope you enjoyed my various Halloween book reviews! I’ll definitely be adding Horns to my TBR!

– Judith

Adventures of a Bibliophile

Every October, I try to read Halloween-appropriate books. I love getting into the mood for the holiday, and even though I usually don’t go out (parties are not really my thing), I love curling up with some dark and spooky reads. This year, I was determined to pick up a book by Joe Hill, because I have a few of them, and hadn’t picked up any of them. On your advice, I decided to go with Horns, which has actually been in my collection the longest. It ended up being the perfect novel to read this time of the year!

Synopsis

(From Goodreads) Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

21920692At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a…

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[Guest Post] Film Review: The Girl On The Train

[Guest Post] Film Review: The Girl On The Train
  • Title:The Girl On The Train
  • Director: Tate Taylor
  • Released:2016

Hello!

My name is Patrick from The Blog from Another World. If you want to check out Judith’s review of the book, you can find it here:

The novel, as Judith has written, is a page turner, a compelling read. This film then, should be gripping. It, in theory, should have maintained this tension and compulsive plot. Instead, The Girl on the Train has become a bore − a super-serious thriller without the thrills.

The most obvious comparison to this film is Gone Girl (2014), David Fincher’s brilliant adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s suburban murder mystery. Sadly, this film does not match the quality of Gone Girl at all.

I was struck in the first half an hour by how heavy and dour this film is. Each scene is laboured and miserable, characters complain about their lives and very little happens. It is not for a long time that the central disappearance occurs.

This film has a Hitchcockian plot; Rachel, played by Emily Blunt, commutes to and from New York each day on the train where she observes the lives of the people whose houses are near the tracks, including her ex-husband. When her ex-husband’s nanny goes missing, Rachel herself may be implicated in the mystery.

I recently watched Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train in the cinema and was struck by the light touch and thrilling pace of it. Characters have light moments and dark moments. They are gripping, complex and compel you to keep watching. Strangers on a Train is a magnificent thriller and I would recommend it to anyone who feels short-changed by The Girl on the Train as, in contrast to this, it feels grindingly repetitive. A scene will open, someone will complain about their lives and by the end, without fail, they will be in tears. This makes the film such a drag, and pulls down many excellent performers along with it.

Emily Blunt and Rebecca Ferguson are excellent actresses. Their performances in Sicario (2015) and Mission Impossible 5 (2015) are some of the most fun and exciting female characters of recent years.

In this film, however, both feel laboured and heavy, battling with boring material in an attempt to make deep and meaningful characters. In the end, both come across as cyphers, stereotypes of middle class women, trapped in their own separate worlds, enraptured by the men around them. If this film was more thrilling and fun, this type of characterisation might work. A savage critique of the American middle class is what makes Gone Girl so fun. This film wants to portray real life, and aim for realism but another side of it wants to make Gone Girl, the savage, darkly funny and vicious mystery.

A presence with the entertainment value of Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry, or Kim Dickens would really have given The Girl on the Train another side, some more depth. People are naturally humorous, and a few amusing lines of dialogue or a dark sense of humour would have elevated things tenfold.

However, smaller roles seemed to feature actors who were really bringing something to the table. Justin Theroux as Rachel’s ex-husband and Luke Evans as the husband of the missing woman were far more convincing than most others. However, their involvement was too small for them to shine.

Blunt’s performance frankly is an embarrassment. She wildly overacts in some scenes and in others she seems slightly sheepish to be a part of this film. I was very disappointed by her and I think she is indicative of a lot of the problems this film suffers from.

However, most of the blame must be placed at director Tate Taylor’s door. He is the worst possible choice for director. This film needed a provocative and uncompromising director, someone who would tell the story truthfully and intelligently but with a sense of fun. The film handles tough real life themes but this doesn’t mean that you can skimp on the mystery and thrills at the centre of it. Taylor directs with a soporific and laboured style, glossy but shallow and with no sense of pace. This film is boring and silly with so few decent performances you wonder why these people were cast in the first place.

Overall, this film is a disaster, a page-turner turned into a cinema-snoozer which fails miserably at its central goal: to thrill and intrigue. I guessed the ending within the first fifteen minutes and I was so desperate for my guess to not be the case that I ended up making up theories to allow the screenwriter and director some credit.

However, I was sadly correct and I walked out of the cinema thinking: “This would be the movie David Fincher and Alfred Hitchcock would make if they were both stupid”.

***

Thank you for reading this very therapeutic review! I hope you enjoyed it, and if you want to see this film, just read the book instead. It’s obviously much better. On the other hand, watch Strangers on a Train – that’s how you do a train-based thriller.

I would just like to thank Judith for all her help and her agreeing to be a part of this collaboration! I hope we can work together in the near future.

All the best,

Patrick and Judith

ReadandReview Guest Post @ Making Time For Me

ReadandReview Guest Post @ Making Time For Me

Hi there!

This is a special post to announce that I have written a guest post for the Thursday Teenage Spotlight, a series hosted by Stephanie at Making Time For Me which encourages and shares different young people’s experiences in the world.

These posts are super interesting because you can gain multiple perspectives on a lot of different topics. So, without further ado, I would love it if you could read my contribution and check out Stephanie’s blog! You can find it here:

That’s all for now!

– Judith

ReadandReview Contribution @ Nothing In The Rule Book

ReadandReview Contribution @ Nothing In The Rule Book

Happy Sunday!

This is another special post to let you know that my short story, White Winter Mist (which I’m sure you’ve seen me chatter on about a great deal over the months) has been published at Nothing In The Rule Book, a website for all sorts of creative… creators. They publish poems, short stories, writing tips and much more!

I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to have something I’ve written posted on another site.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can read my story, as well as my “bio”here: nothingintherulebook.com/2016/06/18/white-winter-mist

Please go and show it some love over there, and if you’re new to my blog – welcome! Click ‘Follow’ to show your support!

That’s all for now,

– Judith

ReadandReview Guest Post @ Reading Ahead

ReadandReview Guest Post @ Reading Ahead

Happy Friday!

Today is not my usual upload day, but if you have been following ReadandReview for a little while, you’ll know I like reading and writing book reviews. As I have said on my About page, I was inspired to start this blog after taking apart in the Six Book Challenge (now known as the Reading Ahead programme) organised by the Reading Agency.

I was asked to contribute to the Reading Ahead Blog about my experience and to talk a little bit about each of my six reads.

That’s all I have to say really, other than head on over to my guest post at: readingahead.org.uk/blog/judith-webster-shares-her-six-reads

I’ll pop a list of my six reads here for you – one of these reads was also my first ever blog post, and other posts have also been inspired by these reads!

  1. The Hunter, by L.J. Smith
  2. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, by Angela Carter
  3. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  4. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
  5. Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh
  6. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle

That’s all for now!

– Judith