Tag Archive: danny boyle


UK Release Date: 27th March 2013

Stars: Danny Boyle (director), James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Danny Sapani.

Plot: An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.

After giving the world a resoundingly brilliant opening ceremony at the London Olympics and apparently refusing a knighthood from the Queen, Danny Boyle has returned to the day job to make Trance. In my opinion, Boyle is one of the greatest directors working today and has consistently churned out fantastic British films. So I was very excited to get my first glimpse of his latest project…

…and that excitement just disappeared after I watched the trailer. Is it just me or does the plot itself seem a little bit less than straight forward? Then we get the trailer which seems to overload us with visual and audio information but giving us nothing at the same time. I just honestly don’t know what to make of it.

To attract some fantastic acting talent and the great Danny Boyle it must have been a good script. And the script was co-written by John Hodge who has worked with Boyle several times before (most notably on Trainspotting). I just hope that the end product is more endearing than the trailer.

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Not many directors ever get THAT famous among mainstream cinema fans. It really, I believe, takes someone special and a great storyteller, someone who is good enough to make sure that every single one of their films stands up on the big screen to both critics and fans alike; the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and Danny Boyle have been able to do this and are a few of the most famous directors around but are there any new directors around who could one day join the ranks of the best directors EVER? For my choices I have limited the candidates to have directed, at most, 3 feature length films or have shown enough in two or just the one feature film that they have great potential as a director. In no particular order, let’s have a look.

 

Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson has to be the first person I mention because it was him that influenced me to write this blog. I recently saw Johnson’s latest film Looper and along with his previous two feature films (Brick and The Brothers Bloom) Looper was both written and directed Johnson and also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt (although JGL’s appearance in The Brothers Bloom was a cameo). Looper has really announced Johnson on the scene as one of the best story tellers around. I won’t go into too much detail but if you read my review of the film here, you will get an idea of just how good Johnson is. He has managed to revolutionise the science fiction genre and the whole theories surrounding time travel. I think Looper will inspire a new generation of film makers and if Johnson continues to direct at this high standard he will be regarded as one of the best ever.

 

Joss Whedon

If you don’t know who Joss Whedon is by now where have you been all year? Whedon has a vast amount of experience in television and film working as a screenwriter for many years and having created hit shows such as Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. Yet this year Whedon was welcomed with open arms to the masses as he directed this year’s highest grossing film Marvel’s The Avengers. Whedon’s only previous feature film was Serenity (a continuation of the Firefly universe) and, of course, flopped at the box office. However, I thought Serenity was great and there is no doubting Whedon’s talent for writing believable characters and dialogue. With him signed on to oversee Marvel’s phase 2 and direct The Avengers 2, the world is his oyster.

 

Marc Webb

Marc Webb is the only director on this list who I would not class as a science fiction director (despite the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man could be described as science fiction but I think that the superhero genre is now a genre in itself rather than a subsidiary of sci-fi but that’s a whole other argument). Webb arrived on the scene with the incredible, hilarious and touching story in (500) Days of Summer and then, like I mentioned, went on to have another summer hit this year with the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man which was more than capable of holding its own against The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Webb seems to specialise in relationships and he has this amazing ability to capture moments in relationships and develop them over time that I haven’t seen in a long time. I hope he continues to work in other genres but keeps his focus on character.

 

Neill Blomkamp

These last two are a little more unknown than the previous candidates but that doesn’t mean they are not as good. Blomkamp has, at the time of writing, only directed one feature length film with Disctrict 9. However, the praise that District 9 gathered and all the rave reviews about it really reshaping the genre of science-fiction and the sequel to his debut smash is highly anticipated, despite his next film being something completely unrelated to that. His next film is another trip into sci-fi and stars Matt Damon and is entitled Elysium. If this does as well as District 9 then stardom really does beckon for this man.

 

Duncan Jones

And finally we have Duncan Jones. Jones’ first film Moon is one of the greatest directorial debuts I have ever seen. Moon is a true masterpiece and Sam Rockwell’s performance along with the directorial skill of Jones is enough to grab the audience without having a mass of characters. His follow up Source Code was purely his directing and this time he had no part in the writing of the film yet still managed to pull off a great action film and again, a magnificent piece of directing because seeing the same 15-20 minutes over and over again can become tiresome for the audience but Jones manages to sustain interest. His next project is a biopic of Ian Fleming and Duncan Jones could well have another hit on his hands.

Cillian Murphy strikes me as being a very interesting performer; I have seen quite a few of his films and always find his performances enthralling and I consider him to be a fantastic actor. For a time, though, it seemed as though acting would not be Murphy’s destination in life as his first real passion for entertaining was music. When in his teens and early twenties he formed a band with his brother, most of their (small scale) successes came while they performed under the name of The Sons of Mr. Greengenes. In 1996 the band were offered a five album record deal by Acid Jazz Records which the Murphy brothers had to turn down because Cillian’s brother Paidi was still in school. Murphy went on to attend University College Cork where he studied law and failed his first year exams; the reason being he had ‘no ambition to do it’ and later admitted that within days of starting the course he knew law wasn’t going to be it for him. So he came to be an actor.

Murphy started off his acting career on the stage where he quickly got noticed and then started making several short films and independent films in his home land of Ireland, including On the Edge and How Harry Became a Tree. It was a role in the film version of Disco Pigs (a role that was Murphy’s debut on the stage too) that he has to thank for the way his career has panned out afterwards as it was his performance here that brought him to the attention of Danny Boyle. Boyle was looking for someone to cast in the lead role of his film 28 Days Later and Murphy seemed to fit the bill. 28 Days Later subsequently became a hit all over the world and put Murphy in front of the huge crowds he could only ever have imagined. His performance earned rave reviews and Boyle was hailed for finding such a talented unknown actor.

Murphy starred alongside Colin Farrell in Intermission which became the highest grossing Irish film at the Irish box office ever (the record was broken in 2006 but Intermission held it for a while nonetheless) and Murphy also bagged himself supporting roles in his first Hollywood features: Cold Mountain and The Girl With the Pearl Earring. Even with his new found fame and success Murphy still returned to the stage and toured Ireland in theatre roles proving that he still had great affection for his beginnings. Then he got a call that would change anyone’s career…

Cillian Murphy was asked to come and audition for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2005’s Batman Begins. Murphy himself suggested that he knew he wouldn’t get the part because he didn’t have the physique to play a superhero yet he went and auditioned anyway. Director Christopher Nolan was so impressed with his performance that he cast Cillian Murphy in the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow, the villain. He also appeared as the villain in Red Eye, a thriller in which he was the antagonist to Rachel McAdams’ protagonist. Murphy received huge acclaim for his villainous roles and got himself a handful of nominations at several awards shows.

Making it big in Hollywood didn’t change Murphy though and he once again returned to his roots to make Irish film Breakfast on Pluto, in which he played a transgender Irish foundling in search of her mother. Murphy had actually auditioned for the role back in 2001 but director Neil Jordan was hesitant to make the film so soon after his earlier works; Murphy continually tried to get Jordan to make the film before Murphy was too old to play the part and Breakfast on Pluto was eventually made. I think that this shows Murphy has a serious passion for his career and is desperate to take on roles that will not only challenge him as an actor but also challenge that audience’s perception of Murphy.

In 2007 Cillian Murphy reteamed with Danny Boyle to make science fiction film Sunshine, in which Murphy had the lead role. This is the first film that I remember seeing Murphy in and actually knowing who he was and it was this performance that led me to search for some of his earlier works because I thought the film was fantastic and Murphy himself was brilliant to watch. Another director who clearly found Murphy a great actor to work with is Christopher Nolan as he not only cast him in his masterpiece Inception but also allowed Murphy to reprise his roles in his Batman sequels: The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

And even appearing in one of the biggest, most loved and most successful trilogies of all time still can’t keep Cillian Murphy away from Ireland as he continues to ply his trade in independent cinema with turns in Perrier’s Bounty and Broken. Cillian Murphy is an actor who clearly loves his work and he has a very clear idea of how he wants his career to go as he aims to work with Michel Gondry, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. Yet it is amazing that he still remains down to earth, very genuine, humble and homely; despite being friends with fellow Irish actors Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson Murphy’s closest friends remain those he had before he became successful, he keeps his private life just that which is why not many people may know him as they should. Best of all, I think, Murphy could have his pick of Hollywood films if he wanted but he won’t have because he refuses to move to Los Angeles full time because he doesn’t wish to distance himself from his family. What a nice guy!

For years and years Danny Boyle has been my favourite director. With so many great and bigger names in the directing world at the minute (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese etc. etc…) Boyle does seem to fly under the radar because of his low profile and because of the fact that, despite being critically acclaimed and having won numerous awards, he continues to work and remain in his homeland of British film. For the past few months Boyle has been kept busy with his latest project; this time it is not a film though. In just under two weeks the whole world will be watching as the Olympic games kick off in London and the opening ceremony has been put together and directed by Danny Boyle himself, no pressure. It’s been a long but very worthwhile journey for the lad from Lancashire.

Before getting into the film world Boyle began directing theatre projects; he directed plays for both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company so right from the very beginning he was clearly ready to take on big projects. After that Boyle got into television and directed a few episodes of various television series such as Inspector Morse and Mr. Wroe’s Virgins. Then he finally got his big break in the world of movies with Shallow Grave, a crime thriller starring Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor.

In 1996 Danny Boyle was responsible for directing one of the greatest films ever without a shadow of a doubt; Trainspotting. Again he teamed up with Ewan McGregor who this time took on the lead role and helped to make Trainspotting what it is, often voted the best British film of all time. Trainspotting received one Oscar nomination for it’s scriptwriting and Boyle was unjustly left out of the Best Director nominations. It was always going to be difficult to carry on the wave of success that Trainspotting brought him and his next couple of films were pretty far from that standard; first was A Life Less Ordinary (again starring Ewan McGregor) and The Beach. Originally Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead role for The Beach but rumour has it that Hollywood executives wanted to push through Leonardo DiCaprio as he was the current Hollywood pretty boy and hot property so DiCaprio got the role and, to this day, Ewan McGregor still hasn’t worked with Boyle since that dispute.

Anyway, Boyle returned to his best with horror film 28 Days Later… and followed that up with Millions. Since these two projects Boyle has continued to direct to the very highest standard. It took three years after Millions for another Danny Boyle film to be released but it was well worth the wait. Sunshine is a sci-fi film about a team of astronauts who are trying to reignite a dying sun to save the planet and it is absolutely brilliant! It was also named as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films of recent years, pretty high praise indeed!

In 2009 Danny Boyle finally won an Oscar for his direction on Slumdog Millionaire which pretty much cleaned up at the 2009 Oscars; as well as Boyle’s directing Oscar it also won for it’s cinematography, film editing, original score, original song, sound mixing, adapted screenplay and it won the big one, Best Motion Picture of the Year. This time round as well, Boyle was able to follow the success of Slumdog Millionaire with another one of my favourite films, 127 Hours which got nominated for six Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film).

After the Olympics Boyle will return to the big screen with Trance, a crime thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. He is also working on a follow up to 28 Weeks Later… which he has stated that it should be called 28 Months Later… in theory. Boyle has also expressed in interviews his desire to work with Ewan McGregor again on his next feature film. I hope that he does but I really hope that he continues to make prominent British films and remains to make them of the highest quality!

Recently Trainspotting was voted top in a poll of best British films to be released under Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

I think that this is a little bit of an injustice. Trainspotting is possibly the greatest British film released under any reign. Scratch that. Trainspotting is one of the greatest films EVER made in any language, any country, any genre. Trainspotting is as close to perfect as I have ever seen a film reach.

Released in 1996 to rave reviews from all angles Trainspotting tells the story of Renton, a guy deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene who tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. After working together on Shallow Grave Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor teamed up to make an absolute classic based on Irvine Welsh’s novel.

Superstar director – Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle is one of Britain’s greatest directors and is one of my favourite directors working today. Christopher Nolan, the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino get the majority of attention and are perhaps the most famous of directors but Danny Boyle always has been and remains one of the best. Since Trainspotting he has churned out hit after hit including 28 Days Later, The Beach, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours and while all are very impressively filmed and are gorgeous to look at nothing quite touches all the senses in the same way that Trainspotting does.

Trainspotting introduced Ewan McGregor to the masses and he has gone on to have a very long and prestigious career in film. I am a fan of the Scot and his performance here as Renton is flawless. He gives possibly the best narration to a film ever (along with Ed Norton’s narration in Fight Club) but his presence on screen is fantastic; he really submerges himself deeply in the character’s life and his performance is both harrowing and hilarious at the same time. If McGregor is to be remembered for any film role, it should be this one.

One of the greatest friendships ever caught on film.

McGregor laid down the gauntlet for his fellow cast members to compete with and they picked it up and ran with it. Ewen Bremmer as the dimwitted and closest friend of Renton, Spud, gives a humorous turn while keeping in tune with the dark subject matter. Johnny Lee Miller has gone on to star in American television series’ such as Dexter but he will always be known as Sick Boy and Kevin McKidd manages to put in a great performance as Tommy to the extent that you feel sorry for him but you don’t really care about him. It’s strange. But Robert Carlyle as Begbie, a short tempered frustrated possible homosexual, is amazing; Carlyle always gives a safe performance but he offers up a lot of laughs in an otherwise serious film.

The friendship between Renton, Sick Boy, Tommy, Spud and Begbie is completely believable and authentic. All the relationships are recognisable and take away the drug use (or include it) and you probably know people just like this group of friends in Trainspotting. To me, one of the most important parts of a film is character interaction, development and relationships and each and every one is spot on. The friendship between Renton and Spud is probably my favourite because even though Renton lets Spud go to jail whilst he remains free and later on Renton does them over, you can tell that the only one of that group that Renton really cares about is Spud and I think that is touching really.

The realism captured on film of the drug addiction, Scottish life, friendship, death and sexuality is incredible. Trainspotting could well be real, it is filmed that well, it could well be a documentary with Ewan McGregor’s voice over warning everyone about drugs and the addictiveness of them so it is hard to believe that this is a work of fiction. Some of the scenes become incredibly hard to watch because of the haunting events unravelling but you can’t peel your eyes away from the screen; the dark images will stay with you for as long as you live.

Luckily though, Trainspotting, while dealing with a lot of serious and dark themes does manage to pack in the laughs as well. There is a lot of humour for viewers to find there and the ‘worst toilet in Scotland’ scene manages to be both horrible and hilarious at the same time, absolutely cringeworthy as well as Spud’s ‘dinner table accident’ scene later on.

I can’t express in words how good Trainspotting is. It’s probably not a film for the faint hearted but it’s nothing like any other film ever made.

Combine the greatness of Danny Boyle and the quality of actors like McGregor and Carlyle to name just a couple and you are in for something fantastic right from the word go.

Trainspotting IS one of the best films ever made. No question.

Chris Evans is probably one of my favourite actors at the minute, not necessarily because he is a brilliant actor because he is far from the best, but he brings with him to every role a huge amount of enthusiasm and fun which helps the audience no end. I have never seen him put in a bad performance in a film and he is fast becoming one of the go to guys for an action film in Hollywood.

Evans made his action debut in 2000 and has since gone on to appear in over twenty films to date. After making his film debut in The Newcomers, Chris Evans was given a starring role on television series Opposite Sex, alongside Milo Ventimiglia. The show ran for just one series.

After the series ended Evans appeared in comedy Not Another Teen Movie. Once he was finished filming that he began to work on a couple more films: The Perfect Score and Cellular, both of which were released in 2004. Cellular, in my opinion, was a great action film, it was fast paced, it had a great cast pitching Chris Evans against action heavyweight Jason Statham. This is one of my favourite performances from Evans as he manages to combine humour and action greatly!

Evans 'flames on' for Fantastic Four.

In 2005, Evans starred in two independent films. The first being Fierce People and the second being London, which saw Evans reunite with Statham. It was also in 2005 when Chris Evans received mainstream attention. It could have come in a better film but anyway, Evans starred as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four film. Yes, the film was awful, yes, the characters were ruined, all except for Evans’ Johnny Storm who was the highlight of the film for fans of the comic book and the movies alike. Evans showed once again that he is charming, witty and a great pick for an action film with his performance.

The Human Torch was a role he took up again in the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (a movie that managed to be even worse than the train wreck of the original film). 2007 was also the year that Evans made his debut in voice acting providing the voice of Casey Jones in the CGI film TMNT. The Nanny Diaries and Battle for Terra, Evans providing the voice once more in the latter, also came out this year, but it was his other film of 2007 that really caught my attention.

Evans plays level-headed engineer Mace in Sunshine.

Sunshine. Danny Boyle’s sci-fi film about a group of astronauts sent to re-ignite the dying sun taking place fifty years in the future. Chris Evans starred alongside Danny Boyle favourite Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne and Mark Strong. Sunshine was not a commercial success but it was critically and rightly so; this is one of the best sci-fi films I have probably ever seen, I really enjoyed it and Chris Evans’ character, Mace, was in fact really good.

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond followed before Evans returned to the action genre once more for Street Kings; a film that had a lot of noteworthy names in its cast (Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie for example) but really failed to deliver on all fronts. Then Evans went on to Push, another sci-fi/action film where he had superpowers.

Chris Evans took up comic book movie roles twice more when he appeared in The Losers and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. With the latter, despite only having a small part Evans put in a humorous performance and served the film well. Recently he starred in rom-com What’s Your Number? alongside Anna Faris before taking on his biggest project to date.

Chris Evans as the iconic hero Captain America.

Chris Evans became Captain America for Marvel’s The First Avenger. He played the part of Steve Rogers and at first people had their doubts because he had been in a Marvel film before or he wasn’t big enough to play the super soldier. But Evans soon put those doubts to rest as he showed off his new bulked up figure in the war/superhero film and proved to be a success.

The role of Captain America is one that Evans will of course be reprising in this summer’s sure fire hit, The Avengers and the release date for Captain America 2 has been confirmed. Evans really became Steve Rogers, he played the character superbly and brought to the role the same commitment and enthusiasm that he has brought to every role in his career.

Chris Evans is a fine actor and in interviews he always comes across as the nice guy. He definitely deserves more attention in movies as he has shown his versatility, starring in action, sci-fi, dramas, comedies and rom-coms. Sure, he has some bad films in his past but there are some real gems in there too. What a guy.