5 December 1996
Trainspotting is a drop-dead look at a dead-end lifestyle. Set among the junkies and thugs of Edinburgh’s slums and made by (director Danny Boyle, writer John Hodge, producer Andrew Macdonald) that created “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting” caused a sensation in Britain, where it took in more money than any U.K. film except “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and ignited strong controversy over its attitude toward heroin. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), the film’s narrator, unleashes an overpowering verbal torrent that gets things off to an aggressive start.
“Choose life,” Renton insists in voice-over as store detectives chase after him for shoplifting. “Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a [beep] big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-income mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. . . . “But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?” It is very difficult to resist the film’s great energy.
“Trainspotting’s” subject matter is raw and raunchy, including AIDS, overdoses
and violence as well as obscene situations described in unprintable language. This is a film that makes you laugh of things that can in no way be described as funny. How is this possible? In the film’s signature scene, where Renton, in search of some lost opium suppositories, dives head-first into “the filthiest toilet in Scotland” and emerges in a sublime and spacious undersea world. And despite Renton’s celebrated saying on the pleasures of heroin, boasting, “Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you’re still nowhere near it,” “Trainspotting” is only interested in drugs because its characters are. Most feeble of the characters is the glasses-wearing Spud (Ewen Bremner). Most devious is Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), who knows all there is to know about Sean Connery. Most innocent is Tommy (Kevin McKidd), whose insistence on telling the truth no matter what is viewed as a fatal weakness. And most dangerous is the beer-drinking, heroin-hating psychopath Begbie (Robert Carlyle)..
Some of the funniest parts include Renton’s sudden passion for the mysterious Diane (Kelly Macdonald) and Tommy’s attempt to get the boys interested in the outdoors, which leads to Renton’s “I hate being Scottish” tirade, which ends: “Some people hate the English, but I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. We can’t even pick a decent culture to be colonized by.”
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremmer, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller
Credits: Directed by Danny Boyle, written by John Hodge, from the novel by Irvine Welsh.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
One of the all-time greatest comedies, this movie tells the tale of a smart Chicago teenager (Matthew Broderick), who ditches school with his girlfriend (Mia Sara) and his neurotic best friend (Alan Ruck), so they can spend a day in the windy city. It also turns out that Broderick wants to build his buddy Ruck’s self-esteem, a task that turns out to be a more difficult than he imagined. As if this wasn’t enough, Broderick’s sister (Jennifer Grey) and his principal (a hilariously funny Jeffery Jones), truly believe he’s playing hookey and they both want to nail him in the act. Talk about a dilemma.
This is a fine teenage comedy, with well-rounded, intelligent characters, giving Broderick a great starring role. Some of the best scenes are formed around Bueller’s ability to gleefully manipulate everybody and everything around him. Those side-splitting, thigh-slapping scenes have to be seen to be believed. Of course, he gets a little help from his friends (Sara and Ruck)..
An amazing film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Michael Crichton, that revolutionized special effects in movies the way Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey did. The story concerns a tropical island, that is the home to living Dinosaurs, brought back by way of DNA. The billionaire (Richard Attenborugh), who owns the island, invites two paleontologists (Sam Neill and LauraDern), a mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) and his grandkids (Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello) to the island, unaware that anything can go wrong. Something does! In a major way! A power failure allows the dinosaurs to escape from their cages and roam the park, causing destruction and chaos.
Magnificent direction by the master of film fantasy Steven Spielberg, as well as amazing digital effects, make this a captivating, roller coaster ride, with plenty of suspense and astonishment to go along. True, the story isn’t really close to the book version, but why quibble. The actors work well together within some well set up scenes. Still, someone else should have been chosen for the part of the mathematician other than Goldblum. He is completely unconvincing in his role, and doesn’t really fit in that well. Other than that, the film is practically flawless with excellent music, cinematography , and some of the greatest special effects I have ever seen.