Tag Archives: Danny Boyle

Yesterday (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

 

Yesterday Review

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Jack Barth (story by), Richard Curtis (screenplay)
Stars: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino

Moviie Couple here! We went to see Yesterday this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system. Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out. We use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Yesterday tells the tale of an event that turns off  power all over the planet for a matter of seconds.  When the power is restored, our hero Jack Malick is struck by a bus.  Upon recovering, Jack discovers that he is the only one in the world that remembers the Beatles! That’s right, no one has a clue who the Fab Four are and have never heard even a note of their famous songs. What will he do with this knowledge?  On the precipice of giving up his fledgling music career, could this be the miracle his manager and childhood friend had told him may happen?  Even if it is a miracle, should he take advantage? Is it right?  Is it wrong? These are the questions presented to us all in this story. Directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame and starring Himesh Patel as Jack and Lily James as his manager and lifelong girl pal Ellie. Joining our stars Across this Universe is Joel Fry as comedy relief roadie Rocky, Kate McKinnon of SNL fame as musical mogul Debra Hammer and Ed Sheeran as well …Ed Sheeran!

Will Jack find the same success as John, Paul, George and Ringo?  Would that type of possible success drive Jack and Ellie closer or further apart?  Will he be found out?  Does anyone somewhere remember the Beatles as well?

So should we just Let This film Be?  Or should we join our couple down the Long and Winding Road of movie bliss?  Well, come join Mr. and Mrs Moviie Couple as we Come Together (Ok that was the last one I promise) and review this Fantasy/Romantic/Comedy!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple: This movie wasn’t half bad, but it was just slightly over half good.  The premise of waking up and being the only one that knows the Beatles is a good one. Not being a singer, it wouldn’t do me much good.  I guess I could become a songwriter, but I digress. It’s an interesting concept that puts the audience in Jack’s shoes asking us all what would we do?  The acting was spot on and the direction of Boyle was flawless. Patel and James are particularly good in this. The entire film rests on us believing them as a pair of lifelong pals with feelings for one another and if we don’t buy that, the entire movie is a non starter. Luckily Patel and James are perfect in these roles. James especially! She truly embodied someone so in love with Jack that she would never give up on him no matter what.  Fry and McKinnon do their best to bring some humour into the proceedings, but fail more often then they succeed.  Ed Sheeran, surprisingly does a pretty good Ed Sheeran and his “Hey Dude” scene (it’s not a spoiler if you’ve seen it in the trailer) was great as were most of his scenes.  Bravo, dude.

The acting is not the issue with this film, the issue to me was the writing.  It felt to me like the writers started with this great idea, this great “What IF” of a concept and it works well for about two thirds of the way.  After that, it felt like they had written themselves in a corner and had no real ending.  We never spoil here at Moviie Couple so I can’t say why, but the ending felt rushed and well…not finished.  As if they needed to polish the ending a bit more before the actual filming.  It even had a bit of the Lord Of The Rings end to it, where I was like, OK, that was funny, that’s a good place to wrap this up, but NO, here comes one more end scene to keep us singing just a bit longer.  No complaints on the soundtrack, we all love the Beatles songs, but the film dragged a bit getting to a climax that we all knew we were heading for anyway.

While not a bad film, it wasn’t a particular great one either.  The music was great, the plot line was intriguing, but it fell flat on its conclusion and left a lot of questions on the table afterward. So I found Yesterday to be somewhere between Meh and Pretty Good, so I’ll go with 3.5 Bills.  Not terrible, but without the really great performances by Patel and James, this would have been one forgettable time at the summer movies.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  She wasn’t enamoured with this film.  She found it to be a sweet, simple, family friendly story of encouragement, friendship, honesty and second chances.  She found it to be a bit slow and far longer than she expected it to be.  She told me to say she was fidgeting in her recliner seat. Never a good sign from Mrs. Moviie Couple. Fidgeting is nearly always a sign of boredom. She felt both lead actors Patel and James were true and believable in their respective parts. Their entire relationship seemed natural and real. Two childhood friends experiencing a blossoming love throughout their life together. She found the ending a bit weak and she herself thought of at least three different ways this story could have ended that were better than the filmed version. She did feel it was a great musical tribute to the songs of the Beatles and just how poetic and amazing they are. She was impressed to learn that Patel himself did actually sing the songs himself.  Overall, the film was too slow and would better be served at home on a streaming service or as a rental rather than as a night out.  She gives Yesterday 3 Bills, Meh!

On the way home, We talked about the poor ending, the great performances by the leads and how we both thought there was a better movie somewhere in the meeting room floor.  It wasn’t the worst, but if the ending wasn’t so Helter Skelter (I had to, sorry) it would have been better.  I give it 3.5 Bills, not bad, but not great.  The Mrs. gives it 3 Bills!  She loved the themes throughout, but not the execution.  So we average it out to 3 Bills! MEH!

So until next time, remember all you need is love…and a great ending!  Our Twitter poll revealed our next review and Yes, the Mrs. will be joining me to review Spiderman: Far From Home!  But only because you demanded it on our poll!  She is not very happy about it.  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

Steve Jobs (2015) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

STEVE JOBS

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Walter Isaacson (book)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels

Steve Jobs (Fassbender) takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac. Going into this movie and having already reviewed 2013’s “Jobs” portrayed by Ashton Kutcher,  I promised myself that I wouldn’t compare both films. I also deliberately avoided checking both ratings of the movies as I didn’t want to be influenced in my judgement (although that’s what I do in every case anyway)

To me “Steve Jobs” is some of Fassbender’s best work and Director Danny Boyle’s as well. I felt this was a clever slant on what I assumed would be biographical and going into the personal life of Jobs. Don’t get me wrong we do get that though a series of situations involving those who where closest to him and not in the traditional day to day in the home of the man. Boyle’s style and decision making to centre the storyline around three major moments in his profession life and that of the digital revolution was a terrific decision. Fassbender’s investment in studying Job’s little quirks and ticks (feet washing in the toilet bowl) is appreciated and allows the audience to understand the uniqueness of him.

His complex relationship with his daughter Lisa (who he named one of his early systems after) adds the emotional anchor to the film and is used at the correct times without it overshadowing the other personal issues with Steve Wozniak, Joanna Hoffman, John Sculley, Andy Hertzfeld and the mother of his child Chrisann Brennan. I have to commend the casting  by Francine Maisler in particular with the three stages of Lisa played by Makenzie Moss (Lisa aged 5), Ripley Sobo (Lisa aged 9) and Perla Haney-Jardine (Lisa aged 19) who I assumed must have been related as the likeness of all three is uncanny.

Staying on the cast, I was particularly impressed by Kate Winslet’s Joanna Hoffman who was Jobs able and strong confident. Winslet’s role I presumed would be a low-key bit part turned out to be one of the best things in the movie thanks to her performance and delivery managing to be one of the few who could reach inside Steve Jobs head and stand up to him.

Jeff Daniels never fails to amaze me. Such a versatile actor and in this movie is the friend, the enemy and a much like father figure to Jobs playing John Sculley who helped push the Apple machine along in its earlier days. The scenes behind the stage at all three events are interesting and have their fair share of intensity. His physical appearance throughout the timeline is subtle but cleverly done to show his age. Another thing I have to commend Boyle on is the way he interlaced the flashback scenes that parallel in the current scenes. In particular the “firing” of Jobs from Apple is heartbreaking for both of them.

Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak you say? I have to admit that this role was the one I took great interest in. Although limited in his screen time I was afraid Rogen May ham it up a little in his performance as the legendary engineer. His performance was just right. His final scenes and confrontation with Jobs confirmed this and he manages to pull at the heartstrings with his performance and you really do feel bad for Wozniak by the end of the movie.

Another surprise was Michael Stuhlbarg’s Andy Hertzfeld. Just like Wozniak in this film he had key scenes in these events but wasn’t on screen that long. Long enough though for Stuhlbarg to leave an impression on his part and for the audience member to realise that although treated very badly by Jobs admired him and considered him a friend regardless of what they went through together. Hertzfeld is also portrayed as a genuine person with a caring side towards Lisa who he felt was missing a strong male influence in her life and inadvertently made Jobs realise the years he had lost with his daughter.

The cinematography in the movie is simple and uses an almost documentary style technique, although not as rough. The music and the soundtrack isn’t exactly memorable and it isn’t until the end credits we get to hear some Dylan. In summary this movie impressed me and in particular Fassbender’s dedication to the man. Just running in at over two hours, a minute isn’t wasted and if you are interested in learning more about the man then I would give this movie a go. Highly recommended.

T2 Trainspotting (2017) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

T2 TRAINSPOTTING

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Irvine Welsh (novel), John Hodge (adaptation)
Stars: Ewan McGregor,  Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

With the announcement of a long-awaited sequel comes the outpouring of naysayers who’ll decry that it won’t be as good as the original. Then, in turn, come the predictable retorts: Godfather part II, Empire Strikes Back, Wrath of Khan etc. Then we drink cocoa and go to bed, never having resolved the issue until someone mentions the aforementioned sequel and the whole thing starts all over again.

But that’s kind of missing the point. With sequels we get to further explore our favourite characters and see them in new situations. And that’s all very well and good for The Godfather, Wars and Trek when they bash out a sequel a couple of years after the original. We’re still enjoying the glow of the embers of that great fire.

But what about the sequels released after a long absence? To say that history hasn’t been kind to follow-ups of classics would be like saying Napoleon was a bit of a ruffian. A quick search of sequels with long gaps will produce Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Lost Skull, Blues Brothers 2000 and Independence Day: Resurgence. Not great.

You see, with long absences comes nostalgia and affection. Having been deprived of a sequel for so long we have resorted to VHS, DVDs, downloading and streaming in an effort to capture the original magic of our beloved heroes and villains. Then 20 years later a bunch of aging actors who’ve previously distanced themselves from ever returning to the thing that made them famous suddenly want to do a ‘reimagining’ of the original material, coincidentally just as their careers are hitting the skids.

And that might even be a little true of T2, if not for the fact that Ewan McGregor is doing just fine. His famous spat with Danny Boyle probably delayed the return of Renton and co by several years, but in the end it didn’t really matter because this is probably the first time since Paul Newman’s reprisal of Fast Eddie Felson in the Color of Money that we’re not harping back to the protagonist’s glory days. In fact we’re doing kinda the opposite.

We meet Mark “Rentboy” Renton (McGregor) again, 20 years on from ‘the skag deal to end all skag deals’ in which he double-crossed his mates and ran off with the money. He’s married and has been living in Holland when he collapses with a health issue, causing him to have a midlife crisis and question his past, present and future. Desperate for answers and meaning to his life he heads back to a place he’s been avoiding for a very long time – home.

Back in Leith, Simon “Sickboy” Williamson (Miller) is running a pub bequeathed to him by his auntie, he’s growing marijuana in the pub’s basement and partakes in blackmail and extortion for a few extra pounds. Daniel “Spud” Murphy (Bremner) is a loser. He’s still a struggling junkie but now he’s impacting very negatively on his Gail (Shirley Henderson) and their son Fergus. And, of course, Francis Begbie (Carlyle) is in jail.

Mark return to his parents’ home isn’t joyful. His dad lives alone since his mum passed away since he was last there, but her absence casts a shadow. His bedroom, in the first of many callbacks to the original, in exactly how he left it, minus the crawling ceiling-baby. It’s the start of an emotional journey full of nostalgia and longing for days he’ll never touch again.

Mark goes to see Spud who’s came to the realisation that his son would be off without having him as an embarrassment for a dad, Gail without his constant failings and the world for not having in it. None ofwhich are true about the ultimately lovable Spud, only highlighting his desperation further. Renton arrives in the nick of time, saving his old friend’s life only to be met with anger from the furious Spud. Anger for not letting him die now and for leaving him £4000 twenty years earlier in a station locker. His reasoning being that a junkie should never be left with such a princely sum of money as it was only ever going to end up in his veins.

His visit with Sickboy is, perhaps, even less fruitful, especially as it results in the two of them smashing each other with glasses and pool cues. Mark rationalises that he didn’t do anything Sickboy wouldn’t have done to him, given his unscrupulous character and lacking in moral fiber. The sad thing here is not that Sickboy has changed, it’s that he hasn’t. He’s a middle aged man with who bleaches his hair, still doing the things an anarchic twentysomething would do.

Begbie has just been refused parole due to his predilection for violence, which causes him to respond violently by attacking his own solicitor. But the ever-ingenious Begbie has the cunning plan of having a fellow inmate deliberately stab him so he can take advantage of his location in hospital to escape.

With Begbie’s spontanious release, Sickboy’s scheming, Spud’s desperation to be a better person and Renton’s search for meaning in his friendships our beloved troupe are back. But this isn’t a rehashing of old plots and catchphrases or a cashing in of past glories. Nor is it a fun and nostalgic look to the past, but a soulful stare into our characters younger selves, attempting to reflect on their triumphs and tragedies. Would it ever be as good again or was it ever so bad?

Danny Boyle’s effort to reunite the original cast of a film which enjoyed a massive amount of success to make it’s sequel 20 years down the road should be applauded. Together with John Hodge (the writer of the original) they succeed in delivering, yet again, a wonderfully enjoyable film. Although it would be impossible to recreate the vibrancy and dazzling brilliance of it’s younger brother, T2 excels with its hilarity, faithfulness to its characters and its poignancy, reflecting that the excitement which comes with the frivolity of youth can be matched with the wisdom that comes with age. But maybe not in Spud’s case. Or Begbie. Or Sickboy for that matter. Maybe not Renton either.
…getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.