Archive for the ‘Danny Boyle’ Category

A World Without The Beatles

Yesterday

Director: Danny Boyle

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Joel Fry, Ellise Chappell, Ed Sheeran, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kate McKinnon, James Corden 

Thanks to a preview screening organized by United International Pictures at Suncoast Cinecentre, Durban, I was fortunate enough to see Oscar winning director Danny Boyle’s latest film Yesterday with a screenplay by Love Actually writer Richard Curtis.

Imagine a world without The Beatles Songs? Or a world without Coca-Cola and Cigarettes? Or Even Harry Potter?

This is the premise of screenwriter Richard Curtis’s latest romantic musical comedy Yesterday directed by Oscar winning director of Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle and starring Himesh Patel as Jack Malik a struggling musician and Lily James (The Darkest Hour, Cinderella) as his long suffering manager Ellie Appleton set mainly in Suffolk, England.

After an inexplicable worldwide blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus and wakes up missing two teeth and in a sort of alternative reality whereby he soon realizes that this world does not know any of The Beatles songs including Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, Hey Jude, All You Need is Love and Back in the U.S.S. R.

As Jack played with a sort of goofy naivety by East Enders star Himesh Patel starts initially playing a Beatles song to his parents Sheila and Jed played by Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar (London Boulevard, The Kumars at No. 42), he is astonished that they have never heard of the most influential and greatest pop band in the world, The Beatles. Then Jack has to remind himself that he is living in an alternative universe which distracts him from the real love of his life Ellie who has constantly supported him throughout his struggling music career. 

Lily James is brilliant as Suffolk maths teacher Ellie and she lifts the film from being a completely contrived musical fantasy into a semi-believable cinematic offering which allows director Danny Boyle to use all his artistic embellishments to make Yesterday more invigorating than what it really is.

Yesterday is a 21st century slightly contrived musical tribute to The Beatles set in the Instagram age of political correctness and diversity where even the likes of singer Ed Sheeran cannot lift the humour in this film with the exception of one funny scene when Sheeran visits Jack late at night at his family home and encounters his irritating yet lovable dad Jed, wonderfully played with comic timing by Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Ultimately, Yesterday is about a lingering love affair between Ellie and Jack as he is seduced by the fame and fortune associated with lucrative streaming contracts in California in the form of a vampish American music manager Debra Hammer played by Kate McKinnon.

Despite the musical tribute to the Beatles and the quirky plot, Yesterday didn’t quite resolve itself as a satisfying film even with some comic moments. Yesterday gets a film rating of 7 out of 10. Recommended viewing for those that enjoy a light romantic musical comedy.

62nd BAFTA Awards

THE  62nd BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 8th February 2009 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

slumdog_millionaire

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

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Best Actor: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

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Best Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader

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Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

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Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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Rising Star Award: Noel Clarke

Best British Film: Man on a Wire directed by James Marsh

in_bruges

Best Original Screenplay: In Bruges – Martin McDonagh

Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy

duchess

Best Costume Design: The Duchess

I Loved You So Long Poster

Best Foreign Language Film: I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) (France) directed by Philippe Claudel

Source: 62nd BAFTA Awards

 

66th Golden Globe Awards

66th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday  11th January 2009 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

vicky_cristina_barcelonaBest Film Musical or Comedy: Vicky Christina Barcelona

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Best Actor Drama: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

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Best Actress Drama: Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

in_brugesBest Actor Musical or Comedy: Colin Farrell – In Bruges

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Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Sally Hawkins – Happy Go Lucky

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Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

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Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader

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Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

2008 Toronto Film Festival

2008 Toronto International Film Festival Winners

tiff_2008_poster_toronto

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every year in September in Toronto, Canada.
Films which premiere at Toronto are often nominated for Academy Awards the following year.

TIFF does not hand out individual prizes for Best Actor or Actress but focuses on amongst others the following awards:
People’s Choice Award & Best Canadian Feature Film

Passchendaele

Opening Night film: Passchendaele directed by Paul Gross; starring Paul Gross, Gil Bellows and Caroline Dhavernas

slumdog_millionaire

People’s Choice Award: Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle; starring Freida Pinto, Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan

Best Canadian Feature Film: Lost Song directed by Rodrigue Jean; starring Suzie LeBlanc, .

Adoration

Best Canadian Feature Film: (Special Jury Citation)Adoration directed by Atom Egoyan; starring Scott Speedman, , &

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Toronto_International_Film_Festival

Witches in the Air

Trance

trance_ver5

Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting director Danny Boyle returns to his Shallow Grave roots in the seductive and hypnotic sexual thriller Trance, revolving around an art heist of a 1798 Francisco Goya painting, Witches in the Air valued at 27 million pounds from a London auction house. Trance teems up Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) with James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland) and Rosario Dawson (Sin City) in a frenetic edge of the seat thriller about hypnosis, artistic obsessions, addictions and violence set in a 21st century contemporary London.

McAvoy plays a seemingly harmless Londoner Simon who while working at an auction house in London manages to save the expensive Goya painting during an audacious robbery from European gangster Franck played by Cassel and his band of ruthless thieves only to suffer a head trauma, not remembering where the original painting was hidden. Soon Simon threatened by Franck approaches a Harley Street hypnotist Dr Elizabeth Lamb, played with a sultry detachment by Rosario Dawson in one of her best roles yet. Trance is shot in brilliantly sharp Danny Boyle style with colour filters, wide angle shots and a pulsating musical score as the film follows the dangerous ménage a trios between Elizabeth, Simon and Franck as they all attempt to outwit each other with some serious violence and raunchy sex to spice up the narrative in a superbly visceral and intelligent thriller about art heists and what lengths people will go to in order to locate the original highly priced stolen work of art in this case the 18th century Spanish painting Witches in the Air.

No work of art is worth more than a human life

Trance centres on the premise that no work of art is worth more than a human life. Boyle who incidentally made this film, while directing the opening of the London 2012 Summer Olympics is clearly in his element in this tightly knit provocative tale of three bizarre characters who are sociopathic in their compulsion at all costs to find the original painting whilst throwing in revenge, amnesia and  some gory murder all to the seductive sound of Dawson’s entrancing voice.

Trance is fast paced, twisted, violent and superbly shot and will definitely leave viewers gasping at the end as their allegiance is switched and the plot takes a wonderfully unexpected turn in the sophisticated world of art heists. With loads of violence and nudity, Trance is not for sensitive viewers, making the Christopher Walken 2009 comedy The Maiden Heist look like child’s play.

81st Academy Awards

81st Academy Awards

22nd February 2009

Oscar Winners at the 81st Academy Awards

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Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

milk

Best Actor: Sean Penn – Milk

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Best Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader

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Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (received Oscar posthumously)

vicky_cristina_barcelona

Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black – Milk

Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy – Slumdog Millionaire

departures

Best Foreign Language Film: Departures directed by Yojiro Takita

Best Documentary Film: Man on Wire – directed James Marsh

Best Original Score: A. R. Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle – Slumdog Millionaire

duchess

Best Costume Design: Michael O’ Connor – The Duchess

Best Film Editing: Chris Dickens – Slumdog Millionaire

curious_case_of_benjamin_button

Best Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/81st_Academy_Awards

 

Coincidental Exhibitions

Strange Coincidences

So let me tell you a remarkably strange story about coincidences, clear and imagined. In October 2008, whilst returning from a break in the Drakensberg, I had a two day stay in Durban. The first night, I accompanied a family friend to an Exhibition opening at Kizo Gallery, Umhlanga. Being a Monday evening, it was a fairly sedate but definitely prolific crowd that gathered. The artist was Aparna Swarup and featured a beautiful collection of photographs of Allahabad, a place in India, where there is a confluence of three holy rivers. At the exhibition I met the artist’s husband, an Indian diplomat based in Pretoria, Vikas Swarup. The husband was cordial and polite. A chance encounter I thought nothing of at the time.

Golden Globes

Fours months later in January 2009, I am in Johannesburg, watching the Golden Globe awards and suddenly there is buzz about the new Danny Boyle film Slumdog Millionaire. Of course Slumdog wins countless Golden Globe awards and suddenly there is loads of media attention. Looking up the Golden Globe awards, I found that the film Slumdog Millionaire was based on a book Q & A by Vikas Swarup. I still didn’t make any connection until I returned to Durban and the family friend mentioned that the artist’s husband I met was Vikas Swarup and the book was an Indian version centering on a wonderful story of how a poverty-stricken boy comes to be on the Quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire set in Mumbai.

slumdog_millionaire

From Shallow Grave

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to Slumdog Millionaire

The film rights had been taken up and Q and A was filmed as Slumdog Millionaire tipped for Oscar glory. What better director than Danny Boyle the Manchester bred director who had brought British cinema into limelight again with such films as the Scottish thriller Shallow Grave and Trainspotting and launched the careers of Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox.

Trainspotting was an instant cult hit in the early 1990s and with a superb soundtrack and frenetic direction, filmgoers saw Edinburgh, crack addiction and trains in an entirely different light. Having met the author of Q and A, now suitably piqued by the curiosity of Danny Boyle’s film version, I purchased the novel and devoured it within a week relishing the wonderful way Swarup entwines the stories of his hero, Jamal with how he manages to reach the final and tantalizing finale of the Quiz show and shedding some light on the horrors and joys of contemporary India.

2009 Oscars come and go, Slumdog Millionaire sweeps the board, the soundtrack wins best original score, the film wins best director for Boyle and suddenly the stars Freda Pinto and Dev Patel are appearing on US talk shows, dancing Bollywood style with the likes of Ellen de Generes. The best part about seeing Slumdog Millionaire for me was watching it in the Supernova theatre at Suncoast Coast and experiencing the full brilliance of such a wonderful and frenetic film, a lush and hectic slant on modern day India. Nothing like watching a film on the big screen, the impact of which surely diminishes once a viewer sees it on DVD.

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