Screening Room: ‘T2 Trainspotting’

It’s been about twenty years, what have the lads from Trainspotting been up to? Much the same as before, only with less heroin, it would appear. T2 Trainspotting, the hit-and-miss but turbocharged sequel from all the original crew, is playing now.

My review is at Film Journal International:

The last we saw Renton (Ewan McGregor) in Trainspotting, that verve-and-nerve 1990s midpoint between Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, he was absconding with several thousand pounds that he and his junkie mates had scored in a heroin deal. The first we see of him in the sequel, two decades on, he’s still running. But unlike the first film’s now-iconic dashes through the streets of Edinburgh, now Renton, the onetime rail-thin hedonist and Iggy Pop enthusiast, is on a treadmill. In a gym. It all seems to have gone intensely wrong for him even before he has a good percussive pratfall to start this pell-mell sequel…

Here’s the trailer:

Screening Room: ‘Steve Jobs’

Michael Fassbender as 'Steve Jobs' (Universal)
Michael Fassbender as ‘Steve Jobs’ (Universal)

jobs-book coverA few years back, Aaron Sorkin wrote a wildly one-sided account of Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to riches and infamy as the founder of Facebook, The Social Network. Now he’s (theoretically, at least) adapted Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs for another tale of a socially malformed but market-prescient innovator. It’s more even-handed about its subject, to a degree, but somehow far less interesting.

Steve Jobs is already playing in limited release and opens wider this week. My review is at PopMatters:

What Steve Jobs leaves us with isn’t a genius or even a particularly innovative business manager. One after the other, aggrieved former colleagues or family come for some kind of reconciliation or passive-aggressive score-settling, only to be hit with the paranoid, megalomaniacal verbal assaults [former Apple CEO John] Sculley calls the “Steve Jobs revenge machine”. On the surface this looks like an attempt to puncture the bubble of Jobs’s self-created genius mystique and show his seedy underbelly. But the film’s heart isn’t in it. Each time, Jobs gets the upper hand…

My 2011 review of Isaacson’s book is here.

Here’s the trailer: