Rapid Movie Review: ‘T2 TRAINSPOTTING’, ‘PERSONAL SHOPPER’, ‘RAW’ and ‘SONG TO SONG’

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Preston Barta // Editor

T2 TRAINSPOTTING
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle
Opens Friday (Angelika Plano, Magnolia Dallas).

The weirdly titled T2 TRAINSPOTTING, a sequel to the 1996 cult classic about a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh, is the kind of direct sequel we always hope for. It’s got the original characters (including Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner and Robert Carlyle) back in action and adds more to their individual stories. If you remember the original TRAINSPOTTING, it ended rather abruptly. T2 provides a nice landing along with the fun hijinks and dazzling visuals.

Grade: B+

PERSONAL SHOPPER
Rated R, 105 minutes.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid BouazizAnders Danielsen Lie and Benjamin Biolay
Opens Friday (Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano).

This Kristen Stewart-starring ghost story set in France’s fashion scene certainly sends your skin crawling. The sum may not equal the creepy effect of its parts, but one cannot deny that it’ll have you continuously working to discover its overall meaning and will haunt you for days on end.

Grade: B

RAW
Rated R, 99 minutes.
Director: Julia Ducournau
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait OufellaLaurent Lucas and Joana Preiss
Opens Friday (Angelika Dallas).

While the story of a vegetarian vet school student (Garance Marillier) who slowly begins to crave the taste of human flesh may have you ready to stop reading this summary, RAW isn’t as hardcore as its story suggests. This French-language film is a more textured story than what we’ve seen come before from the horror genre. Julia Ducournau’s unspoiled feature-debut manages to not only be original and serve horror fans the thrills they’re hungry for, but it’s also a rather sweet and poetic narrative with real emotional bite.

Grade: A+

SONG TO SONG
Rated R, 129 minutes.
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Ryan GoslingNatalie Portman and Cate Blanchett
Opens Friday (Angelika Dallas).

If you’re not a fan of Terrence Malick’s loose narratives (THE TREE OF LIFE, KNIGHT OF CUPS), I’m afraid the star power of Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman and story set in Austin’s music scene will not change your mind. SONG TO SONG showcases Malick’s usual stunning photography and some great scenes (especially one involving Gosling’s character aiding his ailing father), you can’t escape the sense that it’s a two-hour long trailer without much to grasp. Sorry, Malick, but b-roll footage and poetic narration isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Grade: D

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.