An intense character study, as well as an examination on the fallacy of success, A Woman, A Part is certain to go down as one of the year's most accomplished debut features. Writer/director Elizabeth Subrin captures her film with a sense of intimacy and distress that is seldom seen in American cinema, and its astonishing to see how much it resembles John Cassavetes (perhaps the title is even a nod to A Woman Under the Influence). It's an often rough film that looks at a damaged set of characters, but it avoids being overtly grim by having sparkles of humor, and even a deceptive tone that's ultimately optimistic. Maggie Siff (perhaps best known for her TV roles on Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men) gives a towering performance here as an actress torn between her career and her morals, and one must think how much of her own experience is placated in the film. Nicely paced and wisely budgeted, A Woman, A Part is a strong picture all around, and one that establishes Elisabeth Subrin as a talent to acknowledge.
The long-awaited sequel to Trainspotting manages to retain a modicum of the original's charm, yet it's also a bit of an unfocused follow-up that never really gestates itself as necessary. The film's strongest card (as was the case with the 1996 film) is that it manages to be both brutal and affable, and Danny Boyle's direction amidst a larger budget certainly livens up the experience. The returning cast all do good turns as well, and it's hard to believe that it's been 21 years since they last portrayed these characters. Sadly though, John Hodge doesn't meet up on his end, and his script is very underwhelming. While certainly full of good ideas, it never really gestates well as a whole, nor is as it thematically resonant as one would hope. Also, it's a bit nerve-racking that the film doesn't delve into how much drug culture has changed in recent years (or the world itself for that matter). Not a disaster, but a disappointment given the two-decade wait, and the fact that Danny Boyle's talents certainly haven't diminished.