my favorite danny boyle movies
dammit it all to hell. i did watch the last half hour of the academy awards last night. i probably would've watched the whole of the telecast but i was out shopping with nick and by the time i got around to glancing at the tv it was already nearly 8:00 pm. i didn't see but one of the movies nominated for best picture. the one i flick i did catch this year toy story 3  didn't win best movie. i was suprised to see this pixar pic nominated at all. i thought it was a wonderful coda to the franchise with some moving moments. it might've been killer to see it win too but alas no. big deal. there are only three movies on tonight's best movie list that i do want to see, eventually. one of those movies is 127 hours  directed by danny boyle. boyle's production is scheduled for release on dvd this tuesday.
which got me to thinking of my favorite danny boyle pics. i'm a big fan of boyle but i've not seen every movie he's directed. i've yet to see boyle's last oscar winner slumdog millionaire . but boyle made two movies that have obsessed me this past decade along with one in the 1990s. these are my favorite boyle films.
shallow grave 
anna and i rented the vhs tape from tower video back in the day and at the time i had no idea who boyle was as a director. this blackest of black comedy is frightening and hilarious. three awful people are flatmates who take in a fourth boarder only to find him dead shortly after he moves in. along with the body they also discover a satchel of cash that can make all them rich. the dilemma is whether to go to the police or keep the money for themselves. this is a film about what happens when you quite literally sell your soul to the devil. from the first frame to the last image of ewan mcgregor's smiling mug boyle crafted a brilliant debut feature film that strongly displays his talents as a filmmaker.
28 days later 
god i love this movie. i must've watched at least 10 times straight when it was released to dvd. timely and harrowing this story about our hubris to control nature, whether it be with good intentions with the animal rights activists who unwittingly unleashes the virus that soon decimates our civilization to the people who created the virus, is spot on. boyle and his cinematrogphers decided to use digital cameras rather than traditional film. the result is a grainier, documentary-style visualization of a depleted and ruined u.k. the smallest details are stunning from the message board with desperately scrawled notes to missing loved ones to the piece of graffiti found within a church that reads REPENT THE END IS FUCKING WELL NIGH had me use my remote to slow down, pause and rewind sections of the film and study them like a lit student poring over the notes to the riverside edition of the canterbury tales. boyle revisioned the zombie film for our early century and ideas and even scenes have been used as either homage or outright lifted from in later zombie films such as the remake of dawn of the dead  to the tv series the walking dead. these latter filmmakers all have boyle to thank.
this movie may be the most flawed on this list. it certainly isn't a perfect film but it is an utterly fascinating and absorbing pic, for me at any rate. this movie didn't have a theatrical run here in sac, not even in the arthouses, but i did manage to get a couple of preview tix for it's one of two screenings at a suburban multiplex. i was mesmerized. this is less a sci-fi film than it is a metaphysical study of life. where this movie trips up is the introduction of a bad guy in the last few reels that creates a sort of action film when boyle might've done better to keep it straight as a story of a group of astronauts trying to reignite a dying sun. still, with a haunting score by john murphy [boyle used murphy's music for 28 days later] that's later been recycled for, again, the walking dead and last year's action flick kick-ass  along with a grainy visual field and special fx that look both contemporary and ahead of our time boyle created an eminently watchable movie that is worthy of any one's list of thoughtful sci-fi films.
so no there wasn't a tear in my beer when boyle didn't win best film tonight. i thought the oscars were entertaining viewing but i really don't care what movie wins or loses. such best of lists do not influence what i watch. clearly this is evident of my favorite boyle movies. these are flix that may or may not be his best efforts. again, i still haven't seen boyle's oscar contenders. some movies speak to you and some don't. doesn't take a statue for a film to speak to you. or even obsess you. or not. awards are not why i love movies. i love cinema because movies are, to put it quite plainly, awesome.