Posted in Drama on October 7, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Steven Knight.
Screenplay: Steven Knight.
Starring: Tom Hardy.
Voices: Olivia Colman, Tom Holland, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Bill Milner, Danny Webb, Alice Lowe, Lee Ross.

“I’ve made my decision”

Despite appearing in many films beforehand, I think it’s fair to say that Tom Hardy’s breakout role was in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson in 2009. Many (myself included) were instantly struck by his bravery and his ability to inhabit such an intense role. In that film he threw everything at us and since then he hasn’t looked back. What’s most encouraging, though, is that he isn’t afraid to spread his talents. He’s already done Hollywood: The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior and Inception, to name a few, but it’s in this small independent project that Hardy delivers some career best work. Continue reading

The Drop

Posted in Crime, thriller on October 5, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Michaël R. Roskam.
Screenplay: Dennis Lehane.
Starring: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenearts, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aranov, Morgan Spector, Michael Esperanto, James Fresheville, Tobias Segal, Chris Sullivan, Patricia Squire, Ann Dowd.

“Are you doing something desperate? Something we can’t clean up this time?”

The Drop is one of those films that almost sneaks by an audience but strangely there’s still something that catches the eye. That something may be because it’s yet another adaptation of the normally successful page to screen transfer of crime novelist Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River & Shutter Island); the English language debut of Bullhead director Michaël R. Roskam or that it features the last screen performance of the late, great James Gandolfini. All of these are reason enough to see it, but the one that really makes it worthwhile is the ubiquitous and quietly commanding Tom Hardy. Continue reading

Cop Land

Posted in Crime, Drama, thriller on September 29, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: James Mangold.
Screenplay: James Mangold.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Janeane Garafalo, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, John Spencer, Frank Vincent, Malik Yoba, Arthur J. Nascarella, Edie Falco, Paul Calderon, John Doman, Victor Williams, Method Man, Frank Pellegrino, Robert John Burke, John Ventimiglia, Tony Sirico.

“Being right is not a bullet proof vest, Freddy”

The problem with Cop Land, is that it’s full of cops. Well there is that, but in all seriousness, for any fan of the crime genre they will find there are two things that are unavoidable when looking over the cast of the film. One, is legendary director Martin Scorsese and the regulars that feature in his work: There is, of course, DeNiro and Keitel (who need no introduction) but there’s also Liotta (Goodfellas), Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull) and Frank Vincent who appears in both the latter two (as well as Casino). Vincent also brings me to the other unavoidable thing… the finest television series on the subject; The Sopranos. By my count, there’s no less than ten cast members that are recognisable throughout six seasons and those well versed will notice; Carmela, Paulie, Artie Bucco and Vincent’s Phil Leotardo, among others.
Continue reading


Posted in Biography, Drama on September 24, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Penny Marshall.
Screenplay: Steven Zaillian.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, Penelope Ann Miller, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Max Von Sydow, Alice Drummond, Judith Malina, Richard Libertini, Anne Meara, Barton Heyman, George Martin, Keith Diamond, Mary Alice, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Vincent Pastore, Vin Diesel.

“I’m sorry. If you were right, I would agree with you”

Despite being a prominent director throughout the 80’s and 90’s, surprisingly, Penny Marshall seemed to hang up her boots after 2001’s Driving in Cars with Boys. To be fair, her films always had a cloying or whimsical tinge to them and her last few movies didn’t reach the heights of her earlier work like A League of Their Own and Big but she always showed promise as a director – with Awakenings, arguably, being her most accomplished work. Continue reading

Mean Streets

Posted in Crime, Drama on September 16, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Martin Scorsese, Mardik Martin.
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro, David Proval, Richard Romanus, Amy Robinson, Cesare Danova, David Carradine, John Carradine, Victor Argo, George Memmoli, Lenny Scaletta, Jeannie Bell, Martin Scorsese.

“You don’t make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it”

Although Mean Streets wasn’t Martin Scorsese’s directorial debut it can often feel like it was. He’d already done Who’s That Knocking at My Door in 1968 and Boxcar Bertha in 1972 but this was the film that not only began his illustrious collaborations with Robert DeNiro but it was his first film to delve into the gangster sub-genre and displayed all the embryonic, stylistic trademarks that he has now become synonymous with. Quite simply, Mean Streets showcased the talents of Scorsese and fully confirmed the arrival of one of the greatest American directors while becoming hugely influential on future films and filmmakers alike.
Continue reading


Posted in Comedy, Horror, thriller on April 16, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Gerard Johnstone
Screenplay: Gerard Johnstone.
Starring: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Ross Harper, Ryan Lampp, Mick Innes, Millen Baird, Bruce Hopkins, Wallace Chapman, David Van Horn.

“But anyone who says there’s no such thing as a bad egg obviously hasn’t worked in social services”

The minute I find myself being critical of comedies and horrors (or the lack of good ones, as the case may be) two splendid film’s come along in quick succession that manage to cut across both genres. After the hysterical Antipodean horror-comedy What We Do In The Shadows – which was hands down the funniest film of 2014 – it’s refreshing to see that New Zealand had yet another one up their sleeve, as well as a promising new writer/director in Gerard Johnstone. 

Continue reading

What Doesn’t Kill You

Posted in Crime, Drama on March 13, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Brian Goodman.
Screenplay: Brian Goodman, Paul T. Murray, Donnie Wahlberg.
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, Amanda Peet, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Goodman, Will Lyman, Angela Featherstone, Edward Lynch, Brian Connolly, Michael Yebba, Lenny Clarke.

“I’m sick of all this nickel and dime bullshit”

The Best Supporting Actor nominations in this year’s Oscars was arguably the toughest category of any. We had screen legend Robert Duvall in The Judge, a rejuvenated Edward Norton in Birdman, deserving winner J.K. Simmons in Whiplash and Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke for Foxcatcher and Boyhood respectively. But, like me, what you may not have known is the latter two had already shared the screen together in true-life, little seen, crime drama What Doesn’t Kill You. Continue reading


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