Housebound

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. 

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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

First Snow

Posted in Mystery, thriller on March 9, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Mark Fergus.

Screenplay: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby.

Starring: Guy Pearce, J.K. Simmons, Piper Perabo, William Fichtner, Shea Wigham, Rick Gonzalez, Steven Michael Quezada, Adam Scott, Jackie Burroughs, David House, Luce Rains.

“Your fate lies on whatever road you take. Even if you choose to run from it”

Guy Pearce is a very talented actor that hasn’t quite achieved the leading man credentials he so thoroughly deserves. However, he still has a knack for choosing great roles. The real gems among his work tends to be lower budget indie fair. Some can hit the quality heights of Memento or L.A. Confidential and reach a mass audience while others become respectful career choices that tend to slip under the radar. Personally, I think Pearce’s choices are always very interesting and First Snow is a prime example of his astute eye for a good role and project. Continue reading

Interstellar

Posted in Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction on March 4, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Christopher Nolan. 

Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan.

StarringMatthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn, Wes Bentley, David Gyasi, David Oyelowo, Topher Grace, William Devane, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Collette Wolfe, Francis X. McCarthy, Bill Irwin, Josh Stewart.

“You might have to decide between seeing your children again and the future of the human race”

With consistent deliveries over the years, director Christopher Nolan has now carved himself a place among the Hollywood elite. His sophomore movie Memento still remains one of my top ten personal favourite films but it was his hugely successful Dark Knight trilogy and the teasingly elaborate Inception that most people identified with. As a result of these blockbusters, there was much anticipation upon the release of his Sci-Fi epic Interstellar. Many were so enthused that they were literally counting down the days till the film’s release. The anticipation was so huge that there was bound to be disappointment as few films can ever truly deliver on such a basis of expectation. Interstellar has become prey to this and I can honestly say that I wish I hadn’t listened to the naysayers and their feelings of deflation. Continue reading

Inherent Vice

Posted in Comedy, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery on February 17, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson.
Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson, Reece Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Eric Roberts, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Serena Scott Thomas, Maya Rudolph, Hong Chau, Jordan Christian Hearn, Jeannie Berlin, Christopher Allen Nelson, Keith Jardine, Martin Dew, Jefferson Mays, Martin Donovan.

“Back when, she could go weeks without anything more complicated than a pout. Now she was laying some heavy combination of face ingredients on him that he couldn’t read at all”

Do you know that feeling of anticipation you get whenever a respected director is releasing a new film? It’s the same feeling that often surrounds Quentin Tarantino’s releases. Well, I also get that feeling when I hear of a new Paul Thomas Anderson project and I’m pretty certain many others do too. That being said, Anderson’s last two introspective films There Will Be Blood and The Master took him much further away from his earlier vibrant works of Boogie Nights and Magnolia and left a number of his fans finding them too onerous. Many may not agree but if he was ever to bridge that gap then Inherent Vice is that bridge.

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Foxcatcher

Posted in Biography, Drama on February 13, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Bennett Miller.
Screenplay: Dan Futterman, E. Max Frye.
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd, Brett Rice, Jackson Frazer, Samara Lee.

“I’m gonna give you everything I have”.

After the likes of Capote and Moneyball it comes as no surprise that Bennett Miller has chosen yet another true story for his third feature film. With these films in mind, it also comes as no surprise that his ability to focus on an individuals obsession and determination is as intense as he’s proven already.

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Fantasy on February 10, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolás Giacobone, Armando Bo.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, Lindsay Duncan, Craig Mums Grant, Frank Ridley, Bill Camp.

“Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige”

Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu is not normally known for his jeu d’esprit and has seemed more comfortable while dealing with heavily pessimistic and sombre themes. His previous films Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful are all excellent works but they require serious commitment to get yourself through their excruciatingly downbeat material. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that his latest effort in Birdman is ultimately about the fractured and fragile psyche of a man on a seemingly downward spiral. However, Birdman shows another side to Iñárritu’s talents; black it may be but he now surprisingly displays a great talent for comedy.

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