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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Whiplash

Posted in Drama on February 5, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Damien Chazelle.
Screenplay: Damien Chazelle.
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, Damon Gupton, Suanne Spoke, Max Kasch, Charlie Ian, Jayson Blair.

“If you deliberately sabotage my band, I’m gonna fuck you like a pig”.

One simple word springs to mind when I think of Whiplash. Just one word… “Oz“.
Those that are familiar with the HBO series that ran from 1997 to 2003 will no doubt remember the brutal intensity of the white supremacist character Vern Schillinger. It was one of my first experiences of actor J.K. Simmons and ever since then I’ve been a big fan. Now I’m not suggesting that Simmons is the only thing about this film that strikes you but he’ll mostly be the thing that leaves you continually thinking about it.

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A Most Violent Year

Posted in Crime, Drama on February 2, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: J.C. Chandor.
Screenplay: J.C. Chandor.
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Albert Brooks, Alessandro Nivola, Elyes Gabel, Catalina Sandino Morelo, Peter Gerety, Christopher Abbott.

“When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life, and that I can’t do”.

After the impressively talkative Margin Call and the hypnotically silent All Is Lost, the third film from J.C. Chandor had a lot of expectations behind it. However, due to a misjudged marketing campaign, I think many people will be left disappointed with A Most Violent Year. It’s doesn’t have echoes of The Godfather as the trailer would have you believe but is, in fact, a leisurely and low-key criminal affair that will mostly appeal to those who are prepared for it’s more personal story.

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Mourning Has Broken

Posted in Independent on January 29, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Directors: Brett Butler, Jason Butler.
Screenplay: Brett Butler, Jason Butler.
Starring: Robert Nolan, Shaun Devlin, Karen Sazuki, Jen De Lucia, Robyn Kay Pilarski, Damien Gulde, Katy Stephen, Sara Miller, Mike Donis, Graham Kent, Brett Butler, Jason Butler, Michael Salesio, Kevin Scott, Graeme Boyce, Joann Nordstrom, Vittorio Cortese, Jane Pokou.

“Respect the big screen and fuck, fuck… Fuck the little screen. Respect silence… and listen to surround sound. Listen to others and, truly, go and fuck yourselves”

With the intention of focusing more on independent cinema, I found myself chatting with co-writer/director Brett Butler and he kindly invited me to view his film Mourning Has Broken. He informed me that the film was shot for only $1000 and the project was actually a part of a Toronto 1KWave Feature film challenge to write, shoot, edit, and deliver a feature film in 3 months. The idea was spearheaded and funded by Canadian Indie film Queen Ingrid Veninger and they impressively shot the entire film in 5 1/2 days with almost 30 locations.

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