Archive for the Crime Category

The Hateful Eight

Posted in Crime, Mystery, Western with tags on January 8, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Quentin Tarantino.
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Channing Tatum, Jason Parks, Zoe Bell, Gene Jones, Dana Gourrier, Lee Horsley, Keith Jefferson, Craig Stark, Belinda Owino.

“Keeping you at a disadvantage is an advantage I intend to keep”

In January 2014, Quentin Tarantino officially announced that he would be following up his successful western Django Unchained with yet another trip down the trail with The Hateful Eight. However, the script was leaked shortly after this announcement and he abandoned the project – seemingly in favour of releasing it as a book instead. After a successful live script read at the United Artists Theatre in Los Angeles, Tarantino again changed his mind and decided to go ahead with making the film. It’s now close to 25 years since he arrived on the scene with his blistering debut Reservoir Dogs and in that time he’s only released eight films – with the intention of retiring after his tenth. That said, he’s made enough for us to reflect on his style and in some ways you could say that – although the genre is very different – this is as close in structure to his debut than any other film he’s done. Continue reading

Miller’s Crossing

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on December 15, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen.
Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.
Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Jon Polito, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, J.E. Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Mike Starr, Al Mancini, Richard Woods, Thomas Toner, Michael Jeter, Michael Badalucco, Sam Raimi, Frances McDormand.

“You ain’t got a license to kill bookies and today I ain’t sellin’ any. So take your flunky and dangle”.

It was in 1984 that we were introduced to (what would become) two of cinema’s finest writer/director’s in Joel & Ethan Coen. Their darkly cynical debut Blood Simple grabbed audiences by the crotch yet their wacky follow up, Raising Arizona, managed to tickle said area. By their third film, Miller’s Crossing, there was no denying that this was truly a creative partnership that knew how to construct and deliver films of great substance and enjoyment.  Continue reading

Drive

Posted in Crime, thriller with tags on December 3, 2015 by Mark Walker


Director: Nicolas Winding Refn.
Screenplay: Hossein Amini.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks, Kaden Leos, Jeff Wolfe, James Biberi, Russ Tamblyn.

“I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive”

In 2008, just three years after the publication of James Sallis’ crime novel Drive, Universal Studios got behind the idea of a film adaptation. Originally, director Neil Marshall was to take the reigns and craft an L.A-set action mystery with Hugh Jackman as the lead. Two years later, this proposed plan collapsed and in stepped Ryan Gosling. With a spate of successful films and strong performances already behind him, Gosling was an actor in high demand and for the first time in his career he was given the opportunity to choose who would direct the film. Already a big admirer of his work, he chose Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. The film was eventually released in 2011 to mass acclaim and struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. Not only was Refn awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival but the film received a 15 minute standing ovation. Continue reading

God’s Pocket

Posted in Comedy, Crime, Drama with tags on November 26, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: John Slattery.
Screenplay: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery.
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, John Turturro, Christina Hendricks, Eddie Marsan, Domenick Lombardozzi, Caleb Landry Jones, Peter Gerety, Glenn Fleshler, Prudence Wright Jones, Jack O’Connell.

“I don’t know why writing down what everybody knows, is any better than knowing it in the first place”

Along with A Most Wanted Man, God’s Pocket was sadly one of only two remaining lead performances from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman – after his untimely death in 2014 to a heroine overdose. For this alone, it’s worth reminding yourself what a great talent this man was and how the medium of film will forever miss his astonishing onscreen presence. If truth be told, it’s not a role that requires him to do very much and the film itself continually switches tones but like many other movies featuring this fantastic actor, it benefits from his commitment and his everyman naturalism.
Continue reading

Out Of Sight

Posted in Crime, Drama, Romance with tags on November 16, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Steven Soderbergh.
Screenplay: Scott Frank.
Starring: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Albert Brooks, Catherine Keener, Isaiah Washington, Luis Guzman, Dennis Farina, Viola Davis, Nancy Allen, Paul Calderon, Keith Loneker, Mike Malone, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson.

“If I see Glenn wearing his sunglasses I’m gonna step on ’em. I might not even take ’em off first”

The late Elmore Leonard had been writing crime and western novels as far back as the 1950’s and has had numerous adaptations of his work: Paul Newman in Hombre, Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd and Charles Bronson in Mr. Majestyk are just some of the more familiar ones. However, around the mid 90’s there was somewhat of a reinvestment in his work. After the release of Quentin Tarantino’s hugely influential Pulp Fiction in 1994, crime became cool again and Elmore Leonard became the go-to guy for the material. John Travolta would follow-up Pulp with Barry Sonnenfeld’s humorous adaptation of Leonard’s Get Shorty and Tarantino himself adapted Rum Punch into Jackie Brown. There were other TV Movies like Gold Coast and Pronto, Paul Schrader’s misjudged Touch and the short lived TV series Maximum Bob. Steven Soderbergh then rounded them off with this stylish film that, arguably, handed George Clooney the first role that suited him as a fully fledged leading man.   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

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