Archive for the Crime Category

God’s Pocket

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


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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Inherent Vice

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


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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