Archive for the Mystery Category

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

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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Calvary

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Mystery with tags on November 21, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: John Michael McDonagh.
Screenplay: John Michael McDonagh.
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly, Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankole, M. Emmet Walsh, David Wilmot, Marie-Josee Croze, Domhnall Gleeson, Orla O’Rourke, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Killian Scott, Owen Sharpe.

“That’s great cocaine. Very moreish.”

The first collaboration between director John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson was 2011’s hugely original and hilarious Irish film “The Guard” which delivered one of Gleeson’s most memorable roles and showed that McDonagh shared a similar offbeat approach to his brother Martin’s “In Bruges“. Martin went on to make a misjudged step to the U.S. with “Seven Psychopaths“, meanwhile John wisely decided to remain in Ireland and produce the best film of them all.

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Se7en

Posted in Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery, thriller with tags on November 4, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: David Fincher.
Screenplay: Andrew Kevin Walker.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, John C. McGinley, Richard Roundtree, Leland Orser, Mark Boone Junior, Richard Portnow, Richard Schiff, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Spacey.

“He’s a nut-bag! Just because the fucker’s got a library card doesn’t make him Yoda”.

There have been many memorable serial-killer thrillers over the years ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho to Michael Mann’s Manhunter, through Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs and even Fincher’s later investigative thriller Zodiac could include itself among the greats. Some of these titles mentioned might already strike you as the very best of the sub-genre but, for me, David Fincher’s dark and disturbing Se7en is the one to beat.

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The Two Faces Of January

Posted in Mystery, thriller with tags on October 23, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Hossein Amini.
Screenplay: Hossein Amini.
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, Kirsten Dunst, David Warshofsky, Daisy Bevan, James Sobol Kelly.

“I’m sorry I disappointed you”

Whether or not you have read any of the psychological thrillers of novelist Patricia Highsmith is neither here nor there but as film fans you will no doubt be familiar with the adaptations of her work. The most notable being Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train, René Clément’s Plein Soleil or Anthony Minghella’s American remake of the same story in The Talented Mr. Ripley. A knowledge of these films will give you an idea of the suspense contained within her prose. However, Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini has unearthed a lesser known gem in The Two Faces Of January and his translation from page to screen delivers one of the best and most accomplished thrillers of the year.

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Cold In July

Posted in Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery, thriller with tags on October 20, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Jim Mickle.
Screenplay: Nick Damici, Jim Mickle.
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici, Wyatt Russell, Bill Sage, Brogan Hall, Kristin Griffith, Ken Holmes.

“Well, boys, it’s Howdy Doody Time”

Jim Mickle is not a director who’s name you might instantly recognise but he’s one that’s been chipping away at career for himself. Along with writing partner Nick Damici, they’ve delivered some relatively successful, low-budget horror films over the last few years with Mulberry St, Stake Land and a remake of the Spanish film We Are What We Are. With Cold In July, they’ve delved into a different genre altogether but, again, the results are quite impressive.

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Enemy

Posted in Drama, Mystery, thriller with tags on May 22, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Denis Villenueve.
Screenplay: Javier Gullón.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Kedar Brown.

“The last thing you need is meeting strange men in hotel rooms. You already have enough trouble sticking with one woman, don’t you?”

Reportedly made before they collaborated on the impressive vigilante thriller “Prisoners” in 2013, Jake Gyllenhaal and director Denis Villeneuve crafted this fascinating and hugely involving psychological drama. Now that the surrealist master David Lynch has seemingly taken a backseat from filmmaking, it’s promising to see that someone else is able to handle the material that wouldn’t be out of place in his hands.

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