Archive for the thriller Category

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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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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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


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


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


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


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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Blue Ruin

Posted in Crime, Film-Noir, thriller with tags on June 6, 2014 by Mark Walker


Director: Jeremy Saulnier.
Screenplay: Jeremy Saulnier.
Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, Brent Werzner, David W. Thompson, Stacy Rock, Bonnie Johnson, Sidné Anderson.

The keys are in the car… the keys are in the car… the keys are in the car

Many didn’t pay attention when Jeremy Saulnier made his directorial debut in 2007 with the little seen comedy/horror film “Monster Party“. I know I didn’t. Now, though, it’s going to be hard to forget him as his sophomore effort “Blue Ruin” hits our screens (and our jugulars) with an impressively handled and assembled dark thriller that brings reminders of the arrival of the Coen brothers and all the taut and twisted glee of “Blood Simple“.

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