Archive for 1992

Reservoir Dogs

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on October 7, 2014 by Mark Walker

IMG_2104.JPG

Director: Quentin Tarantino.
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney, Randy Brooks, Kirk Baltz, Eddie Bunker, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Wright.

“Somebody’s stickin’ a red hot poker up our asses and I wanna know who’s name’s on the handle”

Before becoming a cinematic sensation, a young Quentin Tarantino worked in the film rental store Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, and would often recommend little-known titles to customers. On one occasion, he suggested Louis Malle’s Au Revoir Les Enfants, to which the customer mockingly replied, “I don’t want to see no Reservoir Dogs.” And so the title of Tarantino’s blistering debut film was born. It was originally planned as a $30,000 personal film with his friends, before Harvey Keitel showed an interest in the script and came onboard as the star and co-producer which helped hike the budget up to $1.5 million. The rest, as they say, is history. Tarantino had finally made his mark on the movie map and has since become one of the most highly praised directors of his, or any other, generation.

Continue reading

CLASSIC SCENE: “It takes brass balls to sell real-estate”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 3, 2013 by Mark Walker

Film: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
Screenplay: David Mamet.

20130629-161303.jpg

Setting the scene: In a tough Chicago real-estate office, three salesmen: SHELLEY LEVINE (Jack Lemmon), DAVE MOSS (Ed Harris) and GEORGE AARONOW (Alan Arkin) are confronted by BLAKE (Alec Baldwin), telling them about their future as salesmen, while their unsympathetic supervisor JOHN WILLIAMSON (Kevin Spacey) looks on.

Blake
Let me have your attention for a moment! Cause you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…

[He puts out his cigarette before continuing]

…bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch that don’t want to buy land, somebody that doesn’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to screw and so forth. Let’s talk about something important.

(He turns to Williamson)
Are they all here?

Williamson
All but one.

Blake
Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important!

[Levene is at the back of the office, making himself a coffee.]

Put that coffee down!! Coffee’s for closers only.

[Levene scoffs as Blake walks towards him]

Do you think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levene?

Levene
Yeah.

Blake
You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?

Moss
I don’t gotta listen to this shit.

Blake
You certainly don’t pal. Cause the good news is… you’re fired.
The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting tonight. Starting with tonights sit…
Oh, have I got your attention now? Good! Cause we’re adding a little something to this months sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize?

[He holds up second prize]

Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture? You’re laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them! You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it ’cause you are going out!

Levene
The leads are weak.

Blake
‘The leads are weak.’ Fucking leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business fifteen years.

Moss
What’s your name?

Blake
FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, Mister? Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That’s my name!

(to Levene)
And your name is “you’re wanting.” And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them.

(at a near whisper)
then go home and tell your wife your troubles.

(to everyone again)
Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?

[Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and AIDA.]

Blake
A-B-C! A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!! A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.
Attention – do I have your attention? Interest – are you interested? I know you are, ’cause it’s fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks! Decision -have you made your decision for Christ?! And action.
A-I-D-A; get out there! You got the prospects comin’ in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

(to Moss)
What’s the problem pal? You. Moss.

Moss
You’re such a hero, you’re so rich. How come you’re comin’ down here and wasting your time on a such bunch of bums?

[Blake takes off his gold watch and lays it on Moss' desk]

Blake
You see this watch? You see this watch?

Moss
Yeah

Blake
That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids!

(to everyone)
You wanna work here? Close!

(to Aaronow)
You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don’t like it… leave.

(to everyone)
I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make myself fifteen thousand dollars! Tonight! In two hours!

(to Levene)
Can you?

(to Moss)
Can you?

(to everyone)
Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A!! Get mad!! You son of a bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to sell real estate?

[He pulls something out of his briefcase. It's two brass balls on a string and he holds them over his crotch, pausing for a moment]

Blake
It takes brass balls to sell real estate.

Blake
Go and do likewise, gents. The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours. You don’t, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, close, it’s yours. If not you’re going to be shining my shoes. And you know what you’ll be saying? Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar…

(in a mocking weak voice)
“Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it’s a tough racket.”

[From his briefcase, he takes out a large stack of red index cards tied together with string]

These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away.

[He hands the stack to Williamson]

They’re for closers.
I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

(to Moss, as he puts on his watch again)
And to answer your question, pal: why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked me for a favour. I said, the real favour, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.

[Blake stares at Moss for a second and then picking up his briefcase, walks away to the inner office with Williamson]

Baraka * * * * *

Posted in Documentary with tags on February 10, 2013 by Mark Walker

20130210-115055.jpg

Director: Ron Fricke.
Concept: Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson.

Released in 1992, it’s took me a while to get around to this one. It’s director, Ron Fricke, had previously contributed writing, editing and cinematography duties on the similarly themed and outstandingly powerful “Koyaanisqatsi” by Godfrey Reggio before embarking on this (his own) journey ten years later.

20130210-115339.jpg

I wouldn’t even call this a film. I’d call it more a series of moving images. But what stunning beauty there is to behold here. It was filmed by a five person crew over a period of 14 months in 24 countries across 6 continents and there are a plethora of images that will instil a myriad of emotional responses; they will enlighten and disturb, they will force you to ponder and wonder. In short, they are images of evolution and life and they will leave you in absolute awe of our natural world and the direct involvement we have in it. It explores different cultures and tribal rituals, it marvels at cloud formations and stunning sunsets. This is the flora and fauna of our environment in all it’s most natural beauty. If you can imagine Terrence Malick directing a dialogue free, documentary then you have a idea of what to expect here. It does contain a certain, loose, narrative structure and like the sublime, BBC, David Atteborough nature programs it is stunningly captured and assembled. As mentioned, it contains no dialogue whatsoever, relying solely on sounds and an ethereal music score, featuring the haunting and angelic vocal talents of Lisa Gerrard.

20130210-115441.jpg

Anyone familiar with the aforementioned and absolutely amazing, visual documentary “Koyaanisqatsi” or it’s follow up “Powaqqatsi” will know how much of treat they are in for here. If you haven’t seen any of these, then I urge you to do so.

20130210-115524.jpg

There isn’t much else I can say to describe this other than… the meaning of the word ‘Baraka’ is an ancient Sufi word that translates to “a blessing, or the breath, or the essence of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds.”
This and the extra photos I include speak a thousand more words that I ever could.

20130210-115609.jpg

It simply has to be seen to be believed.

Mark Walker

20130210-115926.jpg

20130210-115953.jpg

20130210-120022.jpg

20130210-120048.jpg

20130210-120116.jpg

20130210-120207.jpg

20130210-120231.jpg

20130210-120253.jpg

Scent Of A Woman * * * *

Posted in Drama with tags on February 21, 2012 by Mark Walker

20120221-095551.jpg

Director: Martin Brest.
Screenplay: Bo Goldman.
Starring: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Venture, Bradley Whitford, Rochelle Oliver, Frances Conroy.

Al Pacino is one of the most respected and talented actors in the history of filmmaking. So why did it take him over 20 years in the business before he finally got his hands on one of those golden little baldies, that go by the name of Oscar? It’s a question that will confound many but at least now, with this performance in 1992, it can, proudly, rest on his mantelpiece.

In order to make some money for a Christmas trip home, impoverished college-student Charlie (Chris O’Donnell) agrees to look after Frank (Al Pacino), a blind retired Colonel for Thanksgiving. Babysitting takes on a whole new dimension when Frank decides he wants to spent the weekend living it up in New York City.

At the time of this films release Pacino had had 4 nominations for Best Actor and 3 nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He had produced such sterling work in classic films like “The Godfather”, “Serpico”, “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Scarface”. This is only a few in a long list but, finally, no-one could argue with his bravura portrayal of a blind, hard drinking, ex-Army colonel. This isn’t the type of film you’d tip for Pacino receiving an award but it’s a performance that can’t be ignored. Yes, grandstanding does ensue, but hey! It’s Pacino, he’s allowed. There’s an unsettling intensity to his performance that’s so powerful, it’s hard to take your eyes off him. Ironically, he plays a blind man but his performance allows the audience to see. To see, what an actor can encapsulate. The film itself is a tad lighthearted and despite being overshadowed considerably, a young Chris O’Donnell handles himself well in such company. But it feels like the story itself is only a vehicle, or series of scenes, in which to allow Al to chew up. It’s enjoyable stuff nonetheless and at a running time of 2hrs 30mins, you wouldn’t know. The time flies by as it’s so much fun. A major demerit is the Hollywood perfect, rousing, finale though. The schmaltz factor goes through the roof, leaving you feeling a bit embarrassed at the audacity in even attempting it and it seriously sells the film short.

If I was to rate this based on Pacino’s performance, it would be an unquestionable 5 stars. However, the flimsy material brings the film down a notch.

Mark Walker

20120221-095909.jpg

Glengarry Glen Ross * * * * *

Posted in Drama with tags on February 17, 2012 by Mark Walker

20120217-154056.jpg

Director: James Foley.
Screenplay: David Mamet.
Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Jonathan Pryce.

Writer David Mamet is known for his sharp and natural dialogue but when you combine this with sharp and natural actors, you get nothing less than an intense and searing drama where every word sizzles and every performance lights up the screen. It’s a perfect match.

Set entirely within the office of a handful of real estate salesmen, where business is tough and the threat of unemployment looms. The ruthless boss has them all competing with one another and the prize of a Cadillac for finishing top of the leader board. The bottom of the board, however, will be fired. This leads the desperate men to pull out all the stops in swindling their way to safety.

First of all, have a look at the cast and ask yourself… Does this look good? The answer should be a resounding, Yes! The line-up itself is enough to sell this film and despite having a dodgy title, the cast do not disappoint. This is the type of film that allows you to appreciate good acting. Based on David Mamet’s Pulitzer prize winning stageplay, it’s a very basic premise… One room; Six greed infused salesman; Limited jobs. The perfect melting pot for top actors at the top of their game to spout profanities and act their little cotton socks off. The world that these vile characters inhabit and the cruel and manipulative way in which they operate is torturously played out. There really are no depths to which these people will not stoop. Not only do they vie to take money from unsuspecting, ordinary people, they vie to outdo each other.
Ensembles like this are few and far between and, as always, Al Pacino is great but it’s Jack Lemmon who really shows his class here, as a desperate, bumbling fool who has past his best in this cut-throat business. A 10min cameo from Alec Baldwin though, almost steals the show, informing us of what’s needed to sell Real Estate… “Brass Balls”.

This enables you to sit back, in the comfort of your own home, and view a marvellous ensemble as if being treated to a night at the theatre.
If you appreciate great actors working with great dialogue, then this is one of the best. Top Quality.

Mark Walker

20120217-154459.jpg

The Last Of The Mohicans * * * * 1/2

Posted in Action, Drama, Romance with tags on January 29, 2012 by Mark Walker

20120129-161933.jpg

Director: Michael Mann.
Screenplay: Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe.
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Wes Studi, Russell Means, Maurice Roeves, Steven Waddington, Eric Schweig, Jodhi May, Patrice Chereau, Terry Kinney, David Schofield, Dylan Baker, Jared Harris, Colm Meaney, Pete Postlethwaite.

Director Michael Mann’s vast canvas is normally urban with a keen eye for a sprawling cityscape. Here though, he shows his vision is just as effective when his surroundings are the sweeping forestry and mountain ranges of North America.

1757, the French and British battle for control of North America in the French and Indian war. Travelling through these lands are mohawk ‘Chingachgook’ (Russell Means), his son ‘Uncas’ (Eric Schweig) and his adopted white son ‘Hawkeye’ (Daniel Day-Lewis). They want no part of the war but when they happen to become a rescue party to ‘Cora’ (Madeleine Stowe) and ‘Alice’ (Jodhi May) daughters of Scottish Colonel Edmund Munro (Maurice Roeves) they gradually become embroiled.

During the making of this, Mann was forced by the studio to cut his +3 hour long film. Despite this, it still feels like the intended epic at just under two hours. That’s thanks to his assured pacing, the beautiful cinematography and the stirring music combining to marvellous and rousing effect. It’s a magnificent modern adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel brought vibrantly to the screen by Mann’s skillful direction and his ability to stage superb action set-pieces. The quietly thrilling and powerful Shakespearean finale is something to behold and one of the most tragic, yet most satisfying endings you’re ever likely to see. The acting is flawless throughout, with Day-Lewis delivering a charismatic central performance and despite having very little dialogue, Wes Studi is a standout as the native ‘Magua’, one of cinema’s greatest villains.

A sweeping epic with breathtaking cinematography, gripping action scenes and a rousing music score all coalescing for a kinetic and powerful romantic adventure. One of Mann’s finest.

Mark Walker

20120204-143857.jpg

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,017 other followers