Ready Player One

Posted in Action, Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction with tags on April 20, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Steven Spielberg.
Screenplay: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline.
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch, Clare Higgins, Perdita Weeks.

“People come to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be”

When Jaws was released in 1975, it done so well at the box-office that it was the first film to become, what we now know as, the “blockbuster”. Having been responsible for this, it looks like Steven Spielberg (at the ripe age of 71) isn’t in any mood for changing as Ready Player One – his 33rd film – is still an example of the big brand of entertainment that he’s now synonymous with. That said, he hasn’t been delivering that many of these types of films for quite some time now, choosing instead to focus on more dramatic material but I’m happy to say that he still possesses that childlike imagination and adventurous touch. Continue reading

A Separation

Posted in Drama, Foreign Language with tags on April 13, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Asghar Farhadi.
Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi.
Starring: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi, Babak Karimi, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh, Kimia Hosseini, Merila Zarei.

“What is wrong is wrong, no matter who said it or where it’s written”

After About Elly and The Salesman I’ve decided to complete my Asghar Farhadi trilogy by ending on probably his most widely received and critically acclaimed film, A Separation. By winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 2011, this is arguably the film that brought Farhadi a lot more global attention. That said, it’s not just because it won the Oscar that suggests it’s a good film, its because it’s a great film and the Academy would’ve been fools to ignore it. This film showcases Farhadi at the peak of his powers when it comes to assembling a narrative with great depth that explores numerous important moral complexities. Continue reading

The Salesman

Posted in Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery with tags on April 11, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Asghar Farhadi.
Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi.
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Baba Karimi, Farid Sajjadihosseini, Mina Sadaati, Maral Bani Adam, Mehdi Kooshki, Emad Emani, Shirin Aghakashi, Mojtaba Pirzadeh, Sarah Asadollahe, Sam Valipour.

“Degenerate is the one who speaks his mind through swearing”

After About Elly, the second instalment of my Asghar Farhadi trilogy is his latest film The Salesman. Alongside it’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language film of 2016, it was also a nominee for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival with Farhadi winning Best Screenplay and Shahab Hosseini winning Best Actor. So it’s fair to say that this film hasn’t exactly went unrecognised in terms of awards. However, I’ve yet to hear much personal discussion on it from anyone other than the critics and it would seem that Farhadi has still some way to go before he gets the recognition he deserves among your average film enthusiast. Continue reading

About Elly

Posted in Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery with tags on April 9, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Asghar Farhadi.
Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi.
Starring: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Peyman Moadi, Taraneh Alidoosti, Mani Haghighi, Merila Zare’i, Ra’na Azadivar, Ahmad Mehranfar, Saber Abar,

“A bitter end is better than a never ending bitterness”

As he’s a director that has taken me some time to catch up with, I thought I’d just dive right in with a back-to-back trilogy of highly acclaimed, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. I’ve heard a lot about his Best Picture winning Foreign Language films, The Salesman in 2016 and 2011’s A Separation but it was actually by pure happenstance that I stumbled onto About Elly. This is a film that would normally have slipped under the radar for me – as it has for many – but it was a great introduction to Farhadi’s approach to filmmaking and his undeniable ability to maintain control and pacing throughout his films. Continue reading

Dead Man’s Shoes

Posted in Drama, Horror, thriller with tags on March 31, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Shane Meadows.
Screenplay: Paddy Considine, Shane Meadows.
Starring: Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Stuart Wolfenden, Neil Bell, Paul Sadot, Seamus O’Neill, Joe Hartley, Paul Hurstfield, Emily Aston, George Newton, Craig Considine, Matt Considine, Andrew Shim.

“You! You were supposed to be a monster. Now I’m the fucking beast. There’s blood on my hands, from what you made me do”

Five years after their first collaboration on 1999’s A Room for Romeo Brass, Paddy Considine and Shane Meadows penned a script together about some of the memories and experiences they remembered from their working-class backgrounds. Although they were obviously embellished, the result led to Dead Man’s Shoes – a visceral and uncompromising tale of vengeance that became an instant cult hit and still stands as some of the best work they’ve ever produced. Continue reading

Annihilation

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction with tags on March 19, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Alex Garland.
Screenplay: Alex Garland.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Benedict Wong, David Gyasi, Cosmo Jarvis, Edward Mannering, Honey Holmes, John Schwab, Sonoya Mizuno.

“It’s not destroying… It’s making something new”

Beginning his career as an author and responsible for the source material of Danny Boyle’s The Beach in 2000, Alex Garland then directly ventured into the film industry by doing screenplay’s – again with Boyle on 28 Days Later and Sunshine – before he eventually took the reigns himself by making his directorial debut with the magnificent science fiction film Ex Machina in 2014. On this evidence, it’s fair to say that Garland has went from strength to strength and his sophomore film, Annihilation, continues that trend. One could even argue that it’s his best work yet. Continue reading

Top Ten of 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2018 by Mark Walker

The time has come to mark another end to the film year and although these posts are not something that I often manage to do, I have been fortunate enough to catch enough films over the last year to be able to chime in with some of my favourites. As is always the case, however, this is not an exhaustive list and any films that eluded me could possibly have made the cut. There are films like Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, Sally Potter’s The Party and the late Harry Dean Stanton’s farewell appearance in Lucky that I wanted to afford some time to but, alas, there’s just not enough hours in the year to catch everything. Added to which, as much as this was a consistently good year for film, there was really only one that received the coveted 5 star treatment. That said, some could possibly achieve that after I’ve had more time to process them or give a reappraisal while other leading awards contenders like Dunkirk, Lady Bird, The Post, Call Me By Your Name and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri didn’t do enough to even warrant a place here.

As is always the case with me, I compile these lists in relation to U.S. release dates and can include everything leading up to (and including) the Oscar nominations and other festival or annual awards. So without further ado, this is my list of 2017’s finest.

. . . Continue reading