Archive for the Biography Category

The Irishman

Posted in Biography, Crime, Drama, History with tags on November 28, 2019 by Mark Walker

Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Steven Zaillian.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Stephen Graham, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Ray Romano, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jake Hoffman, Steven Van Zandt, Jack Huston, Katherine Narducci, Welker White, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Louis Cancelmi, Sebastian Maniscalco, Paul Ben-Victor, Paul Herman, Jim Norton, J.C. MacKenzie, Barry Primus.

“You might be demonstrating a failure to show appreciation”

Way back in 1973, Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese worked together for the first time with Mean Streets. It was a vibrant and creative crime film that put them both in very high estimation and their careers flourished as a result. They would go on to collaborate a total of eight times which delivered such iconic work as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, to name a few. Throughout this time they earned a reputation for quality and it’s very difficult to name another actor/director collaboration that’s produced as much greatness. Now, after a 24 year wait (since Casino in 1995) they return to the gangster milieu of which they have become synonymous with. It’s now their ninth film together and it’s, unsurprisingly, another work of real substance. Continue reading

American Made

Posted in Action, Biography, Crime, Drama with tags on January 15, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Doug Liman.
Screenplay: Gary Spinelli.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke, Jayma Mays, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez, E. Roger Mitchell, Jed Rees, Mauricio Mejía, Jason Warner Smith.

“It ain’t about room, alright? It’s about weight”

Say what you will of Tom Cruise as I’m fully aware that some don’t take to him at all but, personally, I’ve always been a fan. That said, it’s been some years since I’ve fully embraced a film of his as nothing has really showcased his abilities. As good as they were, I turned a little cold on the Mission: Impossible series where Cruise seemingly focused on being an action star for a while. American Made, however, sees him return to what he does best. This is a tailor made role for the likes of Cruise’s cocksure mannerisms and shit-kicking grin. In fact, the film thrives on him in the lead which makes this very enjoyable entertainment. Continue reading

The Infiltrator

Posted in Biography, Crime, Drama with tags on April 14, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Brad Furman.
Screenplay: Ellen Brown Furman.
Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Gilgun, Juliet Aubrey, Amy Ryan, Yul Vasquez, Olympia Dukakis, Jason Isaacs, Art Malik, Said Taghmaoui, Juen Cely, Rubén Ochandiano, Simón Andreu, Christian Contreras, Michael Paré, Carsten Hayes, Daniel Mays.

“This is what I do. I’m an undercover narcotics agent. I sit with murders and bait men and I lie. I lie my ass off”

After their collaboration on The Lincoln Lawyer in 2011, Director Brad Furman reunites with Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo once again. Most of the positivity surrounding that film was slightly overshadowed by Matthew McConaughey’s renewed invigoration for dramatic acting (or the start of the McConaussance as it came to be known) while the likes of Cranston and Leguizamo filled in as support. The film itself was a decent enough legal thriller and now with The Infiltrator, Furman explores the other side of the law. Only this time, his fringe players take the central roles.  Continue reading

Steve Jobs

Posted in Biography, Drama with tags on February 21, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Danny Boyle.
Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss, John Ortiz, Adam Shapiro, Sarah Snook.

“They won’t know what they’re looking at or why they like it but they’ll know they want it”

With The Social Network in 2011, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin managed to strike a chord with critics and audiences by making a film about Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg an improbable success. Sorkin went on to win an Oscar for his writing but, personally, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. This time Sorkin is at it again by focusing on Apple Inc. co-founder, Steve Jobs and if this film is anything to go by, I really should give The Social Network another chance. Continue reading

The Revenant

Posted in Action, Biography, Drama on January 28, 2016 by Mark Walker

 
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mark L. Smith.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Joshua Burge, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Duane Howard, Melaw Nakehk’o, Arthur Redcloud, Fabrice Adde, Christopher Rosamond, Lukas Haas.

“I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’d done it already”

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s track record speaks for itself in terms of his sombre and unrelenting material. Working alongside screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, his loose trilogy of films Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel all dealt with tragedy and issues of loss and grief and his 2010 film Biutiful confirmed that grim material was his forte. However, his biggest success came last year with Birdman where he was awarded the Oscar for best director. Birdman wasn’t just successful in terms of awards, though, it proved that Iñárritu had the ability to craft something of a lighter nature. But now that he’s got that out the way, he’s back to delivering another punishing drama. Continue reading

21 Years: Richard Linklater

Posted in Biography, Documentary with tags on November 23, 2015 by Mark Walker


Directors: Michael Dunaway, Tara Wood.
Featuring: Keanu Reeves, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, Greg Kinnear, Nicky Katt, Jason Reitman, Kevin Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, Julie Delpy.

“Eighteen films. One legend”

They say that a career should never be judged until 21 years have past and although it’s hard to believe, director Richard Linklater has now achieved this milestone. As a result, filmmakers Michael Dunaway and Tara Wood decide to shine some light and appreciation on one of the most inventive and daring of contemporary American filmmakers. Continue reading

Awakenings

Posted in Biography, Drama on September 24, 2015 by Mark Walker


Director: Penny Marshall.
Screenplay: Steven Zaillian.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, Penelope Ann Miller, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Max Von Sydow, Alice Drummond, Judith Malina, Richard Libertini, Anne Meara, Barton Heyman, George Martin, Keith Diamond, Mary Alice, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Vincent Pastore, Vin Diesel.

“I’m sorry. If you were right, I would agree with you”

Despite being a prominent director throughout the 80’s and 90’s, surprisingly, Penny Marshall seemed to hang up her boots after 2001’s Driving in Cars with Boys. To be fair, her films always had a cloying or whimsical tinge to them and her last few movies didn’t reach the heights of her earlier work like A League of Their Own and Big but she always showed promise as a director – with Awakenings, arguably, being her most accomplished work. Continue reading