Archive for the Drama Category

La La Land

Posted in Drama, Musical, Romance on February 22, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Damien Chazelle.
Screenplay: Damien Chazelle.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, John Legend, Tom Everett Scott, Callie Hernandez, Jessica Rothe, Josh Pence, Finn Wittrock, Keith Harris.

“I’m letting life hit me until it gets tired. Then I’ll hit back. It’s a classic rope-a-dope”

The Hollywood musical has all but become a thing of the past and a genre that few filmmakers attempt anymore. If I’m honest, it’s really no loss to me. Musicals are not something that I’m overly enthusiastic about. Growing up, I remember liking Grease and contemporary ones like Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and, especially, John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes were very enjoyable but, for the most part, I often overlook them. That said, with a record equaling 14 Oscar nominations and a record breaking 7 Golden Globe wins, Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to the impressive Whiplash can not be scoffed at.  Continue reading

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Nocturnal Animals

Posted in Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, thriller with tags on February 15, 2017 by Mark Walker

Director: Tom Ford.
Screenplay: Tom Ford.
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Karl Glusman, Robert Aramayo, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen, Jena Malone, Graham Beckel.

“Enjoy the absurdity of our world. It’s a lot less painful. Believe me, our world is a lot less painful than the real world”

Former fashion-designer Tom Ford took his first steps into film directing with A Single Man in 2009. It’s a film that didn’t initially catch my eye but when I finally caught up with it, it really impressed. In fact, I thought it a near masterpiece of style and composition. As a result, I’ve been very eager to see what Ford would do next and although his follow-up isn’t quite as good as his debut, there’s still much to recommend.  Continue reading

Arrival

Posted in Drama, Science Fiction with tags on February 13, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Denis Villeneuve.
Screenplay: Eric Heisserer.
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Mchael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma, Mark O’Brien.

“If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?”

With his debut Incendies in 2010, Denis Villeneuve really hit the ground running and has been one of the most consistently interesting director’s for the last 7 years. There’s a host of films and genres that Villeneuve has explored in that time; from the nightmarish surrealism of Enemy; his unflinching kidnap thriller Prisoners and his drug cartel, action drama Sicario. If you put aside his forthcoming Blade Runner sequel, you could say that Arrival is his warm-up to attempting to re-engage with that much loved science fiction classic.  Continue reading

Moonlight

Posted in Drama with tags on February 7, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Barry Jenkins.
Screenplay: Barry Jenkins.
Starring: Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex R. Hibbert, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Jaden Piner, Duan Sanderson, Shariff Earp.

“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you”

Backed by Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B, Moonlight done the festival circuit before becoming a darling with the critics. It has since received 8 Oscar nominations and it’s probably fair to say that it has become the biggest underdog success story of the year. As impressive as these accolades are, though, there’s still an overhanging question… Is it actually any good? Continue reading

I, Daniel Blake

Posted in Drama with tags on February 4, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Ken Loach.
Screenplay: Paul Laverty.
Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy, Briana Shann, Dylan McKeirnan, Stephen Clegg, Kate Rutter, Malcolm Shields, Kema Sikazwe, Jane Birch, Micky McGregor.

“When you lose your self respect, you’re done for”

After Looking For Eric, The Angels’ Share and Jimmy’s Hall I think it’s fair to say that Ken Loach, in his twilight years, wasn’t quite as hard-hitting as the reputation that preceded him. In fact, two films inbetween these – Route Irish and It’s a Free World – where largely ignored all together. You’d have to go back to 2006 and his politically charged, Irish revolutionary drama The Wind that Shakes the Barley, to find quintessential Loach. Now though, he returns with another political drama in I, Daniel Blake and it’s one of his most potent and important films.  Continue reading

T2 Trainspotting

Posted in Drama with tags on January 30, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Danny Boyle.
Screenplay: John Hodge.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Anjela Nedyalkova, James Cosmo, Kelly Macdonald, Shirley Henderson, Irvine Welsh, Gordon Kennedy, Scot Greenan, Steven Robertson, Simon Weir, Bradley Welsh, Atta Yaqub, Tom Urie.

“You’re a tourist in your own youth”

When Hollywood decide on doing sequels they tend to green-light them as soon as they see the box office receipts. The majority of the time it’s a financial decision and they don’t want to miss out on turning another coin. The same can’t be said for Danny Boyle. He’s waited 20 years to put this sequel together. The time had to be right, the actors had to naturally age and the script had to have substance. This wasn’t just about cashing in. This was about doing justice to its predecessor. Many had reservations on this sequel even happening at all, such is the love for the first one, but T2 is still a meaningful journey and takes the lives of it’s characters in a satisfying direction.  Continue reading

Hell Or High Water

Posted in Drama, Western with tags on January 10, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: David Mackenzie.
Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Buck Taylor, Gregory Cruz, Keith Meriweather.

“I’ve been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation”

Scottish director David Mackenzie has steadily been making a name for himself over the years with some strong, low-key work in his native Scotland; Hallam Foe, Young Adam and, especially, Perfect Sense showcased his obvious abilities. It would seem that it was his superb prison drama Starred Up in 2013 that caught everyone’s eye, though. Hell or High Water now sees him taking his first venture onto American soil but it doesn’t hinder his abilities in the slightest. If anything, it has proven that Mackenzie is a director of genuine quality. Continue reading