Archive for the Drama Category

Night And The City

Posted in Drama with tags on June 28, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Irwin Winkler.
Screenplay: Richard Price.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Jessica Lange, Alan King, Cliff Gorman, Jack Warden, Eli Wallach, Barry Primus, Gene Kirkwood, Anthony Canarozzi, Byron Utley, Regis Philbin, Michael Badalucco, Michael Rispoli, Chuck Low.

“Harry, you ever hear of Murphy’s Law? Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That law was dedicated to guys like you”.

Coming off the back of Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear remake in 1991, Robert DeNiro and Jessica Lange collaborated again a year later on another remake; this time Jules Dassin’s 1950’s film-noir, Night and the City. The original had a lot of admirers which can often lead to a retread being heavily criticised and even though I haven’t seen Dassin’s version, Irwin Winkler’s certainly didn’t deserve the much maligned reception it received. Continue reading

The Road

Posted in Drama with tags on June 15, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: John Hillcoat.
Screenplay: Joe Penhall.
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Michael Kenneth Williams, Garret Dillahunt, Molly Parker, Bob Jennings, Agnes Herrmann, Buddy Sosthand, Kirk Brown, Jack Erdie.

“When you dream about bad things happening, it means you’re still fighting and you’re still alive. It’s when you start to dream about good things that you should start to worry”

I’ll always remember the experience I had reading Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel The Road. It wasn’t something I was initially drawn to but the fact that a film adaptation was in the pipeline led me to investigate further. It was a very bleak and emotionally shattering read but it was also morbidly fascinating and nigh-on impossible to put down. When I came to the end I remember wondering how this could be visually translated to the screen considering it delivered so little in terms of descriptive prose. Credit then to Australian director John Hillcoat for delivering a faithful recreation of a very intimate novel. Continue reading

A Scanner Darkly

Posted in Animation, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on May 31, 2016 by Mark Walker

 
Director: Richard Linklater.
Screenplay: Richard Linklater.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane, Melody Chase, Alex Jones, Lisa Marie Newmyer, Turk Pipkin, Steven Chester Prince.

“What does a scanner see? Into the head? Into the heart? Does it see into me? Clearly? Or darkly?”

(This review was a piece that was originally involved in The Decades Blogathon hosted by Mark of Three Rows Back and Tom of Digital Shortbread. These guys are two of the finest around and I wholeheartedly recommend their sites if you don’t know them already. You can check out their sites and all the Blogathon entries from the links above.)

In 2001, director Richard Linklater delivered a little-seen, gem of a film called Waking Life. Many didn’t pay notice to it which is one of many a film viewers biggest mistakes. Granted, the philosophical material may not have been everyone’s idea of entertainment but this film pioneered a filmmaking technique that, simply, shouldn’t have been overlooked. Linklater approached Waking Life with an animation method called “Rotoscoping”. Basically it was animation added over live actors and it’s a process that can be painstaking to deliver. The results were hugely effective for the material and, five years later, he decided to use the technique again on his adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s paranoid science fiction novel, A Scanner Darkly. Once again, the results are very impressive. Continue reading

High-Rise

Posted in Drama with tags on May 25, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Ben Wheatley.
Screenplay: Amy Jump.
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes, Reece Shearsmith, Sienna Guillory, Peter Ferdinando, Enzo Cilenti, Augustus Prew, Dan Renton Skinner, Stacy Martin, Tony Way, Neil Maskell, Victoria Wicks, Bill Paterson.

“There’s no food left. Only the dogs. And Mrs. Hillman is refusing to clean unless I pay her what I apparently owe her. Like all poor people, she’s obsessed with money”

Having established himself as a director for the watching with the darkly disturbing Kill List and blackly funny Sightseers, Ben Wheatley continued to explore dark themes with his modestly budgeted A Field in England. Now, though, it’s apparent that he’s been afforded more money and allowed to work on a grander scale with more established actors. That said, the style and approach to High-Rise still retains that Wheatley edge. Continue reading

Talk Radio

Posted in Drama on March 23, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Oliver Stone.
Screenplay: Eric Bogosian, Oliver Stone.
Starring: Eric Bogosian, Alec Baldwin, Leslie Hope, Ellen Greene, John C. McGinley, Michael Wincott, John Pankow, Robert Trebor, Linda Atkinson, Zach Grenier, Tony Frank, Harlan Jordan, Chip Moody.

“Sticks and stones can break your bones but words cause permanent damage”

It’s been difficult of late for director Oliver Stone to find a project that has the same spark or controversy of his earlier work. He was probably at his best back in the 1980’s when he wrote the screenplay for Brian DePalma’s Scarface and directed such visceral works as Salvador, the Oscar winning Platoon, Wall Street and Born on the Fourth of July. The one that seems to be least mentioned in his filmography at this time, though, is the sadly overlooked, Talk Radio; his adaptation of Eric Bogosian’s Pulitzer Prize nominated stage play. Continue reading

Far From Heaven

Posted in Drama with tags on March 11, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Todd Haynes.
Screenplay: Todd Haynes.
Starring: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis, James Rebhorn, Celia Weston, Bette Henritze, Michael Gaston, Ryan Ward, Lindsay Andretta, Jordan Elizabeth, Matt Malloy, June Squibb.

“I’ve learned my lesson about mixing in other worlds. I’ve seen the sparks fly. All kinds”

Todd Haynes has often been an experimental director throughout his career. He tackled the Glam Rock era with the dazzling, if mid-judged, Velvet Goldmine and had 6 different actors portray various phases of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There. Most recently his adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Carol made many critics and viewers’ lists for the best film of 2015. Despite his creative ambitions, however, he’s never really been recognised in terms of awards. The only Oscar nomination he has received was, in fact, an Original Screenplay one for this film. I’ve yet to see Carol (which apparently shares similarities with this) but so far, Far From Heaven is Haynes’ masterpiece. 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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,723 other followers