Archive for the Drama Category

Marshland

Posted in Crime, Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery, thriller with tags on November 19, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Alberto Rodriguez.
Screenplay: Rafael Cobos, Alberto Rodriguez.
Starring: Javier Gutiérrez, Raúl Alévaro, Antonio de la Torre, Nerea Barros, Salva Reina, Jesús Castro, Manolo Solo.

“This place swallows you up”

In 2014, just before he won a leading Actor Oscar, Matthew McConnaughey was at the height of one of the biggest career turnarounds. It was a time that became gleefully known as the “McConnaisance” and one of the major projects that he was involved in was HBO’s television series, True Detective. It’s a surprise then that more people didn’t pay attention to Alberto Rodriguez’s Spanish thriller, Marshland. That said, it was a huge hit in its native Spain and while it made a brief arrival on the film circuit with many critics lavishing praise on it, it still seemed to disappear fairly quickly. It’s a shame as this is a dark, murder mystery that’s thoroughly deserving of a wider audience and shares many similarities with the aforementioned TV show.  Continue reading

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Eyes Wide Shut

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Mystery with tags on November 3, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Stanley Kubrick.
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Todd Field, Alan Cumming, Marie Richardson, Thomas Gibson, Vinessa Shaw, Rade Serbedzija, Leelee Sobieski, Fay Masterson, Sky Dumont, Madison Eginton

“Millions of years of evolution, right? Right? Men have to stick it in every place they can, but for women… women it is just about security and commitment and whatever the fuck else.”

For many, Stanley Kubrick is one of the greatest directors America has ever produced and has offered up some of the most thought provoking films throughout his career. Unfortunately, his last film didn’t receive the credit that it deserved. Literally days after delivering the final film, Kubrick died. However, in some senses, I’m actually glad Kubrick didn’t have to witness his swansong’s much maligned backlash. A big factor in this was the poor marketing campaign. For the first time, Kubrick released a film in the internet-age where information was readily accessible on the secrecy of its production. Rumours abound, it was flaunted as a sexually explicit bonkfest with Cruise and Kidman and the trailers teasing the audience with the real-life, married couple’s nudity certainly didn’t help matters. In truth, what (little) you see in the trailer is essentially all there is in the entire film between the couple. Added to which, there were rumours that Cruise would be shooting heroine for the film and wearing a dress. Needless to say, those who flocked in their droves to see such controversy where left sorely disappointed. What they really missed, though, was a rich and provocative meditation on sexual desires and the human psyche.  Continue reading

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance with tags on October 30, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Francis Ford Coppola.
Screenplay: James V. Hart.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Waits, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Bill Campbell, Sadie Frost, Jay Robinson, Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu, Florina Kendrick, I.M. Hobson, Laurie Franks, Octavian Cadia.

“They say you are a man of good… taste”

During the early 90’s there was a reinvigoration for classic horror characters that were tackled by some of the most reputable names in the movie business. Under the watchful eye of director Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson put his spin on the werewolf in 1994’s Wolf while Kenneth Branagh managed to convince Robert DeNiro to take on the lead in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (also in 1994). Two years previously, however, it was Francis Ford Coppola who reimagined Bram Stoker’s lengendary tale of Dracula and he done so with some of the most visually impressive work he’s ever produced.  Continue reading

Carol

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on October 12, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Todd Haynes.
Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy.
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, Kevin Crowley, Carrie Brownstein, Trent Rowland, Sadie Heim, Kk Heim, Amy Warner, Michael Haney, Pamela Haynes.

“Just when you think it can’t get any worse, you run out of cigarettes”

As a talented writer, Patricia Highsmith has been responsible for the source material of some great film adaptations; Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January are a notable few. However, Todd Haynes’ Carol is an adaptation of the 1952 novel The Price of Salt which Highsmith wrote under the pseudonym of Claire Morgan to avoid harming her reputation and ruining her career. This was a novel that would’ve caused widespread controversy for such a high-profile author at this time and it wasn’t until 1990 that Highsmith was credited. Now, over 60 years later, Todd Haynes brings it to the screen for a contemporary audience and affords it the respect that it’s been deserving of for too long. Continue reading

Blue Valentine

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on October 10, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Derek Cianfrance.
Screenplay: Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, Cami Delavigne.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, John Doman, Faith Wladyka, Mike Vogel, Marshall Johnson, Jen Jones, Maryann Plunkett, James Benatti, Barbara Troy, Carey Westbrook, Ben Shenkman, Eileen Rosen, Enid Graham.

“I like how you can compliment and insult somebody at the same time, in equal measure”

Back in 2004 when Ryan Gosling was still a relative unknown, he caught a break by starring in a little love story called The Notebook. It was a huge hit among the ladies and he charmed the knickers off many a bored housewife. Needless to say, Gosling became a star overnight and he developed a very enthusiastic female fanbase. Try asking a lot of women, or even some men for that matter, what they think is a good romantic movie and The Notebook will generally get a shout-out. As a little social experiment, I’d like to offer up an alternative to those who love Gosling, The Notebook and those who love to see romance triumph over adversity by suggesting they watch Blue Valentine. It’s the polar opposite of that sentimental and clichéd pap and could induce nightmares to those of a more sensitive nature when it comes to how relationships are depicted on screen.  Continue reading

A Ghost Story

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Romance with tags on October 5, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: David Lowery
Screenplay: David Lowery
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham.

“We build our legacy piece by piece and maybe the whole world will remember you or maybe just a couple of people, but you do what you can to make sure you’re still around after you’re gone”

David Lowery is fast becoming a director to keep a close eye on. His Malick-esque Ain’t Them Bodies Saints struck a strong indie and meditative vibe before he, somewhat bizarrely, took on Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon and made a huge success out of it. Now, though, Lowery returns to the same tone of Saints by delivering a very unusual and unique take on a ghost story. With a brief synopsis of the plot or by even judging the films poster you’d be forgiven for thinking that this film is possibly a joke or at least one that relies heavily on humour. But it’s not and it doesn’t. This is a very poker-faced meditation on memories, attachments and loneliness and, for those with an open mind, it works an absolute treat.  Continue reading

Silence

Posted in Drama with tags on July 13, 2017 by Mark Walker

Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Martin Scorsese, Jay Cocks.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds, Tadanobu Asano, Issei Ogata, Yoshi Oida, Yôsuke Kubozuka, Shin’ya Tsukamoto.

“The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church”

Martin Scorsese is, undoubtedly, one of the great American filmmakers. For over 40 years he has been the guy that has wanted to wash the scum off the streets; claimed it’s better to be King for a night than schmuck for a lifetime; advised us to never to rat on our friends and to go home and get our fuckin’ shine boxes. These classic cinematic moments aside, he’s also known for the occasional deviation from the norm of his criminal outings and delivered films with deep religious themes; The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun and now Silence completes his unofficial religious trilogy.  Continue reading