Archive for the Drama Category

Captain Fantastic

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on October 19, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Matt Ross.
Screenplay: Matt Ross.
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, George McKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Trin Miller, Elijah Stevenson, Teddy Van Ee, Erin Moriarty, Missi Pyle.

“We have to do what we’re told. Some fights you can’t win. The powerful control the lives of the powerless. That’s the way the world works. It’s unjust and it’s unfair but that’s just too bad. We have to shut up and accept it! Well… fuck that!”

In a year vastly consisting of the superhero (take your pick), the sequel (Independence Day: Resurgence), the reboot (Ghostbusters) and the disappointing (Hail, Caeser!), 2016 was beginning to have a very underwhelming vibe and a lack of originality. Leave it then to the indie circuit to take a firm hold of the fading year and offer the best film so far. It’s with absolute conviction that I can say, actor turned director, Matt Ross has finally delivered a film that satisfies and resonates. Admittedly, there has been the occasional delight in 2016 but none more delightful than Captain FantasticContinue reading

Mulholland Drive

Posted in Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery with tags on October 11, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: David Lynch.
Screenplay: David Lynch.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Robert Forster, Brent Briscoe, Dan Hedaya, Patrick Fischler, Michael Cooke, Michael J. Anderson, Melissa George, Jeanne Bates, Angelo Badalamenti, Mark Pellegrino, Lori Heuring, Billy Ray Cyrus, Missy Crider, Chad Everett, Monty Montgomery, Scott Coffey, Bonnie Aarons, Rebekah Del Rio.

“It’ll be just like in the movies. Pretending to be somebody else.”

A recent poll by BBC Culture surveyed the opinion of film critics, academics, and curators from 36 countries across every continent which consisted of 177 of the worlds foremost movie experts. They were tasked to compile an international list of the top 100 films released since the year 2000 and come up with the best film of this century so far. It’s no easy task but when all was said and done, the film that topped the list was David Lynch’s hallucinatory and meditative film-noir, Mulholland Drive. It came as a surprise to some but for those familiar with the film itself, it was a fitting accolade.  Continue reading

Wild At Heart

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on October 7, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: David Lynch.
Screenplay: David Lynch.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Harry Dean Stanton, J.E. Freeman, Crispin Glover, Isabella Rossellini, Calvin Lockhart, Grace Zabriskie, W. Morgan Sheppard, Sherilyn Fenn, Marvin Kaplan, David Patrick Kelly, Freddie Jones, Jack Nance, John Lurie, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gregg Dandridge, Frank Collison, Scott Coffey, Frances Bay, Sheryl Lee.

“Speaking of Jack, One eyed Jack’s yearning to go a peeping in a seafood store”

Around the time of Wild At Heart‘s release, David Lynch was already enjoying an abundance of praise for his cult TV show Twin Peaks. However, this time he was working on an adaptation from another writer’s work. The last time Lynch attempted to do this (Frank Herbert’s Dune), the results were catastrophic. That said, Barry Gifford’s source material is far more suited to Lynch’s style. This may be a more linear film than most Lynch fans expected but it’s one of his more accessible offerings while still maintaining his talent for the weird and the offbeat.  Continue reading

The Prestige

Posted in Drama, Mystery with tags on September 1, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Christopher Nolan.
Screenplay: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan.
Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, David Bowie, Andy Serkis, Piper Perabo, Ricky Jay, Roger Rees, Jamie Harris, Samantha Mahurin, W. Morgan Sheppard, Daniel Davis, Edward Hibbert.

“Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled”

Having delivered such strong films as Memento, Inception and Interstellar (outwith the hugely successful Dark Knight trilogy), it’s safe to say that director Christopher Nolan’s output is of a very high standard. Many may even claim that he’s yet to make a bad film and that his filmography is nothing but quality. For me, though, The Prestige is an exception to that and a major blip in an otherwise solid résumé.  Continue reading

Midnight Special

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction with tags on August 30, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Jeff Nichols.
Screenplay: Jeff Nichols.
Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Paul Sparks, David Jensen, Sean Bridgers, Kerry Cahill.

“Sometimes we are asked to do things that are beyond us”

After making his name with three independent films in Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud, director Jeff Nichols approaches his fourth feature with a bigger budget, making it his first studio production and allowing him to operate on a slightly more ambitious and grander scale. However, Nichols has a particular approach to storytelling and resists the urge to let the budget overshadow his intentions. Fans of his will be happy to hear that he continues his promise as a director with great depth and substance.  Continue reading

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