Archive for the Romance Category

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

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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

La La Land

Posted in Drama, Musical, Romance with tags 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

Out Of Sight

Posted in Crime, Drama, Romance with tags on November 16, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Steven Soderbergh.
Screenplay: Scott Frank.
Starring: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Albert Brooks, Catherine Keener, Isaiah Washington, Luis Guzman, Dennis Farina, Viola Davis, Nancy Allen, Paul Calderon, Keith Loneker, Mike Malone, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson.

“If I see Glenn wearing his sunglasses I’m gonna step on ’em. I might not even take ’em off first”

The late Elmore Leonard had been writing crime and western novels as far back as the 1950’s and has had numerous adaptations of his work: Paul Newman in Hombre, Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd and Charles Bronson in Mr. Majestyk are just some of the more familiar ones. However, around the mid 90’s there was somewhat of a reinvestment in his work. After the release of Quentin Tarantino’s hugely influential Pulp Fiction in 1994, crime became cool again and Elmore Leonard became the go-to guy for the material. John Travolta would follow-up Pulp with Barry Sonnenfeld’s humorous adaptation of Leonard’s Get Shorty and Tarantino himself adapted Rum Punch into Jackie Brown. There were other TV Movies like Gold Coast and Pronto, Paul Schrader’s misjudged Touch and the short lived TV series Maximum Bob. Steven Soderbergh then rounded them off with this stylish film that, arguably, handed George Clooney the first role that suited him as a fully fledged leading man.   Continue reading

To The Wonder

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on May 5, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Terrence Malick.
Screenplay: Terrence Malick.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams, Tatiana Chiline, Romena Mondello, Charles Baker, Tony O’Gans.

“You have to struggle with yourself. You have to struggle with your own strength”.

Say what you will about the stylings of Terrence Malick but he’s undoubtedly a director that puts his own stamp on things and refuses to tell a story in any conventional sense. He’s more interested in capturing moments and subtle glances while pondering the larger themes of love, life and religious beliefs. When you look back at his older works of “Days Of Heaven“, “The Thin Red Line” or “The Tree Of Life“, for example, you’ll find these themes in abundance. From a personal point of view, I often find Malick’s approach to be highly appealing but with “To The Wonder“, I was left somewhat distant and uninterested this time around.

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