Archive for the thriller Category

10 Cloverfield Lane

Posted in Horror, Mystery, thriller with tags on May 24, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Dan Trachtenberg.
Screenplay: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle.
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr., Suzanne Cryer.

“Crazy is building your ark after the flood has already come”

For some reason or other, Dan Trachtenberg is a director who’s name has been familiar to me. Considering this is his first feature length film and I haven’t seen any of his short films, I have absolutely no idea why his name rings a bell. That aside, Trachtenberg is a name that won’t be going away any time soon after this impressively handled debut that follows on (loosely) from Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams’ 2008, found-footage horror film, Cloverfield. Continue reading

Mojave

Posted in thriller with tags on April 28, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: William Monahan.
Screenplay: William Monahan.
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Oscar Isaac, Mark Wahlberg, Walton Goggins, Louise Bourgoin, Matt Jones, Fran Kranz, Niall Madden, Ron Duncan, Oliver Cooper.

“When you get what you want, what do you want?”

After winning an Oscar for his taught and labyrinthine screenplay duties on Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, William Monahan decided to embark on his own directorial projects. His debut was the misjudged, crime drama London Boulevard which, although not entirely successful, still had some flourishes of substance. Now, with Mojave, Monahan delivers a huge surprise. A surprise, that an Oscar winning writer can deliver something so woefully inadequate. Continue reading

Drive

Posted in Crime, thriller with tags on December 3, 2015 by Mark Walker


Director: Nicolas Winding Refn.
Screenplay: Hossein Amini.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks, Kaden Leos, Jeff Wolfe, James Biberi, Russ Tamblyn.

“I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive”

In 2008, just three years after the publication of James Sallis’ crime novel Drive, Universal Studios got behind the idea of a film adaptation. Originally, director Neil Marshall was to take the reigns and craft an L.A-set action mystery with Hugh Jackman as the lead. Two years later, this proposed plan collapsed and in stepped Ryan Gosling. With a spate of successful films and strong performances already behind him, Gosling was an actor in high demand and for the first time in his career he was given the opportunity to choose who would direct the film. Already a big admirer of his work, he chose Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. The film was eventually released in 2011 to mass acclaim and struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. Not only was Refn awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival but the film received a 15 minute standing ovation. Continue reading

Knock Knock

Posted in Horror, thriller with tags on November 19, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Eli Roth.
Screenplay: Eli Roth, Nicolás López, Guillermo Amoedo.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand, Dan Baily, Megan Baily, Colleen Camp.

“I’m glad we knocked on your door”

Not being a fan of writer/director Eli Roth or the torture porn sub-genre itself, I went into this film with serious reservations. I hoped against hope that with the appealing inclusion of Keanu Reeves this might be worth some attention. Reeves has been involved in the occasional dud here and there, but he’s also been known to unearth a few gems in his time. I was hoping for the latter and also hoping that Roth may have moved on from his gratuitous early films like Hostel and Cabin Fever and actually managed to mature somewhat. Alas, I should have paid heed to my reservations.  Continue reading

The Gift

Posted in Horror, Mystery, thriller with tags on October 27, 2015 by Mark Walker


Director: Joel Edgerton.
Screenplay: Joel Edgerton.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall, Allison Tolman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps, Adam Lazarre-White, Beau Knapp, Wendell Pierce, P.J. Byrne, Mirrah Foulkes, David Denman, Katie Aselton, Nash Edgerton.

“You think you’re done with the past, but the past is not done with you”

Is there no end to Joel Edgerton’s abilities? Although he’d been involved in projects before, it’s probably fair to say that it wasn’t until David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom in 2010 that opportunities began to really open up for him. He’s since went on to work with Kathryn Bigelow, Baz Luhrmann and Ridley Scott, while also penning Michôd’s impressive second feature The Rover. Now he makes his own feature length directorial debut and it would seem that we have much more to see from Edgerton’s talents.  Continue reading

The Drop

Posted in Crime, thriller on October 5, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Michaël R. Roskam.
Screenplay: Dennis Lehane.
Starring: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenearts, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aranov, Morgan Spector, Michael Esperanto, James Fresheville, Tobias Segal, Chris Sullivan, Patricia Squire, Ann Dowd.

“Are you doing something desperate? Something we can’t clean up this time?”


The Drop is one of those films that almost sneaks by an audience but strangely there’s still something that catches the eye. That something may be because it’s yet another adaptation of the normally successful page to screen transfer of crime novelist Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River & Shutter Island); the English language debut of Bullhead director Michaël R. Roskam or that it features the last screen performance of the late, great James Gandolfini. All of these are reason enough to see it, but the one that really makes it worthwhile is the ubiquitous and quietly commanding Tom Hardy. Continue reading

Cop Land

Posted in Crime, Drama, thriller on September 29, 2015 by Mark Walker


Director: James Mangold.
Screenplay: James Mangold.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Janeane Garafalo, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, John Spencer, Frank Vincent, Malik Yoba, Arthur J. Nascarella, Edie Falco, Paul Calderon, John Doman, Victor Williams, Method Man, Frank Pellegrino, Robert John Burke, John Ventimiglia, Tony Sirico.

“Being right is not a bullet proof vest, Freddy”

The problem with Cop Land, is that it’s full of cops. Well there is that, but in all seriousness, for any fan of the crime genre they will find there are two things that are unavoidable when looking over the cast of the film. One, is legendary director Martin Scorsese and the regulars that feature in his work: There is, of course, DeNiro and Keitel (who need no introduction) but there’s also Liotta (Goodfellas), Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull) and Frank Vincent who appears in both the latter two (as well as Casino). Vincent also brings me to the other unavoidable thing… the finest television series on the subject; The Sopranos. By my count, there’s no less than ten cast members that are recognisable throughout six seasons and those well versed will notice; Carmela, Paulie, Artie Bucco and Vincent’s Phil Leotardo, among others.
Continue reading

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