Polished Performances

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2016 by Mark Walker

Actor: Al Pacino
• Character: Sonny Wortzik
Film: Dog Day Afternoon 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

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

Polished Performances

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2016 by Mark Walker


Actor: Joaquin Phoenix
Character: Freddie Quell
Film: The Master Continue reading

Hail, Caesar!

Posted in Comedy with tags on May 17, 2016 by Mark Walker


Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen.
Screenplay: Ethan & Joel Coen.
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Clancy Brown, Heather Goldenhersh, Veronica Osorio, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Fisher Stevens, Patrick Fischler, David Krumholtz, Robert Picardo, Robert Trebor, Fred Melamed, Wayne Knight, Jack Huston, Christopher Lambert.
Narrator: Michael Gambon.

“Here at Capitol Pictures, as you know, an army of technicians, actors, and top notch artistic people are working hard to bring to the screen the story of the Christ. It’s a swell story”

Three years ago, the Coens brothers delivered a dramatic, musical piece that focused on the folk scene of the 60’s in Inside Llewyn Davis. If truth be told, it was a film that didn’t peak my interest at the time. But, give the brothers their due, they managed to deliver an astounding piece of work that finished the year as one of my favourite films and proved they are still full of surprises. As they often do, they like to switch from drama to comedy and, as a result, follow-up that dramatic work with the satirical Hail Caesar! Again, this was a film that never really peaked my interest but unlike their previous film, it didn’t work as well as it possibly could have. 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

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