Archive for 1990

GoodFellas

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on May 2, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Pileggi.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low, Frank Sivero, Mike Starr, Tony Darrow, Frank DiLeo, Debi Mazar, Illeana Douglas, Christopher Serrone, Joseph D’Onofrio, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Johnny Williams, Frank Pellegrino, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Suzanne Shepherd, Beau Starr, Stella Keitel, Vincent Pastore, Isiah Whitlock Jr, G.W. Bailey, Vincent Gallo, Tobin Bell, Samuel L. Jackson.

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”

Such is the impact that they’ve had on popular culture, it never comes as a surprise to hear Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and The Godfather part II mentioned whenever the mob movie is being discussed. Not only are they synonymous with the sub-genre but they’re also widely regarded as two of the best films ever made. Few films have come close to ever stealing their thunder but if there was one that has the potential to pop a couple in the back of their heads, it would be Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas which expanded on (and complimented) Coppola’s films by providing a fascinating insight into the day-to-day machinations and the allure of mob life from a more personal point of view. Continue reading

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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

Miller’s Crossing

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on December 15, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen.
Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.
Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Jon Polito, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, J.E. Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Mike Starr, Al Mancini, Richard Woods, Thomas Toner, Michael Jeter, Michael Badalucco, Sam Raimi, Frances McDormand.

“You ain’t got a license to kill bookies and today I ain’t sellin’ any. So take your flunky and dangle”.

It was in 1984 that we were introduced to (what would become) two of cinema’s finest writer/director’s in Joel & Ethan Coen. Their darkly cynical debut Blood Simple grabbed audiences by the crotch yet their wacky follow up, Raising Arizona, managed to tickle said area. By their third film, Miller’s Crossing, there was no denying that this was truly a creative partnership that knew how to construct and deliver films of great substance and enjoyment.  Continue reading

Pacific Heights * *

Posted in thriller with tags on January 10, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: John Schlesinger.
Screenplay: Daniel Pyne.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, Laurie Metcalf, Mako, Carl Lumbly, Dorian Harewood, Luca Bercovici, Tippi Hedren, Jerry Hardin, Miriam Margoyles, Hal Landon, Jr, Tracey Walter, Dan Hedaya, Beverley D’Angelo.

Having such good films under his belt like “Midnight Cowboy” and “Marathon Man”, director John Schlesinger is no slouch when it comes to crafting a quality drama or suspense. However, with an irritatingly underpar cast, this is not one of his finer efforts.

Young couple Patty (Melanie Griffith) and Drake (Matthew Modine) purchase a Victorian home in San Francisco. They fix it up and rent one of the apartments to fast-talking businessman Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton) unaware that he is in fact, a sociopathic swindler.

When this film was released in 1990, I actually enjoyed it. I was 12 years old. Looking at it now, I have to admit that my critical faculties had not kicked in then. There’s no denying that it’s a well crafted suspense yarn but it’s also ludicrously plotted. The fault doesn’t lie with Schlesinger though, in fact, he does really well handling the tension and suspense. The fault lies with the unintelligible script. Would this stereotypically disturbed character really waste his time, being no more than an inconvenience by drilling holes in the walls? Do disturbed sociopaths really sit watching static interference on TV, in a darkened room, while flipping a razor blades over their fingers? Methinks it’s all a little melodramatic. Keaton does his best sinister look with animated eyebrows, Modine needs his quiff trimmed and Griffith gives her usual one-note innocent, softly spoken, damsel in distress act. Three very limited actors with a very limited script. Schlesinger brings what he can to the table, but it’s not enough to overcome ineptitude.

Hitchcock would have had a field day with similiar material. Schlesinger tries his best to emulate the old master but he’s ultimately fighting a losing battle with a very limited cast.

Mark Walker

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