Archive for 2001

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

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Tape

Posted in Drama with tags on November 27, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Richard Linklater.
Screenplay: Stephen Belber.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman.

“I’m not high and mighty. I’m too high to be high and mighty”

As a companion piece to the marvellous Waking Life, director Richard Linklater delivered this experimental and solid little adaptation of Stephen Belber’s stage play. Some may not have even heard of this one, let alone seen it, as it’s probably one of his most unseen works. As always with Linklater, though, it confirms his place as one of the most original and under appreciated of American filmmakers.

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Amelie * * * * *

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Foreign Language, Romance with tags on February 2, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Jean-Pierre Juenet.
Screenplay: Guillame Laurant.
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Yolande Moreau, Artus de Penguern, Urbain Cancelier, Dominique Pinon, Maurice Benichou, Jamel Debbouze.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s collaboration with co-writer/director Marc Caro resulted in a couple of marvellous and inventive films in “Delicatessan” and “The City of Lost Children”. Those two had a dark element to them but now that Jeunet has went his own way, “Amelie” shows that he is the one that possesses the lighter side of the duo.

In the heart of Paris, Amelie (Audrey Tautou) brings joy to her friends, secretly sorting out the sad little problems in their lives. But when she discovers a strange photo album belonging to Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) she realises that she is in love and has problems of her own to sort out.

I struggle to think of a contemporary film that boasts such richness in detail and creative, infectious enthusiasm as ‘Amelie’ does. It’s playfulness, poetry and emotion are rarely touched upon these days in film and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deserves applause for his uplifting achievements here. It’s also stunningly shot by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel (inspired by the paintings of Brazilian artist Juarez Machado) lending an artistic look to the highly creative and artistic content. Without being overly elaborate though, it finds its art in the simple things in life, observing people’s individual pleasures and pains. Quite simply, the whole film is a complete joy to behold. The performances are also delightful. As much as I’m an admirer of actress Emily Watson (whom the role of Amelie was originally intended) I’m glad the relatively unknown Audrey Tautou got the part. She is absolutely adorable and captures the essence of this wonderful character perfectly. With flair and originality that’s hard to come by these days, ‘Amelie’ is one of the most beautiful pieces of cinema I have seen and will always be one of my favourites.

The humour; the look; the characters and performances; the delightful and fitting music by Yann Tiersen all culminate into the ultimate feel-good film and confirmation of the creativity and inventiveness of French cinema. A heartwarming modern classic.

Included in My Top Ten films.

Mark Walker

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The Lincoln Lawyer * * *

Posted in Drama, thriller with tags on February 2, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Brad Furman.
Screenplay: John Romano.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, Michael Pena, Bob Gunton, Frances Fisher, Bryan Cranston, Trace Adkins, Shea Whigham, Michael Pare.

Court room drama’s and legal jargon can be surprisingly gripping entertainment, which makes me wonder why there isn’t more of them. Unfortunately, we’ve been fed a staple of John Grisham stories throughout the years which I find empty and do very little for me. But it was John Grisham adaptation “A Time to Kill” years ago that Matthew McConaughey was actually any good in a film. Until now.

L.A. criminal lawyer Mick Haller (McConaughey), who works out of his chauffeured Lincoln Continental car, takes on an unusually high-profile case defending Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), the scion of a wealthy family who’s accused of beating and raping a prostitute. There’s clearly more to it than meets the eye though, and it may tie into a case Haller tried some years ago.

Slick, fast and cool. This starts with an energy that Grisham adaptations lack and it’s good to see McConaughey drop those abysmal rom-coms and tackle a role more suited to his style. However, with such a strong opening and fast pace, it soon gets bogged down around the midway point and struggles to recover. McConaughey goes from confident and fast talking to angst ridden and desperate rather quickly. It’s a sudden change that doesn’t suit but McConaughey shows impressive range nonetheless. And just when he gets back to his old self, the denoument then feels rushed. His once strained relationship with his ex-wife becomes unrealistic and the whole affair is wrapped up rather quickly, leaving what was a very strong and potentially great film falling flat.

A good legal thriller that moves at a brisk pace with several twists and turns. It starts to eventually trip over itself and doesn’t fulfill it’s early promise but it just about manages to get by on McConaughey’s charisma.

Mark Walker

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