Archive for 2015

The Legend Of Barney Thomson

Posted in Comedy, Crime with tags on March 25, 2016 by Mark Walker

 
Director: Robert Carlyle.
Screenplay: Richard Cowan, Colin McLaren.
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, Tom Courteney, Martin Compston, James Cosmo, Ashley Jensen, Stephen McCole, Kevin Guthrie, Samuel Robertson, Brian Pettifer.

“You’ve chopped them up. You’ve even labelled them”

Unless your a follower of the TV show Once Upon a Time (which I’m not) then you’ll probably have noticed the absence of actor Robert Carlyle from our film screens. The occasional low-key drama like California Solo in 2012 and Samantha Morton’s hard-hitting The Unloved in 2009 have surfaced here and there but they didn’t receive a wide release at all. In fact, I have yet to even see the former and Carlyle had a very small role in the latter (albeit a powerful one). You’d probably have to go as far back as 2007’s 28 Weeks Later to mention a film that a mainstream audience might be more familiar with. Now, though, he’s back. And back he comes to his hometown of Glasgow to make his directorial debut with a very Scottish-centric black comedy. Continue reading

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Steve Jobs

Posted in Biography, Drama with tags on February 21, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Danny Boyle.
Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss, John Ortiz, Adam Shapiro, Sarah Snook.

“They won’t know what they’re looking at or why they like it but they’ll know they want it”

With The Social Network in 2011, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin managed to strike a chord with critics and audiences by making a film about Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg an improbable success. Sorkin went on to win an Oscar for his writing but, personally, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. This time Sorkin is at it again by focusing on Apple Inc. co-founder, Steve Jobs and if this film is anything to go by, I really should give The Social Network another chance. Continue reading

The Martian

Posted in Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on February 3, 2016 by Mark Walker

 
Director: Ridley Scott.
Screenplay: Drew Goddard.
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Aksel Hennie, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover, Nick Mohammed, Shu Chen, Eddy Ko.

“I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet”

Director Ridley Scott has always been somewhat of a mixed-bag and I think it’s fair to say that audiences don’t always connect with his material. However, science fiction has proven to be the genre where he has excelled the most. Alien and Blade Runner are rightly regarded as two of the best but his revisit to the Alien world with Prometheus didn’t hit the high benchmark he had set for himself. With this in mind, I entered into The Martian – his fourth science fiction endeavour – with a mixture of anticipation and reservation. Continue reading

Creed

Posted in Drama, Sport with tags on January 21, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Ryan Cooglar.
Screenplay: Ryan Cooglar, Aaron Covington.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Graham McTavish, Andre Ward, Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran, Malik Bazille, Ricardo McGill, Wood Harris, Gabe Rosado.

“Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated”

Nostalgia has crept into a lot of films lately. In 2015 alone, we’ve revisited Bond (for the 24th time) in Spectre, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is now the 5th film spawned from the 60’s TV show, Mad Max was rebooted with Fury Road, Jurassic World and Star Wars: A Force Awakens tapped into the magic and excitement of their predecessors and now Ryan Cooglar’s Creed is a revisit to the boxing gyms of Philadelphia and has much in common with the original Rocky of 1976. Yes, it’s hard to believe but it’s been 40 years since Balboa first had us on the edge of our seats and punching the air with delight. Continue reading

The Big Short

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on January 14, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Adam McKay.
Screenplay: Adam McKay, Charles Randolph.
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Tracy Letts, Karen Gillan, Hamish Linklater, Jeffry Griffin, Adepero Oduye, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, Margot Robbie.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”

Better known for his comedy films like Anchorman, Step Brothers and Talladega Nights, The Big Short is a big leap for director Adam McKay. Going from improvised Will Ferrell gags to dealing with the true story of the global financial crisis of 2008 is quite a departure from his usual comfort zone. If truth be told, I’m not a fan of his comedies and had some strong reservations about this but it was hard to resist seeing such quality actors sink their teeth into a very personal subject that has affected us all. Continue reading

Joy

Posted in Drama, Family with tags on January 11, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: David O. Russell.
Screenplay: David O. Russell.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Dascha Polanco, Elisabeth Röhm, Susan Lucci, Laura Wright, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Isabella Crovetti-Cramp, Melissa Rivers.

“Don’t ever think the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t, it owes you nothing”

After Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, David O. Russell had established himself as somewhat of an Oscar record breaker. Not only were these two films nominated – back-to-back – for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Supporting Actor/Actress roles, they happened to be first time in the Academy’s history that this was ever achieved. You could say that the pressure was on for O. Russell and his trio of actors in Lawrence, Cooper and DeNiro to make it a hat-trick. Sadly, this time around, it appears that the pressure was too much.  Continue reading

The Hateful Eight

Posted in Crime, Mystery, Western with tags on January 8, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Quentin Tarantino.
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Channing Tatum, Jason Parks, Zoe Bell, Gene Jones, Dana Gourrier, Lee Horsley, Keith Jefferson, Craig Stark, Belinda Owino.

“Keeping you at a disadvantage is an advantage I intend to keep”

In January 2014, Quentin Tarantino officially announced that he would be following up his successful western Django Unchained with yet another trip down the trail with The Hateful Eight. However, the script was leaked shortly after this announcement and he abandoned the project – seemingly in favour of releasing it as a book instead. After a successful live script read at the United Artists Theatre in Los Angeles, Tarantino again changed his mind and decided to go ahead with making the film. It’s now close to 25 years since he arrived on the scene with his blistering debut Reservoir Dogs and in that time he’s only released eight films – with the intention of retiring after his tenth. That said, he’s made enough for us to reflect on his style and in some ways you could say that – although the genre is very different – this is as close in structure to his debut than any other film he’s done. Continue reading