Archive for 2016

Hell Or High Water

Posted in Drama, Western with tags on January 10, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: David Mackenzie.
Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Buck Taylor, Gregory Cruz, Keith Meriweather.

“I’ve been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation”

Scottish director David Mackenzie has steadily been making a name for himself over the years with some strong, low-key work in his native Scotland; Hallam Foe, Young Adam and, especially, Perfect Sense showcased his obvious abilities. It would seem that it was his superb prison drama Starred Up in 2013 that caught everyone’s eye, though. Hell or High Water now sees him taking his first venture onto American soil but it doesn’t hinder his abilities in the slightest. If anything, it has proven that Mackenzie is a director of genuine quality. Continue reading

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Posted in Adventure, Comedy, Drama with tags on December 22, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Taika Waititi.
Screenplay: Taika Waititi.
Starring: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Oscar Kightley, Stan Walker, Mike Minogue, Cohen Holloway, Rhys Darby, Troy Kingi, Taika Waititi.

“Oh look, he’s giving a pig a piggyback ride”

After the hilarious vampire comedy, What We Do In The Shadows in 2014, there was much anticipation for Taika Waititi’s next film. Hunt For the Wilderpeople has now arrived and arrived to yet more critical acclaim. The positivity surrounding it, however, has also been its slight undoing for me. It’s an admirable little adventure but it didn’t quite strike the chord that I was expecting.  Continue reading

Captain Fantastic

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on October 19, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Matt Ross.
Screenplay: Matt Ross.
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, George McKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Trin Miller, Elijah Stevenson, Teddy Van Ee, Erin Moriarty, Missi Pyle.

“We have to do what we’re told. Some fights you can’t win. The powerful control the lives of the powerless. That’s the way the world works. It’s unjust and it’s unfair but that’s just too bad. We have to shut up and accept it! Well… fuck that!”

In a year vastly consisting of the superhero (take your pick), the sequel (Independence Day: Resurgence), the reboot (Ghostbusters) and the disappointing (Hail, Caeser!), 2016 was beginning to have a very underwhelming vibe and a lack of originality. Leave it then to the indie circuit to take a firm hold of the fading year and offer the best film so far. It’s with absolute conviction that I can say, actor turned director, Matt Ross has finally delivered a film that satisfies and resonates. Admittedly, there has been the occasional delight in 2016 but none more delightful than Captain FantasticContinue reading

The Conjuring 2

Posted in Horror with tags on September 8, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: James Wan.
Screenplay: Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, David Johnson.
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Franke Potente, Simon McBurney, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Patrick McAuley, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney, Steve Coulter, Javier Botet, Bob Adrian, Bonnie Aarons.

“This is my house!”

Word on the Ouiji board had us believe that director James Wan was walking away from horror movies for good. He ventured into the Fast & Furious action franchise (with its 7th instalment) and stated his intention to leave the horror genre behind. However, his nostalgic frightener The Conjuring in 2013 was such a resounding success that Wan decided to return and take charge of its sequel. Often with sequels, they fail to deliver on the predecessor’s success but Wan still has a few tricks up his sleeve.  Continue reading

Midnight Special

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction with tags on August 30, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Jeff Nichols.
Screenplay: Jeff Nichols.
Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Paul Sparks, David Jensen, Sean Bridgers, Kerry Cahill.

“Sometimes we are asked to do things that are beyond us”

After making his name with three independent films in Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud, director Jeff Nichols approaches his fourth feature with a bigger budget, making it his first studio production and allowing him to operate on a slightly more ambitious and grander scale. However, Nichols has a particular approach to storytelling and resists the urge to let the budget overshadow his intentions. Fans of his will be happy to hear that he continues his promise as a director with great depth and substance.  Continue reading

Green Room

Posted in Crime, thriller with tags on August 24, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Jeremy Saulnier.
Screenplay: Jeremy Saulnier.
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots, Macon Blair, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson, Mark Webber, Eric Edelstien, Michael Draper, Brent Werzner, Kai Lennox.

“You can’t keep us here, you gotta let us go”

After his little seen debut Murder Party in 2007, Jeremy Saulnier’s second film Blue Ruin took the film circuit by storm in 2013 and turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year. It was a taught and very well constructed low-budget thriller that reached many people’s list of favourites (myself included). As is always the case, though, it brought much anticipation for his third feature. And deservedly so. The pressure was always on but by sticking to a winning formula, Saulnier again delivers a film that has much to recommend it.  Continue reading

The Nice Guys

Posted in Action, Comedy, Crime, Mystery with tags on August 9, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Shane Black.
Screenplay: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Angourie Rice, Kim Basinger, Matt Bomer, Keith David, Beau Knapp, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Lois Smith, Murielle Telio, Gil Gerard, Jack Kilmer, Ty Simpkins.

“Alright, which one of you cock-and-balls wants to make twenty bucks?”

Back in the 80’s and 90’s writer Shane Black was actually quite a prominent player in Hollywood and a big contributor to the hugely successful wave of “buddy-movies”. His writing credits extended to The Monster Squad, Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight before he decided to take a break from studio pressures. He returned in 2005 for his directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang before disappearing again, only to resurface with Iron Man 3 a few years ago. For those that grew up on Black’s earlier works (like myself), his latest in The Nice Guys should come as a fond reminder of his action/comedy antics.  Continue reading

The BFG

Posted in Adventure, Family, Fantasy with tags on July 27, 2016 by Mark Walker


Director: Steven Spielberg.
Screenplay: Melissa Mathison.
Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Jermaine Clement, Penelope Wilton, Rafe Spall, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Adam Godley, Michael Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Jonathan Holmes, Chris Gibbs, Paul Moniz de Sa.

“I hears your lonely heart, in all the secret whisperings of the world”

With the exception of The Adventures of Tintin in 2011, Steven Spielberg has been getting all serious on us over the last five years. He’s predominantly dealt with war, politics and espionage in War Horse, Lincoln and Bridge of Spies respectively. However, he now reunites with his E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison to bring a much loved children’s novel to the big screen in The BFG – a film which brings reminders of his fantastical adventures and his ability to deliver family friendly entertainment.  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

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