Archive for 2017

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Posted in Drama, thriller with tags on February 18, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Dan Gilroy.
Screenplay: Dan Gilroy.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Hugo Armstrong, Lynda Gravatt, Amanda Warren, San Gilroy, Tony Plana, DeRon Horton, Amari Cheatom.

“Each of us is better than the worst thing we ever did”

After his brilliantly dark urban thriller Nightcrawler in 2014, a lot of eyes were on director Dan Gilroy with an eagerness to see what he’d deliver next. Roman J. Israel, Esq. promises to be just as intriguing but it lacks the dramatic drive that made Gilroys’s last film such captivating viewing. That said, it boasts a strong lead performance that’s enough to maintain your interest. Continue reading

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The Florida Project

Posted in Drama, Independent with tags on February 9, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Sean Baker.
Screenplay: Sean Baker.
Starring: Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones, Edward Pagan, Jasineia Ramos, Jason Blackwater, Josie Olivo, Karren Karagulian, Macon Blair, Patti Wiley, Sandy Kane, Valeria Cotto, Aiden Malik.

“Excuse me, could you give us some change, please? The doctor said we have asthma and we have to eat ice-cream right away”

Sean Baker is a director that been around for a while but I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t until 2015’s indie drama, Tangerine, that people began to sit up and take notice. In fact, I shamefully still didn’t acknowledge him and decided to overlook Tangerine. That’s a decision that I now regret and must remedy forthwith. Instead, I went straight into The Florida Project having no prior knowledge of Baker’s work and now that I’ve had a taste of his remarkable ability, this is a director I will be watching very closely and one whose back catalogue is now a priority for me. Continue reading

The Shape Of Water

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Romance with tags on February 6, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Guillermo del Toro.
Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Nick Searcy, Cyndy Day, David Hewlett, John Kapelos, Lauren Lee Smith, Morgan Kelly, Nigel Bennett, Stewart Arnott.

“The natives in the Amazon worshipped it. Like a god. We need to take it apart, learn how it works”

Guillermo del Toro has found himself to be quite the respected filmmaker over the years but, if I had to be brutally honest, I’d have to say that he’s really only made a few films that could be classed as ‘great’ and he’s not adverse to being disappointing on occasion. His latest films, Crimson Peak and Pacific Rim received a very mixed reception with the latter, in particular, being a huge misfire for me. That said, I do admire the man’s imagination and I keep returning, hoping to see something of the greatness of Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and most importantly his near masterpiece of fantasy, Pan’s Labyrinth. His latest, The Shape of Water, doesn’t quite hit the heights of the latter but that still doesn’t stop in from being del Toro’s best film for quite some time. Continue reading

Blade Runner 2049

Posted in Mystery, Science Fiction with tags on January 29, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Denis Villenueve.
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Edward James Olmos, David Dastmalchian, Hiam Abbass, Tómas Lemarquis, Wood Harris, Elarica Gallacher, Vilma Szécsi, Mark Arnold, Loren Peta.

“They all think it’s about more detail. But that’s not how memory works. We recall with our feelings. Anything real should be a mess”

We now find ourselves in an age where the filmmaking craft is so preoccupied with making money that it hinders the art form itself and saturates the market with crowd-pleasing dross. The rise of the superhero blockbuster has played a huge part in this and, as result, the creative and artistic nature of Blade Runner 2049 has become a casualty. Like Ridley Scott’s film before it, it has proven to be a box-office failure and despite the desire to provide sequels, the masses simply weren’t interested in this one. But 2017 took the sequel to a whole new level. They weren’t just money-spinning exercises but revisits to much loved cult classics that were intent on exploring their characters in a whole new depth: 20 years after the drug-addled exploits of Trainspotting, Danny Boyle brought a satisfying maturity to T2 while, 25 years later, David Lynch revisited the quaint logging town of Twin Peaks with The Return – a deeply surreal 18 episodes that has reinvented the way that television can be viewed. Going even further back than that, Denis Villenueve revisits Blade Runner after a 35 year hiatus and relieves my nervous disposition with the impressive completion of a 2017 hat-trick. Continue reading

The Snowman

Posted in Crime, Mystery, thriller with tags on January 25, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Tomas Alfredson.
Screenplay: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, Søren Sviestrup.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, Jonas Karlsson, Adrian Dunbar, James D’Arcy, Genevieve O’Reilly, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, David Dencik, Jamie Clayton, Michael Yates, Ronan Vibert.

“You could save them you know… gave you all the clues and everything”

Michael Fassbender may be of the one of the most talented and reliable actors of his generation but the same can’t always be said about some of his film choices. Assassin’s Creed only added to another failed video-game adaptation and his work with Ridley Scott on Prometheus, Alien: Covenant and The Counselor also failed to impress (although, I was admittedly one of the few admirers of the latter film). My point being, though, is that he’s not quite as bankable as he once was. Over recent years, you’re just as likely to catch a stinker as you are a work of quality and The Snowman doesn’t do anything to remedy this issue. Continue reading

Mother!

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery with tags on January 18, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Darren Aronofsky.
Screenplay: Darren Aronofsky.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Kristen Wiig, Stephen McHattie, Jovan Adepo.

“You never loved me. You just loved how much I loved you. I gave you everything. You gave it all away”

With the Oscar recognitions surrounding them, you could say that Black Swan and The Wrestler have been Darren Aronofsky’s most commercially successful films. In fact, they operate as great companions pieces that explore very similar themes. It comes as no surprise then that Aronofsky has chosen to follow-up his last film, Noah, by exploring similar themes again and approaching another biblical interpretation. Only this time, he does so from a very personal and contentious angle. Continue reading

American Made

Posted in Action, Biography, Crime, Drama with tags on January 15, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Doug Liman.
Screenplay: Gary Spinelli.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke, Jayma Mays, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez, E. Roger Mitchell, Jed Rees, Mauricio Mejía, Jason Warner Smith.

“It ain’t about room, alright? It’s about weight”

Say what you will of Tom Cruise as I’m fully aware that some don’t take to him at all but, personally, I’ve always been a fan. That said, it’s been some years since I’ve fully embraced a film of his as nothing has really showcased his abilities. As good as they were, I turned a little cold on the Mission: Impossible series where Cruise seemingly focused on being an action star for a while. American Made, however, sees him return to what he does best. This is a tailor made role for the likes of Cruise’s cocksure mannerisms and shit-kicking grin. In fact, the film thrives on him in the lead which makes this very enjoyable entertainment. Continue reading