Archive for 2017

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

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on January 8, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Martin McDonagh.
Screenplay: Martin McDonagh.
Starring: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges, Abbie Cornish, Zeljko Ivanek, Kerry Condon, Amanda Warren, Malaya Rivera Drew, Kathryn Newton, Sandy Martin, Brendan Sexton III, Nick Searcy, Jerry Winsett, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Clarke Peters.

“What’s the law on what you can and can’t say on a billboard? I assume it’s you can’t say nothing defamatory, and you can’t say, ‘Fuck’, ‘Piss’ or ‘Cunt’. That right?”

Although Martin McDonagh’s last film, Seven Psychopaths, had a fervent fan base I was very disappointed in it; narratively it was all over the place and I found the humour to be extremely forced. With Three Billboards… it’s good to see that McDonagh has taken stock and decides to deliver something a bit different this time. Like his brother, John Michael, did after delivering laughs with The Guard, he followed it up with a more serious tone in Calvary and it was a magnificent change of direction. This doesn’t quite hit the same level as his brother’s aforementioned film but there’s still plenty to admire here. Continue reading

Dunkirk

Posted in History, War with tags on December 28, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Christopher Nolan.
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan.
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Barry Keoghan, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, James D’Arcy, Kevin Guthrie, Adam Long.

“Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?”

It’s now fair to say that Christopher Nolan has become a director that instils huge anticipation when he announces a new film project. He’s equally adept at providing low-key, personal, thrillers like Memento and Insomnia and more than proved his worth with big-budget spectacles like The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and Interstellar. It’s fitting then that he tackle a war drama – a genre that demands an element of both approaches. After Steven Spielberg shell-shocked us with Saving Private Ryan and Terrence Malick encouraged us to ruminate and philosophise with The Thin Red Line, anyone treading the same ground had huge boots to fill. On this occasion, Nolan does an admirable job but I’d have to be honest and say that he doesn’t quite reach the high benchmark that had already been set by these contemporary films. Continue reading

Jawbone

Posted in Drama, Sport with tags on December 11, 2017 by Mark Walker

Director: Thomas Napper.
Screenplay: Johnny Harris.
Starring: Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Michael Smiley, Luke J.I. Smith, Anna Wilson-Hall.

“I don’t know what demons you’re fighting but when all this is done and dusted, just walk away. You can’t fight forever, son”

Let’s face it, boxing is a brutal and unforgiving sport. But it’s also reflective of class. Rarely, if ever, is it taken from the point of view of the privileged or the upper-classes. It’s a sport that offers the working class a chance to break free from their poverty or a chance of absolution from personal demons or afflictions. From Rocky to The Champ or Raging Bull to The Fighter, boxing flicks often provide raw and gritty, blue collar entertainment and Jawbone is no exception. Continue reading

Baby Driver

Posted in Action, Crime with tags on October 23, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Edgar Wright.
Screenplay: Edgar Wright.
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Flea, Lanny Joon, CJ Jones, Sky Ferreira, Lance Palmer, Hudson Meek, Paul Williams, Hal Whiteside.

“The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet”

With his “Cornetto trilogy” and Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Edgar Wright has amassed a fervent following. He’s a director that can seemingly do no wrong in many people’s eyes but this enthusiasm is one that I’ve often questioned. I don’t think that Wright has produced enough overall quality to be considered so highly in people’s estimations. Stylistically, he’s fantastic and there’s always an energy and a plethora of good ideas on display but I’ve always struggled with how much mileage he tries to squeeze out of his material and how he brings his stories to a close. Baby Driver, as enjoyable as it is, suffers a similar fate.  Continue reading

A Ghost Story

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Romance with tags on October 5, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: David Lowery
Screenplay: David Lowery
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham.

“We build our legacy piece by piece and maybe the whole world will remember you or maybe just a couple of people, but you do what you can to make sure you’re still around after you’re gone”

David Lowery is fast becoming a director to keep a close eye on. His Malick-esque Ain’t Them Bodies Saints struck a strong indie and meditative vibe before he, somewhat bizarrely, took on Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon and made a huge success out of it. Now, though, Lowery returns to the same tone of Saints by delivering a very unusual and unique take on a ghost story. With a brief synopsis of the plot or by even judging the films poster you’d be forgiven for thinking that this film is possibly a joke or at least one that relies heavily on humour. But it’s not and it doesn’t. This is a very poker-faced meditation on memories, attachments and loneliness and, for those with an open mind, it works an absolute treat.  Continue reading

Alien: Covenant

Posted in Action, Science Fiction with tags on August 21, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Ridley Scott.
Screenplay: John Logan, Dante Harper.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Guy Pearce, Demián Bechir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, James Franco.

“No one understands the lonely perfection of my dreams”

When it was announced that Prometheus would would have Ridley Scott revisit the Alien world of his 1979 classic, there was much anticipation. However, the end result caused huge disappointment for fans and many were left wondering why Scott even bothered in the first place. Alien: Covenant was a chance for Scott to right some wrongs and have another go but, unfortunately, he doesn’t achieve that. If anything, Covenant is an even bigger misstep. Continue reading