Archive for 2018

Top Ten of 2018

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 30, 2019 by Mark Walker

The time has come again to pick the best films from last year and as much as it’s a pleasure throughout the year, it’s always a chore when finalising the end result. It’s quite a difficult task especially given the mixed released dates from across the globe (I’m basing the list on U.S. release dates and those in contention for awards) and the fact that 2018, in particular, was a very strong year. As always, this is by no means an exhaustive list as there’s a number of films that I didn’t catch in time – these were predominantly foreign cinema like Shoplifters, Cold War and Burning. There’s also number of films that could’ve made my list had the competition not been so strong and I’ll give a near-miss shout out to Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman in that respect but, in the end, the following are among the films that resonated with me most. So, without further ado, these are my favourite films from 2018… Continue reading

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The Favourite

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on January 10, 2019 by Mark Walker

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos.
Screenplay: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara.
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Mark Gatiss, Joe Alwyn, James Smith, LillyRose Stevens, Jennifer White.

“As it turns out, I’m capable of much unpleasantness”

Late in 2018, the Oxford English Dictionary announced that over a hundred film-related words and their names had all been turned into adjectives. Some of these included, “Lynchian”, “Tarantinoesque” and “Kubrickian” to describe the style in which these cinematic auteurs operate. Kubrickian, for example, is described as a “meticulous perfectionism, mastery of the technical aspects of film-making, and atmospheric visual style in films across a range of genres”. Since their inclusion, I think it’s fair to say that Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite is the first film that can officially use one of these nomenclatures as Lanthimos delivers an exquisite piece of work that looks and feels very much like something that Stanley Kubrick would’ve been proud of. Continue reading

Bad Times At The El Royale

Posted in Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery, thriller with tags on December 28, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Drew Goddard.
Screenplay: Drew Goddard.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, Nick Offerman, Shea Whigham, Xavier Dolan, Mark O’Brien, Charles Halford, Jim O’Heir, Billy Wickman.

“Shit happens! Get the whisky”

Primarily known for his writing on television shows like Alias and Lost before his transition to film screenplays, Drew Goddard made quite the impression in 2012 with his feature directorial debut, The Cabin In The Woods. It was a creative horror that subverted expectations and recieved quite a positive fan base and put the spotlight on Goddard for one to watch. Oscar also shed some light on him with an Academy Award nomination for his screenwriting on Ridley Scott’s The Martian in 2016 but it was always behind the camera that Goddard showed the most promise. With Bad Times At The El Royale, Goddard has, once again, returned to directing and shows a keen eye for genre filmmaking. Continue reading

The House That Jack Built

Posted in Crime, Drama, Horror with tags on December 16, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Lars von Trier.
Screenplay: Lars von Trier.
Starring: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Riley Keough, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sofie Grabøl, Jeremy Davies, Jack McKenzie, Ed Speelers, David Bailie, Emil Tholstrup, Osy Ikhile.

“The old cathedrals often have sublime artworks hidden away in the darkest corners for only God to see. The same goes for murder”

Over the course of five years, Danish provocateur Lars von Trier delivered his “Trilogy of Depression” with AntiChrist in 2009, Melancholia in 2011 and the two-parter Nymphomaniac in 2013. Despite, an extensive career that has always quoted controversy, these three films alone managed to shock and upset viewers and critics alike with graphic scenes of genital mutilation, sadomasochism and full penetrative sex. Since then, von Trier has waited another five years to deliver The House That Jack Built and if you’re wondering if he has anything left to shock you with then wonder no more. Take a moment and a reminder that this film is about a serial-killer and remember that this is Lars von Trier we’re talking about here: the enfant terrible of contemporary cinema. Continue reading

You Were Never Really Here

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

Director: Lynne Ramsay.
Screenplay: Lynne Ramsay.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Judith Roberts, John Doman, Alex Manette, Dante Pereira-Olson, Frank Pando.

“I want you to hurt them”

After only four films – Ratcatcher, Morven Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here it’s now apparent that Scottish director Lynne Ramsay has managed to forge her own particular style. She’s also a director that’s so focused on her own approach that she won’t just bow down to studio pressures as her proposed adaptation of The Lovely Bones will attest to and her ill-fated vision for Jane Got a Gun – both films that she walked away from despite being heavily involved in the initial stages. Her latest, You Were Never Really Here, is somewhat the perfect example of her uncompromising approach and how powerful her bad-assitude can play out on screen when she’s left to express her own vision. Continue reading

Ready Player One

Posted in Action, Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction with tags on April 20, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Steven Spielberg.
Screenplay: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline.
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch, Clare Higgins, Perdita Weeks.

“People come to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be”

When Jaws was released in 1975, it done so well at the box-office that it was the first film to become, what we now know as, the “blockbuster”. Having been responsible for this, it looks like Steven Spielberg (at the ripe age of 71) isn’t in any mood for changing as Ready Player One – his 33rd film – is still an example of the big brand of entertainment that he’s now synonymous with. That said, he hasn’t been delivering that many of these types of films for quite some time now, choosing instead to focus on more dramatic material but I’m happy to say that he still possesses that childlike imagination and adventurous touch. Continue reading

Annihilation

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction with tags on March 19, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Alex Garland.
Screenplay: Alex Garland.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Benedict Wong, David Gyasi, Cosmo Jarvis, Edward Mannering, Honey Holmes, John Schwab, Sonoya Mizuno.

“It’s not destroying… It’s making something new”

Beginning his career as an author and responsible for the source material of Danny Boyle’s The Beach in 2000, Alex Garland then directly ventured into the film industry by doing screenplay’s – again with Boyle on 28 Days Later and Sunshine – before he eventually took the reigns himself by making his directorial debut with the magnificent science fiction film Ex Machina in 2014. On this evidence, it’s fair to say that Garland has went from strength to strength and his sophomore film, Annihilation, continues that trend. One could even argue that it’s his best work yet. Continue reading