Archive for the Crime Category

Serpico

Posted in Biography, Crime, Drama with tags on June 16, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Sidney Lumet.
Screenplay: Waldo Salt, Norman Wexler.
Starring: Al Pacino, Tony Roberts, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire, Barbara Eda-Young, Cornelia Sharpe, John Medici, Alan Rich, Edward Grover, Norman Ornellas, James Tolkan, Richard Foronjy, John McQuade, M. Emmett Walsh, F. Murray Abraham, Kenneth McMillan, Tracey Walter, Judd Hirsch.

Frank, let’s face it, who can trust a cop that won’t take money?

With their second collaboration in 1974, Al Pacino and Sidney Lumet delivered one of the very best films of the decade with “Dog Day Afternoon“. It was a taut and captivating true-life story of a bank robber that gets way in over his head. Two years previously, though, they worked on another true-life story from the opposite side of the law. This time it was NYPD officer Frank Serpico and how he got way in over his head with police corruption rife all around him.

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Blue Ruin

Posted in Crime, Film-Noir, thriller with tags on June 6, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Jeremy Saulnier.
Screenplay: Jeremy Saulnier.
Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, Brent Werzner, David W. Thompson, Stacy Rock, Bonnie Johnson, Sidné Anderson.

The keys are in the car… the keys are in the car… the keys are in the car

Many didn’t pay attention when Jeremy Saulnier made his directorial debut in 2007 with the little seen comedy/horror film “Monster Party“. I know I didn’t. Now, though, it’s going to be hard to forget him as his sophomore effort “Blue Ruin” hits our screens (and our jugulars) with an impressively handled and assembled dark thriller that brings reminders of the arrival of the Coen brothers and all the taut and twisted glee of “Blood Simple“.

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Out Of The Furnace

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on May 15, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Scott Cooper.
Screenplay: Scott Cooper,
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Tom Bower, Dwight Wolfe.

Working for a living? I gave my life for this country and what’s it done for me? Huh? What’s it done for me?

After finally helping Jeff Bridges to a long overdue Oscar in “Crazy Heart“, director Scott Cooper follows up that tale of a downward spiralling musician with another one of downward spiralling blue collar workers. Narratively, it’s lacking a certain something but one thing’s for sure with Cooper; he certainly knows how to bring out the best from his actors.

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Taxi Driver

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on April 24, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Paul Schrader.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, Leonard Harris, Joe Spinell, Victor Argo, Martin Scorsese, Diahnne Abbott, Steven Prince, Norman Matlock.

Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up.

Now regarded as a cinematic classic, I have to admit that Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” was always a film that left me as isolated as it’s lead character. The first time I saw it, I thought it vastly overrated. Admittedly, I was in my teens at this point and never managed to fully grasp it’s themes. With each viewing it did grow in stature but I could never really get over my initial judgement. It’s not often that I’ll backtrack on my opinion but I have now come full circle and can appreciate just how good a film it is, and why it’s regarded as one of the true greats of American cinema.

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Oldboy

Posted in Crime, Drama, Mystery with tags on April 3, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Spike Lee.
Screenplay: Mark Protosevich.
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Michael Imperioli, James Ransone, Max Casella, Pom Klementieff, Lance Reddick, Richard Portnow, Linda Emond, Elvis Nolasco, Rami Malek, Hannah Ware, Hannah Simone, Ciera Payton, Elvy Yost.

Heaven make me free of it. The rest is silence.”

Park Chan Wook’s 2004 Korean original of “Oldboy” is one of the most visceral and emotionally devastating thrillers that you’re ever likely to find. As a result, it totally baffled me when I heard about the intentions for an English language remake. I don’t care how much of an impressive cast or crew were assembled, as far as I see it, there really isn’t anything else that could have been brought to treading this ground again. Now that I’ve seen Spike Lee’s version, I stand by that even more. This was a completely pointless exercise.

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The Counselor

Posted in Crime, Drama, thriller with tags on March 10, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Ridley Scott
Screenplay: Cormac McCarthy
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Toby Kebbell, Ruben Blades, Natalie Dormer, Dean Norris, Edgar Ramirez, Goran Visnjic, Sam Spruell, Richard Cabral, John Leguizamo.

You are at a cross in the road and here you think to choose. But here there is no choosing. There is only accepting. The choosing was done long ago“.

Being a huge fan of Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, Ridley Scott was originally planning to adapt his controversial 1985 novel “Blood Meridian” before the project eventually fell through. Scott, however, was given another chance when McCarthy wrote his first ever original screenplay in the mould of “The Counselor“. Circling it for a short time, Scott eventually took the reigns and drafted in a star studded cast which led it to be one of the most anticipated movies of 2013. When it finally reached the public-eye, though, it was met with such a vehement backlash that I actually steered clear of it… until now.

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The Wolf Of Wall Street

Posted in Biography, Comedy, Crime, Drama with tags on January 27, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Terrence Winter.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner, Pj Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Ethan Suplee, Jake Hoffman, Joanna Lumley, Shea Whigham, Cristin Milioti, Leah Ebersole, Katarina Cas, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski, Spike Jonze.

On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island, and Queens for a month. I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my “back pain”, Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, part to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine… Well, because it’s awesome“.

Although retirement may possibly be on the horizon for one of America’s finest directors, at age 71, Martin Scorsese certainly doesn’t look like he’s slowing down. If anything, he’s as racy as he’s ever been and shows as much energy as someone half his age. “The Wolf Of Wall Street” may not be his most original approach to filmmaking. We’ve seen all this before as it strongly resembles the structure and downfall of Henry Hill in “Goodfellas“. It does feel a little like he’s repeating himself here but it’s still entirely suitable for the story he’s relating. I can’t see how else he would have done it. If he’d played it more straight, it probably wouldn’t have worked. He had to be outrageous and for that, it’s most certainly amongst his funniest outings.

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American Hustle

Posted in Comedy, Crime, Drama with tags on January 13, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: David O. Russell.
Screenplay: David O. Russell, Eric Singer.
Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Robert DeNiro, Shea Whigham, Michael Peña, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Alessandro Nivola, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elizabeth Röhm, Paul Herman, Barry Primus, Anthony Zerbe.

She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate“.

Following on from the Oscar winning success of “The Fighter” and “Silver Lining’s Playbook“, director David O. Russell is seemingly intent on sticking with a winning formula. His choice of actors in “American Hustle” have all delivered wonderful work for him in the past, so it makes sense to go with the ensemble that he has. Bale and Adams return from the former and Cooper, Lawrence and DeNiro return from the latter. One thing’s for certain, it was a very wise decision as every one of them deliver excellent work again.

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Le Samouraï

Posted in Crime, Film-Noir, Foreign Language, thriller with tags on December 19, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Jean-Pierre Melville.
Screenplay: Jean-Pierre Melville.
Starring: Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon, François Périer, Cathy Rosier, Jacques Leroy, Jean-Pierre Posier, Catherine Jourdan.

There is no greater solitude than a samurai’s, unless it is that of a tiger in the jungle…perhaps…

When a film is revered as a classic of world cinema by viewers and critics alike, it’s only so long before you have to check it out for yourself. In the case of Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Le Samouraï”, I did just that, and I didn’t regret it for a minute. It’s entirely understandable why this policier features on many people’s lists of favourites.

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Prisoners

Posted in Crime, Drama, Mystery, thriller with tags on December 17, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Denis Villeneuve.
Screenplay: Aaron Guzikowski.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Borde, Erin Gerasimovich, Kyla Drew Simmons, David Dastmalchian, Wayne Duvall.

Pray for the best, but prepare for the worst“.

In 2011, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies” received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. For that, he depicted a family that ventured on a journey of discovery. In “Prisoners“, Villeneuve turns his eye to another bleak family drama where ‘discovery’ is, once again, the driving force behind his characters’ motivations.

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