Archive for the Drama Category

Oldboy

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

20140323-143423.jpg

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.

Continue reading

Nymphomaniac: Volumes I & II

Posted in Drama with tags on March 25, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140322-144954.jpg

Director: Lars von Trier.
Screenplay: Lars von Trier.
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LeBeouf, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Christian Slater, Willem Dafoe, Jean-Marc Barr, Connie Nielsen, Mia Goth, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Udo Kier, Michael Pas, Jesper Christensen, Saskia Reeves, Caroline Goodall.

Perhaps the only difference between me and other people is that I’ve always demanded more from the sunset. More spectacular colours when the sun hit the horizon. That’s perhaps my only sin.

When provocateur Lars von Trier released the magnificent “Dogville” in 2003 and followed it up with “Manderlay” in 2005, I was very eager to see him complete his USA: Land of Opportunities trilogy. Unfortunately, the third instalment “Wasington” never came to fruition. He did, however, venture into another trilogy – focusing on depression. The gruelling and unforgettable “AntiChrist” was the first, followed by the restrained and meditative “Melancholia“. Now, von Trier completes this outstanding trilogy in style.

Continue reading

Grudge Match

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Sport with tags on March 14, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140314-141307.jpg

Director: Peter Segal.
Screenplay: Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart, Jon Bernthal, LL Cool J, Barry Primus, Anthony Anderson, Ireland Baldwin, Rich Little, Roy Jones Jr, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson.

Yeah, look at us! We’re not dead! Everyone’s laughing at us! The whole world’s laughing at us! But we’re not dead! In fact, I feel more alive now than I ever felt!

Although their careers have went in very different paths, Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro have been around roughly the same amount of time and have, on occasion, come together. In 1976, they were Best Actor nominees for two of their most successful roles in “Rocky” and “Taxi Driver” (both losing out to Peter Finch in “Network“) and in 1997 they shared the screen for the first time in “Cop Land“. Now they’re at it again…

Continue reading

Dazed And Confused

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on March 12, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140311-155811.jpg

Director: Richard Linklater.
Screenplay: Richard Linklater.
Starring: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane, Sasha Jenson, Cole Hauser, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Shawn Andrews, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Marissa Ribisi, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey, Deena Martin, Michelle Burke, Mark Vandermeulen, Esteban Powell, Jeremy Fox, Christin Hinojosa, Jason O. Smith, Terry Mross, David Blackwell, Nicky Katt, Renee Zellweger.

Man, it’s the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do, man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’, man…
L-I-V-I-N
“.

Richard Linklater is one of those directors that consistently delivers fresh and original material yet somehow remains a filmmaker with a lower profile. His projects certainly gain the respect they deserve but they never really go over and above that in terms of awards. He’s always been innovative and has adopted some daring approaches to filmmaking with the likes of his free-form indie debut “Slacker“, the expansive “Before Sunrise” trilogy, the philosophical “Waking Life” and it’s rotoscope animated companion piece “A Scanner Darkly“. Even his forthcoming “Boyhood” – a 12 year project following a boy’s journey from 5 to 18 years old – is a feat that few, if any, directors have tackled. However, one of his most poignant and entertaining escapades happens to be the mosaic “Dazed and Confused“. It was largely ignored and a commercial failure upon it’s release but has since gained a strong cult status. And for very good reason.

Continue reading

The Counselor

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

20140309-120434.jpg

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.

Continue reading

All Is Lost

Posted in Drama with tags on February 27, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140227-110407.jpg

Director: J.C. Chandor.
Screenplay: J.C. Chandor.
Starring: Robert Redford.

I’m sorry… I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried, I think you would all agree that I tried. To be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right. But I wasn’t. And I know you knew this. In each of your ways. And I am sorry. All is lost here… except for soul and body… that is, what’s left of them… and a half-day’s ration…

In dealing with the financial meltdown of an investment bank, J.C. Chandor’s directorial debut “Margin Call” in 2011, was an impressively handled, fast paced and very dialogue driven film. It also had a who’s who of familiar actors as they wheeled and dealed their way out of their crisis with a spot of verbal jousting. Now, in only his second feature, Chandor has left all that behind and delivers a film that couldn’t be further from his debut. There’s only one actor and you’re lucky if you get a couple of lines of dialogue in the entire film.

Continue reading

Nebraska

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on February 24, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140223-115505.jpg

Director: Alexander Payne.
Screenplay: Bob Nelson.
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk, Angela McEwan, Rance Howard, Mary Louise Wilson, Tim Driscoll, Devin Ratray, Kevin Kunkel.

These boys grow up staring at the rear ends of cows and pigs, it’s only natural that a real woman will get them chafing their pants“.

If he’s not already there yet, there’s no doubt that Alexander Payne is a director who’s name is fast becoming synonymous with quality. I’ve yet to see his 1996 debut “Citizen Ruth” but from “Election” in 1999 to the “The Descendants” in 2012, Payne has delivered a consistency that few directors can match. With every film, he just gets better and better and “Nebraska” is no exception.

Continue reading

Her

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on February 14, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140126-160047.jpg

Director: Spike Jonze.
Screenplay: Spike Jonze.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pratt, Portia Doubleday, Steve Zississ, Bill Hader.
Voices: Scarlett Johansson, Brian Cox, Spike Jonze, Kristen Wiig.

Love is a form of socially acceptable insanity

After bringing the warped and surreal works of Charlie Kaufman’s “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation” to the screen, director Spike Jonze carved himself a reputation for the off-beat. However, a misjudged adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story “Where The Wild Things Are” followed and I have to admit that doubts were raised about his abilities. I wondered how much of Jonze was in his earlier films or did he actually need Kaufman in order to construct something of substance? On the evidence of “Her“, though, it’s apparent that Jonze is the real deal and fully capable of crafting his own original work.

Continue reading

Dallas Buyers Club

Posted in Biography, Drama with tags on February 11, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140210-171730.jpg

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée.
Screenplay: Craig Borten, Melissa Wallack.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Michael O’Neill, Dallas Roberts, Griffin Dunne, Kevin Rankin, J.D. Evermore.

Let me give y’all a little news flash. There ain’t nothin’ out there can kill fuckin’ Ron Woodroof in 30 days

There has been no better or more consistent actor over the last few years than that of Matthew McConaughey. It’s a fact! From someone who started a bright early career and worked with the likes of such quality directors as Richard Linklater, John Sayles, Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, he soon drifted into the dreaded rom-com territory that’s no better than drifting into obscurity altogether. His reputation wasn’t amounting to his early promise and it seemed he would never recover. So when did it all go right for him then? Well, in 2011, he got back in tow with Linklater to do “Bernie” and followed that up with dark and blisteringly brave performances in William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe“, Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike“. It didn’t stop there, though. He continued his solid work in Jeff Nichols’ “Mud” and a brief but excellent role in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf Of Wall Street” before finally delivering this awards laden performance in “Dallas Buyers Club“. The resurrection of his career is complete and McConaughey’s work has now, rightfully, gained the respect of critics and viewers alike.

Continue reading

August: Osage County

Posted in Drama with tags on February 6, 2014 by Mark Walker

20140131-112432.jpg

Director: John Wells.
Screenplay: Tracy Letts.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham.

I thought we were having a funeral dinner not a cockfight“.

If you’re aware of the work and tone of play-write Tracy Letts (who also provides the screenplay here) then you’ll pretty much get the gist of this one. He was responsible for two of William Friedkin’s finest moments; the dark, psychological horror “Bug” and the intense and disturbing thriller “Killer Joe“. Now, this doesn’t quite explore the depravity of those aforementioned films but it’s no less powerful in capturing a similar claustrophobic tension.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,596 other followers