Archive for the Drama 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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Enemy

Posted in Drama, Mystery, thriller with tags on May 22, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Denis Villenueve.
Screenplay: Javier Gullón.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Kedar Brown.

“The last thing you need is meeting strange men in hotel rooms. You already have enough trouble sticking with one woman, don’t you?”

Reportedly made before they collaborated on the impressive vigilante thriller “Prisoners” in 2013, Jake Gyllenhaal and director Denis Villeneuve crafted this fascinating and hugely involving psychological drama. Now that the surrealist master David Lynch has seemingly taken a backseat from filmmaking, it’s promising to see that someone else is able to handle the material that wouldn’t be out of place in his hands.

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The Deer Hunter

Posted in Drama, War with tags on May 21, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Michael Cimino.
Screenplay: Deric Washburn.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Cazale, John Savage, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren, Rutanya Alda, Shirley Stoler, Pierre Segui, Joe Grifasi, Somsak Sengvilai.

You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it’s all about. A deer has to be taken with one shot. I try to tell people that but they don’t listen

Released in 1978, only three years after the official end of the Vietnam war, Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” seemed as if it may have been too soon for the American psyche. It was a surprising box-office hit but was also one of the most controversial, major theatrical releases about America’s involvement in the war. It went on to receive 9 Academy Award nominations (winning 5 – including Best Picture and Best Director). Despite this, the backlash was pretty vehement. It received criticism from the likes of Jane Fonda and John Wayne – who in his last public appearance had to present it with it’s Best Picture award even though he wasn’t fond of the film. These criticisms came in many forms but for as many critics as it had, there were also a great number who considered it to be another American classic.

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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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Do The Right Thing

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on May 8, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Spike Lee.
Screenplay: Spike Lee.
Starring: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, John Turturro, Giancarlo Esposito, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Rosie Perez, Richard Edson, Bill Nunn, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Benjamin, Frankie Faison, Robin Harris, John Savage, Joie Lee, Miguel Sandoval, Rick Aiello, Roger Guenveur Smith, Frank Vincent, Martin Lawrence.

Today’s temperature’s gonna rise up over 100 degrees, so there’s a Jheri curl alert! That’s right, Jheri curl alert. If you have a Jheri curl, stay in the house or you’ll end up with a permanent black helmet on your head fuh-eva

Remember the days when Spike Lee’s “joints” has a real edge and potency to them? Nowadays, he’s rolling out more generic, Hollywood tripe like “Oldboy” but there was a time when he was a highly original and passionately political filmmaker as he regularly touched upon important social issues and conflicts. However, few of his joints have been as packed or as provocative as “Do The Right Thing“.

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To The Wonder

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on May 5, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Terrence Malick.
Screenplay: Terrence Malick.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams, Tatiana Chiline, Romena Mondello, Charles Baker, Tony O’Gans.

“You have to struggle with yourself. You have to struggle with your own strength”.

Say what you will about the stylings of Terrence Malick but he’s undoubtedly a director that puts his own stamp on things and refuses to tell a story in any conventional sense. He’s more interested in capturing moments and subtle glances while pondering the larger themes of love, life and religious beliefs. When you look back at his older works of “Days Of Heaven“, “The Thin Red Line” or “The Tree Of Life“, for example, you’ll find these themes in abundance. From a personal point of view, I often find Malick’s approach to be highly appealing but with “To The Wonder“, I was left somewhat distant and uninterested this time around.

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The King Of Comedy

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on April 29, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Paul D. Zimmerman.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard, Diahnne Abbott, Ed Herlihy, Tony Randall, Shelley Hack, Fred de Cordova, Margot Winkler, Lou Brown, Ellen Foley, Martin Scorsese, Charles Scorsese, Mardik Martin, Chuck Low, Catherine Scorsese, Victor Borge, George Kapp.

Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.

Although now regarded as one of cinema’s very best actor/director collaborations, “The King of Comedy” was reportedly such an unsettling experience that Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro would not work together again for several years. This was in part because of the bitter material of the script and the whole experience being so emotionally gruelling. If this is the case, then it certainly doesn’t show on screen. Scorsese delivers some of his most unsung work in a style that you normally wouldn’t associate with him. The same goes for DeNiro. In recent times, he has been delivering subpar comedic work but it’s often forgotten how strong and sharp his comic timing is in this underrated gem.

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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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Nymphomaniac: Volumes I & II

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

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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.

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