Mark Johnson

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Secret In Their Eyes Review

Excellent

It's rare for an American remake to be scruffier than the original, but this film is an intriguingly messier take on the super-slick, hugely engaging 2009 Oscar winner from Argentina. Filmmaker Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) has stripped down the tone and revamped the plot considerably, replacing the original film's big emotional surges with grittier intrigue and subtle intelligence.

The story begins as New York security expert Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) returns to Los Angeles, picking up the trail of an unsolved murder he worked on 13 years earlier when he was an FBI agent. His former colleague Jess (Julia Roberts) is still in the FBI, while Claire (Nicole Kidman) is now the city's district attorney. Together, they secretly begin looking into the case again, tracking the suspect (Joe Cole) through the city and dodging interference from fellow agent Reg (Michael Kelly). But the investigation doesn't go as planned, jeopardising all of them in their current jobs. And Ray is having trouble sorting out his relational history with both Jess and Claire.

These three fine actors cleverly play with the delicate tensions both between them and in the larger picture. At the centre, Ejiofor is gripping as a man of conscience who is tenaciously hoping for justice in a seriously murky situation. Kidman adds a slightly cheeky tone as a woman who has achieved professional success but never forgets the dodgy choices she has made. And Roberts gets the showier role, losing all of her Hollywood glamour as the tomboyish Jess, a woman with layer after layer of emotional turmoil. The chemistry between them is fascinating, even if the filmmaking approach feels dry and aloof. But there's so much going on in both the story and characters that it's impossible to look away. Nothing that happens is quite what it seems to be, and the big ideas linger in the background, leaving plenty for us to chew on.

Continue reading: Secret In Their Eyes Review

Damien Lewis, Mark Johnson and Helen McCrory - Damien Lewis during trophy presentation - Ascot, Berkshire, United Kingdom - Tuesday 16th June 2015

Damien Lewis, Mark Johnson and Helen Mccrory
Damien Lewis, Mark Johnson and Helen Mccrory
Damien Lewis, Mark Johnson and Helen Mccrory

Mark Johnson - 4th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Thursday 19th June 2014

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson

Chasing Mavericks Review


OK

Despite a number of exhilarating surfing sequences, the interesting true story of surf legend Jay Moriarty is transformed into another dull Hollywood biopic. Painfully family-friendly, it's all so relentlessly smiley and sun-kissed that we wonder where the real story and characters are amid the sticky schmaltz. Even so, it's so beautifully shot that it holds our attention, especially when the cameras are riding the waves.

By the time he was 9 years old in 1987, Jay (Timberline) was already an expert on the tides in his home town of Santa Cruz, California. Watching the surfers every day, he longs to get out there himself. His mother (Shue) is a sleepy alcoholic and he never knew his father, so he adopts salty old surfer Frosty (Butler) as a mentor, even though he's not sure he wants the job. Especially since he's doing everything to avoid his own wife (Spencer) and baby. But Frosty sees Jay's natural talent, and seven years later Jay (now Weston) has the confidence to ask Frosty to teach him how to ride the mavericks, mythical monster waves that only come along every few months.

With its absent father and drunken mother, the script never feels like more than an after-school special, complete with a bat-wielding bully (Handley) and a surf babe (Rambin) who chastely flirts with Jay whenever they meet. Frosty even sets Karate Kid-style pointless tasks for Jay to teach him the bigger picture. But this set-up is so trite that we never have even the slightest doubt about where it's going. And the characters all feel like cliches rather than real people. The three women are especially wasted, but at least they add spark to their roles.

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Suzanne Johnson and Mark Johnson - The 2013 We Are Family Honors Gala at Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom - Arrivals. - New York City, United States - Thursday 11th April 2013

Suzanne Johnson and Mark Johnson

James Gandolfini, Bella Heathcote, Steve Van Zandt, David Chase, John Magaro, Jack Huston and Mark Johnson - James Gandolfini, Bella Heathcote, Steve Van Zandt, David Chase (director), John Magaro, Jack Huston, and producer Mark Johnson Sunday 16th December 2012 'Not Fade Away' press conference at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel

James Gandolfini, Bella Heathcote, Steve Van Zandt, David Chase, John Magaro, Jack Huston and Mark Johnson
James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini and Bella Heathcote
James Gandolfini

Mark Johnson Saturday 6th October 2012 The 50th New York Film Festival - 'Not Fade Away' - Premiere

Mark Johnson

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Review


Excellent
This inventive horror film plays to our deepest childhood fears. It's like a demented variation on The Borrowers, and first-rate acting and effects work combine to thoroughly creep us out.

Shy, artistic 8-year-old Sally (Madison) moves across the country to live with her architect dad Alex (Pearce) and his designer girlfriend Kim (Holmes) in a massive old Rhode Island mansion. But she soon starts hearing strange noises, and after discovering a boarded-up basement studio, things start getting a bit freaky. But how can she convince her sceptical father and the stepmum she doesn't trust that there's something in the house that wants to tear the family apart? Even after the handyman (Thompson) is attacked, Alex continues his renovations so he can lure a buyer (Dale).

Continue reading: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Review

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Review


Very Good
This third instalment in the Narnia series changes the director and studio, as well as the setting (from the land to the sea). The result is a rousing adventure that's enjoyable even if it still feels rather sanitised.As war rages in Britain, Lucy and Edmund (Henley and Keynes) have left London to live with their obnoxious cousin Eustace (Poulter). One day when he's taunting them about tales that they were royalty in Narnia, a painting comes to life and pulls all three of them into its watery depths. Rescued by now-King Caspian (Barnes) and his first-mate mouse Reepicheep (voiced by Pegg), they embark on an epic voyage in the ship Dawn Treader, sailing off the edge of the map on a quest to restore balance to the kingdom.The story is much more cinematic than other Narnia chapters, and director Apted makes the most of both the ship and the islands they visit along the way, adding a sense of scale and scope. Clever camerawork makes the digital creatures feel more matter-of-fact (to everyone except the horrified Eustace), and only a few dodgy effects (mainly the mermaids and a dragon) let things down on the technical side.In addition, the actors are more relaxed this time, giving more confident, natural performances. Franchise newcomer Poulter is especially good, walking the fine line between being a loathsome jerk and a needy young boy. So it's a shame that the plot feels so simplistic, composed of a series of set pieces as the ship stops at various ports of call and our heroes encounter seemingly random inhabitants who helpfully give them information to continue their journey.

Continue reading: The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Review

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian Review


OK
In Clerks II, uber-slacker Randal described the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a series of endless walks. Nothing but nonstop, pointless treks. One has to wonder what his reaction would be to the overwhelming ambulation in the two Chronicles of Narnia films. While The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe had origins and mythos to highlight, Disney's latest entry in the franchise, Prince Caspian, requires a more minimal setup. All returning director Andrew Adamson has to offer as a result is more shoe to footpath action, with the occasional CGI-sparked battle to break up the constant strolling.

It's been a year since Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley), and Susan (Anna Popplewell) Pevensie have been to the magical land that they once ruled as kings and queens. However, 13 centuries have passed in Narnia, and a race of humans known as Telmarines have overrun the kingdom. They have systematically killed off almost all the creatures, and rule by blood and violence. Within the court, Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), brother of the late King Caspian IX, has taken over and threatened the life of the true, titular heir (Ben Barnes). With the help of the returning foursome, Prince Caspian will rally the remaining Narnians, leading them to victory over their evil oppressors.

Continue reading: The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian Review

Shooter Review


OK
As the hero of Shooter, Mark Wahlberg narrows his eyes into a piercing stare, delivers his bite-sized chunks of dialogue under his breath, and maintains a constant state of muscle flex so that each vein in his ropy arms sticks up like a speed bump on an elementary school driveway.

Wahlberg even boasts the ideal name: Bob Lee Swagger. The surname ensures he's all attitude. The fact that he goes by three monikers means he's a bona fide presidential assassin, situated in a class above Lee Harvey Oswald.

Continue reading: Shooter Review

The Natural Review


Good
Robert Redford is beloved for his roles in numerous films, but his work in The Natural has to rank as one of the few on top, despite the fact that, with a $48 million box office, it hardly ranks as one of his bigger hits.

The film remains, next to Field of Dreams, one of the world's oddest baseball movies. Roy Hobbs (Redford) is a child wunderkind at the game. After playing some ball at a carnival, he's summarily shot in the chest by a femme fatale (Barbara Hershey), who is clearly working for agents that want him not to be the greatest player of all time, which Hobbs says he aims to be.

Continue reading: The Natural Review

Galaxy Quest Review


Very Good
Just when you thought "high concept" couldn't get any lower....

And just when you thought lowbrow humor couldn't be funny any more....

Continue reading: Galaxy Quest Review

Rain Man Review


Essential
Do you know about "high level" autistic people? They are amazingly intelligent. They can carry on conversations, memorize phone books, follow schedules, recite statistics, calculate square roots, and count the number of toothpicks spilled on the floor in just a few seconds. But they can't think abstractly -- they can't tell you the price of a car in comparison to the price of a candy bar. Also, they get rather disturbed when someone interrupts their routine.

Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) is a "high level" autistic man living in a mental hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. When his father dies, he inherits $3 million, much to his brother's dismay. Raymond's brother, Charlie (Tom Cruise), never knew about him. He was very angry to hear that their estranged father left everything to Raymond except for a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. Charlie leaves his shaky car business in Los Angeles and travels to Ohio to find out where his father's estate went. When Charlie discovers Raymond, he decides to abduct him and bring him back to his home in L.A. until he gets his share of the money.

Continue reading: Rain Man Review

The Banger Sisters Review


Weak
Without paying close attention, one could wander into The Banger Sisters expecting a warm and fuzzy friendship yarn delivered by an Oscar-caliber trio of Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon, and Geoffrey Rush. You'd be half right. The cast shows up, but the film substitutes "warm and fuzzy" with vulgar dialogue and gratuitously sexual escapades.

This is a shame, because Sisters introduces unusual characters that deserve to be explored, starting with Suzette (Hawn), a former groupie and by-product of the "free love" era who refuses to admit times have changed. Fired from her bartending job at the famed Whisky A Go-Go, Suzette hits the road to Phoenix to rekindle her fizzled relationship with her former cohort, Lavinia "Vinnie" Kingsley (Sarandon), the other half of the infamous Banger Sisters. Along the way, Suzette picks up a neurotic screenwriter named Harry (Rush), who's on his way back to Arizona to murder his father.

Continue reading: The Banger Sisters Review

Mark Johnson

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David Bowie Wins Big, But Grime Artists Go Home Empty-Handed At The 2017 BRIT Awards

David Bowie Wins Big, But Grime Artists Go Home Empty-Handed At The 2017 BRIT Awards

David Bowie and Rag'n'Bone Man both won two awards at the 2017 BRIT Awards at the O2 Arena in London last night.

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Skepta To Headline Wireless Festival 2017 With Chance The Rapper And The Weeknd

Skepta To Headline Wireless Festival 2017 With Chance The Rapper And The Weeknd

The grime superstar will top the bill on Saturday night at Finsbury Park's Wireless Festival in July, with The Weeknd and Chance The Rapper also...

Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' Reportedly Moving To Netflix

Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' Reportedly Moving To Netflix

Martin Scorsese's upcoming 'The Irishman', featuring Robert De Niro, is reportedly moving to Netflix from Paramount.

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Mark Johnson Movies

Secret in Their Eyes Movie Review

Secret in Their Eyes Movie Review

It's rare for an American remake to be scruffier than the original, but this film...

Chasing Mavericks Movie Review

Chasing Mavericks Movie Review

Despite a number of exhilarating surfing sequences, the interesting true story of surf legend Jay...

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Movie Review

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Movie Review

This inventive horror film plays to our deepest childhood fears. It's like a demented variation...

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Review

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Review

This third instalment in the Narnia series changes the director and studio, as well as...

Shooter Movie Review

Shooter Movie Review

As the hero of Shooter, Mark Wahlberg narrows his eyes into a piercing stare, delivers...

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Movie Review

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Movie Review

Since the first comparison made with C.S. Lewis' Narnia fantasy series is to his friend...

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Movie Review

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Movie Review

Since the first comparison made with C.S. Lewis' Narnia fantasy series is to his friend...

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