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Posts Tagged ‘A History of Violence’

A History of Violence – Directed by David Cronenberg, starring Viggo Mortensen

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 15 January 2012

A History of Violence (2005)  Directed by David Cronenberg (M. Butterfly (1993), Spider (2002), A Dangerous Method (2011)), starring Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises (2007), The Road (2009), A Dangerous Method (2011)), Ed Harris (Pollock (2000), The Hours (2002), Gone Baby Gone (2007)), Maria Bello (Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)), with William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Syriana (2005), Into the Wild (2007)).  Though the highly effective plot is that of a successful, taut thriller, A History of Violence is, even more, a study of character and especially the often hidden, or undiscovered, capacity for violence, present, to one degree or another, in one form or another, in all the significant characters in the film, and, perhaps, in ourselves as well.  From Tom/Joey with his secret mob past, to his son Jack, and his discovery of his own violent capacities, to the capacity for violent carnal passion discovered by Tom/Joey and his wife Edie, A History of Violence takes a consummate look at not only the potential for violence, but also, perhaps, its necessity in the fight for survival on any number of levels.  Viggo Mortensen is very, very good in his portrayal of both the small town, humble family man Tom and the secret, ominously effective killer Tony; Maria Bello is perfect as the small town wife and mother, and as the sharp-eyed lawyer; Ed Harris is perfect, as well, as a cold, hard, disfigured mobster out for vengence, and William Hurt is superlative as a viciously twisted, violent mob underboss.  With a screenplay written by Josh Olson, based loosely on the graphic novel of the same name by John Wagner and Vince Locke, A History of Violence, is anything but simple; a subtly complex, thoroughly Cronenbergian, and very effective thriller, it is certainly a must-see film. (PR)

See our posts on the film Spider directed by David Cronenberg, the films The Indian Runner and Good starring Viggo Mortensen, and the films Sunshine, The Good Shepherd, Vantage Point and Syriana with William Hurt.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

A History of Violence (New Line Platinum Series)

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Spider – Directed by David Cronenberg, Starring Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson & Gabriel Byrne

Posted by the editors on Friday, 13 January 2012

Spider (2002) Directed by David Cronenberg (Crash (1996), A History of Violence (2005), Eastern Promises (2007)), starring Ralph Fiennes (Sunshine (1999), The Constant Gardener (2005), The Hurt Locker (2009)), Miranda Richardson (Damage (1992), The Hours (2001))and Gabriel Byrne (Miller’s Crossing (1990), The Usual Suspects (1995), The End of Violence (1997)).  Spider, a psychological drama, superbly directed by David Cronenberg, from a screenplay written by Patrick McGrath, based on his own eponymous novel, and brimming with excellent acting on the part of the entire cast, but especially on the part of Ralph Fiennes and Miranda Richardson, is, frankly, brutally bleak.  The film follows the attempted social re-insertion of Dennis “Spider” Cleg, a patient recently released from a mental institution, where he has spent the last 20 years, since the age of about 12.  Twisting marvelously and very grimly through the maze of schizophrenic realities and delusion, Spider is, in fact, a murder mystery.  Or is it?  Exceptional acting, inspired directing, powerful cinematography and story, Spider is harsh, very harsh, and a difficult must-see.  But must-see, it is. (PR) (Note: there are no spiders in the film.)

See our posts on the film Sunshine starring Ralph Fiennes and Miller’s Crossing written and directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Gabriel Byrne.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have an excellent personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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The Indian Runner – Directed by Sean Penn, starring Viggo Mortensen & David Morse

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Indian Runner (1991)  Written and directed by Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking (1995), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), I Am Sam (2001), Mystic River (2003), Milk (2008), and, as director The Pledge (2001), Into the Wild (2007)), starring Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence (2005), Good, (2008), The Road (2009)), and David Morse (The Crossing Guard (1995), The Hurt Locker (2009)), with Valeria Golino, Patricia Arquette, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper, Benicio del Toro and Sandy Dennis.   Based on the Bruce Springsteen song, Highway Patrolman, The Indian Runner, a drama of family, brothers and their two different ways of being in the world, is Sean Penn’s first film as a director, and though not perfect, it is a moving, successful first effort.  David Morse  is very good as Joe, the older brother, solid, kind, sadly yearning for days gone by, his childhood and the family farm lost in foreclosure, and Viggo Mortensen, as Frankie, a Vietnam veteran, and in trouble all his life, a psychologically troubled bad-boy, capable of explosions of violence, and equally menacing calm, a sort of  lost outlaw, is honestly excellent.  The rest of the impressive cast, quite a feat for a relatively low-budget first film and a testimony to the seriously talented Penn, is, if somewhat unexpected, also very good: an exceptional and subtle Charles Bronson and Sandy Dennis in her last cinema appearance, are Joe and Frankie’s parents, dazed and adrift, sad and beaten by life; Dennis Hopper, as a trashy, edgy bar-tender is spot on; Benicio del Toro is great in a very brief cameo as a charming, funny, even silly Mexican who supplies Joe’s wife, played by an amusing and energetic Valeria Golino, with marijuana; and Patricia Arquette, as Frankie’s love interest, is annoyingly, sadly, childlike with her pale skin and short blond hair, and an ideal foil to Mortensen’s dark and menacing Frankie.  The Indian Runner is a thoughtful, atypical film, with complex characters, a fascinating examination of two very different, but loving, brothers, and despite a few weaker moments, the very fine acting, inspired writing and directing, and any number of very strong scenes make it a film to be viewed, and viewed again. (PR)

See our posts on the film Good, starring Viggo Mortensen and the films The Pledge, directed by Sean Penn, starring Jack Nicholson, The Game, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Pen and What Just Happened, starring Robert De Niro, with Sean Penn and Bruce Willis, and the film Traffic starring Benicio del Toro.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, music, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Vantage Point – Starring Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox & Forest Whitaker

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 3 December 2011

Vantage Point (2008)(DVD)   Directed by Pete Travis, starring Dennis Quaid (The Right Stuff (1983), The Big Easy (1987), Far from Heaven (2002))Matthew Fox (Lost (2004-2010, Television series)Forest Whitaker (Bird (1988), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), The Last King of Scotland (2006))Sigourney Weaver (the four Alien films (1979-1997), Avatar (2009))William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), A History of Violence (2005), Syriana (2005), Into the Wild (2007)) and others.  In this relentlessly fast-paced political action thriller, with Quaid and Fox as U.S. Secret Service agents, and William Hurt as the U.S. President and replete with terrorists, bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, spies and a  truly breathless car chase through the narrow streets of Salamanca, Spain*, one is treated to multiple points of view on the same dreadful event.  Through rewinds, changes of perspective and rapid cutting the nature of the event and its participants are exposed and the idea of a single truth revealed.  Many reviewers have spoken of the Rashomon effect, the idea of examining the same event from multiple points of view, used in exemplary fashion in Akira Kurasawa‘s iconic film Rashomon and comparing the use of this technique in Vantage Point rather unfavorably. It should be said, however, that Kurasawa’s premise was that there is no single truth to be found, whereas in Vantage Point, the idea of illuminating a single, clear truth is the entire idea.  Once one accepts this rather reductionist point of view, and accepts that the film is not about intellectually challenging one’s post-modern sense of the world, one can sit back and enjoy its efforts to keep things moving at an entertainingly frenetic pace.  The acting is workable, the dialogue perhaps a bit wanting, and some of the devices admittedly a bit routine, not to mention the questionable and simplistic politics; nevertheless, a bit of breathless, stressful action, with not unreasonable special effects, is at times, just the ticket. (PR) (*: actually shot in Mexico)

See our post on the film Syriana, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, with William Hurt.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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Good (starring Viggo Mortensen)

Posted by the editors on Monday, 11 April 2011

Good, starring Viggo Mortensen, theatrical film poster

Good (2008) (DVD) Directed by Vicente Amorim, starring Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence (2005), Eastern Promises (2007), The Road (2009)),  Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy, in the series of Harry Potter films, beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in 2002, the second in the series) and Jodie Whittaker ( Venus(2006)).  Based on the play, Good, by C.P. Taylor, the film offers very good acting by Mortensen, with a somewhat less convincing portrayal by Isaacs and a relatively unsurprising, and flat, effort on the part of Ms. Whittaker. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray disks.  Have a wonderful personal library..

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