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Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Novels’

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)

top image: Wikipedia

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Road to Perdition – Starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law & Daniel Craig

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 14 January 2012

Road to Perdition (2002) Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty (1999), Jarhead (2005), Revolutionary Road (2008)), starring Tom Hanks (Cast Away (2000), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011), and others), Paul Newman (The Hustler (1961), The Verdict (1982), Nobody’s Fool (1994), and, of course, many, many other excellent films) , Daniel Craig (Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)), Jude Law (partial filmography below) and others.  This gangster drama, a Hollywood interpretation of the graphic novel of the same name by Max Allan Collins, set in and around Chicago in the winter of 1931, features an excellent Tom Hanks, as a father, hitman, and yet another man of few words, working for regional mob boss, John Rooney, a superb and essential Paul Newman, in his last theatrical screen appearance, who in turn works for Frank Nitty, an underboss for the legendary Al Capone.  Featuring some excellent acting on the part of Hanks, Newman, and to a lesser degree Daniel Craig, as Connor Rooney, John Rooney’s (Newman) deviously corrupt, violent and spoiled son, it must  be said that the exquisite cinematography by Conrad L. Hall is almost the real star of the film: rain, especially, and water in general, is used as an almost ever-present motif, with snow magnificently used to filter the light and create a general Hopper-esque  darkness with discrete pockets of light, and creates an ominous sense of environment, illuminating characters in ways that underscore their moral ambiguity. Yet, with the simplified moral structure of a traditional western, heaven, hell, the possibility of redemption, the film also adheres to the epigrammatic nature of the graphic novel on which it is based, and to the character of its graphic images: much is half in shadow, people, their faces, rooms, streets.  However, it must be said that the Hollywoodian character of the production does at times dominate, with a rather sentimental and falsely moving voice-over and some equally sappy music.  Jude Law, though adequately repulsive as a photographer/assassin necessary to the logic of the screenplay, once again shows his severe limitations, especially in contrast to the performances by the rest of the cast, and it’s a shame the character portrayed by Daniel Craig wasn’t further developed; it may have given the film the edge it somehow lacks despite all of the film’s remarkable qualities.  Nevertheless, for the wonderful acting of Hanks and Newman, and the superlative cinematography, Road to Perdition is a film very much worth viewing. (PR)

See our post on the films Sherlock Holmes, Repo Men and Closer, starring Jude Law.

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):

top image: Wikipedia

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Surrogates (Clones)

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, theatrical poster

image: Wikipedia

Surrogates (2009) (DVD) Directed by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)), starring Bruce Willis (Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Sixth Sense (1999), Sin City (2005) and others, including Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction (1994), Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (to be released in 2011) and others in the Mission: Impossible film series).  Based on the graphic novel (comic book, to some) of the same name by Robert Venditti.  Surrogates, a sci-fi/action film with rather slick effects and a potentially intriguing storyline, relies a bit too heavily on relatively boring action and its poor script for even Bruce Willis, who can be quite good in this sort of film, to redeem it.

Today’s virtual reality avatars taken a couple of (for now, fictional) steps further. (PR)

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

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