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Posts Tagged ‘Milk’

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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The Pledge – Directed by Sean Penn, Starring Jack Nicholson

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Pledge (2001)(DVD)  Directed by Sean Penn, starring Jack Nicholson, with Robin Wright Penn, Benicio del Toro, Mickey RourkeSam ShepardPatricia ClarksonVanessa RedgraveHelen Mirren, Harry Dean StantonAaron Eckhart and others.  The Pledge, on the surface a good crime drama, is, in fact, an excellent portrayal of one man’s descent into obsession and marginalization.  That man, Jerry Black, is played by a superb Jack Nicholson, full of finesse, and few of his iconic grimaces and is captivating.  The cast, clearly, is a who’s who of wonderful, accomplished actors, and Sean Penn’s directing is strong, evocative, and inspired.  Benicio del Toro, though almost unrecognizable, as a retarded Native American, is magnificent, as are, in small, but pivotal roles, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard, Patricia Clarkson, Vanessa Redgrave, and Helen Mirren.  Robin Wright Penn as a down-and-out, single-mother, rural barmaid is exceptionally good.  The Pledge is not an easy film, it must be admitted, with its focus on serial child murder, and a number of gruesome scenes.  Nevertheless, it is an excellent, atypical, powerful and engrossing film and, honestly, a must-see. (PR) (See below for filmographies)

See our posts on As Good As It Gets, with Jack Nicholson, What Just Happened, with Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn,  State of Play, with Robin Wright Penn and Helen Mirren, Whatever Works, with Patricia Clarkson, The Game, with Sean Penn and Straight Time, with Harry Dean Stanton.

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

Filmographies (partial):

Sean Penn: As director: The Indian Runner (1991), The Crossing Guard (1995), Into the Wild (2007); as actorI Am Sam (2001), Mystic River (2003), 21 Grams (2003), Milk (2008).

Jack Nicholson: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good as It Gets (1997), The Bucket List (2007), and many other excellent films.

Robin Wright Penn: Forrest Gump (1994), A Home at the End of the World (2004), What Just Happened (2008), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011, in post production)

Benicio del ToroThe Usual Suspects (1995), Traffic (2000), Snatch (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Che (2008)

Mickey Rourke9½ Weeks (1986), Buffalo ’66 (1998), Sin City (2005), The Wrestler (2008)

Sam ShepardThe Right Stuff (1983), The Pelican Brief (1993), Don’t Come Knocking (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Patricia ClarksonPieces of April (2003), Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), Whatever Works (2009), Shutter Island (2010)

Vanessa RedgraveIsadora (1968), Julia (1977), Howards End (1992), Atonement (2007)

Helen MirrenThe Mosquito Coast (1986), Gosford Park (2001), State of Play (2009)

Harry Dean StantonStraight Time (1978), Paris, Texas (1984), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Inland Empire (2006)

Aaron EckhartErin Brockovich (2000), The Black Dahlia (2006), The Dark Knight (2008)

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American Gangster – Starring Russell Crowe & Denzel Washington

Posted by the editors on Monday, 28 November 2011

American Gangster (2007)(DVD) Directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Gladiator (2000), Robin Hood (2010)), starring Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind (2001), State of Play (2009)) and Denzel Washington (Glory (1989), Training Day (2001), Inside Man (2006)), with Josh Brolin (In the Valley of Elah (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), Milk (2008), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)), Ruby Dee (A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Do the Right Thing (1989)), John Hawkes (excellent in Winter’s Bone (2009)), Cuba Gooding Jr. (As Good as It Gets (1997), Pearl Harbor (2001)) and others.  A crime drama, based loosely on the life of Frank Lucas, a large-scale Harlem drug dealer in the late 1960s and early 70s.  Aside from questions of historical veracity, after all the film is not a documentary, American Gangster is a consummate work:  The acting is excellent on the part of virtually all the cast, Ridley Scott’s directing is superb, the care taken in the set and context design is close to perfect, the writing is sharp, the music apt.  The screenplay, written by Stephen Zaillian, after many workings over by others, fascinates in its details and in its counterpoint between good, evil, morality, family and isolation, temptation and determination.  American Gangster is an excellent film that merits watching, and owning, and is all the more interesting in repeat viewings. (PR)

See our posts on State of Play, with Russell Crowe, In the Valley of ElahNo Country for Old Men, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Josh BrolinWinter’s Bone with John Hawkes and As Good as It Gets with Cuba Gooding Jr.

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

top image: Wikipedia

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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

In the Valley of Elah – Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron & Susan Sarandon

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 23 November 2011

In the Valley of Elah (2007)(DVD)  Written and directed by Paul Haggis (as screenwriterMillion Dollar Baby (2004), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008)), starring Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive (1993), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), No Country for Old Men (2007) and many others)Charlize Theron (Monster (2003), North Country (2005), Hancock (2008), The Burning Plain (2009), The Road (2009))Susan Sarandon (The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Thelma & Louise (1991), The Lovely Bones (2009), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)), Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men (2007), W. (2008), Milk (2008), True Grit (2010)) and others.  In the Valley of Elah, a somber, complex and powerful film, portrays a veteran and father’s search for the murderers of his soldier son, and deals with issues such as the war in Iraq, post-traumatic stress disorder, racism, misogyny, and violence.  Tommy Lee Jones is excellent, rigid, harsh, cold, determined, Charlize Theron, as a police detective, is equally good, sober, human, perseverant, overwhelmed.  Susan Sarandon, in a smaller role, as the wife of Jones’s character and mother of the murdered soldier is very good, detached, distraught, lost; Josh Brolin, in a very small role as Theron’s character’s police superior, is, if briefly, perfect.  In the Valley of Elah is not an easy film, and includes some graphic, gruesome scenes in its portrait of alienated, morally lost Americans. (PR)

See our posts on the films The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and No Country for Old Men, with Tommy Lee Jones, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, with Susan Sarandon.

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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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What Just Happened, starring Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Bruce Willis

Posted by the editors on Monday, 7 November 2011

What Just Happened (2008)(DVD)  Directed by Barry Levinson (High Anxiety (1977), The Natural (1984), Rain Man (1988), Sphere (1998)), starring Robert De Niro (Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1080), Cape Fear (1991), Everybody’s Fine (2009))Sean Penn (Carlito’s Way (1993), I Am Sam (2001), Mystic River (2003), 21 Grams (2003), Milk (2008))Bruce Willis (The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Pulp Fiction (1994), Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Sixth Sense (1999), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Catch .44 (2011, in post-production))John Turturro (Miller’s Crossing (1990), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000))Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich (1999), Capote (2005), Into the Wild (2007), Synecdoche, New York (2008))Stanley Tucci (The Pelican Brief (1993), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Lovely Bones (2009))Robin Wright Penn (Forrest Gump (1994), Nine Lives (2005), The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)) and others.  Yes, that is an impressive cast, and, of course, there is some very good acting, and it is well-filmed.  And yet… perhaps it is the concept, despite it being a veritable Hollywood genre, Hollywood satirizing Hollywood; perhaps it’s the screenplay…What Just Happened somehow just doesn’t happen, despite a good number of quite successful comic scenes.  Perhaps a successful satire needs to go beyond the acid observations, into something a bit more profound, and though De Niro’s character has moments where one is touched, one is left just a bit too often with the question, “Yes.  Well.  Who cares?” (PR)

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

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Posted in DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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