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Posts Tagged ‘Mystic River’

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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White Hunter Black Heart – directed by and starring Clint Eastwood

Posted by the editors on Friday, 25 November 2011

White Hunter Black Heart (1990)(DVD)  Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Dirty Harry (1971), Pale Rider (1985), Unforgiven (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Mystic River (2003), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), and many other magnificent films, as actor, director and/or producer), with Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror (2007) and many others), George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter (1978), Streamers (1983), Grey’s Anatomy (2006)), Marisa Berenson (Death in Venice (1971), Cabaret (1972), Barry Lyndon (1975),  I Am Love (2010)) and others.  In this drama, based on the eponymous novel by Peter Viertel which in turn is based on Viertel’s personal experience as final screenwriter for the legendary film The African Queen (1951), starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood plays a Hollywood film director, John Wilson, clearly based on the notoriously difficult and self-centered John Huston, director of The African Queen and many other iconic cinema masterpieces.  In fact, if the small steamboat used in the whitewater scene in White Hunter Black Heart seems familiar, it’s no coincidence:  it is the same boat that Bogart’s character captained in The African Queen!  White Hunter Black Heart, a critical success and a box-office disaster, is a complex film, dealing with antisemitism, racism, and, of course, John Huston’s complicated and disagreeable character.  Eastwood’s directing is quite good, as is his acting, of course.  However, despite having played self-centered characters previously, in many of his westerns, here, it is somehow difficult to accept Eastwood’s posturing; perhaps it’s just the accent, and the character John Wilson’s affectations.  Nevertheless, for Eastwood fans, and fans of the legendary films of John Huston (especially The African Queen), White Hunter Black Heart is a film to be seen. (PR)

See on post on the Clint Eastwood-directed film Invictus.  See our posts on director John Huston’s film, The Misfits, and his final film, The Dead.

We recommend buying your DVDs.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

Here is a link to Roger Ebert’s review of White Hunter, Black Heart, in the Chicago Sun Times.

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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 »

The Game

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Game (1997)(DVD) Directed by David Fincher (Alien 3 (1992), Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)!), starring Michael Douglas (Traffic (2000), King of California (2007), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Haywire (2012, in post-production, and, of course, Wall Street (1987) and many others)Sean Penn (Mystic River (2003), Milk (2008), and many others)Deborah Kara Unger (Crash (1996), White Noise (2005), 88 Minutes (2008) and others.  The Game, called a “neo-noir psychological thriller film”, was directed by Fincher immediately following his excellent film Seven (starring Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Morgan Freeman) and is, in fact, a twisty, thrilling, visually rich ride.  Michael Douglas is just perfect, and, as Roger Ebert has said, ” He can play smart, he can play cold, and he can play angry. He is also subtle enough that he never arrives at an emotional plateau before the film does, and never overplays the process of his inner change”.  Entertaining and edgy. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your DVDs.  Have a great personal film library..

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Posted in film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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