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Posts Tagged ‘Vantage Point’

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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Sunshine – Starring Ralph Fiennes & Rachel Weisz

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sunshine (1999) Directed by István Szabó, starring Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient (1996), The Constant Gardener (2005))Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener (2005), The Bourne Legacy (2012, filming))Jennifer Ehle (The King’s Speech (2010), Contagion (2011), The Ides of March (2011))Rosemary Harris (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)), with William Hurt (see partial filmography below) and others.  This vast historical drama is set in Hungary beginning at the very end of the 19th century and then continuing through two world wars, the end of the monarchy, the 1936 Nazi Germany-held Olympics, Communist take-over, failed revolution, and more, through the story of three generations of one family.  An ambitious undertaking somewhat reminiscent of Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard.  Sunshine has its weaknesses, especially in the beginning, but evolves into a seriously good film after that.  With very good cinematography, and excellent acting, by Ralph Fiennes, especially, but also by Weisz, Ehle, Rosemary Harris and William Hurt, Sunshine poses some very good questions and suggests some interesting possible responses.  A long film, almost three hours, but a very interesting story developing through a complex historical context, Sunshine is certainly worthwhile viewing. (PR)

See our posts on the film Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, and the films 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):

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The Good Shepherd – Directed by Robert De Niro, starring Matt Damon & Angelina Jolie

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Good Shepherd (2006)  Directed by Robert De Niro, starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro, John Turturro and many excellent others in a large supporting cast.  This very good spy drama, about the origins of the intelligence and counter-intelligence services through to the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs, though rather long, is never dull.  A complex, and even today, secretive story, one moves from the Skull and Bones Society at Yale, through the OSS and British/American intelligence cooperation, to the cold war, double agents and disaster in the years of JFK‘s presidency.  An ambitious slice of spy history, to say the least, De Niro’s directing and sense of cold darkness sets the tone for a fascinating look into the life of one man, Edward Wilson, modeled somewhat on James Jesus Angleton, head of Counter-Intelligence for the CIA from 1954 to 1974, and portrayed, consummately, by Matt Damon, as he treads a virtually soulless and secretive path through a twisted, dangerous, error-prone world.  Of course, with such ambitions, the film has some weaknesses, notably in the writing of the sub-plot involving Wilson’s (Damon) son Edward Jr. and in the actor chosen to portray this character.  Nevertheless, there is so much else to be appreciated, from the fine acting of a vast exemplary supporting cast, to the look and tone and feel of the film, that The Good Shepherd, as a tense, cold look at a complex and often horrible reality is a must-see film. (PR)

See our posts on the films What Just Happened starring Robert De Niro, Syriana, The Informant! and Invictus starring Matt Damon, Vantage Point with William Hurt and The Bone Collector starring Angelina Jolie.

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, Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Traffic – Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Starring Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas (Oscars for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and more)

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Traffic (2000)   Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich (2000), Solaris (2002), The Informant! (2009) and many others), starring Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, and others.  Traffic, a multi-Oscar-winning crime drama about the drug trade in Mexico and the U.S. in which multiple interconnected story lines are woven together is a tension-filled tour de force characterised by the excellent directing of Soderbergh, some excellent writing, by Stephen Gaghan, and superb, understated acting on the part of Benicio del Toro.  The four stories which make up the film consist of 1)in Tijuana, Mexico, the struggle between the corrupt army, the federal police and two important drug cartels, in which del Toro excels; 2)in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, the story of a newly-nominated U.S. “Drug Czar” with a 16-year old addict daughter; 3)in San Diego, California, the efforts of the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) to arrest and prosecute a major drug trafficker and protect a key witness in his drug trial and, 4)also in San Diego, the efforts on the part of the wife of the arrested trafficker to maintain their business.  The ensemble of the cast is really quite good: Michael Douglas and Amy Irving in the Washington “Drug Czar” story-line; Don Cheadle and Luis Guzmán in the DEA story-line; Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid in the San Diego drug trafficker story-line, and, of course Benicio del Toro in the Mexican story-line.  Soderbergh not only directed the film, but also shot it, with distinctive color-based atmospheres for each story-line.  The end result is an excellent, unsentimental drama, full of tension, that is a must-see. (PR)

Traffic won the following Academy AwardsBest DirectorBest Supporting Actor (del Toro), Best Film Editing (Stephen Mirrione), and Best Adapted Screenplay; it was also nominated for Best Picture, but lost to Gladiator, by Ridley Scott.  Traffic, and Benicio del Toro won numerous other awards, as well.

See our posts on the films Syriana, The Informant! and Solaris, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and also the films, The Pledge, with Benicio del Toro, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Game, starring Michael Douglas, and Vantage Point, starring Dennis Quaid.

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):

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Repo Men – Starring Jude Law & Forest Whitaker

Posted by the editors on Friday, 16 December 2011

Repo Men (2010)  Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, starring Jude Law (Cold Mountain (2003), My Blueberry Nights (2007), Contagion (2011)) and Forest Whitaker (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Catch .44 (2011)).   In this near-future action thriller, with a science fiction touch, artificial organs (kidneys, lungs, eyes and more) bought on credit by hopeful patients are repossessed when the patient/client can no longer make payments.  Enter the Repo Men, known in the film as Union Men, Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker), whose gruesome task it is to, quite literally, and with abundant violence, remove the unpaid for organ, leaving the poor client dead, of course, and return it to the company for whom they work, Artiforg.  A job is a job, as they say.  The premise is perhaps interesting and timely, in this era of mass foreclosures, though, unfortunately, in Repo Men, the premise only offers the opportunity for numerous close-ups of anesthetic-free organ removals, glinting scalpels and bloody gaping holes.  Perhaps it’s the writing, missing virtually all opportunity to become anything better than terrible, or perhaps it’s the rather boring directing by Miguel Sapochnik; after all, neither Jude Law nor Forest Whitaker are hopeless actors, though one is not able to say that for some of the rest of the cast.  In the end, with its rather excruciating gore, pointless final plot twist, and abysmal screenplay, one could easily avoid watching Repo Men, unless, of course, one is an unconditional fan of Jude Law, who, frankly, seems more suited to roles such as he played in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) with Matt Damon and Gwyeth Paltrow, or more recently, Sherlock Holmes (2009), with Robert Downey Jr. (PR)

See our posts on the films Closer, with Jude Law and Vantage Point, with Forest Whitaker.

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

Repo Men Starring Jude Law & Forest Whitaker DVD  (Sorry, no image available.)

Repo Men Starring Jude Law & Forest Whitaker, Blu-ray Disk  (Sorry, no image available.)

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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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