Posts Tagged ‘viggo mortensen

07
Apr
12

A History of Violence

A wholesome family film.

A History of Violence is a 2005 film starring Viggo Mortensen and directed by David Cronenberg. (He also directed the 2007 film Eastern Promises and the 2011 film A Dangerous Method, both starring, you guessed it, Viggo Mortensen.) I have seen Eastern Promises multiple times and just recently saw A Dangerous Method, not to mention numerous other Viggo films, so I was prepared to be blown away.

The film wasn’t terrible, and it didn’t disappoint in the BAMF department, but it definitely wasn’t his best film. There was plenty of graphic violence and unbelievable situations for Viggo to wriggle his way out of, but the acting, especially the child acting, was pretty terrible.

Let’s start with the bad. Considering that every actor in the film has a long list of titles under their belts, I don’t get the weak performances. This wasn’t David Cronenberg’s first rodeo, either, but considering I saw his later works first, I must have just been spoiled. The acting was extremely flat in parts and then way overdone in others. The children reminded me more of robots than children. In the opening scenes, for example, when the homicidal maniac shot the whimpering kid, I was laughing at how the kid was crying. I don’t really think that’s what they were shooting for (no pun intended). Ed Harris was really the only actor I can exclude from this, because I didn’t get that awkward feeling in any of his scenes. Everything just felt a little bit off and the cheese factor was off the charts. A scene that really exemplifies this is when the local sheriff shows up at Tom’s house and tries to get to the bottom of his “history”. His wife starts bawling uncontrollably (too much, in my opinion) and then the sheriff leaves. After that, Tom and his wife, Edie, start slapping each other around in an apparently erotic way because then they start doing it on the stairs. I can relate because I know I get all hot and bothered when I learn about my husband’s secret mob history and we’ve punched each other a few times.

OMG oh noes!

Another example of the cheesy bad acting was when Fogarty (Ed Harris) confronts  Tom (Viggo) about his history in the Philadelphia mob. Tom gives him a shit-eating grin and denies it–but it comes across as really fake. I couldn’t tell if Tom was supposed to be an amnesiac, an idiot, or just a really bad liar. (If they were going for bad liar then they succeeded.) He kept denying it repeatedly with that same goofy look on his face, and I didn’t buy his reaction, not one bit. Also, he had a tendency to talk way too softly, which just reminded me of the really bad voice-overs they did for the children in Pod People (“I think I’ll call him trumpy”). If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you can suck it. Or try googling.

Moving on to the good stuff. There was plenty of graphic, gratuitous violence with Viggo at the helm. He punches a man repeatedly in the face, and then they show the man lying on the ground struggling to breathe with what’s left. Or after Tom shoots Crapley in the head and they show him dead on the ground, his face blown off. I’m not into torture porn or anything, but they did do a good job of making it gory enough to be realistic but not so gory that it made me want to throw up. Not only that, but they made Viggo’s character seem innocent, likable, and secretly capable of an ass-whooping all in one fell swoop. This is a woman’s dream man: sensitive, handsome, with an ability to pistol-whip his enemies at the slightest provocation.

I look innocent but I will kick your ass.

The peak of awesomeness in this movie happens at the end, when Tom’s brother Richie orders his men to have him killed–Tom miraculously escapes from the choke wire and kills both of them. He runs downstairs, tricks Richie into going outside (proving Viggo is not just handsome but smart, too), shutting the door behind him and using the opportunity to shoot the final henchman multiple times in the head, blood splattering everywhere. Finally he steps outside and delivers a fatal bullet to Richie’s skull. He killed his own brother! The amount of sheer ruthlessness was awesome. Show no mercy, Viggo. Show no mercy.

Overall, the film didn’t let me down in the action department. There was more than enough Violence to satisfy me. The acting was where I really felt let down. Though the cast was filled with experienced actors, only one managed to deliver a solid performance.

Verdict: Average

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18
Mar
12

A Dangerous Method, Alias Season 4

A Dangerous Method

Freud, Jung, and some chick. What more could you want?

I really wanted to love this movie. After all, it stars Viggo “I’m a total badass” Mortesen as Sigmund Freud, Michael F. Assbender as Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley as Some Chick I’ve Never Heard Of. The cast is great. The director, David Cronenberg, has made some incredible films including Naked Lunch and Christmas-favorite Eastern Promises. Also, with this being about the friendship-to-adversaries relationship between Freud and Jung, I thought I was in for quite a cinematic treat. Something on par with Obi Wan and Darth Vader or Professor X and Magneto starting out as friends and then becoming enemies. Unfortunately, there were no lightsaber duels or mutant powers.

The problem with this movie wasn’t the acting (which was great), wasn’t the directing (which was quite good), and wasn’t the production values (which were excellent). The problem came from the script. There was no real climax to the movie. In fact, there was no real conflict. Yes, Freud and Jung had differing opinions about the fledgling field of psychoanalysis, but it was portrayed rather matter-of-factly with very little conflict or drama. The side drama of Jung’s affair with Spielrein (Knightley) was interesting but lacked punch. The whole thing seemed very dull in what could have been a psychological and emotional showdown. At least the positive and negative aspects of both Freud and Jung were explored. I know they were going for accuracy and realism, but it’s a movie, we need to have at least some kind of drama and climax. Oh well, at least everyone involved did a good job. Oh, and Keira Knightley got naked.

Verdict: Average

Alias Season 4

Alias season 4 cast.

After the complete trainwreck that was season 3, this season gets things back on track. Everything is vastly improved from the previous year. The writing is better, the acting has improved, and the overall insanity has been toned way way way down. The most noticeable difference between season 4 and all other seasons is that it is the most plausible. Obviously, it’s a TV spy show, and there is no way it is going to be realistic. However, in terms of believability in how the agents operate, what they do, the missions they go on, etc., everything is at least within the realm of reason. The overall story structure has a slower pace, a lot more episodes are self-contained, and there are far fewer ZOMG cliffhanger endings. Why bother with a cliffhanger ending if it’s just there to tease the audience? It also has two of the series best episodes: the one where Sydney and Vaughn infiltrate a Russian spy training camp that looks just like an American suburb, and the one where everyone is essentially incapacitated and Marshall single-handedly saves the world. Oh, and the stuff with Arvin Clone was pretty cool. While it still isn’t good enough to reach Awesome status, season 4 of Alias is probably the best the show has to offer.

Verdict: Good

23
Dec
11

Awesome Christmas Movies

Bloggers like to post their top Christmas movies. The problem is their lists are always the same: A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone etc etc puke. Well, I thought it was time to give you a list of real Christmas movies. The kind that are festive, and really get you into the holiday spirit. These movies can be enjoyed by family and friends, and should be mandatory viewing annually. Let’s make a new Awesomely Shitty tradition. Watch and love these movies every year, or you can’t be my friend anymore.

12.) RED – Bruce Willis loves the holidays. You can really tell. With RED, as well as two Die Hard movies and The Last Boy Scout, he’s a guy that really embodies the Christmas spirit. This movie in particular tells us it’s never too late to get excited for the holidays. Although the main characters are all retired from their work as assassins, they get together for one last hurrah. Even though you may be an old grouchy Scrooge, you can get festive once again. It’s a positive message like that which makes this such a heartwarming film. A group of old friends reunite to kill people and blow shit up one more time. This movie gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

11.) Lethal Weapon – Kind of like Bruce Willis, screenwriter Shane Black must really love Christmas. So many of his movies take place during the holidays. This time around we get to see Mel Gibson playing a suicidal cop, as he battles with the villainous Gary Busey, who seems to be playing himself. There is plenty of mayhem as L.A. is ripped to shreds. It ends with a Christmas celebration. I suppose the entire movie (the murders and shootouts and near suicide attempts) is a metaphor for the insanity of the build up to Christmas. This movie is really deep like that.

Continue reading ‘Awesome Christmas Movies’

12
Feb
11

Facebook Movie – The Social Network – dismissive wanking motion

I recently had the (dis)pleasure of watching the critically jizzed upon film, The Social Network. Essentially, it’s just The Facebook Movie, or perhaps more accurately, The Thefacebook Movie, although it should really be called, Filling Two Hours with Mark Zuckberg’s Passive-Aggressive Bullshit. Seriously, what the fuck was this movie supposed to be about?

I guess it’s supposed to tell the story of the founding of internet juggernaut Facebook. But it’s not really about that. Actually, very little time is spent on Facebook itself. Half the movie is spent watching Zuckerberg obsess about how to create/improve his website, and the other half is spent in depositions as Zuckerberg defends himself against two simultaneous lawsuits. Obviously, you can’t make a movie about the actual Facebook webpage, but there could have been a more interesting angle for the filmmakers to take. Actually, either angle alone would have been fine, they should have just picked one or the other and gone with that, instead of taking this schizophrenic approach, trying to cram both stories into a two hour running time. Neither version works nearly as well as it could.

I appreciate that Zuckerberg is not a hero in this movie. It is a rare thing for a Hollywood movie to actually have a morally ambiguous, or perhaps villainous, central character. They could have gone the cliche route and have the movie be about cuddly Zuckerberg’s triumph against adversity to become a multi-billionaire. But they didn’t, so at least they succeeded in that aspect. Unfortunately, they still managed to drop the ball, because, let’s face it, most Hollywood screenwriters are idiots.

Zuckerberg’s personality is given to us at face value. He passive-aggressively interacts with people, he shadily sides with Napster Dude to cockblock his former business partner Eduardo, and he speaks like an abrasive jerk to people he feels are beneath him (i.e. everyone). Zuckerberg’s motivations are left completely up to the imagination of the viewers. A more in-depth look at his psyche is not offered up. Most likely this is because the writer exhausted all of his creative juices dreaming up ridiculous scenes where computer programmers do shots while having underground coding competitions. God forbid they try to actually EXPLORE the main character’s motivations and social failings. Does he have Asperberger’s? Was he abused as a child? Is he stuck in a bi-curious phase? We’ll never know. The way things are presented, we are expected to accept that Zuckerberg’s character is a total douche just because he is a total douche (maybe that works in real life, but not in movies). That’s weak ass writing. I would expect nothing less from Hollywood assholes. Continue reading ‘Facebook Movie – The Social Network – dismissive wanking motion’




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