Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cronenberg and Mortensen, together again

Don't know much about this one yet except what little I could glean from Ain't It Cool News this morning, but I just have to say well yes, it sure is.

In what seems to be a perfect aligning of the stars, director David Cronenberg will reteam with Viggo Mortensen for "Eastern Promises." Plot details are murky, but according to AICN it all has something to with "a Russian prostitute who dies during childbirth, the mafia and a nurse who is dragged into the underworld." Mortensen is signed to play "a mysterious man with ties to the mob."

As if this needed to get any better, it apparently all springs from the mind of Steven Knight, who previously penned the script for Stephen Frears' nearly flawless "Dirty Pretty Things." If you haven't seen that one, a great little semi-thriller about organ smuggling among immigrants in London starring adorable Audrey Tautou and emerging star Chiwetel Ekiofor, rent it now and thank me later.

Cronenberg is that rare director who may have made some missteps in his long career, but has never once, in my opinion, been boring. And his last collaboration with Mortensen, "A History of Violence," was my single favorite movie of 2005, and it just gets better with each viewing. It's not Cronenberg's best work, which I think is 2002's "Spider" with a very disturbed and disturbing Ralph Fiennes, but it asks a lot of smart questions and lets you find your own answers rather than handing them to you. Can't wait to see what he and Viggo cook up next.

Demko's DVD shelf

I normally wouldn't find a commentary track from Roger Ebert anything to celebrate, but in this case I bet it's good.

For a "Special Edition" of Terry Zwigoff's engaging documentary "Crumb," the main draw is apparently a commentary by Zwigoff and Ebert together. For all his many faults, Ebert was an early champion of Zwigoff and this great doco that is as much about the great cartoonist R. Crumb as it is the members of his odd, troubled family.

Timed to promote the upcoming release of Zwigoff's "Art School Confidential," which has me cautiously optimistic, check out this one to see what the director was all about before he teamed up Daniel Clowes to bring "Ghost World" to our world.

I remember well when I saw Woody Allen's "Match Point." My brother and I were driving home from Athens Sunday morning after seeing the Drive-By-Truckers turn the 40 Watt into a pit of sin the night before. A stop in Atlanta for this dark masterpiece from Woody Allen was the perfect counterpoint.

You probably know the story line by now, but if not, it centers on Jonathan Rhys Meyers, a shadowy young man who charms his way into a wealthy family by marrying the daughter (charming Emily Mortimer.) Things get complicated when he has an affair with the son's fiancee (an overmatched Scarlett Johansson,) and things go seriously downhill from there.

Apart from some choice jokes about the rather ridiculous London real estate market, this is an unfunny but very suspenseful tale about the nature of pure evil in the human condition. Not horror movie evil, real evil, and a real return to form for Woody Allen. Think of "Crimes and Misdemeanors," then just think a whole lot darker, and you're getting close. I loved it, and I think you will too.


Maxine said...

I thought Cronenberg and Mortensen was a cool pairing once, and now it is happening again! Thanks for the news, I liked "A History of Violence" very much too, and will look forward to whatever they cook up next -- sounds pretty good from your description.

Not sure if I saw Spider but I've enjoyed many of Cronenberg's other movies. And VM's of course -- LOTR was supreme, but although some (most?) of the others he has been in are rubbishy as movies, he is always excellent in them. Not that I am biased of course ;-)

Reel Fanatic said...

"Spider" is a very twisted movie, not surprising coming from Cronenberg, but I still recommend for anyone who likes great acting (from Fiennes

themarina said...

Cronenberg and Viggo together again...Just what I like to hear!