Eastern Promises directed by David Cronenberg is a 2007 story that focuses strongly on the intricacies of life in a Russian mafia family. It tells the story of a young British nurse named Anna (Naomi Watts) who comes across an orphaned baby, a discovery that threatens the patriarch (Armin Mueller-Stahl) of a London-based Russian crime syndicate. Viggo Mortensen plays a Russian driver named Nikolai, appearing on-screen with extensive and detailed criminal tattoos covering much of his body; the effect was reportedly so realistic that one day after filming he frightened people at a local bar because the tattoos were visible.
When Anna discovers a diary kept by a young woman named Tatiana, who is connected with the Russian family, it endangers both her life and that of the infant’s. It is revealed that what likely happened was the Russian patriarch’s son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) fathered the child after raping Tatiana; surrounding the dramatic story is the life of Nikolai as he attempts to ascend into ever higher levels of the mafia family.
The acting is of the highest caliber and, as expected, Cronenberg’s direction is nearly flawless. The twin plots of the film complement each other well and the realism is said to be extremely accurate. Mortensen spent time with Russian convicts to learn about their culture and how extensive tattooing often tells the life story of Russian criminals. The supporting cast leaves nothing to be desired and the pace of the movie leaves the viewer clutching the arms of their chairs with tension as the stories race to their thrilling conclusion. Eastern Promises may not have the mind-warping changes found in his earlier films, but in this reviewer’s opinion, it is still one of the three best pictures he has ever directed. What more is there to say? Now that you know a movie of this quality awaits you there is only one thing left to do: go watch it!
The Man From Earthis a 2007 masterpiece, directed by Richard Schenkman and written by Jerome Bixby, about the possibilities that would exist if a man never aged and had existed on Earth for 14,000 years.
The film opens with a simple professor packing up his things and getting ready for a small gathering of his associates from the college where he has taught for ten years. During the party he decides to make a confession to his friends: that he is such a man and has lived for more than 14,000 years, moving every ten years or so, once people begin to notice he isn’t aging. His decision to open up to the group results in profound questions, answers and compelling stories that pour from the man (David Lee Smith).
The film has absolutely minimal sets, feeling closer to a play than a film and relies on its underrated and relatively unknown supporting cast and writing to bring about an epic story that is absolutely gripping for the viewer. The highs are just as extreme as the lows as emotions are wrung out of the friends with such skill that the story, along with the questions and concerns of the group become almost too realistic.
The movie can’t be recommended highly enough. It’s remarkable how little attention it has garnered given its quality, skilled acting, precise direction and a killer script from Bixby. While the movie’s themes and stories are intense, it is also totally engrossing for the audience and a terribly enjoyable movie to watch anytime.
Le Scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) is the phenomenal adaptation of French journalist and media mogul Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoirs after a stroke at the age of 42 leaves him completely paralyzed except for his left eye, ending his career as editor of world-renowned magazine Elle and how he dictates his book to an editor using a system of blinking.
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The best of the best, here are presented the ten best movies about crime which are based on true stories. They are listed in alphabetical order and each is generally a quite good movie, but what makes them especially interesting, and in some cases, very, very terrifying, is that this is not complete fiction; in fact, most of what is being portrayed really did happen…
Starring Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente, Paul Reubens, Jordi Mollà, and Ray Liotta, this Ted Demme directed picture tells us the story of George Jung (Depp) who goes from being the son of a lower-middle class plumber (Liotta) to drug dealer, to drug trafficker, to basically cocaine king of the United States, to inmate, to parolee trying to get back into his daughter’s life, and finally to permanent inmate. The movie is heart-wrenching and the kind of movie men will in which men watching will tear up at the end because George finally realizes that the advice his father gave him long ago, when his father’s business was in trouble, was the truth, and George has realized it too late to do anything about it. It is as tragic as it is brilliant with fantastic acting, a great cast and the never-changing excellence in direction of Demme.
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John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson star in this 2007 adaption of a Stephen King short story, directed by Mikael Håfström (Derailed, 2005) surrounding the mysteries of a haunted hotel room in New York City.
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