David Cronenberg – Eastern Promises [+Extras] (2007)

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Plot Summary :
The mysterious and charismatic Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin is a driver for one of London’s most notorious organized crime families of Eastern European origin. The family itself is part of the Vory V Zakone criminal brotherhood. Headed by Semyon, whose courtly charm as the welcoming proprietor of the plush Trans-Siberian restaurant impeccably masks a cold and brutal core, the family’s fortunes are tested by Semyon’s volatile son and enforcer, Kirill, who is more tightly bound to Nikolai than to his own father.

But Nikolai’s carefully maintained existence is jarred once he crosses paths at Christmastime with Anna Khitrova, a midwife at a North London hospital. Anna is deeply affected by the desperate situation of a young teenager who dies while giving birth to a baby. Anna resolves to try to trace the baby’s lineage and relatives. The girl’s personal diary also survives her; it is written in Russian, and Anna seeks answers in it. Anna’s mother Helen does not discourage her, but Anna’s irascible Russian-born uncle Stepan urges caution. Continue reading

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David Cronenberg – Maps to the Stars (2014)

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Synopsis:
The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; mother Cristina mostly looks after the career of their son Benjie, 13, a child star. One of Stafford’s clients, Havana, is an actress who dreams of shooting a remake of the movie that made her mother, Clarice, a star in the 60s. Clarice is dead now and visions of her come to haunt Havana at night… Adding to the toxic mix, Benjie has just come off a rehab program he joined when he was 9 and his sister, Agatha, has recently been released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania and befriended a limo driver Jerome who is also an aspiring actor.
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David Cronenberg – A Dangerous Method (2011)

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David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s play detailing the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as they contend with a particularly troubled patient. The year is 1904. Carl Jung, a disciple of Sigmund Freud, is using Freudian techniques to treat Russian-Jewish psychiatric patient Sabina Spielrein at Burghölzli Mental Hospital. But the deeper Jung’s relationship with Spielrein grows, the further the burgeoning psychiatrist and his highly respected mentor drift apart. (~blu-ray.com) Continue reading

David Cronenberg – Naked Lunch [+Extras] (1991)

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Review from Washington Post in January 1992…

Quote:

Someone asked the other day if David Cronenberg’s movie adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s novel “Naked Lunch” was “digital or analog.” In other words, does the movie follow the author’s surrealistic, Rorschach-test prose unit for unit, or does he weave an analogous version of his own?
Cronenberg, definitely, opts for the latter. He does so to his own, very weird degree. This is the guy, after all, who made “Scanners,” “The Fly” and “Dead Ringers.” He enjoys the grotesque. He grooves on molecular mutation. So, picking up on Burroughs’s passing — and metaphorical — references to beetles or buglike beings, Cronenberg takes that thought and scuttles with it.
There are bugs all over this movie. They are big, disgusting, coleopterous beings with pincers, sheaths and mandibles. They show up in bars with exoskeletal nonchalance. They metamorphose out of typewriters. One of them claims to be a spy controller. They emit nauseating, appetite-destroying secretions.
Of course, the movie — set in a brown-tinted, out-there 1950s world — is filled with people too, most of them writers, drug addicts or both. The central character is Bill Lee (Peter Weller), a pest exterminator and former junkie whose job is to dust people’s homes with poison powder. His wife (Judy Davis) happens to be severely addicted to the stuff. She loves to inject it into her breast. An eerie Dr. Benway (Roy Scheider) recommends a different addiction, the black meat of a certain Brazilian centipede. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – A History of Violence [+Extras] (2005)

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Description: David Cronenberg directed this screen adaptation of a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke which explores how an act of heroism unexpectedly changes a man’s life. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) lives a quiet life in a small Indiana town, running the local diner with his wife, Edie (Maria Bello), and raising their two children. But the quiet is shattered one day when a pair of criminals on the run from the police walk into his diner just before closing time. After they attack one of the customers and seem ready to kill several of the people inside, Tom jumps to the fore, grabbing a gun from one of the criminals and killing the invaders. Tom is immediately hailed as a hero by his employees and the community at large, but Tom seems less than comfortable with his new notoriety. One day, a man with severe facial scars, Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), sits down at the counter and begins addressing Tom as Joey, and begins asking him questions about the old days in Philadelphia. While Tom seems puzzled, Carl’s actions suggest that the quiet man pouring coffee at the diner may have a dark and violent past he isn’t eager to share with others — as well as some old scores that haven’t been settled. Continue reading

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