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Review

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE review

This is a great film. However, the experience I just had at this particular advance screening… well, it’s the sort of screening that makes you want to wait for DVD even if it is a film by one of your favorite filmmakers.

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE is David Cronenberg’s best film since THE FLY, but I fear most audiences are not emotionally prepared for the film. I hate that. I hate that I have to say that, but the sheer number of fucking idiots that populated this particular screening made me want to choke the life out of their high pitched juvenile giggle squeal anytime anything violent, sexual or emotionally resonate took place.

The audience was so bad, that every critic at the screening gave the Studio Rep at the screening a rather intense piece of their mind… unfortunately – most of them were focused on complaining about the “young children” at the screening, but I would like to note that not a single bit of the distracting high pitched bitchy banshee shrieks came from a little kid. Rather, it came from multiple groups of immature twits that when faced with adult situations could do nothing more than shriek as though some electric shock went through their bodies.

This is one of those times, where being at the Alamo Drafthouse would have been nice, because all you need do is identify the “assholes” in the theater and they are removed.

Having said that – Their irrational reactions didn’t dull in the slightest my appreciation for Cronenberg’s film. This is masterful storytelling. Take the opening scene, you can see David playing with us. You’ve got this man in black and this seemingly lazy punk (not as in style, but as in worthlessness) Like having him move the car, 10 feet while he checks out. Then, after about 30 seconds of seeing this jerk wad sit there, the man in black returns to a smart aleck, “What took you so long?” – we’re still one shot. Then the man in black says he had some trouble with the maid, wants to take a swig of water, but the gallon bottle they have is dry, he send the schmuck in to fill it up with the tank in the office.

Now – at this point… You KNOW something is up. Not that Cronenberg has tipped his hand, not because you heard something while the guy was driving 10 feet, not by the tone of how the actors are playing it, not by some sort of discordant hum from Howard Shore’s score. Not by the camera angle. Nothing is telling you that something bad is up, so why do you know something bad is up? It’s a David Cronenberg film, in his films, there’s always something rotten in the state of Denmark. Always.

Is there a pay off? You’ll see, I’ll say this about David, his films always give the reach around. You’ll always get the money shot, both on screen and psychologically.

Years ago, I believe 4 years ago I met Cronenberg for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival in a bar. I was with a pair of the OneRing.Net folks chatting with Peter Jackson at some swanky French Hotel’s bar – when Howard Shore and David Cronenberg walked up to join us. (Officially – this was one of the great geek moments of my life.) Now, David Cronenberg has always kinda freaked me out. He has scary cold logical eyes, and his few parts in film have convinced me that his idle hobby is the dissection of human beings while they are holding desperately to life. Most horror filmmakers that I know have kind eyes and cherubic faces. They’re always giddy and often times oddly squeamish about the most simple things. From his films, his interviews… I’ve always thought that other horror filmmakers explore the genre to explore the boogeyman and to make an audience jump. With Cronenberg, I get sincere unflinching acts of a seemingly disturbed mind. His films… MEAN IT! But when he walked up to me, he was glowing and happy and so not everything I expected of him. It was like when I met Angus Scrimm… he didn’t kill me, I was so disappointed. Heh. So when David sat down next to me, I had to ask him what scares him and he said to me… “Going to pick up my kids at school and them not being there.” First off, that’s amongst the scariest goddamn scary thoughts ever. At the same time though it instantly told me something about David. Strip away all the films, all the hypothesizing about the “New Flesh,” and he’s just a Dad. A Dad that when he goes to his kids’ school to pick them up and they’re goofing in the hallways with friends and they’re 4 minutes late coming out… That parental itch kicks in. That milk carton fear that all parents have. It isn’t funny, it isn’t a joke, it’s the scariest horror we have as a society.

It’s the fear of the Big Bad Wolf.

This is the first film that Cronenberg has made, that has that sort of fear running through it. The fear of losing family to the bad men, of losing friends to bad men. But at the same time it also explores the theme of the “new flesh” in a more subtle and psychological fashion than he’s ever delved into before.

Hands down, this is the best performance that Viggo Mortensen has given in a film yet. He is just breath-taking in the film. He plays Tom Stall, a man that becomes a victim out of the sheer refusal to be the victim. Unlike most people in a violent situation he reacts instinctually and with deadly force to kill two incredibly bad men. You gather that much from the trailer. Viggo is that soft spoken Gary Cooper type of fella in this film. He’s good natured and liked by all who know him. His kids love him and his wife… well gosh – you know, any woman that’ll dress up in her ol cheerleader costume to fuck and seduce you like a teenager – after years and years of marriage. And that looks like Maria Bello, well that’s just a home run. It’s official. Tom Stall is the luckiest man alive. He dodged death, killed two serial killers, became the hero of the town, he’s being nationally celebrated, he has two great kids, a good business and an amazing wife. Why then does he have that uncomfortable look in his eyes? It’s like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like he can’t trust his luck. He’s almost ashamed of being the hero, who can blame him? Becoming famous by killing two people in your place of business – well, this is a country that loves their violent badasses. People make movies about them. But all Tom Stall wants is to keep his little restaurant/diner running and live the quiet life with his family.

When the other shoe does drop, the work from Viggo just gets better. After the initial act of violence, Viggo is caught in two more acts of violence – in both cases – he’s forced into self-defense after being put in dire endangerment. Viggo’s acting here reminds me of vintage Harrison Ford, before… whatever happened to him. Think WITNESS or maybe even THE FUGITIVE. He’s just very very good. He’s not an actor counting the motions for a scene, but his eyes are alive, you can see fear and desperation in his face as he acts, you also see a resoluteness to do what has to be done. It’s kinda perfect. Throughout it all, he’s holding on to his family, his life and everything he holds dear. He has a perfect acting partner in Maria Bello.

Maria is one of those actresses that is just absolutely fearless as a performer. She has a role, that many actresses kinda hate playing. Many actresses do an incredibly lazy job with this role. The strong supportive concerned wife. But in her eyes – you see how much she loves Tom Stall. She absolutely adores him. You get the idea she pinches herself because of how lucky she is to have him. Now a big part of her success in this film is how the role is written and directed.

The script by Josh Olson is fantastic. It gives Viggo and Maria such a beautiful texture. That the “love scene” early in the film isn’t just a toss in the sack, but a fantasy sex scene between husband and wife. It’s so delicious. As directed, you get the idea that this is in fact the first time she’s put on her cheerleading uniform for Tom. And you get the idea that Tom hasn’t a clue what’s coming out of that bathroom. He’s actually kinda nervous. She’s frisky, but trying something new. How’s he supposed to react? When she comes out in the cheerleading uniform… You see the slightly goofy look of glee on his face. When she says in her most innocent voice, “Shhhh, my parents are in the next room.” It’s delicious. When Viggo takes off the panties and feigns shock when he looks under the pleated skirt before diving into her crotch with gusto, and Maria’s squirming into a 69 and just the furor that the dig in there… It’s just honestly clumsy and sweet. You don’t really see anything, but you can’t deny the earnest playfulness of the scene. Like most things in this film, this scene is a set up for a mirror scene later in the film that… is as ugly as this is wonderful.

In fact everything Happy in this film is a set up for a fractured mirror reflection later. Every relationship in the film changes because of violence. There are things that once done in a relationship, can never be undone. Like in Mike Nichols’ fantastic CLOSER – once love ceases to be there, after an act of betrayal, violence, dishonestness… after one sees you as something other than what they’ve always thought of you, it’s near impossible to change or bury that revelation. It can pervert something beloved into something despicable. And in this film – the entire Stall family dynamic will be set on its ear by Tom’s act of heroism and what it brings.

Now – I don’t want to talk too much about the ‘flip’ aka everything that happens after the “act of heroism” – but just point blank. Ed Harris and William Hurt are both friggin great here. Completely could see either or both of them picking up a nomination for Supporting Actor. They really are that great. I’d also throw out Maria Bello for Best Actress. Oh and Viggo for Best Actor. And this should get best screenplay and director nods. And make-up. Oh, and Best Picture. I’m not saying it deserves to win, but as of this point in the year – I’d say it definitely deserves serious consideration for all of those.

And that last shot – just so coldly telling. Not only is the film over, but the dream, the hopes, everything. It’s done. This is a stunning film by David Cronenberg that comes across as just effortless. It seems so natural and confident and easy, but it’s all so emotional and real. Cronenberg once again shows why he’s a master of horror. He uses extremely graphic results of violence not to wallow in, but to underline the ugliness of violence. He uses graphic nudity and the reaction to it as a slap. This film uses all those extremes as punctuation and realism.

This is a brilliant film. Now, having said that. I don’t recommend seeing this for free with a recruited audience. Now – you don’t have long to worry about that. Hopefully, when this opens this weekend, the audience that comes to the film having paid for it will have the respect for film that this movie commands, but if you happen to know of a time when the theater of your choice is least crowded – that’s when to see the film. This is a highly personal and intense cinematic experience. I can’t recommend enough seeing this big on the screen, just tread carefully. And like me, if some shrill gaggle of twits want to shriek like the mostly hairless baboons that they were, just dedicate a mere micron of thought in their direction… “IDIOTS” …then return to the glory that is this film. Fantastic film!

Harry





Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 28, 2005, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Looking forward to it..

    by HolyCalamity

    looks great..am I first?

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Nice Review Harry

    by Pacino86845

    I look forward to catching this one in theatres! I recently watched Videodrome and Naked Lunch so I'm being properly prepped for Mr. Cronenberg... and oh yeah his "man by the lake" in To Die For... wasn't too long since I'd seen that.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 5:48 a.m. CST

    This is exactly why going to movies is passe'

    by zekmoe

    THe crowd sucks. The experience sucks. Harry, you are used to seeing it a a dream place like Alamo. Well, that place exists in just dreams for 99% of the country. Where I live, it's homeboys, sluts with cell phones, Yolandas with 5 kids, all fathered by different men, and tee shirted trailer dwellers, sneaking in beer. It's an awful experience for people who like movies. That's why I rarely go anymore. It's way better at home.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 6:54 a.m. CST

    Asshole crowds...

    by iamthomas

    I

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:09 a.m. CST

    WAHOO! Harry has a new picture!??!

    by Flummage

    They grow up so fast!

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Terrific review for a terrific film.

    by Nordling

    Idiots will respond with glee to the acts of violence on screen, but intelligent viewers will feel that gut damn near exclusive American need to see gore spray and "justice" done... and then question just what the fuck made us think that. The way Cronenberg orchestrates the violence in this film is brilliant. When it comes, it's almost as we have this need to see it happen. And when it's done, we feel a little disgusted with ourselves that we enjoyed it so much. Easily the best film of the year, and intelligent film fans will recognize it. It's so damn adult, thank God. I don't think even the great Peckinpah has made a film with such violence and then reflection on just what violence does to the human heart. I haven't stopped thinking about this film and I saw it two days ago. Amazing work, that will likely never be recognized for what it is.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Oh Baby

    by TonyWilson

    Grande Rojo, sometimes when you love a film I don't like your reviews. I might dig the film just as much but I don't like all the frothing. But this one, this was a downright fantastic review. I was hyped for this already. Now I'm there first showing at the first cinema near me playing it, even if we are talkiing train jurneys for the pleasure. Nice one.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Would Be Great

    by Flummage

    If would be really rewarding to see a legitimate and talented actor like Viggo Mortenson, have a sustained and varied career after breaking through the mainstream like he has. And is it me or has Granda Rojo been in utter movie heaven lately? No wonder he's smiling in that picture. Maybe we're all just figments of his imaginatation, in a Harry Knowles uber geek dream...

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:48 a.m. CST

    "Maybe we're all just figments of his imaginatation, in a Ha

    by TonyWilson

    Flumumbo I think you just solved the mysteries of LOST!!!!

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:56 a.m. CST

    RIGHT ON about the audience

    by JCubedz

    I saw this last night at a free screening, and this film is just too quiet to go seewith people who are not respectful of the material. From the guy hacking up a lung and a child asking "mommy what are they doing to each other?" through the movie I thought the exact same thing as Harry walking out of the movie.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8 a.m. CST

    New picture, new review

    by Brendon

    He's got a new picture - a stiff one, standing-to-attention pose arms and 3/4 profile as ever - but what he really needs is a proofreader.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:13 a.m. CST

    I'm done with theaters

    by amano

    I know I'm contributing to there decline, but the current state of affairs with modern theaters is just plain sad. It's not just the crowds, which just seems to get worse every year. It's the horrible image quality of the average theater. Compared to the dvd format modern theaters just look horrible. I'm not talking about digital projection of course, there are none in my area. That's why I'm waiting for the dvd now for everything. A History of Violence looks cool by the way. Ed Harris and his fucked up eye is very creepy, and it's good to see Vigo get a good leading role. I look foward to the dvd.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Flummumbo Schmummbo

    by Flummage

    He was busy getting his mac dry cleaned. This time it was Angela Lansbury from "Murder She Wrote", A.K.A Flummsica Fletcher. I won't go into details, but all I can say was that there was an awkward moment when my mother caught me spraying on my dead grand mothers perfume. You gotta do what feels right in the moment though huh?

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Biggest Shock of the Review

    by seppukudkurosawa

    is when Cartoon Harry suddenly cropped-up at the end of it. And I notice Harry's changed the top right cartoon back to the Scanners' Harry's head exploding image. Very appropriate. Though I would have preferred seeing you pull out your teeth, which you magically put together into a gun. Or being fucked to death by an armpit monster. Or even going into one of those teleportation machines and coming out like the inverted baboon. Cronenberg...something wrong with that guy.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:54 a.m. CST

    "being fucked to death by an armpit monster"

    by MantisRapture

    Thats worst nightmare material right there. Looking forward to the film, big time

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Really great review there Harry

    by seppukudkurosawa

    and I agree with you wholeheartedly about free screenings. A person should hunt out the movies that They want to see, just traipsing into a random movie is a recipe for disaster. It reminds me when I went to a free screening of [the remake of] Get Carter. Now I didn't know it was going to be Get Carter beforehand, but when it finally dawned on me what I was seeing I really, really wish I hadn't chosen a seat hedged-in between two seriously obese couples. Most claustrophobic experience ever, but the audience was strangely well-behaved in that one. Give the people what they want, eh? I wish the studio suits would re-connect their brain to its stalk every now and then and realise that certain films are made for certain people. It really isn't that hard to figure out that Mr. and Mrs. Jones aren't going to dig this kind of film, but there still are a hell of a lot of people out there who would. People with the ability to compose lateral thoughts. Though that would be asking them to commit one crucial sin, to actually watch the films they churn-out.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 9:04 a.m. CST

    high pitched juvenile giggle squeal anytime anything violent"

    by JackRabbitSlim

    This coming from a guy who wanted to see corpses of assraped deer in Wrong Turn

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 9:29 a.m. CST

    One of Harry's Better Reviews...

    by Karl Childers

    about damned time.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Nice review Harry, though i wish you'd have written a little

    by CurryIce

    And i hate that too when some ppl in the audience react like morons. When i saw LOTR-ROTK the first time in the theater i almost went berserk because two couples next to me (the guys wearing suits and ties) almost ruined the whole experience. These fuckers just didn't stop giggling and making fun of the movie. It was so obvious that they werent't into LOTR BUT WHY THE FUCKING HELL DO THEY HAVE TO SIT IN THE THEATER AND DO THIS SHIT?! Or another one during The Passion of the Christ: A stupid idiot a few rows in front of me played with his fucking glaring mobile phone 10 minutes long after the film has started. In those moments i just wish i had a shotgun and...;)

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 10:05 a.m. CST

    oh and btw: read the Cronenberg interview on joblo...

    by CurryIce

    ...about Viggo’s love of fishing and Beverly Hills gynecologist: http://www.joblo.com/index.php?id=8722

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Fantastic review Harry!

    by Sinisterjim

    Looking forward to this one even more! Unfortunately, I'm going to be dragged first, by my fellow comic book store dwelling friends, to see a big screen TV ep. called Serenity...don't get me wrong, love the show, looking forward to the movie, but any self-repecting film geek would put Cronenberg at the top of his list! zek moe, Yolondas (laughing my ass off!)funny shit! I have had my share of bad experiences, but I'm not going to let others push me away from something I enjoy...my friends and I have been fortunate in the last year or so, a new theater (Harkins Bricktown) was put in...nothing really special except the Cine Capri (giant screen auditorium), they really go the extra mile, certain shows have employees sit in the theater and monitor, more a deterent...and at least twice during any show I have noticed an employee walk in, making sure there's no problems. Again, it doesn't prevent everything, still get the cell phone blast of light, or ringing and annoying people, but I really notice an overall difference from some of the other theaters *koff*AMC*koff* we had been going to. I hate to hear people refusing to go to theaters because of these experiences...fuck that! Take back the theater from the Yolondas and thugs and cell phone sluts!!! This is the time to do it...with attendence down, theaters are more likely than ever to listen, but you have to make a concerted effort, bitch, raise hell, write management...you will be surprised at the silent majority that will come out. The large majority of people who go, have the same gripes as the rest of us, they just fear saying something or don't want to take the time. I get pissed at the cell phone usage and conversing groups, but what really get's on my nerve are the inappropriate responses, people who don't 'get it', and feel the need to disrespect the film they are watching...it's like holding up a sign that says I'm a fucking idiot!!!

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 10:46 a.m. CST

    A history of Violence

    by meanjavabean

    Just saw this movie last night and, except for the two idiots who PAID and talked through the movie, I loved it. It's got Payback and True Romance in it. It's what Road to Perdition could have been. The movie is sublime and efficient. Cronenberg does not cop out in his direction. QT could learn a few things from watching this movie. Meanjavabean

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 11:15 a.m. CST

    For the record, any time an actress is described as brave or fea

    by Garbageman33

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 11:25 a.m. CST

    I know when to see this film

    by Bob of the Shire

    4 pm on a Wednesday. I catch a lot of movies around this time, the theater is almost always empty no matter what I'm seeing.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 11:31 a.m. CST

    I agree with zekmoe 100%

    by Wee Willie

    I live in Canada and his description of going to the movies is accurate even here. Last summer my wife and went to see "The Village" and some retard kepts talking and yelling throughout the movie. Then at the end some chick yelled "Dis is da worst movie I ever seen!!!" We rarely get out to the theaters and when we get a chance to, there's always some idiot who fucks it up by yelling, talking. I was lucky enough to see AHOV at a speciall industry screening, so people were quiet and respectful (even though there were titters during the 69 scene). I'd rather wait for DVD than go to a movie theatre. Fuck air marshalls, the film industry should hire theatre marshalls to kick out people who talk and act like fuckheads.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Whadd'ya expect, Harry?

    by Nate Champion

    Who hasn't been to a preview screening filled with screaming, moronic contest winners who talk, shout, cell phones go off, laugh at every serious part of the film, etc? I mean, anyone who volunteers to watch a potentially good film under those circumstances is just begging to have their experience ruined. History of Violence is obviously a film that plays with audience perception... something that will go right over the heads of about 93% of today's dumbass moviegoers. This is the kind of movie that needs to be seen at a Tuesday matinee with six other people in the crowd.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 12:16 p.m. CST

    I DISAGREE, HARRY

    by CorporalHicks

    Wish you would have posted my review, but that's ok. I just don't get why everyone can't see through this movie.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 12:17 p.m. CST

    This is great: Cronenberg doing Eastwood

    by Film Whisperer

    It was funny, but the whole time, I kept thinking how this was Cronenberg walking into Eastwood territory, but made it all his own. Its a difficult film, because it marches to its own drum, which makes it great, though not completely accessible. The LA crowd I saw it with (refreshingly large) seemed puzzled by the last shot, with many saying, "Is that it?". Everyone wants everything answered. Right, Harry, idiots. I don't hold out much hope for Oscar noms, unless the movie does well at the bo (doubtful) or New Line really pushes it in two months (also doubtful). But I hope so. It would be nice to see Cronenberg get that nom he deserved for DEAD RINGERS.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 12:20 p.m. CST

    NOW can we get the Criterion version of CRASH on DVD??

    by Film Whisperer

    Please....the absence of Cronenberg's CRASH (not that dreadful Paul Haggis version) is a black hole in my DVD collection.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 12:41 p.m. CST

    It's weird how people have to be noisy when they are uncomfo

    by BigTuna

    Like teenagers laughing at a creepy scene to prove to everyone in the threater that couldn't care less that they aren't scared. I really hate people like that. Recently, I had to practically threaten some noisy teenagers acting "cool" during the Excorcism of Emily Rose.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Harry's yet again obsessed with a sex scene

    by barryap

    Great review, this is the first film in a while where the reviews alone have convinced me to check it out.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Helluva cast

    by MaguaSynfield

    I'd see this regardless of reviews - Ed Harris, William Hurt, Viggo, Maria ( mmmmm) Bello... Very fine review, boss. And its too bad that the theatre going experience has turned into an endurance test, because there's no real substitute for seeing (certain) films in a ( well mannered) crowd. These days, sadly, its an asshole festival that requires you to have the self control to NOT kick the holy piss outta some crackhead slack jawed knuckle-walker. And that bites.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 1:56 p.m. CST

    But what if the Assholes are right?

    by Vex Machine

    If the "assholes" in the audience spend most of the movie laughing at the movie -- be it in response to a jarringly awkward sex scene, a gross bit of violence, or just some corny character moments -- it might just be because those things are actually laughable. There are some interesting things going on in the film, but most of it is either predictable or set-up without any satisfying resolution. The two sex scenes make audiences snicker because they come out of the blue and drag. And the violent images are just cheesy looking flashes of gore make-up. Just because the uber geek here has a hard-on for Cronenberg and a crush of Aragorn, King of Men, just means he'd love this movie no matter what.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Even if you find a scene "funny"...

    by BigTuna

    Keep it to yourself. People have paid money to see it. Keep your opinion to yourself. You're trying to tell me that people are actually laughing because they find a sex scene funny? No. They're laughing to make a statement to a bunch of strangers.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Amen

    by seppukudkurosawa

    I hate it when these guys start making the most inane comments in the middle of a scene. I can remember a few of them:- In the middle of Almost Famous a guy pipes-up with, "Play Blink 182" and, much worse, people laugh at this... There are movies where the audience participation makes the film. I got dragged along to Jackass: The Movie by my younger brother, and it was the craziest cinema experience I've ever had. Not only were people quite openly chugging back cans of Stella Artois through-out, but at two separate points some guy got up onto the platform in front of the screen and did a little strip-tease ala Party Boy. I heard one guy say in response, "I feel kinda gay watching this shit, I'm leaving!". Apart from kids' films where there's too much "ambience" of crying children and eight year olds talking loudly; I don't see what else you expect, the audiences tend to fit the films, not always of course, and if you're going to see a film like History of Violence (post-release), chances are you're going to be with an audience who knows who Cronenberg is. The only reason, other than speed and the size of the screen, why you'll go to a movie theatre to see the movie, is because you want an audience atmosphere. Well you got it. Though I really fucking hate people who text their friends during a movie; some friends of mine insisted on holding a whole texting-conversation throughout once upon a time in mexico. I actually grabbed their phones away from them.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 2:32 p.m. CST

    "Dishonestness"?

    by Monkey Chops

    Harry, I totally respect you for creating and running this site, but please, get someone to proof-read your reviews beforehand. Other than that, great review, and this is definitely a flick I want to check out.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Getting ready to perform Violence in the Theaters

    by donkingkong

    I shit you not this fucknut teenage whigger kid last week took 2 phone calls and made comments on every fucking new scene of the movie (Shit ass movie not even worth mentioning). The seething built up anger that was boiling inside of me finally erupted towards the end of the movie when Slim Shady kicked the back of my seat in a fit of "Damn you shit dat shit?!" I turned around and told him to shut the fuck up, then my wife joined in and shouted more of the same, and about 5 other people who were as obviously irked as us chimed in. Kid shut the fuck up for the rest of the shitty movie and was the first to leave the theater when it was over. Can we start and campaign to force theaters to start "educating" and most importantly enforcing rules in the theater. Harry whaddya say? Start a petion to the major movie chains, you got the media to get the ball rolling.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Butt what if the assholes are just assholes..

    by MaguaSynfield

    Which, 9 times out of ten, they are. There's difference between the people who are startled by something ( like the famous first appearance of the shark whilst the Chief is chucking chum) and the nervous, explosive type of laugh that ensues, and dirtbags who talk back to the screen, try to be clever at the top of their voices or just generally act like hammerheads. More & more of these cheesdicks think they're their own version of MST2K, and act accordingly, going to great lengths to ruin the film for every one else. And yes, I've been to films that were bad enough to merit yakking back at the screen, or imploring the gods, or stunned disbelief. We aint talking about them. Its all a part of the general coarsening of the culture we've been hearing so much about. These louts used to be few & far between - now they are legion. And it ain't our imagination...

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 3:07 p.m. CST

    and it was the craziest cinema experience I've ever had.

    by MaguaSynfield

    Dude, where in Crom's name are you watching movies? That kind of shit is usually reserved for showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sounded like fun...

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 3:38 p.m. CST

    This movie sucks. SUCKS.

    by heywood jablomie

    Boring, badly made, and what's the big, disturbing idea behind it all? "Small-town America ain't what it seems"? "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do"? Lame-o.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 3:44 p.m. CST

    I accidently kicked a cinema seat right out of its place

    by slappy jones

    ..i mean the fucker came right out.....so I took it home.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 3:57 p.m. CST

    anchorite you sad bastard, all you ever do is moan.

    by TonyWilson

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 4:05 p.m. CST

    And make fake posts saying Roman Polanski has died.

    by seppukudkurosawa

  • I just can't wait til March next year.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 5:59 p.m. CST

    The worst part about these crowds...

    by The Funketeer

    is that for some reason it's always the rich, well to do assholes who are the worst. I've been to theaters in blue collar areas and rich suburban areas and the suburban crowds are by far the worst. And then when you turn around to shush them, they're SHOCKED that someone actually would do that to them. Or even more shocked that someone actually thought they were making too much noise. And then there's the feet on the back of your seat, and the nachos and what ever happened to ushers who would stand at the back fo the theaters? I really miss going to the movies even though I still go all the time.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Typical AICN reviews...

    by chugach553

    "I like everything and this is something!" --Harry Knowles Just pretend of one moment this movie ended with a "Directed by Steven Spielberg" title card instead of "Directed by David Cronenberg" I imagine the reaction from the people on this site would be far from glowing... This movie was very mediocre. C'mon, be honest with yourselves. After the second hospital scene, this movie went downhill fast. The final shootout stuff with the William Hurt character was laughably, embarassingly bad... The emperor was no clothes!

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 6:22 p.m. CST

    SPOILER ABOVE!

    by Flummage

    Whether you liked the movie or not. Please don't ruin THE WHOLE experience of seeing the film, by posting spoilers without fair warning. It's standard practise.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Oh, brother

    by chugach553

    Admitting that there's a shootout at the end of the movie is a spoiler? It ruins the "whole experience" for you? Dude. Seriously. Go get laid. Right now. I wipe my ass with this film. I know all you people who like to think you're smarter than everyone like this stuff but it's tripe, I tell you, tripe. And the shootout at the end sucked! Oh, woops, my bad, here....SPOILERS ABOVE!!

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Love Cronenberg....HATE this movie

    by Thunderballs

    I can'tbelieve it happened, not with him, not with Cronenberg. Today, I actually wanted to walk out of a David Cronenberg film. This film was so bad on so many levels. You could definitely tell Cronenberg was bored by the material, because I was bored watching it. Everything is forced, forced, forced. The dialogue is so painful at time, it's laughable, as when the family gathers in the little girl's room after she awoke from a nightmare. First, Viggo walks in, and the girl tells him she had a nightmare. The brother walks in, asks what's going on, they tell him she had a nightmare. The mother walks in, she asks what's going on, they tell her she had a nightmare. The whole fucking movie is like this!!! Characters constantly repeat themselves, constantly describe what happened in the previous scene. Nice exposition at beginning, as we start off with two hoods, who appear to have been on the road awhile. Hood #2 walks out to car "still heading west?" Hood #1 says "yup" Hood #2 "stay out of big cities?" Hood #1 says "Yup." Great guys, thank you for letting me know what you're going to do, because at this point in the trip, it really is necessary for Hood #2 to ask these questions. At no point do you really give a shit about what is going on onscreen. Everything is so forced and artificial. The first sex scene serves no purpose, and doesn't relate a bit to the second sex scene. And the central conceit of the film is BULLSHIT!!! I'm just wondering, how many people think this is a movie about mistaken identity? EXACTLY!!! No one except morons and idiots go in thinking that Viggo is mistaken for someone else. It is so obvious he is the killer from Philly. I'm sorry, but for anyone to place this movie above Dead Ringers, Videodrome, The Brood, Crash, Existenz, Spider, hell even Fast Company, is out of their fucking mind!! Best movie since the Fly? Are you fucking daft??? I have no idea why praise is being heaped on this movie when Crash and Spider get mixed reviews at best. The masses are asses as they say. This movie blew, not even Cronenberg could save it. Viggo gave one of the worst performances I have ever seen of his. His Philly accent was putrid. Ed Harris was unintentionally hilarious. Maria Bello was extraneous to the story. The problem with the film is that it wasn't detailed, it was slapdash. Here's hoping Cronenberg comes back strong with his next flick, cause this movie sucked ass. Long Live The New Flesh!!!

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 7:58 p.m. CST

    That was a very funny, unexpected end to this talkback. Nice on

    by seppukudkurosawa

    It's like someone saying, "I like watching snuff movies", (which is a person's right) and then another shocked bystander hearing this remark shouting out to anyone who'll hear, "He likes snuff movies!! Look at him, he's a madman. Look at that man there, look at him will you, he's crazy!" Rules of a talkback? Talkbacks are straight out of the bottle anarchy.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Same thing happened to me at the screening...

    by Some Dude

    A bunch of alleged adults snickering at a sex scene between married adults. What a bunch of assholes. I got loud and angry and told the ones near me to shut up or I'd get 'em kicked out. It worked. Fuck rude theatre patrons.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:24 p.m. CST

    May be the best film of the year so far

    by antonphd

    This is a perfectly made movie. Yeah, it is the most mainstreamish movie by the director but that doesn't mean it is of less quality. I won't go on and on about everything that is so good about the movie. That would take hours. But on the funny side... this is a movie about how a Tom Hanks character turned into Leon. I haven't seen a character this baddass since Leon. Viggo... thank you for giving us a great performance instead of coasting thru a few high paid roles after LOTR. I especially love the disgusting gore after the deaths. You don't just say cool! you say fuck killing isn't cool. But most of all I loved Richard. God damn William Hurt should win an Oscar for this performance. He is the OPPOSITE of William Hurt in this movie and he is fucky hilarious. He plays Casey Affleck's character in Goodwill Hunting if he were a sociopathic killer. Dumb as fuck and funny as hell.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:26 p.m. CST

    I went to see Scream (I think it was) with my ex a couple of yea

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    Fucking high school assholes INFESTING the theater. Black and white, guys and girls...all of 'em fuckers who did not shut the fuck up ONE TIME. It was constantly yelling and laughing and cutting up as loudly as they could possibly be. The black people behind me nearly deafened me they were so fucking loud. I think I went home with a headache.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 8:37 p.m. CST

    !!SPOILER!!! chugach553 is a chump !!SPOILER!!

    by Flummage

    If your gonna quote yourself from a post is still 2nd to last, and use it to insult me, you may as well get it right. You didn't say "shoot out out at the end of the movie". You said "The final shootout stuff with the William Hurt character was laughably, embarassingly bad." You give away the fact the character is still alive by this point in the movie, that the character is involved in the final shoot out, AND that particular shoot out is part of the final moments of the film. Get YOUR OWN facts straight, before you act like a wise ass.

  • Sept. 28, 2005, 9:29 p.m. CST

    You win

    by chugach553

    Alright, you got me. I apologize for letting it be known that the William Hurt character is still alive at the stupid climax of this stupid movie. Clearly, I should be drawn and quartered for my sins. But after I'm dead and buried, Flummage, you really do need to get laid. And make sure you remove the stick from your ass first. P.S. I'll agree the first sex scene was well done but the second one on the staircase was pathetic.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Well I'm fortunate enough to live in Austin so I can see mov

    by Thirteen 13

    Because I agree with almost everyone here. The the crowd in mianstream theaters stinks to high heaven. Its packed full of Eminem wannabes, gang members, MTV cloned women with day-glo cellphones, half the audience showing up late and still entering the movie 20 minutes after it started, having to repeat myself 4 times because the words "two large cokes and a large popcorn please" didn't sink into the drooling teenage village idiots cranium the first 3 times I said it, half-wits with laser pointers aimed at the screen, selfish yuppies that save seats next to them for nobody because they don't want anyone sitting near them, and 35 minutes worth of movie trailers of movies I will just roll my eyes to and never see anyway. I love the Alamo Drafthouse experience.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 12:36 a.m. CST

    argh!

    by Dr. Mambo

    I saw this last night and had the exact same thing happen to me! A group of like say 8 douchebags just kept talking, making snoring sounds, giggling at any violent, sexual or emotional scenes screaming sarcastically "Best movie ever!" etc... and the worst part is this was not a free screening, I paid 11$ to see this.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 12:51 a.m. CST

    The reason audiences at this movie suck...

    by chugach553

    I'm sorry to say it, but I think one of the biggest reasons so many people snickered is because the movie just isn't very good. I recently saw a screening of "The Godfather" with a sold out audience of Friday Night Teenie Boppers and that movie owned their asses. You could've heard a pin drop. There was a lot of talking at first but once Luca Brasi went to sleep with the fishes, everyone shut the hell up in a big quick hurry. Nothing makes an audience more uncomfortable that a bad movie. And I'm sorry to say, that's exactly what A History of Violence is...

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 4:57 a.m. CST

    best film of the year + 1st 69

    by reckni

    I saw it at The Grove today, everyone loved it. I've never seen a 69 done in movie, tastefully at that. Joey rocks!

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 6:31 a.m. CST

    hrrrm

    by Cory849

    Calling this the best movie of the year is just plain...weird. I was really looking forward to this, but having seen it, its clear that it is very run of the mill. people who call it a bad movie are overstating the case. its a good movie. I enjoyed it. but ultimately, its a trifle. its really a forgettable, standard movie with very little to make it stand out. It deserves neither much recrimination or much effusive praise.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Credit due to Ashton Holmes

    by Stosslova

    Sound review, Harry, but you totally overlook the AWESOME performance by Ashton Holmes - a character I wasn't expecting from the blurbs but who plays at least the third most important role in the film. Brilliant in every scene, especially with Mortensen - they're very credible together. I'd never seen him in anything before and I thought he was superb, intense and the best depiction of genuine subtle adolescent confusion since The Ice Storm kids did their stuff. I reckon he's the frontrunner for nominations. I hope he's not overlooked just coz Ed Harris is Ed Harris.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 7:38 a.m. CST

    Multiplex Crowds = BASTARDS!

    by Cat_Corporation

    Cinema crowds in the UK are just as bad as across the pond, guys. No matter what the film is, you get some amount of stupid chavs guffawing at regular intervals. When Hero came out over here, I was unfortunate enough to be sat near a gang of several morons, obviously attracted by the QUENTIN TARANTINO IS INVOLVED WITH THIS FILM!!!!!! quotes on the poster. When the film started, they started making ridiculous Kung Fu noises and chopping the seats. By this time my fists were sweating. Fortunately, however, once the dialogue began, they started moaning 'I didn't know this had fucking subtitles!' etc., and eventually got up and left, bewailing the 'boring shit' on the screen. More than likely, they couldn't read. It's annoying, but what I do nowadays is go to small, independent cinema houses, of which there are several excellent ones in London. The chavs can't find them, or just simply don't know they exist. You may have to wait a little longer for the big releases, but most times the tickets are cheaper, the snacks better, and most of them even have the good sound systems too. Jackpot!

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Long live tha new FLESH!!

    by Psycho_Kenshin

    Can't wait to see this, it looks badass as hell. And movie theaters own, if somebody's talking, its cuz they believe in Liberty. If they bother you, shoot them with a gun. The American way.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 10:02 a.m. CST

    I can understand notliking the picture...

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    ... But I think that most critics, audiences and cinestas will tell you that you're dead wrong on it being a bad picture. I would never accuse someone of being stupid for not liking or respecting something that I do, but it sounds like you were watching a completely different movie. Mortensen sucks in this? What are you on crack? Bello was useless? Again; crack? Just very interesting how polarized this is in small amounts. For my money - a fantastic film that goes three levels deep: character, violence, America.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Funny how it seems almost everyone who trashes AHOV...

    by Nagual

    ...has problems suspending their disbelief. I think it's a knee-jerk reaction to the issues the film raises that allows people to avoid dealing with them. See, Cronenberg is most devious in one way: he does a stealth move where you think his filma are about one thing, but they're actually about something very different, and you 'get it' on another level in your mind and emotions. In the case of AHOV, it's actually about "guilt," but not in the way it's commonly referred to. Certain people just aren't prepared to even acknowledge how that subject affects them--especially in today's America. And as for the juvenalia on display in this talkback by certain people, your disrespect is telling--aside from how wrong your opinion is to begin with.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Thunderballs is right. This movie is cartoonish and dull...

    by Mr. Waturi

    Keep your hopes low. The acting is fine but the script is pretty flat. The teenage bully subplot was cartoonish to the point of being retarded. If they would have eliminated every scene with the teenage son and focused on Viggo/Ed Harris more it would have been a much better film.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 12:31 p.m. CST

    This movie is just not going to connect with some people

    by antonphd

    I don't personally know any of those people... but I can see from the talk back above that they exist. It's hard to describe what is so good about this movie to anyone who doesn't like it. The movie just isn't describably in a few sentences... which is part of why it is so great. I agree with Harry... lots of people just aren't going to get it. And it's hard to say why without offending people.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 2:20 p.m. CST

    ...*...Flummage

    by Flummage

    ...deperately tries to remove the stick from his arse...but to no avail...*.. Anyone around here got any vaseline I could borrow, please?! ... *...flinches in pain...* Aw Goddamnit! My friend Mike suggested a woodchipper would do it, but I think he was just making fun of me. Oh, and while your at it, it's come to my attention, that I need to get laid. So if anyone could maybe help me with that too. I would be ost gratefull. Thank you. ...*...suddenly stops and turns around trying to listen to his arse area...* ...Can anyone else hear a squirral??...

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Why is everyuone ascribing a deeper meaning to this film?

    by Thunderballs

    Are you the same idiots who thought Land of the Dead had a philosophy? Just cause Cronenberg directed, does not mean there is some grand statement made. Wow, Viggo tells his son that in this family problems are not solved by hitting people, then he hits his son. WOW!!! What a statement! That says so much about America and it's obsession with violence!!! GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!!!!! Wow, see how one act of violence can affect a family? Ooooh, DEEP!!!! It's a comic book folks, a bad one at that. I thought Cronenberg could elevate this B material, but even he is human, even he is fallible. Cronenberg's Crash says more about our society in one minute than this movie could show in five screenings of it. The film was not good, was not smart, the writing was putrid, and please, someone tell me how I'm just not getting it. I know, I'm not smart enough for films with lousy, lazy exposition, I'm not smart enough for films where characters take time to describe what happened to them in the previous scene. You see, I have this problem, it's called liking good movies, it's called having some taste and discretion. Please someone explain the deeper meanings in this film. Please tell me how the film makes a grand statement about violence and American society. I'd love to know. And don't use the copout of "if I have to explain to you it would be pointless." If someone cannot explain to me why this movie is so "important" then you are obviously talking out of your ass, cause if it was so important you'd be able to verbalize why. If it is hard to describe why the movie is good, that is because it isn't in fact good. I could talk for hours about what is so good about Crash, or Videodrome. Cronenberg needs to write his own scripts, or adapt novels himself. He did this movie for the money, that much is obvious. Please stop trying to make it out to be more than that.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Yes, Thunderball...

    by Nagual

    ...Land of the Dead DID have a philosophy. Actually, so did all of Romero's previous films, which is part of the reason they are still discussed and appreciated, although you seem intent to insult anyone who doesn't want to indulge in your willful ignorance and recognize your opinions as fact. And no, I'm not going to break down what AHOV actually "means" for you, because 1) I'm willfully something else--lazy right now; and 2) you're obviously intent on hating it no matter what.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 6:43 p.m. CST

    I'm waiting for headphone jacks in the armrests in theaters.

    by Retrace

    Yeah....you'd lose some of the theater going experience - but I am so easily distracted by annoying people in theaters that once I hear someone talking - its like I listen to see if I can hear them rather than immersing myself in the film. I would say 4 out 5 movies I go see are ruined by people talking like they are in their living rooms. With a good set of headphones - the only thing you'd have to worry about are seat kickers. That - and guy on guy makeout sessions in front of you. sword fight!

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 7:24 p.m. CST

    And also ear infections.

    by seppukudkurosawa

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 10:09 p.m. CST

    I'll tell you the single worst cinema experience ever, and t

    by seppukudkurosawa

    During Return of the King two things immediately hit me. First, there was an obvious bum next to me who held a can of cider in a vice-like grip. He tried to say a few words to me, but I really couldn't understand him. He promptly fell asleep. Then, part way through the movie, I noticed some peculiar noises from the seat in front of me. Some guy was actually licking out his girlfriend in the middle of Return of the King. Seriously. At the end of the movie the bum promptly awoke and finished off his can of cider. End of true story.

  • Sept. 29, 2005, 10:10 p.m. CST

    I guess it makes it the girl who got licked out's single bes

    by seppukudkurosawa

  • Sept. 30, 2005, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Meaning in A History Of Violence

    by Stosslova

    Hi Thunderballs. I'd like to take up your challenge. For me, A History of Violence is allegorical for several reasons. First one is pretty plain as day. It says that The American Dream doesn't work. It presents your apple pie picket fence perfect community at the start and it reveals that it's utterly artifical. A) That's it not secure, but B) That it's not really what it pretensd it is anyway. It's one big sham. And it therefore says that anyone who aspires to that kind of sanctuary (and a lot of us do) is utterly deluded. But then, indeed, that's not exactly a new point. Although when American Beauty made the same point far less subtly, it won movies' top prize for doing so. Secondly, I think you simplify a little what takes place between the film's father and son. Yes, dad says we don't use violence and then slaps the boy, but what's more interesting is the way the father's violent acts legitimise and inspire the son's. How do you think bombing culture and terrorism work? The perpertrators are led to believe by their forebears' actions that what they do is legit. Jack Stall would never have done what he does to the bully had his homelife not fractured. There's a very significant message about the power of parenting in all this - not just what you do shapes your kids but what you are too. The film isn't just about Tom's History of Violence, it's moreover about the Legacy of his History of Violence. And in this regard, Jack Stall isn't a zillion miles away from Michael Corleone who never wanted the life he found himself incarcerated in. The film isn't just [Spoiler Alert] about whether Tom Stall is Joey Cusack; it's about whether Jack Stall is Joey Cusack's son too. But the next depth here is that, if you entertain it, this film is also symbolic in a big way about America. We've all seen Fahrenheit 9/11. We know how safe apple pie America actually has a very grizzly undertow, how we sell arms to foreign states to pay for our pristine secure existence. Tom Stall is America. He's done some bad stuff with some bad people, and then he thinks he can roll over and make hay and play the good life. But that's rubbish. You Reap What You Sow. This is America's big lesson right now and it's precisely the message of this film too.

  • Sept. 30, 2005, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Stosslova

    by Thunderballs

    I can see your point, even though I do not think the filmmakers intended any such meaning. The reason I say this is because of the end. SPOILER: The kid never faces any consequences for his violence from the bully or from his family, and Tom Stall is able to take care of his problem by killing Hurt, he comes home and his family accepts him as a liar and a killer. And American Beauty was a far superior film in regards to pulling back the veneer of suburbia. Why? Cause their suburbia actually exists, it felt real. Nothing in AHOV feels real, ever. Everything feels artificial and forced and cliched, from the small town shit to the gangster shit. Nothing felt authentic, or detailed. I guess if reading all this bullshit into the film makes it good for you, great. I for one like a good movie when I am being force fed some facile theories on violence in America. Supposedly the film They Live was a commentary on the evil of Reaganism and capitalism, and an allegory for our greed obsessed culture. If you forget all of that, IT IS STILL A KICK ASS MOVIE!!! A movie needs to be good despite its metaphors, not because of them. This is cinema, not literature. Dawn of the Dead is a good film because it is a good film first, all that other consumerism bullshit is just shit critics made up later. My point is, if you go into a film with a certain philosophy you hope to bring across in metaphor you will fail miserably. All great art was simply created first, it is only after that all the holier than thou critics and public ascribe all this meaning to it. I forget the artist who said it but, he said he merely creates, he leaves the meaning of it all to everyone else.

  • Sept. 30, 2005, 11:36 a.m. CST

    ...

    by Stosslova

    Yup I see what you're saying but, but I think maybe you're misreading the end of the movie (more spoilers ahoy). Cronenburg is suffusing this baby with meaning; the fact he doesn't labour it with big signposts is to the film's credit, unlike American "Here Comes Another Unsubtle Point About The State Of The Union" Beauty. We don't see the kid face consequences of what he's done but that doesn't mean he won't face them. The consequences are written all over his harrowed face at the end. And you say that Tom's taken care of his problem by killing Richie but in fact he hasn't. This is the very point of the final fantastic scene. It is on the surface a happy ending, he's returned to the happy American family picture postcard scenery that he inhabited at the start of the film, but in that scene there is great great great unconsoled unease. I think it's very clear in Cronenberg's last few powerful shots that although they may appear to be fine on the surface, this family will never go back, that the surface can only ever be just that - a surface - and that in truth they are corrupt, brutal, ruined, and have no innocence where it matters. I found it deeply potent that you don't see the real resolution of this story. Tom's actions resolve nothing. What this film is really about is the family, that's why it's not out and out gangsters like the graphic novel was, and Cronenberg's ending stays true to the family as the central protagonists, and in that last scene their doom (not necessarily mortal doom, but a doom they have to live with) is written all over their faces.

  • Sept. 30, 2005, 1:04 p.m. CST

    ending----SPOILERS

    by Thunderballs

    True, Stall has not resolved much with his family, but they have still obviously forgiven him, and as long as the end of the film didn't have the wife and kids leaving because of the lies and betrayal, then it is a happy ending. I see people praising the awkward beginning as a juxtaposition to the scenes toward the end, but in my opinion both are fake and forced. The beginning is almost a joke it is so bad, and the end is a piffle. The gangster stuff in this movie just did not work for me, it was laughably bad and completely uninteresting. And I think the message of the film is obvious, easy, and trite. This movie illuminates no new themes, and says nothing new about anything. Sad day for Cronenberg, let's hope he returns to form, writes his own script next time, and gives us all something to REALLY think about, not this faker bullshit written by a guy who looks like a junkie and studio kiss ass. Josh Olson, this means you. You're not fooling anybody!

  • Oct. 1, 2005, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Philly yeeah

    by BDT

    I'll tell you what... the sex was almost as hard to watch as the violence, but it is so important to the film/story because there is a voyeurist quality that the audience must play in order to engage in this story. I guess that is why the nervous, inappropriate responses in the theater where Harry saw it. The sex is kind of like, if you thought of a particular intimate moment when you tried to spice up your marriage or relationship, and later found out someone had filmed it... well that is what it feels like to watch... like we really shouldn't be watching because this is a private moment. You shouldn't look, but you do. We all have the need to look, but none of us wants to admit it, thus, the nervous twitters, a kind of denial of our own nature. BUT the REAL reason I am posting here, is I want to comment on the superb acting. Everyone did an incredible job, and the son is a stand out. You can almost hear his thoughts as you know he puts the puzzle pieces together early on. Also, as a native Philadelphian (who now lives in Texas) the Philly stuff is dead on. Sometimes the accents got a little too much, but the incredible thing is how the actors got a very subtle aspect of Philadelphians that I just started to notice on my last trip to that area. Philadelphians have certain facial expressions and body language that is unique to that city. The stare, the way people hold their jaws and facial muscles, it was all perfect. William Hurt nailed it, and so did everyone else in the Philly-related scenes. This is not a comfortable film to watch. It is a film where we look get an intimate look at human nature and the choices people make when they feel cornered by their worst fears or other deeply instinctual forces. We do everything we can to keep these things out of our everyday activity in an attempt to convince ourselves that we are in control of our lives. This movie is a metaphor for what happens when the ILLUSION of the safe fortress of homelife and family is shattered.

  • Oct. 1, 2005, 9:33 a.m. CST

    THIS MOVIE SUCKED ASS!!!! PEOPLE IN MY 433 capacity theatre ALL

    by MentallyMariah

    I am sorry, I love the director, I wanted to like this movie, by the end I wanted to tear my hair out! What a lousy piece of shit, BORING DULL MOMENTS then jacked up with gruesome gory voilence then dumb sex scenes that were so over the top and cheesy then more dull scenes then the finale followed by a dinner table scene that dragged on and on and on then credits...BOOOOOOO! Fuck I have never been in a theatre where I heard BOOING then everyone yelling I want my money back, not even GLITTER or GIGLI had that kind of response...sorry this movie just sucks! Say what you want, but this is not the masterpiece that critics, harry and everyone on here are raving about! I am so bummed that it sucked!

  • Oct. 1, 2005, 5:12 p.m. CST

    "This movie is a metaphor for what happens when the ILLUSION of

    by Thunderballs

    Gee, I could use that line to describe half of Lifetime's Movies of the Week!!! Are you fucking kidding me? Why is this metaphor considered interesting? It is old old old, and Cronenberg, sadly, did nothing new with it. But unlike Ridley and Tony Scott, Abel Ferrara, The Coens, Oliver Stone et al, Cronenberg has not definitively lost it. This film is a small abberation in his career. In the past decade Cronenberg has given us movies that are equal to or surpass his previous best work. Now THAT is something. Crash is simply a masterpiece in so many ways, eXistenZ is brilliant and original and interesting, and Spider, while not as good as Crash or eXistenZ, still retained a creeping menace and had some of the best shots in any Cronenberg film. Consider this his new M. Butterfly. So be it. I just wish people would come back to Earth a little on the praise here. I know there is a lot of shit in theaters, but that doesn't mean average at best movies deserve praise. AHOV was standard fare, nothing more. And I'm being nice by saying that.

  • Oct. 1, 2005, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Horrible audience in Century City, Los Angeles last night.

    by Lenny Nero

    I selected the AMC Century City specifically for its respectful audience, and even here, moments of violence caused inappropriate giggles. Here, Cronenberg has made a film about America's obsession with violence, thus marking those who respond with snickers as opposed to shocked gasps. Well, sorry Hollywood, you've lost some of my business to DVD. Fuck these fucks.

  • Oct. 1, 2005, 5:30 p.m. CST

    And that Harry pic is not new. Not by any means.

    by Lenny Nero

  • Oct. 2, 2005, 5:03 p.m. CST

    How is this a film about America's obsession with violence?

    by Thunderballs

    Can anyone explain that? Cause I certainly did not get that from the film, at all!

  • Oct. 3, 2005, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Good movie, but terribly overrated.

    by Serious Black

    I really enjoyed the movie, but it's by no means great. First off, there is not much to it. Most of the film moves at a snail's pace and it's only about an hour and a half long. Not a lot of story there. Second, it's very unrealistic. Why do all of the other bad guys just stand around and watch while Mr. Killer-Who-Wants-to-be-Left-Alone pounds somebody's nose into hamburger? And he dodges bullets? What the hell! Might as well have him glide from one rooftop to another because it's about as believable as Crouching Tiger. The lesson here is if you show some graphic violence then your movie is automatically considered "realistic" and can get a pass on any other implausibilities it throws at the audience. The movie is fun to watch, but I'm surprised more critics did not call bullshit on it.

  • Oct. 3, 2005, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Awesome 20 minute movie...

    by Capt. Murphy

    it's just too bad it's bogged down by 76 minutes of utter crap. Ungodly slow to the point of grass growing. If there was a point to it, I'm not sure what it was. I love Cronenberg's stuff, but this is a low point in an otherwise fine line of movies. It had it's moments, but overall, a huge disappointment. I've seen more action in a sweeps episode of Matlock.

  • Oct. 4, 2005, 4:20 a.m. CST

    WANNA KNOW Y CINEMA ATTENDANCE is DOWN?

    by silentbobafett2

    Its not cause of pirates or any other shit excuses the "fat Cats" throw at us: its because Cinema's are VERY POORLY run! I live in England and maaaan its fucking bad! I LOVE film, love it to death like all o fyou guys. BUT I VERY RARELY got to the cinema now. I wait for it on DVD. It s ashame but I don't have any dickheads in there (well maybe just one - heh heh - got there before anyone else! ) OR I watch a screener thats leant to me or something! So fuck all this PIRATES and Screener dvd's are killing film. Bullshit. At least the films ar ebeing seen! Get Odeon or whoever the fuck runs your local multiplex to put users BACK in the actual cinema. Get them to kick people out for talking, pohone calls whatever. BUt even themanagers don't give a shit. One time this fucker had a LASER PEN and kept putting the light on Nicole Kidmans breasts (Moulin Rouge) and THE FUCKNG AUDIENCE LAUGHED! My god what is wrong wit the world today? SO I tell the manger about the pen, during the film, and he says to me: What do you want me to do about it? CInema is fucked. LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH: DVD! Thank you and good night... god bless

  • Oct. 4, 2005, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Fucking great review

    by vinceklortho

    Great review Harry. You hit it right on the fucking nose with this one. Great movie made even more interesting by the audience reaction when I saw this at the local AMC Burbank last night. Amazing to think of people's reactions to the violence in this film made me think if I should be laughing as well? The sex and violence wasn't laughable to me; just powerful as hell. I couldn't believe it. It almost ruined it for me. Luckily, I toned out the audience and just went into my own little world. A very thought provoking film. Brillant.

  • Oct. 4, 2005, 4:49 p.m. CST

    He's dead on about theatres, Rarely do I bother with them an

    by SCYTHEOFLUNA

    I am anticipating this film greatly. May have to brave the theatre for this one....sorry I got a chill there. It only takes a few months for things to hit DVD these days anyway, fuck the theatres. I don't believe in downloading or burning stuff so I just wait it out. Unless it's something you've been waiting for someone to make your whole life (LOTR, favourite superhero movie ETC.) what's the point of sitting in an overcrowded theatre next to some dude who doesn't bathe, and wedged up against a loud obnoxious twit and her six little junior sonovabitches while they ask what's happening every ten seconds and take 37 bathroom breaks? The occaisional big epic, sure, but do we really need to see Guess Who? or Bewitched 40 feet wide to understand that they sucked? No. And I don't even need to get into the whole "paying 17 bucks for some popped corn and a couple of watered down colas", Seinfeld pretty much covered that. You have to embarrass these simpletons publicly, you can't just let them kick your chair and chew loudly through the quiet parts of the film, you have to stick it to them. When I went to Return of the king a teenage couple were sitting behind me. The young lady proceeded to chirp and squawk incessantly through the previews and into the intro music as the film started. I turned around and through clenched teeth whispered " I did not wait countless years and two hours in line to listen to YOU, there will be hours of commentary on the DVD yours is quite unnecessary." She quickly turned to her date with an appalled expression, clearly in anticipation of his angered response. As I looked at him though, I could see he had no intention of getting involved. He actually seemed relieved that he hadn't had to tell his date to cram a sock in it. I didn't hear a peep out of her until the put Bilbo on the Boat 3 hours and change later. My point is that yes, eventually the crazed masses of uncouth barbarians will drive us from the big screens and back into our living rooms. Their inane babble and habit of giving away the ending will send us packing, discarding our overpriced snacks and heading for the nearest electronics superstore to purchase the biggest damned TV our living space will allow, followed an entire library of DVDs. Words like "digital" and "high Definition" will be peppered into our speech. Eventually civilized folk will abandon the multiplexes altogether. Until then though, when I do happen to feel compelled to pay the outrageous admission fee, and go to the theatre, I vow to give a big fuck you to the goddamned mindless fiends who populate the sticky floored ampitheatres. When the fucking film starts the true filmgoers demand silence and I'll be the angry guy screaming for it. If you don't like the movie get the hell out. Seriously I'm not going down without a fight dammit. Publicly ridicule the bastards That's the key... Shun the loudmouth and send HIM packing.

  • Oct. 5, 2005, 9:08 a.m. CST

    I was very dissapointed...

    by TXMOVIEMAN

    And I'm one of those guys who gets ridiculed by casual moviegoers as being a film snob. I live for critically acclaimed movies by badass directors; the guys who approach a film from a different angle. That said, I see 90% on rottentomatoes.com, I see the awesome previews, and I'm telling everybody (and I do mean everybody--I'm a morning news anchor) to go see this movie, it's really good. So I see it. And it's really not...that...good. (in my opinion) I understand the meaning behind the movie, Cronenberg's take on violence, on sex, on the ability to change oneself. But the way these meanings are put on film are pretty dull and unrealistic. I thought it started great. The opening shot was classic...the first sex scene was also really good. But the family dynamic never really worked for me. I didn't feel the chemistry. And that bully-- dear lord that bully-- you know things aren't going to be great when the guy gets way bent out of shape over a caught fly ball! You know that even if you loved the movie, that was waaaayyy out of place. Also, the reporter scene. Sorry-- but that is NOT EVEN CLOSE to how it works. I'm sick of seeing the media painted in such an unfair and unrealistic light in movies that are supposed to be realistic. But these are minor problems in what I thought was a larger flaw. The characters never truly convinced me, nor did the dialogue really inspire me. And the plot-- it just seemed like a series of events (very disjointed) but many of them felt unnecessary, others felt over-the-top. I've questioned myself thoroughly on this movie-- it's easily the highest-rated movie I've ever seen that I just flat out didn't like. Obviously, the movie works for many of you. But for me, my girlfriend, and what seemed to be another 150 people in the theater, it didn't seem to work at all.

  • Oct. 5, 2005, 9:18 a.m. CST

    One more thing about the shock factor.

    by TXMOVIEMAN

    I wasn't shocked out of liking this movie. Shocking stuff (violence, language, sex), if done right, enhances a movie. "Closer" is a good example of this. I saw that opening night as well, and wow people were walking out of that one left and right-- apparently they were looking for "Pretty Woman 2" or something. But "AHOV"--while shocking--wasn't nearly as good. "Closer"= good dialogue. "AHOV"- not-so-good dialogue. "Phantom Menace"= kill myself dialogue. :) Usually, when I expect to enjoy a movie I really do. I'm rooting for it, even if it doesn't turn out to be nearly as good as I thought it would be ("The Life Aquatic" is a good example.) But root all I could, I eventually gave up on "AHOV," unable to contain my frustration in what should have been a much better movie. BTW-- I like how they ended it so ambigously...like the ending of "Castaway."

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Gugh

    by Mista Mann

    I don't like to say I hate movies. Even movies I don't care about, I don't run around complaining about. It's actually hard for me to full on dislike a movie. But I disliked this movie a lot. For really, ever reason Thunderball gives. I think it is a good idea for a movie, but poorly executed. Mostly due to some motherfuckin' Mayberry dialogue and acting. From the moment the kid had the nightmare about monsters and every family member showed up, I thought "Okay, this is someone's dream. It's too over the top and goofy. Someone's going to wake up and my realistic people are going to kick in." It never happened. The whole movie is so chock full of cliches and predictability it makes my stomach hurt. Maybe it speaks to the kind of movies I like, but I was leaning to my friend speaking dialogue before it came out of their mouth. But only because I knew it would be more boring goofiness. "What should I call you?" "You can call me dad." *rolls eyes* Oh, did they catch Jack and hold him hostage? Check. Does he immediately run at his mom like a moron? Check. Do we get a predictable violent showdown right then and there? Check. Is any part of the scene with the son and the bully the most ridiculous parody of a joke ever? Double check. Did we make sure to not really give any of the side characters any kind of background or quirks to make the whole thing feel 3D? Ultra check.

  • Oct. 8, 2005, 1:14 a.m. CST

    I demand a refund!

    by PMK

    All the critics who approved this film must have been paid off by the studio, because this film was utter garbage from start to finish. You know a movie is bad when even the foley is distracting. If this movie was supposed to a realistic portrayal of anything, then it failed miserably. It was akward, it was boring and it didn't make me care about a single character in the damn thing. How this stinker had an 80% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes is beyond me.

  • Oct. 9, 2005, 5:38 a.m. CST

    I thought this movie was a powerhouse, and the movie as a symbol

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    and I'll tell you why. Joey has done some horrible things, caused horrible death in his past. His past comes back to haunt him, and he has to use violence to combat it. He feels guilty, he wants to rid himself of his history, but he can't escape it. He confronts his demons, old allies, abroad because he doesn't want them at home again. He causes more violent death, more violent destruction, and when he returns, his family is morose, innocence is lost, the war was "won," but the aftermath is just the beginning. They forgive him, because they have to, he's their father, her husband. Now as for the awkwardness of parts and the dialogue, remember this was adapted from a comic book. The dialogue doesn't have to be very smart in a comic book, but the way this movie is truly masterful is the way that Cronenberg was able to not overcome it, but to mold it into his vision: a Superhero, but a real one, with a fractured, hidden past. The acting by Mortensen was fucking amazing, when he gets to Phily, his voice intonation change is so subtle and so perfect. His son did incredibly well, except for the part where he had a ridiculous grimace on his face after Viggo slaps him. Everything was really hyperrealized, like comic books can be, and with that element, it was one of the most bad-ass movies in years. It's also crazy to see William Hurt with that look, so much different than the guy from "Body Heat."

  • Oct. 13, 2005, 7:42 a.m. CST

    I just saw this, amazing film!!

    by Psycho_Kenshin

    Easily the most intense drama of the year. Cronenburg is in top form here, keeping the audience in the palm of his hand. Viggo Mortensen is brilliant, giving the performance of his career. Now Ed Harris, he's just too good. He makes it look easy. The film was hot shit thematically, questioning morality without giving any easy answers. Great film, must see.

  • Oct. 17, 2005, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Saw it yesterday...

    by Forestal

    Very powerful movie.

  • Oct. 17, 2005, 6:56 p.m. CST

    also disliked this

    by deadyounglings

    looked great, felt great, but honestly i though it was a really lame story filled with cliches. harry: "Nothing is telling you that something bad is up, so why do you know something bad is up? It

  • Oct. 17, 2005, 11:04 p.m. CST

    subtext keeps you regular

    by smackfu

    well, first off you're a douchebag. This movie was great. The emotional power of the story is in that the family is right to be 'mad at dad'. Giving your kids the last name you assumed from a man you most likely killed? That's pretty fucked up, for the family to find out that everything that they use to identify themselves as people is based on the lies of a stranger who was 'acting' the role of who they thought their father was. He's not only lied to them, he's made their lives lies too by proxy. And resolving this situation not by having a wrap-it-all-up forgiveness scene, but by having the family members wordlessly pass food down the table to him is what shows how great a filmmaker Cronenberg is. It obviously didn't occur to you that this scene didn't depict a family 'forgiving' dad, this scene depicted a family facing a stranger with their dad's face and accepting him for better or for worse. He is in every sense of the word a whole new person, both to them and to himself, as he has both dropped the fake 'Tom Stall' act and has re-integrated the previously repressed Joey Cusack traits back into his personality. This movie definately deserves at least an oscar nod, and no one should ever listen to the opinion of someone who uses the phrase 'awesome fight scenes' when describing a dark drama.

  • Oct. 19, 2005, 2:52 p.m. CST

    by deadyounglings

    wow what a cliche dorkwad rebuttle for such a cliched movie! seriously though dicksmackfu, thank you, i needed to be told off. i'll never watch another movie without chris tucker again. and i'll bring my thesaurus next time, ass hole nerd.

  • Oct. 19, 2005, 11:40 p.m. CST

    "Master Skywalker, there's too many of them. What are we goi

    by Forestal

  • March 26, 2006, 6:38 p.m. CST

    ONE OF CRONENBERG'S BEST

    by williamD

    Shame on you, Academy!NO nominations for Viggo,Maria, Cronenberg or the picture itself!?