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Viggo's New CD: 'Time Waits for Everyone'

Found By: nikkie
TIFF Press Conference 7.17.07
TIFF Press Conference 7.17.07.
Our thanks to nikkie for surfacing this news about Viggo's upcoming CD. mentioned in this interview with Larry Ratliff.

Gem class at Toronto

Celebrity sightings and the showcase rollout of a dozen or so future Hollywood studio movies that will loom large on the big-screen universe this fall and winter is one of the obvious joys of a world-class film festival like what's going on in Toronto.

The other, and my personal favorite, is the discovery of a wonderful little movie gem. That was the musical "Once" at Sundance in January. I just walked out of Toronto's candidate, at least in the early running.

It's "Juno," a bittersweet and sassy comedy-with-drama from "Thank You For Smoking" director Jason Reitman. Ellen Page ("X-Men: the Last Stand") plays a free-thinking high school student who makes some offbeat decisions once she discovers she's pregnant.

Think of this clever, quick-witted comedy as "Knocked Up" with real character depth.

Ferocious wind gusts are whipping press badges behind heads and occasionally bouncing down Bloor Street during the second day of Toronto Film Fest frenzy.

Movie stars -- some super, others not so much -- are a common sight during perhaps the world's most comfortable world-class fest. Had a 1-on-1 interview this morning with Viggo Mortensen, the star of David Cronenberg's new violence-riddled "Eastern Promises," as well as Cronenberg's former one, "A History of Violence."

Mortensen, a renaissance man who exhibits photographs at art galleries and records music as well as acts, proudly gave me a copy of his new CD "Time Waits for Everyone."

His theory is that Toronto is such a pleasing film festival for devout movie lovers, but also actors and filmmakers because this is not a competition, just a cinema love-fest on a very huge level.

© 2007 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News. Images © BIG UK.

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'Eastern Promises': Mesmerizing Mortensen

Source: The Toronto Star
© Focus Features.

Geoff Pevere: Movie Critic

Viggo Mortensen turns 50 next year, and he's one of those movie actors whom you want to see age. There's a menace that lurks beneath the surface of Mortensen's cool, taut exterior and it never comes as any surprise when it spills over and scalds anyone unfortunate enough to jar that smoothly lined lid open.

This is the quality of an old-school action star, the ability to hint at lifetimes of unspoken and unseen experience that kept drawing directors like John Ford back to actors like John Wayne, Anthony Mann back to James Stewart, Sergio Leone back to Clint Eastwood, and - twice now - David Cronenberg back to Mortensen. And it's a quality that only gets more menacingly potent with time.

Although Cronenberg has demonstrated a persistent knack for drawing untapped resources from a series of unconventional actors - James Woods in Videodome, Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone, Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers and Peter Weller in Naked Lunch - he has, with the exception of Irons, seemed to have tapped these performers' deeper wells of inspiration after a single drop in the bucket.

Not so with Mortensen, whose turn as the all-American, killer-next-door in Cronenberg's A History of Violence can now be seen as prologue for the actor's appearance as an impenetrably motivated Russian mob chauffeur in the menacingly brilliant crime drama Eastern Promises.

In the same way that A History of Violence stretched the skin of genre over a meditation on the mutually implicating relationship between producers and consumers of mass-market brutality, Eastern Promises is a movie of dangerously deceptive surfaces.

On one level the story of the lurid revelations exposed when the London-based Russian crime family headed by the outwardly genteel restaurateur Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) finds itself investigated by a hospital midwife (Naomi Watts) looking for clues into a pregnant teenager's death.

On others, Eastern Promises is another Cronenbergian investigation of the hard-wired nature of human monstrosity.

In the gangster movie, violence is merely the price of doing business. In Eastern Promises, a gangster movie that wears its conventions with the confidently disarming ease that Mortensen's Nikolai wears his retro-cool '60s suits and Link Wray pomp, violence is the very business of business.

As this is the first Cronenberg movie in years to appear without the dubious benefit of months of post-Cannes critical pre-digestion. And since surprise is one of its most effectively deployed tactics, it seems almost cruel to reveal too much about either the movie's plot or the startling diversions encountered along the way.

Suffice it to say that there is much more to be said: about the film's unsettlingly use of London specifically and space in general, about Cronenberg's increasingly minimal technique, about the film's combustible and displaced currents of sex, violence and power and about a filmmaker whose willingness to take risks is only made more remarkable by the fact that he messes with nothing more deliberately than his own audience.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on Mortensen. You could make an entire movie about the way that guy just stands in a room and quietly scans the atmosphere for even the slightest molecular disturbance.

Come to think of it, Eastern Promises may be that movie.

© Toronto Star 1996-2007 . Images © Focus Features.

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UPDATE: Eastern Promises Premiere: NYC - September 11

Categories: Eastern Promises
© Focus Features.

Our thanks to Lynn Rawlins for verifying that the venue/theater for the NYC Eastern Promises premiere on September 11, is the Tribeca Theater in Manhattan. We hope that helps all of you with your planning. Have fun!

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept 11
Screening 7:30PM

Party 9:30PM-Midnight

WHERE: Screening- Tribeca Grand Hotel Screening Room

Images © Focus Features.

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Many thanks to all of you taking advantage of the this week's Grand Opening sale at Rabbit Ridge Art. You are picking out a wide variety of items for your purchases and I am having fun gathering your orders together. Remember, the Grand Opening Sale runs through Sunday. Take advantage of the extra 10% discount and the free shipping. We turn back into a pumpkin on Monday.

In case you missed is the final piece in the Harvest Series...just in time for Thanksgiving (coming very quickly in Canada and all too soon in the States).

Visit Rabbit Ridge Art.

© Rabbit Ridge Art™.

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"It's a Mortensen tour de force."

Source: Rolling Stone.
Found By: Dom
© Focus Features.
Our thanks to Dom who was the first to surface this excellent review of Eastern Promises from Rolling Stone.


by Peter Travers

How like David Cronenberg -- the master of body horror as a path to the soul -- to begin his mesmerizing power-punch of a thriller with a hemorrhage. The bloody fetus that we watch a fourteen-year-old Russian girl's uterus struggle to expel is a child of rape. But in Cronenberg, be it the exploding heads of Scanners or the imploding ids of The Fly, brutality and beauty are inextricably linked. The baby becomes a promise and a threat in the eyes of the film's central characters. Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts), a midwife at a London hospital, tries to unite the baby with its Russian family from clues she finds in the dead mother's diary. Her path leads to Nikolai Luzhin (Viggo Mortensen), a driver and butcher for a Russian crime ring, led by Semyon (a magisterially scary Armin Mueller-Stahl), the owner of a chic trans-Siberian restaurant in London. Semyon, exuding grandfatherly charm to mask his sex trafficking for the Vory V Zakone syndicate, is a monster even to his psycho son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel excels). For Anna and Nikolai, Semyon will unlock secrets neither wants to face.

Brilliant film. Brilliant director. But you're probably thinking it's a linear plot for Cronenberg, who confounded audiences in Naked Lunch, Crash and eXistenZ. No worries. As in 2005's incendiary A History of Violence, Cronenberg subverts formula at every turn. Unlike Hollywood products that, in the words of David Lynch, "pop and evaporate," Cronenberg's films pop and resonate. For more than three decades, this innovator from Canada has been quietly breaking new ground. If you still don't see The Brood, The Dead Zone, The Fly and Dead Ringers as landmarks, accept the fact that you are just not paying attention.

The potent script for Eastern Promises is by Steve Knight, whose Dirty Pretty Things shockingly detailed the London black market in human organs. Cronenberg is too much of a visionary to take a documentary approach to Eastern European criminals in the U.K. His appeal is to the unconscious. What motivates Anna (Watts is extraordinary) to risk her life for someone's else's baby? Her mother (Sinead Cusack) offers clues. And her racist, Russian-born uncle (a sly turn from Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski) tells her that fornicating with a black man caused her own baby to die inside her belly. Watts uncovers a woman fighting her way out of a tragic trap by digging into her Russian heritage.

If anything, Nikolai is in a tighter spot. This driver has been to hell and has the scars to prove it. Or, in Nikolai's case, tattoos. In the Vory underworld, tattoos are your resume. Standing before a crime tribunal, Nikolai need not speak; his markings reveal the story of his life. Mortensen uses the accent, the posture, the eerie stillness to devastating effect. The bathhouse fight between Nikolai and two knife-wielding thugs is a balls-out showstopper. But the blood-freezer comes when Kirill tests Nikolai's manhood by forcing him to fuck a young girl while he watches. Nikolai takes the girl from behind so he can't see her face. But we can see his. And in that moment, when Nikolai's squint loses its hard focus, Mortensen reveals a haunted man. There is immense skill in his performance. It's a Mortensen tour de force.

In Eastern Promises, shot to envelop by the great Peter Suschitzky, Cronenberg brings us face to face with the horror of self. The film's bristling invention and biting with can't stave off the dread. Sure, it's hard to take. Consolation isn't Cronenberg's business. But art as a response to the terrors of modern life should be yours

© 2007 Rolling Stone. Images © Focus Features.

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Last edited: 21 December 2014 19:30:24