Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Movie Review: Shame (2011)

(First a quick recap of some of the previews screened before this film started)

Carnage (2011)
Director - Roman Polanski

Not even a great looking cast can make this adult comedy appear watchable.  Juvenile jokes abound after two couples have a spat over their children. (Polanski jokes withheld)

The Grey (2012)
Director - Joe Carnahan

Liam Neeson continues his amazing range of a tough guy in a tough spot role, but I will admit this movie about  survival in a frozen wilderness with lots and lots of blood-thirty wolves looks like a winner.  Let's just see what the final product delivers.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Director - David Fincher

Like so many remakes I doubt this can live up to the original Swedish version of the first film, but the trailer looks good and Fincher is proven, so I'm hoping for the best but I'll settle for decent.

Shame (2011
Director - Steve McQueen
NC-17; 101 Min
Brandon Sullivan - Michael Fassbender
Sissy Sullivan - Carey Mulligan

I took notes during this film in anticipation of a lengthy and hopefully insightful review, but I'm going to keep it brief because I realized there is little chance of many people I know seeing this.... so.... yeah.

Michael Fassbender is an awesome actor.  He will be for a long time to come.  He's already been amazing in films like Hunger, Fish Tank, and I hear he is great in the upcoming A Dangerous Method, and in this film there is little doubt that he is here to stay.  As Brandon, a successful marketing/financial person in New York City, Fassbender takes on his character's depraved sex addictions with a zeal, revealing every bit of his body in this NC-17 film by Steve McQueen (a very anticipated follow up to his award winning Hunger), and in the process giving a terrific performance that will probably be rewarded.

Carey Mulligan plays Brandon's sister, Sissy, who is just as damaged as her brother.  We never learn details of their childhood, but it is clear that these two were subjected to the worst types of abuse.  When she arrives for an extended stay at his apartment the two of them venture down their own paths of self destruction.

There isn't much of a plot to this film, so if you're not into psychological studies with great acting this one isn't for you.  The NC-17 rating is a must for American audiences as there is extensive sexual content including the full naked figures of both lead actors - all of which completely pertains to the film.

The score is awesome and as Brandon runs around the city on some introspective runs listening to Bach Goldberg Variations you can't help but feel the agonizing beauty and torture that is this character and his insatiable need for sex without emotion to the extent that his life is in complete ruins.  I'm not sure we what the message is when we leave this film, but I'm not concerned with that, since it is the performances that are so well done which leave us with a lasting impression of two individuals and their struggles with life.

**** and 1/2 out of 5

4 Super Brief 2011 Movie Reviews: Hugo; J. Edgar; Friends With Benefits; The Devil's Double

Hugo (2011)
Director - Martin Scorsese
PG; 126 Min
Hugo Cabret - Asa Butterfield
Isabelle - Chloe Grace Moretz
Station Inspector - Sacha Baron Cohen
George Melies - Ben Kinglsey

I'll keep this extremely brief - See this film and don't hesitate.  Without a doubt one of the best of the year, Martin Scorsese delves deep into both personal love of film and the history itself, creating both a magical piece about early 20th century Paris and a children's adventure.  Shot specifically for 3D, this film is getting much praise for amazing use of the technology, but I detest 3D so I viewed it in regular 2D and loved it every step of the way.  Choose whichever way you want, you will love the entire 2 hours of this drama, comedy, fable, based-on-true people, historical and beautiful piece.

***** out of 5

J. Edgar (2011)
Director - Clint Eastwood
R; 137 Min
J. Edgar Hoover - Leonardo DiCaprio
Lots of other people

See the shitty makeup trying to create an older J. Edgar Hoover out of Leonardo DiCaprio? Well, the movie is 10x shittier.  I can't say enough about how much I disliked this movie.  I walked out with 45 minutes left.  I've only done that 3 times in my life.  I don't care if it was Leo directed by Eastwood. I was bored.  I didn't care.  It sucked.

* out of 5

Friends With Benefits (2011)
Director - Will Gluck
R; 109 Min
Mila Kunis - Jamie
Justin Timberlake - Dylan

There was a plot? Mila Kunis is so unbelievably hot I was able to block out the dialogue and enjoy the view.  And don't tell me you don't like skinny chicks like Mila.  I'll call you names that could get me kicked out of a political race.  Like No Strings Attached earlier this year with Kutcher and Portman, it is watchable on a terribly base level.

** and 1/2 out of 5

The Devil's Double (2011)
Director - Lee Tamahori
R; 109 Min
Who cares?

What a piece of shit.

* out of 5