Tag: Michael Fassbender

In a year where the Best Picture Oscar went to The Artist and nominees included the awful, War Horse, the mediocre Money Ball and the critically panned Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I think it’s safe to say that 2011 was not a good year for film. Thankfully, now that 2011 is well behind us and the Oscars have come and gone, it’s time to forget about last year’s weak offerings and look forward to what Hollywood has in store for moviegoers in 2012.

February – otherwise known as the month when Hollywood unloads bad or shelved product – has finally passed and a slew of AAA titles are right around the corner. Without doubt, I am most looking forward to the upcoming Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises.

Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens are sci-fi classics that have spawned numerous less than stellar sequels; the franchise’s low points were the recent Alien vs Predator and Alien vs Predator: Requiem. Hence, I was admittedly skeptical when I learned that Ridley Scott was returning to the Alien universe with a prequel entitled, Prometheus. My initial thought was that after a string of bad flops, Scott –in need of a hit – was simply returning to familiar territory that made him an icon. However, after seeing the trailer, I was completely blown away. The film looks like old-fashioned R-rated sci-fi that seems to have disappeared and replaced with everything PG-13 and Marvel. The cast also appears to be very strong and includes the talented Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pierce and Idris Elba. Prometheus opens on June 8th and I’m already counting down the days to its release.

What more can be said about the Dark Knight Rises? Forget the entire Bane muffled audio fiasco that has internet and comic books geeks in an uproar. The film will undoubtedly be the biggest hit of the year and most importantly, it will be very good. While I doubt that the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy will reach the greatness of its predecessor, I have faith in Nolan’s visionary direction and believe that he will ultimately deliver a thrilling and emotional conclusion to the series. The only reservations I have so far are the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and the unfortunate absence of Heath Ledger, who helped transform The Dark Knight in to an instant classic. Nevertheless, Tom Hardy is a great up-and-coming young actor whose Bane looks like a formidable foe to Christian Bale’s sociopathic Batman/Bruce Wayne. The latest trailer and art work suggest an even darker tone than that of The Dark Knight and perhaps even a tragic fate for the caped crusader. The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20th and my anticipation for this one is extremely high.

I can think of several words to describe director Steve McQueen’s powerful film, Shame, but as a whole, it was a haunting piece of work that stayed with me long after the credits rolled.  Make no mistake, this complicated character study is not for everyone; the film is extremely explicit in its portrayal of sexual addiction and builds slowly towards its powerful finale.  Like an onion, the ambiguous script asks the audience to peel away the film’s narrative layers in order to comprehend its deeper meaning.

The film follows Brendan (played by Michael Fassbender), a successful and handsome 30-something New Yorker who seemingly has it all. Brendan appears to have a well paying job, owns a spacious Manhattan condo with a stunning view, and attracts a slew of beautiful women with ease. Yet, something is amiss; Brendan spends his days fuelling his intense sex addiction and is incapable of forming personal relationships with anyone, including his own little sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan). Every aspect of this film represents the protagonist’s detached state, from its cold muted colour palette to the point-of-view shots where we experience the world through Brendan’s male gaze.

On the surface, it would appear that the film is simply about sex addiction since the script never fully reveals the cause behind Brendan’s obsession. However, it’s implied that both Sissy and Brendan are equally flawed and deeply affected by their past.

We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place.

Sissy says to Brendan during a heated argument. Brendan and Sissy bear a shame that looms large over their lives and deal with their scars in different ways, both of which are equally heartbreaking.

Shame has garnered mainly positive reviews from critics, especially because of Michael Fassbender’s courageous and brilliant performance (he was rightfully nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe and certainly deserves to win). Yet, one of this year’s very best films has only managed to conjure up a 78% approval rating from popular review website and forum, Rotten Tomatoes and has largely gone unnoticed by moviegoers (many people I’ve talked to have never even heard of it).  This is possibly due to in part to the film’s explicit subject matter and its harsh NC-17 rating. Nevertheless, Shame deserves to be seen and talked about. This is without a doubt one the year’s best films.

9/10


Copyright © 2016 Alex Vainberg.