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Shame previews

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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:09 am

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/12/the-shame-syndrome-male-angst-turns-a-skin-flick-into-an-art-flick/249189/

The 'Shame' Syndrome: Male Angst Turns a Skin Flick Into an Art Flick
By Noah Berlatsky

Dec 2 2011, 10:01 AM ET 9

Empty sex on film gets called art, not porn, only when it focuses on brooding men

berlatsky shame 615.jpg

Fox Searchlight
Shame has lots of sex and a fair number of breasts and even a penis or two, but it's not pornography. That's in part because pornography (at least in its straight male iterations) is a genre obsessed, as Linda Williams writes in her study Hard Core, with "visual evidence of female pleasure." Pornography has a (prurient, of course!) desire to know how women feel. It fetishizes and commodifies not only female bodies, but also female desires and female orgasms. What women think and what women feel is vitally important to porn. Steve McQueen's acclaimed new film Shame, on the other hand, is obsessed not with female pleasure but with male angst. Thus it gets called art, and has been granted the NC-17 rating and glowing reviews to prove it.

Male angst, disavowed female bodies, and art have all been an intimate ménage at least since Hamlet sent Ophelia to the nunnery, madness, and death. The trope hasn't worn out its welcome, though. Last Tango in Paris transmogrified steamy sex into meaningful art through the alchemy of Marlon Brando's method torment. More recently, the James Bond franchise reinvigorated itself critically as well as commercially by giving Daniel Craig a dead girlfriend to motivate his vengeful violence and empty womanizing. The American aesthetically justifies its female-full-frontal fan service and dopey genre plot by assuring us that George Clooney is really suffering. And, shifting mediums, Chester Brown's comic Paying For It presents scene after scene of sex as serious art by focusing exclusively on the male protagonist's inner life.

Wounded-male art films objectify women and then forget they're there

To be fair, Shame is art that is heavily influenced by porn. Even granted that Brandon (Michael Fassbender) has movie-star good looks and that he appears to pull down a decent salary, the readiness with which women are willing to abase themselves on the altar of his sex addiction remains impressively improbable. Peter North himself would raise an eyebrow (or whatever) at the bevy of bodies that get all lusty when Brandon glances at them across a crowded train, or correctly identifies their eye color at a bar, or pours sugar in his coffee in their presence, or (in the crudest advance in a film full of crude advances) just sticks his hand under their skirt. Brandon pays for sex too, but you do start to wonder why he bothers when all he's got to do is look at the object of his desire with that slightly furrowed brow and she'll immediately fall into his lap in whatever position he requires. As in porn, too, the majority of women receive little in the way of character development. They're just a clinical, often tedious, collection of bodies and positions—rear entry here, bare chest and an improbably enthusiastic come-on there, and, towards the end, an extended three-way that is basically indistinguishable from soft-core except that the production values are higher.

Of course, Brandon isn't really enjoying his Dionysian lifestyle, anymore than we in the audience are supposed to enjoy watching three attractive actors have sex. No, no, no. This isn't about the fan service, people. It's about the human drama. And the guarantor of the human drama is precisely that the surface sex is disavowed; there is assumed to be real emotion and deep feeling precisely as long as there is no connection between the participants. And so when Brandon starts to get too close to coworker Marianne (Nicole Beharie), he ends up with erectile dysfunction; when his sister (Carey Mulligan) suggests the two of them need to be closer, he rushes out to have anonymous sex with (gasp!) another man—clearly the ultimate degradation. Brandon's compulsive sex—whether with willing women, prostitutes, his computer, men, or (perhaps most meaningfully) with his own two hands—is validated precisely because it is solipsistic. Some hideous pain in his past has made him incapable of love—and simultaneously capable of taking his place at the center of a serious film.

Shame is, indeed, a perfect distillation of the suffering-guy archetype. Brandon is not so much wounded as a wound. There's really no there to him other than the fact that he's damaged. He's not charming, or funny, or thoughtful. When he takes a woman out to dinner he woos her by telling her that his longest-ever relationship was four months; his idea of witty repartee is telling a stranger he's just met how he wants to stick his tongue in her. Even the tried-and-true cinematic staple of giving him a best friend who is even more boorish than he is can't change the fact that besides his compulsive sex and flagrant pain, Brandon is utterly uninteresting. Not unlike a porn star, except that the money shots are tears.

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The person who elicits those tears most consistently is Brandon's aforementioned sister. Her name, if you can believe it, is Sissy, as if the filmmakers wanted to underscore that she's only in the movie at all in her capacity as sibling. She's onscreen not because we care about her feelings (that's for porn, remember?) but because she can make Brandon react. She finds him masturbating and he gets angry; she slides into bed with him for warmth and he gets angry; she sings a torch song with great feeling and he weeps quietly …and, finally, inevitably, she becomes the red meat of emotional catharsis, allowing him to weep copiously.

As I am far from the first to notice, the magic of film in a lot of ways is the voyeurism; the ability to see the hidden truth, whether it be women's pleasure or men's torment. In porn, repetitively, decade after decade, women moan to let us possess the depths of their pleasure. And in art, for just about as long, emotionally distant men moan a little bit to let us possess the depths of their pain. Together they are a matched pair of exculpatory slogans: she wants it, he doesn't. The secret joys and secret sorrows are revealed; gaze on them and be elevated.

The structural similarities are such that it would be easy to dismiss Shame as a kind of porn. But I think that would be unfair to porn. Typical straight male pornography objectifies women, but at least it is invested in the object that it's made. It's not an accident that female porn stars earn more than male porn stars. The industry is about the women, which isn't liberating or awesome or transgressive, but is at least an acknowledgement of their existence. Wounded-male art films, on the other hand, objectify women and then forget they're there. Women in Shame are only tangentially figures of lust; primarily they're emotional furniture, carefully arranged about the screen to help Brandon climb to his next orgasmic crescendo of self-pity. We're supposed to condemn his emptiness, obviously—but the condemnation become hollow when you realize that that emptiness is the main thing that keeps the film from being direct-to-video.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:35 am

http://franceskwolfe.com/2011/12/17/cock-unsure/

Cock Unsure

17 Saturday Dec 2011

One of my editor’s is the funniest person in the world. He’s austere as a lauriete on the outside, but two minutes into a conversation and he’s dirty as a schoolboy. The topic of Michael Fassbender’s performance in Shame came up. “Michael Fassbender should win the Golden Globe for best actor, and his cock should get best supporting actor.” he announced, and then proceeded to go into great detail about the finery of the Fasscock. All the boys got involved and asked a tonne of details, waaay more than I wanted to know. They haulted the conversation to see if I was riveted to see the giant Fassschlong.

“Yeah, but is it any good?”

“Yes! That’s what I’m telling you! It’s a good foot and a half, it deserved a standing ovation.”

“…The film. Not the Fasspole.”

“Oh. Yeah. Really good. But the penis-”

I cast a forlorn look at my female staff who who acknowledged me with ‘the secret look’. Men, you won’t know the look. There’s a reason it’s a secret. It’s the gaze of tepid amusement and veiled boredom. It’s the look that conveys a secret men do not know about most women.

We. Don’t. Like. Penises.

Cocks serve a purpose, sure. But when it comes to looking at one, what we see is a horrific tube of veiny muscle. It looks like the a shaved leg of a baby sharpei. It’s ugly.

I’M SORRY BUT IT’S THE TRUTH. It’s ugly as f&#!. Ladies can get a Hollywood and keep our cunts clean, neat and tidy. We can even put rhinestones on the smooth curvature of our tidy hooches and paint them with inverted crosses if we like. They are pretty and functional. Meanwhile the sausage has the complexion of Dark Willow in Buffy. It’s cumbersome and lacks grace or elegance. When it’s not in operation it flops around like a half eaten frube. When it’s in operation it looks like a petrified cobra. Neither things are nice to look at. Perhaps interesting, in a morbidly curious way, but not attractive.

Sure, some of these new SATC generation women claim to love dick more than air and harp on about ‘perfect cocks’, but those women are usually a) insane b) lying. All women pretend to love dick to men. Most women can’t stand the sight of one of those wilting cactuses let alone have one near her face. But with eyes AWAY from the one eyed monster, it’s shape and size can have many benefits. And those heralded 10 inch bones? THEY’RE f#%@#&! SCARY. I wouldn’t impale myself on a g*&^%$# fire hyrdrant, why the f&#! would I jump on one of those jack hammer’s? My vagina is tidy, clean and firmly secured – I don’t want to ruin it by gross misuse.

The truth is the men who care most about prickcandy, is men. Gay men, straight men – MEN are obsessed with cock. They love it. They’re like retarded children showing off their paintings in class with that dumb proud confidence. Look what I did!

f&#! you. You can name it, pet it, groom it, give it a personality like you’ve regressed into having an invisible friend as a lonely, freaky child but at the end of the day – it’s not impressive. I like have it around, but it’s in the same way I’d tolerate my partner’s stupid brother living on my couch and smoking my weed with having nowhere else to turn. Unless he’s gotten really coked up, in which case, he’s a hoot to party with (but you can’t look at him, he’s looks like Satan when he’s on coke) – yeah, you prefer having them over nothing and they come as a two-pack – but lemme break it down. I’m not going to go and spend one on one time with the little critter.

It’s ugly. It’s annoying how proud you are of them. They’re not that impressive. Even the Great Fasswiener.

I’m sorry for ruining the great pretense. Know that when we deny it, we’re lying to make you feel better.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:25 am

http://jezebel.com/5865241/shame-the-sex-movie-that-isnt-actually-about-sex

Shame, The Sex Movie That Isn’t Actually About Sex

You may have heard that Shame is a movie about sex. It's really not. It's a movie about addiction.

Shame drops in on the life of Brandon Sullivan, a 30-something New Yorker with an office job, an apartment in a brand-new building in the West 30s, and a compulsive inability to maintain sexual continence, which troubles him deeply. The movie concerns Brandon's relationship with his younger sister, Sissy, an alcoholic up-and-coming singer with a depressive streak. Sissy comes back to the city from a spell in Los Angeles and fetches up at Brandon's apartment, and for whatever reason, he can't quite manage to roust her. Over the next days, they fight, stumble upon each other's hidden selves, and maybe, just maybe, find some kind of resolution.

That the fine Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who plays Brandon, and the equally skilled English actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Sissy, don't look like siblings doesn't actually hurt the film; Fassbender's face is all hard planes and sharp angles, while Mulligan's is all curves, with her button nose and Cupid's bow mouth. Their respective physicalities echo the emotional gulf between them: Sissy is messy, whether blubbering on the phone to an absent boyfriend (her desperate plea, "But I love you! I love you! I love you!" is heartbreaking) or standing too close to the edge of the subway platform. She's also needy, always pressing Brandon for some sign of warmth, which is just one of the many emotional responses her brother seems constitutionally ill-equipped to give. Brandon, for his part, is cold and controlled. He deletes, un-played, the voicemails left by women he's gone on dates with, and his usual first response to Sissy's acting out — such as when she sleeps with Brandon's boss, in Brandon's bed — is to clench his jaw and go for a long run around Midtown.

The movie is excruciatingly slow-paced. Director Steve McQueen lingers on scenes until they reach, and surpass, emotional breaking point. When Sissy sings the world's most melancholy cover of "New York, New York," at the nightclub at the top of the Standard Hotel, which is called the Boom Boom Room, McQueen gives us the whole song. It's punishing. Shots of Brandon padding around his apartment — urinating, tooth-brushing, message-deleting — in the nude go on for what seems to be forever. Brandon is getting pegged in reviews as a Wall Streeter, but I don't know many men who turn up to their jobs in finance wearing sweaters, khakis, and collared shirts without a tie. His personality is as indeterminate as his job: when he tells a woman on a date that his longest relationship lasted four months, she tells him, "You have to really try, to commit." He replies, sort of sheepishly, "I did."

Brandon is isolated by his addiction. He takes regular masturbation breaks in his workplace bathroom. He orders prostitutes at night, sometimes several. His laptop at home is enlivened by pay-per-minute camgirls who know him by name; his desktop at work is so rotten with porn that IT support takes it away. ("Do you think it was your intern?" asks the boss.) Brandon has sex like an alcoholic drinks: compulsively, indiscriminately, and for the sake of release rather than for intimacy, pleasure, or human feeling. In one early scene, Brandon is out drinking at a bar with colleagues when his boss starts hitting on a beautiful woman in a suit. Hitting on her quite badly. The boss has recently claimed to be "an expert in attention to detail" when the woman closes her eyes and says, "Blue or green"; boss guesses wrong. At that moment, Brandon steps up to the bar, and the woman turns to him, eyes closed. "Brown," Brandon says, before she can even ask. He is simply too good, too practiced, a seducer to derive any enjoyment from his seductions. Sex, when it comes to him, comes predictably and without the element of surprise that might be a precursor to feeling actual happiness. Sex is a disappointment, because for it to come so readily confirms, to Brandon, that sex is essentially worthless. Which in turn confirms Brandon himself as worthless — shameful — for seeking it out. He fucks the woman in the suit against the pillar of a highway overpass.

The interesting thing is, Shame is not exactly a date movie — but it won't kill a healthy carnal appetite, either. Brandon doesn't have sex like normal people. Your idea of self-hating sex might be sleeping with that dude who doesn't always text you back (again): Brandon's entire sexuality, in contrast, seems to be rooted in and an expression of self-hatred. Every single one of the (many) times Brandon is shown checking out a woman, you can practically feel the rise of the old, familiar self-loathing (and the hardening of his cock). Fassbender is just that good in the role. When Sissy crawls into Brandon's bed one night, to snuggle and to apologize for something, he tells her to get back to the couch — first curtly, and then with real anger. One has to wonder to what extent that's because he's actually upset with her, and to what extent it's because he doesn't know if he can entirely trust himself.

It's hinted, but never explained, that Brandon and Sissy share some traumatic history — perhaps of childhood abuse, or some more ordinary psychological ill, like divorce or parental abandonment. "We aren't bad people," Sissy tells him at a climactic moment, tearfully as ever. "We just come from a bad place." They moved from Ireland to New Jersey when Brandon was aged 12, and when Sissy goads him into an actual fight, they yell at each other with their Irish accents. Just like real people of foreign heritage, whose old speech patterns resurface at times of high emotion.

Shame is American Psycho, minus the satire, and with f#%@#&! instead of murder. When Brandon tells a stranger in a bar what he'd like to do to her body — eat her pussy, taste her, put his tongue inside her — he sounds like a killer describing what he's going to do to his latest victim. Later that night, Brandon goes to a gay sex club, and gets a blow job from the guy he's been making eyes with from across the street outside. Depicting a straight character seeking out a homosexual encounter as a sex addict's "rock bottom" is the film's one sour note; I found it politically problematic bordering on homophobic, and frankly a cheap move from an otherwise highly subtle and carefully observed story of human relationships, and human failure. It is sort of made better by the fact that there is another, much more devastating, bottom to come.

One of the best things about Shame — aside from Fassbender's and Mulligan's spellbinding performances — is its portrait of the city of New York. It looks like New York actually looks. The subway is as filthy as Brandon's computer, and the scenes of 20- and 30-somethings mingling at various interchangeable bars and nightclubs seem like the most soulless of mating rituals. This New York is about getting into the right kind of restaurant, and it's also about getting into a bar fight and having to ride the subway home, drunk and bleeding, at 4 a.m. And it's about money. (I cringed at the thought of the bill when Brandon, his boss, and Sissy ordered two martinis, a whiskey, and a bottle of champagne — with table service — at the Boom Boom Room, an establishment where a vodka-and-soda will set you back $18. Brandon also fucks a prostitute at the Standard; you could probably write a whole essay on Shame and Balazs hotels.) Mercifully, no character ever just up and starts talking about how much they love New York! The absence of the usual city-that-never-sleeps claptrap is bracing and welcome. In Shame, New York is just a place, but it's at least the place you recognize, not some Disneyfied Darren Star confection where everybody takes cabs and wears $800 shoes.

The film ends with Brandon on the cusp of a decision — we don't know whether he's going to do the thing he wants to do, or the thing he wants to want to do. There is little in the movie that indicates we should be hopeful for Brandon. But somehow, a couple days after seeing it, I am. Perhaps. Just a little.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:32 am

http://www.list.co.uk/article/39712-shame/

Shame (5 stars)

Source: The List (Issue 692)
Date: 5 January 2012
Written by: Henry Northmore

(0)
Shame
Steve McQueen's second directorial effort is an unflinching portrayal of sex addiction

(18) 101min

Sexual imagery oozes from every blockbuster and frat boy comedy, but serious discussion rather than cheap titillation is a rarity. Cinema actually finds it hard to confront sex, partly because the American censorship board takes such a puritanical view on adult sexual content, and partly because it’s very hard to get right. Yet visual artist and film director Steve McQueen (see interview) has done just that, making a film that succeeds through its realness.

Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender) is trapped. He has a high-powered job in an anonymous New York office, but he’s mired in his own world of addiction. His compulsion for sex rules his life, leading him from prostitutes to net porn to masturbation. It’s mechanical, sad and loveless. He lives in fear of his former conquests, haunted by their disembodied voices on his answer phone.

Then his sister, club singer Sissy (Carey Mulligan), drifts into his life and apartment upsetting the precarious knife edge of his existence. She’s equally damaged, demanding and vulnerable, but in her own way. There’s an uncomfortable tension between them, fuelled by something dark and foreboding hanging over their past. Her presence throws his life into turmoil. Without the space for his own psychosis, his cravings drag him into darker, more dangerous territories.

Fassbender’s performance is (as we’ve come to expect) stunning – detached yet wrought with pain. Mulligan is also on spellbinging form. Her rendition of ‘New York, New York’, shot in extreme close up, is heartbreakingly gorgeous, though not pitch perfect which increases its effectiveness. Shame is the very definition of adult filmmaking, tackling big, uncomfortable themes with intelligence and bleak realism. It doesn’t provide easy answers but McQueen has made a strangely lyrical film about ugly desperation.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:45 pm

http://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/film-friday-shame-directed-steve-mcqueen-12-10-2011

Film Friday: 'Shame' directed by Steve McQueen
12/10/2011

German-Irish Adonis Michael Fassbender is the hottest sex symbol in the world right now but his turn in Shame is searing but not sexy. The NC-17 film depicts the raw and painful life of a sex addict. The taboo subject of sex is not really what makes this movie controversial. It is how depraved sex can get when the sin of lust possesses you. Fassbender brings to life a man named Brandon who is as sick as he is handsome.

Sex addiction is not a joke. People like to think of it as simply someone with high libido. Shame shows us that, like any addiction, a sex addict is seeking a fix. Sex is a primal instinct. We don’t die if we don’t have it but our species will become extinct if not enough of us have it. Sex creates a concoction of hormones in the pleasure center of the brain that makes us want more. A sex addict just can’t get enough. Instead of reaching for drugs to dull the pain they reach for sex because it can do the same thing. A man with high libido still can control it enough to not watch X-rated films at work. A sex addict will risk everything and anything to get their fix. Just like Brandon. It is a scorching path of self-destruction. They are possessed by the demon of lust.

Brandon is an attractive advertising executive who lives in Manhattan. He looks put together and appears like a typical New York yuppie. He is not. Instead, Brandon is a man who pleasures himself in the bathroom at work, engages in anonymous sex with prostitutes, and has an extensive collection of adult material in his apartment. He has a method to his daily fix which is devoid of emotion.

Something drives an addict. Often it is trauma. When Brandon’s sister, Sissy, moves in, we learn that she is an emotional mess with a history of cutting herself. Sissy is also a psychological case, a possible borderline personality, and the boundaries between the siblings are disturbing and creepy. The movie begins with Brandon ignoring Sissy’s calls only to find her taking a shower in his bathroom unexpectedly. For several seconds, Sissy appears to not care that her brother sees her naked. She almost doesn’t want to wrap herself in a towel. Later on, the reverse happened with Brandon. He doesn’t mind being seen naked by his sister. Whatever the case, it is never revealed, both became unstable in their own way.

Sissy is more openly broken of the two. She is easily thrown into emotional fits. Her sadness is evident when she performs at a nightclub and begins to cry like Edith Piaf. Sissy is raw. Brandon is numb. Both are deeply aching for relief to their damaged psyches. When Sissy hooks up with Brandon’s boss, she later crawls into bed with him afterwards. It’s a suggestive scene because Brandon freaks and kicks her out of his room.

Brandon finds some semblance of a heart connection with his co-worker Marianne. He actually likes this girl. She is not some faceless body to relieve his urges on. The only problem is that he can’t perform with a real woman. Marianne leaves the story line at this moment and the descent continues. Brandon does New York, complete with a ménage-a-tois, an encounter in a bath house, and a raunchy encounter in a bar with a woman who is there with her boyfriend. Watching the series of steamy scenes only makes you want to cry in sadness and not pleasure. While Brandon relieves his pain in sex, he is actually not enjoying his carnal adventures. Meanwhile, his sister only becomes more pleading for him to comfort her volatile moods.

The film ends with an ambiguity. It succeeds in giving us a voyeuristic look at the daily tasks of a sex addict in engaging their addiction in the world. It fails to tell a story of much more than that. Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan are superb in being believable as the fragile characters they play. The only thing missing is the plot. Had it not been for the acting skills of Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, and Nicole Beharie, this film would have been an X and not because it was another sequel to X-Men: First Class.

After seeing this film it reminded me of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Sex Rehab reality show. The real sex addicts who shared their personal histories that led to their addiction was far more poignant than Shame. The movie could have been so much better had it taken a cue from Dr. Drew.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:06 pm

http://henmania.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/shame/

Shame
16Jan12

Shame is a controversial movie.

Pretty much everything I read about the new film by Hunger director Steve McQueen makes a big fuss about the fact that Shame features sex as a central theme.

Shame also contains several scenes of relatively intense and graphic depiction of sexual acts taking place.

But this shouldn’t detract from what the film’s really about, as the crux of the story is a tale of addiction, and how addiction can really destroy your life.

In Shame we follow the character Brandon (Michael Fassbender) as he struggles to manage his life while clearly addicted to a need for sexual gratification. To make his self-turmoil worse, his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) suddenly arrives, bringing with her a completely different, but equally concerning inner turmoil.

While there isn’t much in term of traditional story, Shame ensures that the characters are given a suitable depth to the extent that the viewer can not only empathise with the leads, but also stay attentive throughout the 99 minute run time.

As a film, Shame stands out in its acting, as both Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan produce award worthy performances as the tortured siblings Brandon and Sissy.

For many commenters the sexual depictions in the film are graphic, for some they’re even pornographic, but I felt that the sexual imagery in Shame was no more exploitative than say, the graphic depictions of violence seen in the last Final Destination movie.

The difference seems to be that audiences are less keen to see sex on screen due to social conscious and probably a fear of titillation, whereas violence is something few people find titillating, and therefore less likely claim to be offended by on screen.

Shame is a fantastic film led by stellar lead performances and worthy of all the awards it finds itself nominated for.

FOUR FIST PUMPS
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:46 pm

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/culture/film_and_tv/film/article854696.ece

Shame
Could this be the defining film for our consumer-driven, sex-saturated age? Or is Steve McQueen's latest just a big tease?
Cosmo Landesman Published: 15 January 2012

Spoiler Club - Shame

F rom the artist turned director Steve McQueen, who previously made Hunger, Shame has generated more media heat than any film of the past few years. To its credit, it has done so not by the usual trite tricks of explicit sex or violence. And, though it has plenty of private parts on display, and depicts numerous acts of sex, its bits and boobs and bonks are beside the point. McQueen’s film has hit some zeitgeistian nerve that has to do with a widespread anxiety about our consumer-driven, sex-saturated culture. It’s the first film to deal with a distinct social type of our time: the sex addict.

Unlike the urban lothario or the Don Juan of legend, the sex addict is a man to be pitied rather than envied. He has lots of online and offline sex with hookers, and himself, but little in the way of pleasure. His libido is driven not by the lust of the sensualist or the egotistical needs of the playboy, but by the neurotic compulsiveness of someone with OCD.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is such a man. He has porn mags in his cupboard, porn on his hard drive, porn on the brain. But he’s not predatory, sleazy or creepy. On the contrary, he’s handsome, sexy and well dressed. He has a good job and a nice apartment in Manhattan. We first meet him after one of his nights with a hooker. He lies in bed, staring into the void; as the film unfolds, we discover that he is the void.

Brandon’s life of one-night stands and routines of self­pleasuring are disrupted by the unexpected arrival of his wayward sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), whom he discovers naked in his shower. Sissy, whose pleading phone messages he has been ignoring, moves into her brother’s flat and life. Brandon does try to clean up his habit. He dumps his porn collection in the rubbish and tries to connect with a pretty office worker (Nicole Beharie), but the encounter ends in sexual disaster. This, along with the presence of Sissy, propels him into a self-destructive, booze-fuelled sex bender that leads to his being beaten up. He ends up in a gay bar and, well, let’s just say that he doesn’t spend his time discussing the semiotics of queer cinema.

Shame deals with an interesting theme: the torture of unlimited sexual gratification that is never gratifying. Yet the frustration that Brandon feels on screen is mirrored by the frustration we, the audience, feel. McQueen and his co-writer, Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), refuse to give us much in the way of background details to Brandon. We aren’t even told what job he does. In theory, this allows audiences to make up their own mind about what is really going on. The same approach was used by Lynne Ramsay in We Need to Talk About Kevin. As a result, the most interesting thing about the film is the one thing it refuses to let you have, and that’s the answer to the question: “Why is he like this?”

It does offer a few hints. One possible explanation has to do with his relationship with his sister. Did they once do something they shouldn’t have? When they first meet, she is naked and doesn’t cover up. (And the song on the stereo is Chic’s I Want Your Love.) When Brandon’s loud-mouth boss, David (James Badge Dale), sleeps with her, Brandon responds with the anger and disgust of the spurned lover, not just as a brother.

He is a man who is unable to achieve any kind of emotional intimacy with a woman. Unless he’s paying for it, intimacy leads to impotence. (The one time we see him writhing in shame is when he can’t have sex with his date.) But is this because pornography — as its critics often claim — has destroyed his emotional infrastructure? Search me, guv.

Shame is almost a great and important film. It has lovely bits — and I don’t mean Fassbender’s meat and two veg. There’s a scene on a subway train when Brandon and a pretty girl (Lucy Walters) exchange, via small smiles, shy looks and total silence, the Morse code of mutual desire. It’s the hottest scene in this whole sex-drenched film.

Like Morgan’s The Iron Lady, this is a work driven by its lead performance. Fassbender dominates the screen. He has the difficult task of portraying a man in bed with two sexy women and convincing us that all this frantic humping is a kind of hell. And this he does. But the relationship between the sister and brother is never quite engaging in the way it should be. Take away the suggestion of incest and not much is left. She is such a needy and neurotic character that you can’t blame Brandon for keeping his distance. And a film that begins with such a cool and clinical eye on its subject completely changes tack at the end, becoming an overheated, overblown melodrama.

Brandon could have been a great character, destined to live in the popular imagination as a representative of his age, right alongside Richard Gere’s Julian in American Gigolo, or Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman in Amer­ican Psycho. Ultimately, however, he is too vague, too thinly drawn, for us to get intimate with him. Shame invites debate, but it leaves us in the dark.   

Shame
18, 101 mins
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:24 pm

http://flickeringmyth.blogspot.com/2012/01/movie-review-shame-2011.html

Sunday, 15 January 2012
Movie Review - Shame (2011)
Shame, 2011.

Directed by Steve McQueen.
Starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.


SYNOPSIS:

A sex addict’s life becomes increasingly more desperate when his sister moves in.


Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender) is a man unable to emotionally connect, desensitised to social interaction by a habitual stream of Chinese takeaways and Internet pornography. His laptop at home appears to be used only for live web chats with women who know “exactly what Brandon likes”; his computer at work has recently been taken for service because of a virus. It’s ridden with obscene videos and images. He’s got a really hard drive.

Brandon’s only friend is his pervert boss, David Fisher (James Badge Dale). The rest are merely passing accomplices of the night; dial-up whores and easy women picked up from bars. He has no reason, nor any desire, to form anything beyond these surface relationships based on lust and leering. Until his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), appears at his flat.

She’s a singer for classy jazz bars and wears colourful, vintage hats. The first night staying at Brandon’s, she screams her heart down a mobile onto some guy’s answerphone. The polar opposite to Brandon, her emotional connections are fiercely intense and quick to form. She’s always saying “sorry,” always f#%@#&! up. She’s a dependency, trapping Brandon outside of his comfort zone – a relationship based on something other than the physical. In another film, she’d be a femme fatale.

Shame is the story of the two, though from Brandon’s perspective. It details his increasingly desperate life based around sex. That he has an addiction is evident, but sex is merely his choice of poison, easily supplanted by drugs, alcohol or any other number of vices.

The subtext presents itself openly in the film’s first moment of transcendence – Sissy’s slow, broken performance of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. The camera holds on Sissy, tight and in close up, for near on two minutes. Her head always up so in full view, with an occasional sultry glance to the side, she sings in a smouldering voice, her golden dress and dyed-blonde hair seemingly painted in gold by the warmly glowing bar behind. The film then cuts to Brandon, cold, metallic and chisel-featured, sitting at a nearby table. He can barely look at her, instead choosing to cast his head downwards. The camera holds on him for a similar length, showing a single tear fall from his eye. Fassbender’s performance here, as throughout, is sublime. The tear escapes him in pain, like a drop of blood from a mortal wound.

Steve McQueen, the director, holds on shots for eternities. They aren’t of the flashy variety of ‘long takes’ like the restaurant scene in Goodfellas. Instead they’re mostly static and confined to a single place. Facial expressions and significant actions are often obscured. The most important dialogue scenes are filmed from behind, only showing the backs of the actors’ heads.

One scene, for instance, films Brandon from atop a toilet cubicle, his masturbating covered from view by his hunched shoulders. The shot is held for so long and the action within it made so miniscule in its length, that an extraordinary thing starts to happen.

Your imagination begins to fill the blanks, much in the same way “radio paints clearer pictures than film,” or how “black and white is an actor’s best friend.” Faced with a repetitive or obscured image, your mind focuses upon the details, like Brandon’s hand pressed up against the wall before him. It forces you to give yourself to the film and superimpose yourself upon its protagonist. You worry for him that someone else might enter the lavatory, that the woman he slept with last night had a sexually transmitted disease. Is his penis hurting? After all, his hard drive has a virus. Is this a painful act for him? The tension in his shoulders, his facial expression as he walked in, both suggest so. It’s dirty. These aren’t the actions of the pervert’s caricature with which we’re comfortably familiar. He isn’t grunting, sweating profusely from his forehead, plastering long strands of hair across his face – Brandon is a self-sufficient, successful businessman. You feel, well…shame – not just for him, but also for yourself, as though caught naked in a dream.

After only two films, McQueen appears particularly adept to holding these prolonged shots, encouraging some effort from the viewer. He shares his boldness to hold on certain, otherwise mundane shots – a man running, an out-of-focus, black and white children’s cartoon – with Michael Haneke. Although while Haneke’s lens is largely static and surveillance-like, McQueen’s is capable of immense tenderness and tragedy, the slightest betrayals of motion implying an unfixed, more intimate camera. After all, is there a more tangible and tasty scrambled egg on toast than the dish that tempts Bobby Sands near the end of McQueen’s previous and debut film, Hunger? A more vivid recollection of childhood memory than in the same film’s 15-minute dialogue between man and priest?

You must be prepared to offer yourself to the film, much in the same way that Fassbender and Mulligan bare their naked bodies in entirety. People often broke out in laughter during the Friday night showing at Haymarket. It’s a way to deal with being uncomfortable; even the most prepared couldn’t have foreseen how graphic and tragic a few scenes would become. Some had brought popcorn in. It isn’t that kind of movie. It’s a film – and the first great one of 2012.

RATING: ****
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:50 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/04/shame-review-steve-mcqueen-venice

Shame – review

Steve McQueen's second feature of sex-addiction, self-harm and cheap thrills in New York is fluid, rigorous, serious cinema
4 out of 5

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan give dynamite performances in Shame, a terrific second feature from the British artist Steve McQueen. Fassbender is Brandon, a sex-addicted corporate drone, directing a radioactive stare at random women across the aisle on the New York subway. Mulligan plays Sissy, his sister, who sings for her supper, self-harms for kicks and is surely pointed towards disaster. "We're not bad people," Sissy assures her sibling. "We just come from a bad place."

Shame
Production year: 2011
Countries: UK, USA
Cert (UK): 18
Runtime: 99 mins
Directors: Steve McQueen
Cast: Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Michael Fassbender
More on this film

Specifically this place is Manhattan, which McQueen depicts as a hell of sterile offices, anonymous apartments and desperate pick-up joints, though it may conceivably refer to the world at large. Outwardly charming and confident, Brandon is soon exposed as a casualty of a bull-market culture where sex has been traded so heavily, so easily and in so many exotic flavours that the consumer has gorged himself sick. Brandon, for instance, appears to score about once a day but it's not nearly enough because he's immediately off to masturbate in the shower. He has a vast porn stash concealed behind his blank cupboard doors and still more buried on the hard-drive at work. "Anals, double-anals," explains his bemused boss Dave (James Badge Dale), who has been charged with overseeing the investigation. "Cream pies … I don't even know what that is, exactly."

Not that Dave is any kind of angel himself. Brandon's boss cheerfully neglects his own family in order to hit on passing women and then promptly beds down with Sissy, who has recently landed at her brother's apartment. Disgusted – and perhaps even excited – by the noise coming through the wall, Brandon escapes for a jog through the nocturnal streets. McQueen traces his huffing, puffing odyssey with one of the most mesmerising extended tracking shots since Touch of Evil.

Shame feels less formal, less rooted in the language of the art installation than McQueen's previous film, Hunger, and is all the more satisfying for that. This is fluid, rigorous, serious cinema; the best kind of adult movie. There are glimmers of American Gigolo to its pristine sheen and echoes of Midnight Cowboy to the scratchy, mutual dependence of the damaged duo at the core. For her big showstopper at a downtown nightclub, Sissy takes the stage to croon her way through a haunting, little-girl-lost rendition of New York, New York, slowing the pace and milking the pathos. Brandon sits at the back, his jaw locked, his eyes welling. In the song's melting, dying fall, he catches a glimpse of the lie behind the tinsel and smells the inevitable death of all her dreams, and maybe his dreams as well.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:52 pm

http://www.episodesandreels.com/addiction-struggle-and-shame.html

December 15, 2011 | 0 Comments
Addiction, Struggle, and Shame.

Shame, 2011

SHAME (2011)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan
Director: Steve McQueen
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Genre: Drama
Rating: NC-17
Grade: A

Very rarely do movies leave you with an unsettling feeling that stays with you for days. Even as I write this, I sense those feelings returning. The second collaboration between Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender brings us Shame, a film that masterfully details the disease that is addiction. Garnering much attention due to the subject matter, graphic sex, frequent full-frontal male and female nudity, and its justified NC-17 rating, Shame is not simply a film about sex. It’s a film that highlights our personal demons, our constant struggle, and most of all, our utter helplessness to it. Shame follows Brandon (Fassbender, X-Men: First Class), a successful, handsome working professional in New York City. On the surface, he seems quite normal, your average NY yuppie. But within minutes of the film, we are introduced to his obsession with sex that controls his life. His work computer and personal laptop are filled with obscene amounts of porn. Hired call girls come over to his apartment regularly. He can’t get through a work day without multiple bathroom masturbation sessions. All of these things are like clockwork in his life, typical daily routine. He does not believe in intimacy or commitment, and therefore feeds his desires with an abnormal, unhealthy sexual appetite. Brandon lives a very lonely life with few relationships, which allows for this kind of lifestyle to go unnoticed and unquestioned. It isn’t until the unexpected arrival of his sister, Sissy (played by Carey Mulligan, An Education, Drive), that Brandon is forced to really evaluate himself and his addiction. With Sissy’s arrival, you can sense Brandon’s discomfort. His apartment along with his privacy have been invaded. Both siblings have dysfunctional pasts, although, this is only hinted at and never fully developed in the film. As a result, they each have their own set of issues, Brandon shunning any kind of intimacy and Sissy with a constant need to have it. Now, being in each other’s presence, naturally, these issues are out in the open, and create for some serious tension and inevitable self-discovery. Soon after, Brandon’s life begins to spiral out of control. When Brandon takes a real interest in a co-worker, he believes that he may actually be able to develop feelings, be intimate, and create a relationship. At this point, he makes a serious attempt to start over and change his behavior. This proves unsuccesful, though, when he is unable to perform sexually with her causing extreme embarrassment, and perhaps, shame. It is most disturbing watching him self-destruct after this, unable to control any urge, going to the most extremes to satisfy his needs. What you see is a man who is trapped in the most vicious cycle, completely aware of it and completely helpless. It is tragic. The performances from Fassbender and Mulligan are top-notch. Fassbender’s performance is absolutely chilling. You can’t help but see the pain in his eyes, particularly in a sequence at the end of the film once he’s hit rock bottom. Mulligan’s Sissy is heartbreaking, bringing life to the sister that just wants to be close to her brother. Her raw rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” is a must-see. McQueen has painted an extremely emotional and deeply conflicted picture. He has transported us into the mental psyche of a man suffering from an addiction, and it’s mesmerizing, but in the most unfortunate way possible. The back drop of New York City in this film is a dream, and it sets up the canvas for this story beautifully. The film is perfectly paced and once it ends, you’ll leave unsettled, somewhat disturbed, and trying to gather your thoughts on it all. Perhaps what is most unsettling about Shame is what I really believe the film is ultimately telling us…..that we aren’t strong at all. There’s some food for thought.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:52 pm

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/tv-film/shame-reviewed-fassbender-shines-just-dont-expect-a-shagathon/

RSS 23 January 2012 | 16:52

REPORTAGE | TV & Film
Shame Reviewed: Fassbender Shines, Just Don’t Expect A Shagathon

By Luke Holland
Posted: 16 January 2012
Tags: new york, sex
Rate This Article:

Both Michael Fassbender and and Carey Mulligan are on top form in Steve McQueen's new film that, after getting the nudity out of the way early, develops into a brilliantly low-key character study...

Steve McQueen’s almost unanimous appointment as one of the UK’s most interesting, intelligent and respected directors may, to some, have seemed a little premature for a man with only one film under his belt, had that film not been 2008’s searing Hunger – the relentlessly powerful portrayal of the events leading up to the death of IRA nationalist Bobby Sands. Hunger was remarkable not only for McQueen’s brave, nuanced direction, but also for Michael Fassbender’s incredible self-flagellating performance as the desperately and increasingly emaciated Sands.

The two unite once more in Shame, in which Fassbender plays Brandon Sullivan, an outwardly successful New Yorker whose wiley ways with the fairer sex may make him the envy of his friends and the subject of fascination amongst female peers. It’s all just the outward manifestation of a secret – a nagging realisation – that Brandon keeps to himself: that he is, in fact, a sex addict, and it’s the unwelcome arrival of his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) that threatens the carefully crafted social veneer he so carefully maintains to protect others (and himself) from facing the fact.

McQueen is all too aware that a film about sex addiction could so easily degenerate into the kind of soggy, depressingly titillating guff that used to be synonymous with late-night Channel 5, David Duchovny and a rancid sock, so he deftly and succinctly portrays the entire routine-led, rhythmic nature of Brandon’s addiction within the first ten minutes: we see the cyclic lifestyle of compulsions leading to rehearsed and pragmatic methods (prostitutes, pornography, casual encounters, crafty workplace hand-shandys) of sating them. Were aren’t actually privy to a great deal of Brandon’s wanton philandering as, by the end of this opening scene, we know everything we need to know about him – the rest of the film’s runtime can be used to tell the ensuing story.

This condensed introduction is a fantastically efficient device, and McQueen gets any obligatory nudity out of the way in a similarly brisk and unfussy fashion: both Fassbender and Mulligan are blithely and deliberately in the nip right at the beginning of the film, almost as if a weary, teacherly McQueen is rubbing his temples and saying, ‘You’ve seen it all now, can we please just move on?’ It’s a refreshingly assured and mature move, leaving Fassbender’s later erotic scenes free of any ‘LOOK AT HIS KNOB!’ sniggers and distractions.

Mulligan’s Sissy lies at the opposite end of the spectrum of monogamy to Brandon – she craves companionship and intimacy, with scenes between her and Fassbender scattering titbits of information alluding to a dysfunctional upbringing they share but are trying, in their own different ways, to forget. Their common history is the wedge between them: Mulligan is a singer, an extrovert, while Fassbender is her still-waters, introverted antithesis.

Mulligan is excellent: vulnerable and exuberant in equal doses, her inclusion in the story making us wonder how two such vastly different personalities could emerge from the kiln of a single, somehow-defective household. These are questions that aren’t answered; explaining precisely why sex addiction (and, by extension, any addiction) can occur isn’t what McQueen and co-writer Abi Morgan are trying to do. Brandon is just a man with issues – that’s it – and Shame is the story of a player, not a game.

Shame is a very low-key film though, and those expecting as rip-roaring shaggathon through the neon jungle of New York may be affronted by the character study they end up receiving

And this is, without a doubt, Fassbender’s film. He is truly brilliant: cool, confident, smooth, troubled, desperate, afraid, ashamed and disgusted, all eventually folding in over one another, creating a flawed, yet predominantly very human character, whose affliction becomes an inward battle you really want him to win. Despite his lifestyle of seminal profligacy Brandon remains a likeable and sympathetic figure throughout; he’s no Patrick Bateman – he’s an everyman, a nice man, only one with a problem he doesn’t understand. McQueen paints him as a true victim of his disease, taking a refreshingly neutral standpoint in the process – one as far removed from the Britpop funk of Trainspotting’s addicts or the world-weary narcissism of Chuck Palahniuk’s as it’s possible to get.

Brandon inhabits a drab, muted New York, a 24hr city where gratification for any itch is easily obtained, yet despite an American setting (and decent accents to match from the two mains) the film does still feel resolutely British: still shots, quiet scenes, calm pacing, naturalistic dialogue. Shame is bereft of cinematic pretensions, with the occasionally obtrusive, sombre piano cues the only signposts to its artsy-fartsy credentials.

The dialogue is keenly observed throughout, with two scenes in particular (one comprised of childishy-regressive interplay between Brandon and Sissy, the other seeing Brandon on an uncharacteristic date with a co-worker) displaying a genuinely self-effacing zip of authenticity that McQueen and Morgan have bottled brilliantly.

Unfortunately this air of authenticity doesn’t quite extend as far as the last ten minutes, which smack just the tiniest bit of convenient contrivance, yet this brief whiff of artifice is the tiniest fly in an otherwise unblemished pot of luxury, tingly lube.

Shame is a very low-key film though, and those expecting as rip-roaring shaggathon through the neon jungle of New York may be affronted by the character study they end up receiving, yet those with some idea of what they’ll be getting will find little to grumble about.

It’s not a harrowing, Requiem for a Dream or Tyrannosaur-esque crotch-punch of a film either; more a fascinating depiction of a man coming to terms with a condition still awaiting society’s verdict as to its actual veracity. As such, is deserves to be seen, if not for its subject matter then for the tentative story of addiction its committed performances tell so honestly.

You could, in fact, replace the sex with any other addictive vice (and, while we’re at it, Brandon with a female character) and the film would carry exactly the same weight, as it’s the inward-facing microcosm of solipsism that addiction causes that Shame explores. Smack, crack, Baileys, bongs or bonking – it doesn’t matter, the symptoms are the same, and – as far as Shame is concerned – so are the inevitable repercussions.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:53 pm

http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2012/01/shame_review.html

Shame (review)

Shame Michael Fassbender

Unsexy and the City

Brandon Sullivan is living the dream! Great job in New York City, fantastic apartment in Manhattan, a different beautiful woman in his bed every night. He must be the envy of every hotblooded man, mustn’t he?

This is that movie about sex addiction you’ve heard so much about. This is the movie in which Michael Fassbender (Haywire, X-Men: First Class) goes full-frontal -- oh, come on, you’ve heard about that, too. These things are not shocking. What is shocking about Shame is the male vulnerability, the male weakness, the abject male misery we see onscreen. Movies simply don’t do this. Movies protect the male ego, even to the point of -- at least in the United States, thanks to the MPAA’s retrograde puritanism -- decreeing that male nudity is much more scandalous and is to be treated much more seriously than female nudity, which may be treated casually. (A penis? Onscreen? Why, men might feel inadequate! Unless said penis is somehow comically small. That’s okay! Male egos remain intact!) (Warning: Fassbender’s nudity may bruise some male egos.) Male dignity is something that the status quo -- in Hollywood and in the larger culture -- works very hard to maintain in the same way that it does not do for women.

And Steve McQueen (Hunger, also with Fassbender) and screenwriter Abi Morgan (Tsunami: The Aftermath) -- a lady Abi, it’s probably worth noting; she knows what it’s like to not have one’s dignity valued -- strip all that away to lay out the bare, spare truth: what pop culture typically feeds us as “ordinary” male sexuality is probably worthy of a psychiatric diagnosis. Men think about sex nonstop! Men will f&#! anything with a pulse! This is the reality of Brandon’s life... and he is wretchedly unhappy with it. The startling opening image of the film is Brandon lying in bed, staring unblinkingly at the ceiling, into the camera. He doesn’t move. He might be dead. He is dead, we come to see, on the inside. He is a slave to his physicality, in no different a way than if he was addicted to, say, picking his nose. Yeah, sure, that sounds gross... Shame makes a life of nonstop orgasm look gross. Look appalling. Brandon doesn’t enjoy sex -- when he tries to make love to a lovely coworker (Nicole Beharie: American Violet) with whom he’s just had an actual grownup date, he can’t get an erection; he’s dumbfounded by how gentle and tender she is. Sex, for Brandon, is quick, rough, nasty, and anonymous. It’s an act, in the broadest sense of the word -- a physical behavior but also a sort of performance -- that he’s compelled to engage in over and over again. With strangers. To Internet porn. By himself in the restroom at work.

(Note that I am not suggesting that all men are sex addicts. I’m saying that our culture colludes to create an image of men as slaves to sex, and that that’s not true... because if it were, all men would be like Brandon. And they’re not.)

“Brandon, where are you?” his sister Sissy sing-songs on his answering machine. It’s a good question. He’s lost. He lives in constant terror of his secret being discovered. His elegant exterior hides his torment, but he gets that deer-in-the-headlights look so often: “I find you disgusting,” barks his boss (James Badge Dale: The Conspirator, The Departed) in a meeting, and Brandon is rocked with startlement... but it’s just the asshole boss’s idea of a pep talk to his team. (We never learn precisely what sort of work Brandon does. It doesn’t matter -- it’s not important to even his own central idea of who he is.)

And then Sissy (Carey Mulligan: Drive, Never Let Me Go) shows up at his door. She’s a mess of her own kind -- she has boundary issues, for one thing -- and she needs a place to stay. She shatters his terrible stasis. Is it merely her presence in his space, physical and mental, that interrupts his regular obeisance to his compulsion? Or is it that she’s a woman, so close, whom he’s not supposed to want, but finds himself thinking of sexually anyway? Shame is never clear on this. It doesn’t need to be.

Lest I haven’t been clear, this is not a porno. The sex isn’t any more graphic than what we see in lots of other movies. If what’s actually depicted onscreen is worthy of an NC-17 rating in the U.S., then many many more films should be rating the same. (In the U.K., the equivalent rating of 18 is used far more often than the NC-17 is, so the point would seem to be moot on this side of the Atlantic.) I’m not suggesting this film is for children -- of course it isn’t. But it would seem that the only “problem” with this movie, when compared to much of Hollywood’s output -- and hence why it garnered the NC-17 rating -- is that it actually deals with the ramifications of what it depicts. The veneer of our cultural fantasies has been ripped away. You have been warned.

Did I say that movies protect male dignity? Well, there is the subgenre of the humiliation comedy, in which we’re meant to laugh at male misery precisely because it is laid so bare: it’s (supposedly) funny when men are weak and beat-up-upon. But that’s just a way of protecting male egos, too: a dude is invited to laugh at the man who is treated like he’s a woman, weak and exposed. Brandon’s nakedness here -- and I don’t mean his physical nakedness, either -- is shocking partly because McQueen is so very very compassionate about it. Shame is as economical a film as you will see, with not one wasted moment in it: yet McQueen takes the time to show us Brandon holding a door for a woman pushing a baby stroller. Brandon is a nice person. He is a good person. He is not a monster. He’s just really, really f&%$#& up. “We’re not bad people,” Sissy comforts him at one point. “We just come from a bad place.” We don’t learn what that bad place is, but really: Shame, for all its disquieting specificity about Brandon’s particular problem, is about all of us, and the secrets we keep, and the secrets we’re terrified others will learn about us.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:54 pm

http://www.list.co.uk/article/39712-shame/

Shame (5 stars)

Source: The List (Issue 692)
Date: 5 January 2012 (updated 19 January 2012)
Written by: Henry Northmore

(0)
Shame
Steve McQueen's second directorial effort is an unflinching portrayal of sex addiction

(18) 101min

Sexual imagery oozes from every blockbuster and frat boy comedy, but serious discussion rather than cheap titillation is a rarity. Cinema actually finds it hard to confront sex, partly because the American censorship board takes such a puritanical view on adult sexual content, and partly because it’s very hard to get right. Yet visual artist and film director Steve McQueen (see interview) has done just that, making a film that succeeds through its realness.

Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender) is trapped. He has a high-powered job in an anonymous New York office, but he’s mired in his own world of addiction. His compulsion for sex rules his life, leading him from prostitutes to net porn to masturbation. It’s mechanical, sad and loveless. He lives in fear of his former conquests, haunted by their disembodied voices on his answer phone.

Then his sister, club singer Sissy (Carey Mulligan), drifts into his life and apartment upsetting the precarious knife edge of his existence. She’s equally damaged, demanding and vulnerable, but in her own way. There’s an uncomfortable tension between them, fuelled by something dark and foreboding hanging over their past. Her presence throws his life into turmoil. Without the space for his own psychosis, his cravings drag him into darker, more dangerous territories.

Fassbender’s performance is (as we’ve come to expect) stunning – detached yet wrought with pain. Mulligan is also on spellbinding form. Her rendition of ‘New York, New York’, shot in extreme close up, is heartbreakingly gorgeous, though not pitch perfect which increases its effectiveness. Shame is the very definition of adult filmmaking, tackling big, uncomfortable themes with intelligence and bleak realism. It doesn’t provide easy answers but McQueen has made a strangely lyrical film about ugly desperation.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:50 pm

givemeonenight:
Shame; Worst Movie Ever?

I would warn you of spoilers in this review/rant but really nothing happens in this movie at all so there’s no possible way I could spoil anything.

So I went into this movie expecting it to be about a sex addict. That wasn’t the case though, this was just really a movie that contained a lot of sex and nudity, but not even in a good way. This movie somehow managed to take the best thing ever (sex) and just ruin it! I mean seriously, worst sex scene I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I’ve seen a lot of really bad pornos!

I was just really expecting the main character to be proper obsessed with sex; like f#%@#&! every woman he saw practically, and missing work just so he can have sex, and spending all his money on prostitutes etc. But nope, the way I saw it, Fassbender’s character just liked to watch a lot of porn, and it didn’t really have any significant impact on any other aspect of his life. I mean sure, he only had like one friend who just happened to be his boss but that’s just because Brandon didn’t really come across as a people person. Any conversation he had with any other character was just so incredible awkward, especially that one date scene. I mean, I thought the point of movies and editing and all that was that you took out all the awkward silences and boring bits, apparently Mr McQueen isn’t such a big fan of this. He is a big fan of putting an incredibly dramatic strings score in a completely mundane scene, eg Brandon going for a jog. I just felt like this movie was trying way too hard to be all “artsy” and just failed to have any point whatsoever.

Another thing that annoyed me was the creepy, almost incestual relationship Brandon had with his sister, Cissy. The first time we see Cissy, she stands up in the bath in front of her brother completely naked, IN FRONT OF HER BROTHER! I don’t eve like it when my brother sees me in short skirts, let alone seeing my vagina! Seriously, what is wrong with these people?! But for most of the movie they barely talk then towards the end they have this big argument that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that’s happened in the movie so far! I remember just sitting there in the cinema and Brandon was giving out to Cissy and he said something along the lines of “Why are you doing this to me?” or something like that and I was just sitting there like “What are you actually talking about? Why has she done what? Stop just saying this to try and sound all deep and meaningful, you 1 dimensional character you!” Seriously, there is absolutely no character development in this movie at all. Even on the date, one minute the girl was all like “Yeah, I’m recently separated, was only married a few months” then when Brandon said he longest relationship was four months she was all like “Ah well, you didn’t really give it a go did ya? You have to it longer than four months” I felt like yelling at her “Yeah, well you didn’t really give your marriage a go then did ya?!” Seriously, all these characters seem like something Stephanie Meyer sneezed out one day.

And then there was just this completely random scene where a hooker is just putting back on her bra after sex. That’s the entire scene, and it lasts a lot longer than it should. I mean the movie would be no different without that scene. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a movie and went “you know what this could use? A hooker putting on her bra.” Grrrr, stupid stupid people!!!!

In conclusion, do not waste your time on this ridiculously pointless movie! Such a waste of oxygen!!! That being said I did get to see Michael Fassbender’s cock so there’s that.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:50 pm

Shame (watched 1/20/12)

5/5

Shame is the second feature film from writer/director Steve McQueen. No, not that Steve McQueen; a different guy. McQueen takes risks in his filmmaking, from long static shots with very little editing, to intense, raw and at times difficult to watch scenes. Both choices could alienate the modern film audience, but in this case, both choices draw the audience in even further to the story of Brandon, played brilliantly and honestly by Michael Fassbender, a man losing himself to his own depression and addiction to sex.

While the subject matter and explicit content, the film earned the rare NC-17 rating, makes this film not for the faint-of-heart, Shame is an incredible piece of cinema. It’s a painful look at how a functioning addict moves so alone though life, and is always on the edge of breaking. Brandon is pushed to his most extreme by the presence of his sister Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan who has become a personal favorite of mine. She is the only human connection he has and he almost seems repellant of her. She is as warm as he is cold, as outspoken as he is quiet, as emotional as he is composed. Their history is unclear but the remnants of some type of abuse involving both of them in their past seems evident.

The film is made up of many explicit scenes, none of which are actually sexy. More than anything, they are sad and painful. The film as a whole is so gripping. Fassbender completely gives himself over to this performance and it shows. As much as you want to turn away, you can’t. One of the most breathtaking moments of the film is a static shot of Mulligan singing a slow rendition of ‘New York, New York.’ The scene is so harrowing and heartbreaking that it moved me to tears.

Shame is one of the best pieces of cinema art I have seen this awards season It is completely transcendent, difficult, real, brave and unique. This film will stick with you long after you have left the theatre.

Wonderfully and bravely acted by Fassbender and Mulligan, beautifully shot by Sean Bobbitt, and stunningly written by Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen. McQueen’s artistic voice is one to watch out for in the future. Also check out his first feature film, Hunger from 2008 also starring Michael Fassbender about the hunger strike in the early 80’s in a Northern Ireland prison.
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