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Shame reviews 3

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Post by Admin on Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:28 pm

zombieozzy:
Shame Review

It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a review. Especially a written one. However, I did say I would review this movie and since I’m taking off for Vacation afterwards, now is as good time as any.

PLOT: Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful businessman. He has a nice apartment, a well paying job, and is a bachelor. However, Brandon has a sex addiction. If he isn’t cruising bars for women, he is picking up prostitutes or masturbating alone. When his sister (Carrey Mulligan) arrives without notice to crash at his place, it warps Brandon’s world.

CONSENSUS: Holy s$#!. Character based drama’s are always my favorite in movies. Darren Aronofsky is a master when he made movies like “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan” and I couldn’t help but get a similar vibe here. Especially in the opening sequence. Now that I’ve seen this, I’m even more upset that Fassbender didn’t at least get a nod toward best actor. The guy floors it in what would, I assume, be a very uncomfortable role. The guy goes full frontal. Quite a few people do, actually. It got it’s NC-17 rating for a reason. The idea of portraying a sex addict as a “matter of fact” scenario is just intense. And after his sister moves in, the emotional punch of trying to “get off” is there, as Brandon goes through some desperate scenario’s to try and get his fix.

Steve McQueen does a wonderful job of shooting this film. There are a lot of behind shots as he wants the audience to be as disconnected as possible from Brandon and his sister. These are both horrible people in there own way, as Brandon’s sister is promiscuous. She sneaks in to cuddle with her brother, walks around with a shirt with her nipples bleeding through. It’s disturbing that the sexual tension is there, and it hints to a past that could of possibly been the cause of these two being who they are.

I want to keep the details slim as I feel that this is required viewing. It’s not a movie for everybody, it’s definitely a daring picture that portrays sex addiction as exactly what it is: an addiction. You can feel Brandon’s torment as his sex life constantly lingers over his everyday life. His job, his home, it’s everywhere in his life. The desperation and the tension builds up to a climax that really shows how bad things can get for someone like him.

RATING: 9/10
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:15 pm

janscripted:

……………………..52/365: Shame (2011)……………………..

This film really is greater than Fassbender’s d***.

The shame about “Shame” is that it’s become that flick featuring Michael’s glorious manhood, moving past “Oh, that NC-17 rated movie all about sex” after its initial release.

Granted, I’m already a follower of the Fassbender-McQueen duo and their respective works. My anticipation for “Shame” came with the understanding of their connection to the craft and creative control of storytelling. Frankly, it’s bothersome to read reactions that generalize a film’s amazingness based on fangirling over a lead actor, failing to recognize the piece as a whole. It’s even more disheartening to encounter those who cannot take the film for its own merits because of discomfort over the taboo content it seeks to address.

Knowing McQueen, the audience feeling isolated and far away from their comfort zone may just be the desired effect. I can’t help but think that his time and work in New York has only helped develop the film’s focus, even giving a characterization to the city we seldom see through seedy subway cars, glass encased condos, and cloud covered docks.

Carey’s “New York, New York” rendition was, as Brandon put it “interesting,” yet reveals the vulnerability and the only extended study we see into Sissy. Her strength as an actress is shown in the emotional spectrum that often plagues bright, young creatives today.

The roles fit Michael and Carey well, bringing Fassbender back to modern day (since, I believe “Fish Tank”) with Mulligan’s American accent (from the “Wall Street” sequel.) I can understand how viewers inferred about incest being a possible theme hidden in Brandon’s spades of sexual struggles, but that might just come from a lack of background we have on the Sullivans’ past, whether it was in Ireland, Jersey or NYC.

The content matter of Brandon’s addiction was handled quite tastefully and the acts themselves were portrayed well enough to make a point. The agony on his expression towards the end of the menage a trois really hits it home; that his chase for the ultimate climax is, and may always be, never ending. Despite everything that happens, you still can’t help but wonder how that last scene plays out - though we aren’t meant to know.

All in all, a simple enough storyline to navigate, with an absolutely absorbing score to accompany the way. I’m keen on how the Brandon and Sissy’s song choices reflect the situation and internal conflict, and my favorite sequence would be the steady shot of Brandon running through the streets. Lighting was very effective, and its diverse elements fit each setting to its mood. The cinematography was not overly ambitious and allowed us to become observers rather than voyeurs. And of course, the liberal use of “f&#!” for every argument, because that’s as realistic language as you’re going to get when someone’s upset to that extent.

The only thing though: I really wanted to slap David in the face. He was just annoying.
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:18 pm

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2011/12/sex-can-be-scary/45676/

Sex Can Be Scary
Fox Searchlight

Richard Lawson 4,717 Views Dec 2, 2011

The concept of clinical sex addiction is a relatively new and often mocked one. It's mostly treated as a lame excuse used by embarrassed fallen heroes like Tiger Woods to explain their wandering eyes (and other parts). It's a cop out, a dodge -- wouldn't we all be "addicted" to sex if it was so readily available? It seems silly, exaggerated, like someone saying they're addicted to chocolate or roller coasters or anything else fun that most normal people enjoy. Addicted to sex?? Yeah, welcome to the human race.

But, of course, the reality is that for the term to have become as widely known and used as it is today, there has to be some hard, unpleasant truth to it. To that end, we've heard some sobering, honest accounts of the real-life horror of the affliction, and now we have the struggle sympathetically but fictionally depicted in the harrowing new picture Shame, a dark and dizzying, yet oddly glancing, look at a man, an otherwise ideal man, done in by an all-consuming libido.

Shame is directed by the British video artist Steve McQueen (no, not that Steve McQueen), marking his second feature film, after Hunger, 2008's brutal look at the 1981 Irish hunger strike. In that film, McQueen showed an interest in turning the mundane and routine -- there are long, unbroken shots of people cleaning, of people sitting, of hallways standing still and quiet -- into something more unsettlingly profound. He found not just the devil in the details, but a great and towering and terrifying balrog, something operatic. Hunger is in no way a narratively traditional movie, it's more a collection of startling visuals (with one grand 20-minute single take of dialogue in the middle) that describe a happening. It feels a bit documentarian; the quiet presence of the camera is almost felt in the scene. McQueen is a watcher, and show-er, not a teller.

He brings that same curious and visually probing lens to Shame, but here of course the matter he is investigating is more active than wasting away in a prison cell. There's a hunt to it, there's predation. So McQueen's camera must move along with it, we are following someone down a dark hole, scared, but too intrigued to turn back. The ailing man we are following is played by Hunger's Michael Fassbender, a fast-rising Irish-German actor who here shows the same level of kamikaze commitment he brought to that earlier film. Fassbender plays Brandon, a hotshot marketing whiz (well, his profession is left deliberately vague, but there are pitches to be made and everyone dresses in business casual) who lives in a sleek Midtown Manhattan high-rise ideal for any bespoke young bachelor. His should seem like a rather charmed life, but we know from the get-go that there is something amiss.

The film opens with an elliptical series of shots that keep looping back on themselves: We see Fassbender ignoring a voice message from a pleading woman while he pads, fully nude, to the bathroom. We see him riding a dark and rumbling subway car (McQueen gives the MTA the same outskirts-of-hell treatment it was given in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan) while wordlessly coming on to a woman sitting across from him; she goes from demure to interested, but just as the moment becomes something potentially real rather than merely suggested, as they both stand up to leave the train to head off to some sort of implied tryst, she closes in again, leaves Brandon chasing after her in vain in the crowded station. And we see him, in this same swirling segment, inviting a call girl into his apartment. What's immediately striking about this triptych -- the nude lone figure, the subway seduction, the dull transaction -- is how decidedly unsexy the whole thing is. We are not watching the familiar heat and tingle of lust and anticipation. This is simply a man in the process of getting his fix -- we could see this segment with liquor or drugs and, while less exotic, it would have the same chemical urgency.

So Brandon is, though the term is never said in this deliberately indirect movie, a pretty raging sex addict. It's evident in his rabid consumption of internet porn, in his caginess with colleagues (particularly his sorta sleazy boss and lady-hunting wingman, played by James Badge Dale) and with his sister, a dyed-blonde smear of a creature played with loose-limbed ache by Carey Mulligan. Brandon and his sister, Sissy, have a strange relationship; Mulligan's opening scene is her standing nude in Brandon's bathroom while they have a frantic conversation. So clearly there is something of a blurry sexual boundary between the two of them, and while we never get specifics (again, this movie intentionally withholds a lot), it's evident that they suffered some familial trauma in the past. "We're not bad people, we just came from a bad place," Sissy says to her brother in one despairing scene. Sissy's arms are riddled with cutting scars, so she too seems to be contending with demons of obsession. Sissy needs a place to crash for a while, so she shacks up on Brandon's couch, interfering with her brother's constant pursuit of gratification.

Like in Hunger, McQueen here uses a few big set-pieces to punctuate the movie, to varying success. A scene where Sissy, a nightclub singer of some sort, does a sad, blue rendition of "New York New York," bringing a tear -- of what? regret? -- to Brandon's eye (and a tent to his boss's pants) is both lovely and bitterly sad. Mulligan is a prettily trembling little songbird, and Fassbender, with his palely harsh teutonic features, is an effective single-tear dripper. The strongest vignettes (if we can call them that) in the movie are a pair of date scenes, as Brandon asks out a comely young woman who works at his office (Nicole Beharie, terrific) and they have an awkward-yet-flirty dinner together and then, later, well... Let's just say that date number two is less successful. These scenes do the necessary work of illustrating how only surfacely functional Brandon is as a member of polite society, he is filled at this point with so much of his disease's stuff that it's a strenuous, almost performative, act to simply go on a date with a charming, attractive woman. He is not, after all, after romance. His addiction is not about the pleasure of coupling, it is a hunger (oh!) for physical and mental release.

Another of McQueen's set pieces, one used to show us the raw madness of Brandon's need, is an Inferno-esque wander into an underground gay sex club. Harry Escott's deep, swelling score cries doom while Brandon walks through the red-lit club and, well, it doesn't sit that well to have a gay male hookup be telegraphed as the height of desperate moral depravity. But really, I guess, the message here is that the person with the orifice is beside the point. The movie's many graphic sex scenes (the movie earned an NC-17 rating) are mechanical; they're so focused on satisfying a singular need that Brandon may as well be screwing plants or animals. The palpable sense of mental anguish to Brandon's copulating trumps any of sex's innate intimacy. Brandon tries to be a nice regular guy, offering his hookers a drink and the like, but really these people are simply vessels for him to fill with his own emptiness.

Which is why he is so confounded by his prodding, intruding sister, someone who plays such a frustratingly separate role in his strictly compartmentalized life. McQueen and his co-writer Abi Morgan let the Mulligan storyline get a bit grandiose toward the end, but as a way to spur a bit of action into the story, beyond all the bedroom action that is, it's as good enough a device as any. And, as always, Mulligan is winsome and at-ease and wholly effecting. And Fassbender, with that O-face that looks like dying, is a scary marvel. His deep dive into the role doesn't come off as overly intense showmanship or like some stunt act. He clearly trusts the material and his director and so simply does the things, all the naked things, he must do to get the movie made the way it's supposed to be made. He's a workman artiste, a pragmatic British actor-type without the stiff reserve.

Unfortunately for him, I'm just not sure the movie as a whole lives up to the work he's put in. McQueen is a stunning visualist to be sure -- he and his cinematographer Sean Bobbitt create dozens of hauntingly indelible images -- but as a storyteller, or even as a describer, his insistence on vagueness and suggestion does him no service. With all the turgid (though lovely), keening music and heavy, looming photography, it feels as though we are ultimately to take nothing from this movie but a sense of awfulness. Obviously there need not be a tidy resolution here, a sense of grim ambiguity works fine, but the film's deliberate skirting of identifying anything in particular, its avoidance of naming anything, saps its potency. It's a thesis -- sex addiction is a terrible and devouring thing -- simply proven over and over again. It's as awful at the end as it is at the beginning. The movie is one big, thick, heavy line that goes straight across and does not waver. The film is beautiful, and beautifully acted, but like so many visually arresting but ultimately strangely shallow indies before it, Shame eschews specifics to its own detriment. It's a great first therapy session, but we're still miles away from the root of the problem.

*****
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:19 pm

procrastinatingallthetime:

I am truly shocked by the people criticizing this film for lack of substance. I’ve seen comments about how there is limited dialogue, and therefore no character development, and hardly any story. Did we watch the same film? I’m thinking we must not have.

Shame dives into the life of a man living with an addiction to sex. The first 10 minutes of this movie effectively introduces him, his addiction, his relationship with humanity (sister included), and barely uses any words to do so. You shouldn’t need a lot of dialogue when emotions are conveyed with facial expressions, effective cinematography, and great editing. This film is loaded with all of that.

Obviously films are subjective, but I feel those who say they didn’t get to “know’ the characters at all must always need everything spoon fed to them. I am not a sex addict, but still connected with both Fassbender and Mulligan. I found the development both subtle and extremely realistic. Does everything need to always have that Hollywood ending? Should everything get wrapped up nicely and leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling when you walk out of the theater? I definitely don’t think so.

Anybody who does need that probably shouldn’t watch any Steve McQueen films. Anyone who can appreciate a raw, subtle, and beautifully made film should go watch Shame.
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:25 pm

stephsworldisnonsense:

Shame (2011)

I thought it was really good, and I didn’t really know what to expect in the beginning just because what it was about and I feel like a lot of people are gonna judge it for that and they really shouldn’t cuz it was really well done

Fassy’s just really good with all the feels and he needs to win more things tbh; I liked the way they shot the movie too, Idk all the technical terms or whatever but I liked how there weren’t a lot of camera angle changes cuz it felt more real and you’re like able to absorb what’s happening and the feelings, there were a lot of feelings in this movie and I wish I hadn’t known what was gonna happen at the end before hand cuz then I anticipate things and it throws me off of what’s happening in the moment

it was all really good though and I liked Carey Mulligan’s singing cuz I’m assuming that was really her
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:25 pm

whenthemoralkicksin:

Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011) 4/4

“What happened to your arm?”

“Oh, nothing. I was bored when I was a kid”

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a thirty-something single and successful man living in New York City. He is also an addict, a sex addict. What makes Brandon addicted to sex is the fact that he feels no pleasure in an orgasm. This missing factor in his sex life is what drives him to constantly be surrounded by sexual feelings. If he sees a woman on the street he immediately looks at her like she is a piece of meat he needs to bring home for dinner. This constant need for sex is what makes Brandon vulnerable to every day life causing him to have a difficult time functioning in public. There is a scene where he is at work and he makes eye contact with an attractive woman. Knowing he won’t be able to sleep with her, he immediately goes into the bathroom to masturbate.

Coming home one evening thinking he is being burglarized, Brandon finds his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) in the shower. Just as damaged as her brother, Sissy has the need to live off of others because of her deep depression and hate for her life. It is clear in the film that the two siblings must have had a difficult childhood. Sissy asks to live with Brandon for a short while until she figures things out. As she continues to stay, Brandon struggles with his sexual addiction in his no longer private apartment. What is definitely clear is that Brandon has a deep affection for his sister but refuses to ever face it and fix it.

Shame was a very emotionally draining film. It was difficult to watch because I felt all the happiness in my life being drained away. I was sucked into the depressing and torturous lives of Brandon and Sissy This work is pulled together with the amazing direction by Steve McQueen and the powerhouse performances of Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Mulligan’s role has definitely been overlooked and deserves more attention. The script is light on dialogue but doesn’t feel that way due to the roles being brought across mostly with emotion and body language.

A part of the film that really stuck out to me was during the dinner scene. Brandon goes on a date with a co-worker and on this date there is a 6 min single take dinner scene. This isn’t the first time McQueen has done a long-take in him films, his previous film Hunger has a 17 min take. I just really enjoyed the conversation and emotions brought about by that scene being built up in a single take.

Shame is a film about addiction that ends up being commentary on sexual relationships, porn and how all that affects peoples lives. Although the film only slightly touches on it, porn may have been the ruling factor into Brandon’s sexual addiction. These addictions can take over our lives and make us oblivious to the world around. When searching to fulfill is craving, Brandon becomes almost drunk, intoxicated on the need for lust. Shame shows how damaged people become and when all they want is someone to love them.
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Post by Admin on Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:17 pm

iblamehollywood85:
Shame - 2011

image

SHAME -2011

This film for me got lost in the Oscar season rush and never quite received the fanfare it deserved. I absolutely loved it. So I wrote a review.

Steve McQueen’s, SHAME, is a visceral exploration into the mind and life of sex-addict, Brandon Sullivan . Played by Michael Fassbender, Brandon is a plethora of contradictions. He is handsome, popular, successful and seemingly has everything together; but this controlled, co-ordinated exterior could not be further from the truth. His addiction to sex controls him and the film explores the human condition and his addiction as it begins to seep through his carefully constructed veneer.


From the very beginning, McQueen wants us disconnected from sex being seen as titillating in any way. We see Brandon in the nude, (full frontal) walking around his apartment. This is repeated again. And with one of Hollywood’s biggest taboo’s shattered within the opening sequence, we are free from the notion that this is a film about sex. This is a film about addiction, inner afflictions, human desires and what happens when desire errs on the side of perversion. Set in a New York (rarely seen in this light) we are, from the outset engulfed in the mechanical working of Brandon’s life, in which every other thought and action must result in his need for sex being satisfied. Bobitt’s cinematography further lends to our perceptions of Brandon, steeped within a world of cold, clinical controlled environments.

This allusion of normalcy and control is brought to an abrupt end with the sudden arrival of Brandon’s sister, Sissy. Mulligans’ portrayal of Sissy is the perfect balance of desperate vulnerability and uninhibited sexuality and her unannounced presence in Brandon’s life acts as a catalyst for chaos that drives the narrative forward. Whilst never addressing the intricacies of it through dialogue, McQueen and Morgan eloquently allude to the dysfunctional past and present relationship between Sissy and Brandon. Normal sibling boundaries are constantly crossed; they do not know how to express their love for each other in the right way and the effect of this is palpable both in their individual lives and tempestuous relationship.

The film’s substance lies in what is inferred and never thrust upon the audience.
The suggestion of what may have been and what is. And this in turn is what Brandon and Sissy are to one another. When brought together in the confined space of Brandon’s apartment these two characters are made to confront past experiences and present emotions in themselves that are brought to the surface. Frustration, desire, anger, desperation, loneliness and shame. All at once these bottled up emotions lead Sissy to want to address them in a discussion, which turns into an argument and end with Brandon leaving the house. Angry with Sissy’s intrusion into his life and all that she represents, Brandon leaves to feed his addiction ignoring a desperate voicemail from Sissy asking him to come home.

The ensuing scenes in which we see him go from place to place throughout the night is almost disturbing. When finally he returns home, disheveled and drained, he is confronted with the harrowing image of an ethereal looking Sissy, sat on the bathroom floor covered in her own blood from an attempted suicide. The final scene in which we see Brandon break down is the perfect ending for this film. There is neither a concrete hope that there will be change, nor a suggestion that all will remain the same. And with that we leave the same way McQueen brought us in, not as judge and jury, but as observers, voyeurs. 9/10

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Post by Admin on Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:18 pm

Watched “Shame”

That awkward moment when a move you were dying to see ends up being a waste of two hours.

Neutral

Not even nekkid Michael Fassbender saved that artsy, badly paced, pretentious little film strip.

Seriously, it was just boring.

I mean, I believe myself to be a well cultured and open-minded person, able to watch a film for more than just the superficial aspect. But I found myself struggling through this movie, just waiting for the single-take shot to end and transition to the next single-take shot. I never thought I would get tired of Fassbender’s mopey face on my screen, but geez, this was a little much. Not to mention the endless minutes of watching him seduce random whores in bars. There’s a difference between “seduction” and “being a creeper”, and poor Fassy was the latter about 75% of the time.

I found the whole film to be a little dark, too. As in lighting, not subject matter. It was hard to see some of the expressions on people’s faces, which I really needed considering there’s about oh… 20 pages worth of dialogue in the film.

That wasn’t to say that the actors didn’t earn their merit badge on this one, it was just hard to sit through silence for that long. A better example on how to use silence in film would, in all serious, be the opening of the movie WALL-E. The only dialogue we get is a song in the background (“Out There” from Hello, Dolly!). Nothing else. It was a long opening, but it was still visually interesting, which Shame was not. Still shots do not always get along with silence. It takes a careful balance to keep your audience from crawling the walls during your “meaningful” moments.

Fassbender’s performance was excellent in most respects, given the material he had to work with. I saw a man struggling with his sense of self in the world around him, unable to cope with his addictions. Totally bought it, so bravo to you.

Carey Mulligan, playing the sister, was also excellent. I’ve never really seen her in any other film, so I came into this with a blank slate perspective on her. Unfortunately, she tended to waver in her ability to stand on equal ground with Fassbender in their scenes together, and she got a little lost in the background.

However, I find it insane that the brother and sister had more chemistry together than any other relationship scene in the film. Honestly, I kept forgetting they were related, and wondered when they were just going to pounce each other. (Well, he did pounce on her at one point, naked I might add, but there was no sex.) I don’t know if that was intentional, but it made for an awkward moment or two.

Would I recommend this movie?

Eh, not really.

If you’re a fan of Fassbender, by all means, watch the film. If you’re just wanting to see this because of the controversy… it wasn’t all that exciting. Perpare to do some housework to pass the time between scenes or something. Read a book maybe.
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Post by Admin on Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:22 pm

mongraffito:

Shame, a film for adults (35+)

Lots of nudity and sex scenes, yet is not a film about sex. By the way, I wish nudity would be taken in our society for what it is: the human body as it comes, no horror no insult, no shame, no arrogance or anything else that showing a nude body as become.

Fassbender is a great actor and Shame is a movie that uses the camera, the editing, the music and the actors in a way which justifies its existence as a cinematographic work of art. Very few films do this, most of them are illustrations of a plot. They could easily be told in words or presented in a storyboard.

Almost every frame in this film is a painting.
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Post by Admin on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:44 pm

misterdrc:

365 Day Movie Challenge: April 11, 2012

Movie: Shame (2011)

Director: Steve McQueen

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie, James Badge Dale,

and Hannah Ware

Plot: A man struggles between dealing with his sex addiction and taking care of his fragile little sister.

Review: Another awesome movie by McQueen/Fassbender. Everything I liked about Hunger carries over into this movie. Fassbender’s performance is, again, flawless. He really plays damaged quite well. The part where there’s nothing but him and the camera had me in tears. He should be in everything. I love him. McQueen definitely deserves credit too though. The best part about Hunger was the really long, beautiful shots. He does that a lot here. There are a good amount of shots that last longer than five minutes and they never get boring. McQueen just lets the actors fill the space. And, it works every time.

I’m surprised at how unsexy this movie was. It would’ve been really easy to make a sex addiction film with nothing but Fassbender humping hot women. But, we get much more here. We learn how devastating sexual addiction is and how it can affect everyone. It’s really, really impressive.

P.S. I don’t think Tiger Woods is a real sex addict. Just sayin’.

Grade: A-
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Post by Admin on Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:59 pm

365filmsin2012:

104/365

Shame

Steve McQueen

2011

★★★★ out of 5

I was going to watch Run Lola Run today, but the version I had was dubbed. I’d much rather see it in it’s original form so I will be putting that one on the back burner until I can obtain a copy. So instead I decided to watch Shame. I love Carey Mulligan (she’s one of my girl crushes.. XD) and Michael Fassbender and even though the subject matter is very explicit, I still had to see this. I didn’t do any research going into this film, but I had an expectation of what one of the big conflicts would be. I wasn’t correct, but this movie was really enjoyable. I felt so sad for this brother and sister relationship as it’s showing they have some serious baggage in their past. Like the movie version of Choke (my favorite Palahniuk novel), this movie is about sex addiction…but the two movies couldn’t be more different. Choke feels like a funny movie about a guy who doesn’t take his addiction as seriously..while Shame is all about..well, the shame of being a sex addict. The movie is cynical, cold (thanks to the amazing color palette), and really good. As long as gratuitous sex doesn’t bother you..and more realistic life stories versus optimistic stories are your thing, check it out.
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Post by Admin on Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:40 pm

http://cinematiccorner.blogspot.com/2012/04/shame.html

Apr 15, 2012
Shame
97/100 (2011, 101 min)
Plot: In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life -- which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction -- is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Abi Morgan (screenplay), Steve McQueen (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale

“Life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”
― Sylvia Plath

When I love the movie I usually review it right away. But with "Shame" which is one of the very few movies I give the highest rating to, I just couldn't. I knew I won't be able to review it properly after one viewing and I knew I needed time to see it again. So now that is out on DVD I could finally gather strength to watch the film again and I'm finally able to properly write about it. Because "Shame" is one of the heaviest and emotionally draining films I've ever seen. For me to cry during a movie I need to feel connected to the character or at least be incredibly moved by the story. With Steve McQueen's films "Hunger" and now "Shame" it's difficult to feel the connection - both Bobby Sands and Brandon aren't the kind of characters you can easily relate to. Yet I couldn't hold back tears during "Hunger" and for the last 20 minutes of "Shame" I basically wept uncontrollably.
As "Hunger" shows the destruction of the body and the prevailing of the soul "Shame" shows the destruction of human soul through succumbing to the most primal instincts. Brandon is a successful guy who lives very routine life - he appears to be polite, well behaved, organized as he walks to his corporate job every day and as he interacts with people in his office. Everything in his house is neat, clean, composed. But Brandon's soul is completely different - he has a destructive sex addiction that he hides very carefully from everyone around him. Sex is the only escape for him - from his routine life and from the pain that he feels, for whatever reason. But it destroys him - whenever somebody says "I think you are disgusting" he immediately thinks it's directed at him. When his computer is taken away he panics, because he knows what kind of filth he has on his hard drive. But the worst is yet to come.
Brandon has a sister - Sissy - who keeps calling him. He never picks up. Finally Sissy comes over and stays in his house. She is completely different from her brother - she is a free spirited musician who appears to fall in love deeply and quickly - she changes the cities she lives in frequently as her partners, although she loves too much and it's her main problem. When she comes to stay over at Brandon's apartment the very first night she is in tears talking to someone on the phone, basically saying that she would do anything to be with him. Brandon clearly suffers seeing his sister unhappy. But there is a reason to why he is trying to build a wall between them, why he doesn't pick up the phone when she is calling and why he doesn't want her to stay with him in his place.
At one point Sissy says 'We are not bad people, we just come from the bad place". What that means, we never find out. There are hints though - Brandon picks up Sissy red and seductive scarf with baseball bat and smells it. When she is kissing his boss in the taxi next to him he looks visibly angry. When they have sex Brandon is furious and gets out of apartment to run. Sissy is more than comfortable with Brandon - she gets to his bed naked to hug him, she doesn't cover herself up when he sees her naked. The sad thing, though, is that whatever happened to them in the past they are all they have. Sissy tells Brandon that if she moved away she wouldn't even hear from him. Although their relationship as messed up as it looks may be better than the way they live their lives at the moment. They both have been through something traumatic enough that it followed them to their adult life. And they have destructive ways of coping with it. Instead of letting Sissy, who understands him, in, Brandon pushes her away.
Although, who knows? Maybe nothing bad happened to them. Maybe the "bad place" Sissy refers to is where all of us come from. With Justine in Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia" there was no reason given to us for why she is behaving the way she does. She suffered from depression, it may also be the case for siblings here. Or they simply have unresolved childhood issues - it is stated in many psychology related articles that a sister is the sexual object for her brother, someone he secretly desires. This may be the case for Brandon who loves her and wants to protect her, but with time he realizes how dangerous for him protecting her may be. Sissy at the same time sees him as her support, someone she could run to for help, being quite immature probably not even realizing half of his problems and hidden desires.
While Sissy loves too much Brandon loves too little. His superficial orgasms are the only escape he finds to whatever has happened to him in the past or whatever it is that bothers him. The sexual acts are perhaps the only moments when he feels something, since he became so anesthetized to life because of the way he is living it. He doesn't make love - he fucks. At one point of the movie, perhaps because his inner sense of shame came outside due to his boss finding out what was on his hard drive and his sister seeing what his activities are Brandon decides to break the habit. He throws away all of his sex toys and porn and decides to go on a date with his coworker Marianne. The date doesn't go too well, Brandon can't really talk about many things - his family is what brings him pain and his life is what brings him shame. McQueen introduces a clumsy waiter in the scene to portray the clumsiness of Brandon's attempt at being "normal".
Though the date wasn't ideal Brandon and Marianne meet again in the hotel room. This is a woman Brandon knows and that would stay in his life - they work in the same office. As Marianne attempts to make love to him, kissing him and gently touching him, Brandon shuts down and is unable to perform, embarrassed and crushed, he asks her to leave. Some said that after that it's unclear why we never see her again. but what else could have happened? With all his emotional baggage Brandon is not at the point to enter a relationship. He tried to jump right into it and it only brought him more shame. So he continues succumbing to his addiction, having more meaningless sex. After things with Sissy deteriorate even more he continues his downward spiral walking around New York city searching for any kind of sexual pleasure, no matter how risky or dangerous it is. It's almost as if he was going through different circles of hell.
The descent ends in a threesome with Brandon and two women, which is the movie's most repulsive sex scene stripped of any connection and intimacy. As Brandon climaxes, there is only suffering, hopelessness and shame painted on his face. Through the years of emotional negligence, inability to connect and succumbing to his addiction Brandon managed to become cold and quite inconsiderate of other people's feelings. His argument with Sissy finally triggers an event that may or may not change Brandon. The movie's opening and ending are tied-in and are extraordinarily effective. Though many claim the film's ending is ambiguous all you need to do is to look deeply into Brandon's eyes and notice his lack of typical reaction to know that things will change. Though is it for the best? If he gives up the one thing that allowed him to escape, however shortly, from his pain, what will be left? Is there even hope for him anymore?
McQueen as with "Hunger" created uncompromising and brutal picture. He masterfully directed the movie - the scenes portraying Brandon's quick and superficial encounters are edited in very quick way, showing the lack of emotion both he and the women he is with put in the act. There is nothing sensual, romantic or alluring about the things they do. It's dirty, ugly and awful. There is something profoundly repulsive about the sex scenes here - sex Brandon has is like a drug, but also like a very primitive act. While I always maintained sex doesn't have to be always associated with love, it should at the very least be associated with passion. Though the scenes are torrid, passion is one of the last words that I'd associate them with. McQueen perfectly shows that what Brandon does comes from anger, pain, all the horrible and destructive emotions that basically strip sex from anything emotional and intimate.
The scenes where Brandon's soul battles to stay alive are shot in much different way - in a very long sequences like the scene where Sissy sings "New York, New York" and Brandon sheds a tear, because he cares about his sister and can't stand seeing her sad and during the same time he is afraid of the fact how much he cares for her. The scenes near the end of the film where he collapses on the street in tears, again because of his sister is also shot in one long take, as is his attempt to make love to Marianne and the run he goes to not to be in his apartment - perhaps another, more literal way for him to escape from what's going on in his life. Those scenes are more static - we follow only one event. The movie's opening and the scenes close to the ending are presented in long sequences, portraying Brandon's hopeless routine and his descent into his addiction.
I am amazed that McQueen managed to create such engaging film with slow pace, relatively little substance on the surface and many symbols, innuendos and details you have to catch. With the brilliant use of cinematography and because of brilliant Fassbender some things don't need to be stated outright, you simply can read them from the expressions on the people's faces and the lingering shots in the film. Perhaps the slow pace and the fact you have to think about so many things that are hinted is exactly why the film is engaging. The ending which mirrors the opening, even though you can see visible change in Brandon's eyes, you can see that he is finally responsible and perhaps the shame will work in his advantage now, preventing him from things that would destroy him, still made me think obsessively - "Don't get up, don't follow her". There is also a lot of focus on the woman's wedding ring in the last scene, as opposed to the opening. Another hint for Brandon's change.
Michael Fassbender's incredible performance is one of the best I've ever seen. In fact it's bizarre to even call it a "performance" - his work here exceeds it. During watching the movie I wasn't thinking about how great Fassbender's work is, that came after the film. While I was watching it I was only thinking about his character - he completely disappeared into Brandon. Certain scenes in this film are just unreal - there is a moment where Brandon seduces a stranger in the bar, telling her what he wants to do to her. He goes as far as to actually slip his hand under her skirt. As she stares at him captivated he proceeds talking, until her boyfriend comes over. And then Brandon, who is so destroyed and broken at this point actually tells the boyfriend he wants to f&#! his girlfriend and makes him smell his fingers, which he had inside her few moments prior. Then Brandon laughs, because he doesn't care anymore, none of this has any meaning to him. It's a heartbreaking scene and Fassbender's confidence which borders on insanity here later on broken by the laughter is like an overwhelming, deafening cry for help nobody hears.
Carey Mulligan is brilliant as Sissy, although her character is underwritten comparing to how meticulously Brandon is portrayed. She is delicate, alluring and as her brother - broken. I thought she was a fascinating character, sailing through life but always charming people around her, although being so fragile and disturbed inside. She desperately wants and needs someone to love her and take care of her but she also has a habit of falling for the wrong guys. Her addiction is love and when the love ultimately doesn't work out - self harm. While Brandon is composed to the otsiders' eyes, Sissy is impulsive and emotional. Her emotions are her drug, the one she succumbs to too often, forgetting about reason, responsibility and consequences in the process.
Watching "Shame" as "Hunger" is a voyeuristic experience - we follow the protagonist everywhere, we peek at his most intimate secrets. The camera follows Brandon, to the shower, to the bathroom in his work place, to his silent witness of his shame and weakness. We see what he sees - even his fantasies, as the quick shot of Marianne, sitting naked on the bed, when we only see her arm, shoulder and lips. Brandon is dreaming and we dream with him too. We walk around New York with him, seeing the hidden, mysterious world, filled with shameless sex, at every street corner, in the dark alleys and taxi cabs. All of that is backed with haunting and powerful score from Harry Escott, built around a single theme that gains intensity along with the scenes that we are seeing, gradually.
As I watched "Shame" I was reminded of another cinematic sex addict played by amazing Sam Rockwell in "Choke". At one point of the movie he said "I have sex with strangers because I'm incapable of doing it with someone I actually like. I can't even ask anyone out on a date because if it doesn't end up in a high speed chase, I get bored.". But his character wasn't as far gone as Brandon is - he actually took pleasure from the act, saying that for one fleeting moment it's an escape from his life. When we meet Brandon, there is not much of the escape sensation left, there is only compulsion. His addiction is slowly ruining his life and any benefits he had from sex - whether it was joy, the illusion of closeness or the pivotal escape, are either gone or about to be a distant, fading memory.
"Shame" is a very heavy movie and a great character study. The movie raised a lot of controversy which I'm shocked about - it's a movie about sex addiction and people are being outraged about nudity. Frankly the nudity in this movie is just an element of the film, which was crucial, how else could one tell the story based on such subject. With its moving performances and beautiful execution the story still prevails, showing a haunting tale of a man who in attempt to break free built his own cage he is now locked in. There is very little hope left for him, if any. But the rapid turn of events in the movie's final 10 minutes suggests freedom is still a possibility for him.
Posted by Sati. at 2:21 AM
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Post by Admin on Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:48 pm

whatmoviesaremadeof:

Shame.

Steve McQueens most recent endeavour delves into the world of sex addiction. Starring Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) and Carey Mulligan (Drive), siblings living in the sometimes sterile, yet sometimes the contaminated city of New York.

Fassbender plays Brandon, a sex addict who has the ultimate bachelor life, the executive job, the grand apartment, and he conveniently doesn’t believe in relationships. His lifestyle is crashed when little sister Sissy (Mulligan) comes to stay in order to pursue her career as a singer. “We’re not bad people” Mulligan delivers towards the end, “We just come from a bad place.” is the only clue we get as an insight into their past lives that has left them both damaged.

Brandons story begins with an almost entirely silent first half hour where we see him naked and masturbating in the shower, then an entire dialogue takes place between him and a woman on the train through small flirtatious gestures and glances. The girl then remembers in a panic that she is engaged and briskly leaves the train, escaping the sexual stares of Brandon. The story continues in this dreary manor with New York acting as a facilitator for Brandons actions, McQueen uses extended shots to emphasise the social awkwardness during a date between Brandon and a colleague of his and show that the the only way he can communicate is through sex.

There are similarities between Fassbenders Brandon and Christian Bales Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, especially when we watch the first scene from the ending sequence and Brandon whispers to a girl in a bar just what he would like to do to her. Batemans character just as inscrutably utters lines in a similar manner in a self satisfying, smug way. This description that Brandon persists on delivering results in receiving a beating from said girls boyfriend, then he resorts to self pitying desperate sex in a gay mans club, before then taking part in a threesome with two women. Meanwhile desperate voicemails are being dubbed over the silent sex scenes from Sissy before the final scenes unfold.

Shame is a dark, fluid tale the owes credit to McQueens talent for execution of ambitious shots, as much as the stunning performances by Fassbender and Mulligan. A lone Brandon jogging through a concrete landscape late at night, an extended shot of Sissy singing a daringly interpretive version of “New York, New York”, the two deeply damaged siblings that come from a bad place.
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Post by Admin on Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:52 pm

kevinbechaz:

Shame (2011)

On the surface Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful thirty-something living in New York City. But he has a secret; he’s struggling with an overwhelming sex addiction. After the arrival of his equally troubled sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan) whom with he has a strained relationship, he heads down a self destructive path while at the same time trying to change and revaluate the things that are most important to him in his life.

This is a very bleak drama that’s well directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen.

It’s a very good film, I enjoyed it but it’s not the type of film that one would watch repeatedly. There is very little revealed regarding the background of the two main characters, we the audience are left to only speculate. Michael Fassbinder and Carey Mulliagn are both brilliant, they’re easily two of my favourite actors working today.

Shame is a solid drama about a type of addiction not often portrayed on film and so well. 4/5
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Post by Admin on Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:01 pm

movieisaw:

Plot: Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict that has to come to terms with his addiction when his sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to visit. Also Michael Fassbender’s p**** should have got top billing because it has so much screen time and “pulls out” a pretty “hard” performance.

Review: The problem with a lot of these NC-17 “sex” movies is that they don’t do their subject justice while also serving no other needs. That is the problem with this movie. Let me be more clear. This movie is about a sex addict, and yet all the sex is well-shot, classy, and seems to have no repercussion. So what is the point the director is trying to get across? He wants us to think that sex addiction is bad, but he gives us no reason to think that other than Fassbender looks sad sometimes. Bad things happen to others but anything he does can be justified by the course of the film, which by the way he almost never has any course in. He’s just riding along. The movie hints at a lot of things, such as a tragic past for the two main characters, but gives us no answers. Which would be fine but there is also no plot. It’s supposed to be a character driven movie and yet they don’t let us see the characters. The director wants to stay silent, when he should speak and it doesn’t work. This is my problem with Steve McQueen, the director. He’s like an artsy Michael Bay, choosing style over substance. If you take away the shot design, sound design, etc. there is nothing left. No characters, no story. Example: After one of his sex romps, Fassbender is shot in the dark over looking the city. What does this shot mean? Is it that he is dark or that the world he has created for himself is dark? no because all the shots look like this. I usually don’t like to get too film theory but if you are resenting a film as a piece of art without story or character then every thing must have purpose. You can’t just put things in for no reason. And that’s what this is. It’s not the Andy Warhol Soup Can, it’s the Mister Brainwash version of it. You’ll be able to trick some people but anyone who really looks at it will notice that it’s empty. That’s the real shame. (haha i got real deep in this so i ended it on a terrible pun.)

Trivia: The sex scene between Fassbender and Amy Hargreaves pressed against the glass of a room window in Manhattan’s The Standard Hotel was actually filmed above a busy street during the day. Spectators started to gather so the actors waved at them between takes.
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:42 pm

popcornandpontification:

“WE HAVE NO SHAME”: THE STORY OF TWO GINGERS AND THE GERMAN-IRISH MAN WHO BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER

I’ll be deviating slightly from my usual run-of-the-mill film reviews and will be recounting mine and my friend Kyndra’s experience with “Shame,” the Steve McQueen film that just recently came out on DVD.

For those unfamiliar with the film, “Shame” details the life of Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a handsome sex addict who finds his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) at his doorstep one day asking if she could stay with him in his New York apartment. At every turn, Brandon is either having sex, paying for sex, watching porn, or masturbating in the bathroom at work. Obviously, he has a problem, but when one looks like Michael Fassbender, sex is probably not that hard to find. He copes with hiding his addiction from his sister, as well as his sister’s emotional problems that leave him shameful and guilty in the end.

Now, the independent movie theater in town had “Shame” on the Upcoming Movies section for who knows how long. Kyndra and I talked about seeing it when it would finally arrive, joined by our mutual attraction to Michael Fassbender, and also because we were curious about how this movie would depict sex addiction. We waited in January. We waited in February. And then March, then April, until finally we said “f&#! it, we’ll wait for the DVD since the movie theater won’t grant us this one simple thing.”

This year’s Golden Globes didn’t help matters either, since George Clooney made a comparison of Michael Fassbender’s performance to golf (view the video here at 2:00).

So, this past Saturday night, Kyndra and I (and later Kyndra’s roommate, Brandi) settled down with TGIF jalapeno poppers and Red Vines, and watched “Shame.”

This is by no means a “fast paced” film, or even a film that carelessly throws around nudity and sex (yes, the film is NC-17, but even the full frontal scenes that gave it this rating were not vulgar). It establishes Brandon’s addiction through a flashback-type montage of the women he sleeps with and how he goes about his normal routine every single morning. One of the most powerful scenes I felt was when Brandon spies a woman on the subway. Their interaction is completely speechless; they communicate only with their eyes, and you can get hints of desire and aloofness just from their expressions. But a wedding ring on the woman’s hand tells us she probably won’t go for it, and Brandon is left searching for her in the crowd leaving the subway.

Kyndra, Brandi, and I mostly did our own rendition of Mystery Science Theater, and were terrified at any moment depicting affection between Brandon and Sissy, because we were about 50% sure he would unintentionally do it with his sister. We noticed how the screenplay was sprinkled with subtle double entrendres (like when Brandon’s coworker boasts how Brandon “f#%@#&! nailed the deal” on some business transaction).

Here’s an excerpt from our night (as recorded from Kyndra’s blog):

Brandi: What’s going on?

Kyndra: He’s about to get laid. God, it’s not that hard to follow.

Brandi: I know that! I mean, what is Avery doing? (Kyndra and Brandi’s cat was messing with something in the kitchen)

Me: Avery’s getting laid, didn’t you know?

Brandi: I just keep hearing weird noises that aren’t coming from Michael Fassbender’s p****.

*two minutes later*

Kyndra: Ha, HARD to follow.

My final verdict: While the film kind of moved at the pace of a glacier, I was impressed with how the narrative was really carried through the characters’ reactions to things. Michael Fassbender was definitely snubbed at the Oscars, and Carey Mulligan was fantastic too as the quirky and moody sister. I would give it another watch just to catch things I missed before. The final climax was skillfully done, and the ending, though ambiguous, comes full circle and ties in with how Brandon will deal with his addiction in the future.

I wouldn’t recommend this if you get impatient with slow movies. But the subject matter is intriguing, and the acting is very well executed. And naked Michael Fassbender isn’t bad to look at either for an hour and a half.
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Post by Admin on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:03 pm

bharatwatchesmoviesdaily:
Shame (2011)

Shame - the visual portrait of a single man in his early 30s living in New York - takes you by surprise in more ways than one. The explicit nudity while might be the first thing that might turn off most of its audience the long streaks of silence and just observation is the work of an auteur in the making.

A lot of time is spent in establishing the character that Michael Fassbender plays, and I assume a lot of improvisation has been done on the set. Steve McQueen who directed this film and also co-wrote this film works with Fassbender for the second time, and he gives himself totally to the character.

Most of the film is made to look an voyeuristic, or so I felt, letting me assume that McQueen wants us to take a look at the character and wonder what’s so wrong with him. You could just one of those people commuting to work with him, or live next to him in the apartment. You don’t know who he is, what he does but you have seen him more than once in a compromising position or breaking up, but have decided to let go of it and go on with your lives.

There is a long tracking shot in the film for more than a minute where Fassbender runs across alleys in New York to classical music. That shot to me sums up the whole inner turmoil this character goes through. There is a lot of anguish and he can’t let it go and the only way to endure is to hurt himself - be it the physical pain or the emotional pain.

Carey Mulligan playing Fassbender’s sister charmingly shares more or less the same pain with him but she (thinks) has found a way to let it go. She’s into music or at least she’s trying to speak about it even if there’s no one to listen to. It’s quite clear from a scene early on the film that both of them have had a fight or she had lived off of him for too long. She’s a drifter and he has no space for anyone in his apartment and life.

But she still thinks they’re family. He doesn’t. He wants to move on. He cannot.

Steve McQueen doesn’t take a lot of time in setting up the relation between both these characters but leaves her character totally under developed by avoiding her point of view. We only know what we see and while that’s a good thing leaving fodder for thought, the main conflict never comes up ultimately draining the emotional connect needed for us to connect to the characters.

Nevertheless the cinematography, excellent editing and superlative performances more than make up for a largely under developed script.

Steve McQueen is an exciting director to watch with a unique style even if he gets a little indulgent at times and I want to see his other film Hunger also starring Fassbender.

Be it Rian Johnson, Duncan Jones or Steve McQueen and even Andrea Arnold (Fishtank) these people make me want to wait and watch better movies.

Fassbender has had a wonderful start to his career and I appreciate his penchant to work in indies be it Fishtank or Hunger or now Shame. This guy has had it all, he’s slowly working his way up the ladder with quite a few big releases but I hope he makes more such films that have a real story to be told.

A must watch.

Shame(2011), Written and Directed by Steve McQueen starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.
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Post by Admin on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:04 pm

anarwen:
Shame....The movie everyone was talking me about and the matters that everyone evoid all the time

image

Ok,after the many comments of my forum friends I watched Shame.

And I must say is a really good movie,is very very risky and at the same very moving.I don´t really know if everyone can see it and enjoy it in the way that really is,I can´t say that.But is you aren´t awere of face to the human condition and even the misery of it in a movie,pick this up,is not the end of the world.
Steve McQueen is one of those directors you have to see,really,he`s fearless and is Hollywood that is rare avis,Carey Mulligan make a high performance,really,now I admire her,she`s not just cute anymore,she´s an actress.

And the thing is MICHAEL FASSBENDER IS f&#!*** AWSOME (I`m using f&#!*** as an adjetive,btw dirty fassy little girls).
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Post by Admin on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:27 am

angusung:

Tonight, I finally got to watch Shame.
I have had this film in my hit list since it’s release last year and boy was the wait worth it.
I can’t remember the last time I was so gripped to a films story. This film has you concentrating from the very begin. It provokes you to pay very close attention to ever little detail of the characters and their expressions while on screen.
Adding to his number of highly successful films such as Hunger, Fish Tank & X-men, Michael Fassbender has truly made his mark in the film world and I can only imagine him getting better. His performance in this film was utterly perfect and very few others would have been able to recreate the character in a way that he did.
Plus with Carey Mulligan as Lead Actress you know you will be in for a good performance. Every film that she has a lead or supporting role in, she gets nominated for an award and most of the time goes on to win it. And her performance in Shame only deserves the same. Some may say you don’t see her really act or perform, but that was the beauty of it. Just her being on screen was enough to make you stop and really pay attention to what is happening.
Steve McQueen has create something really quite remarkable. He has directed and produced two movies, Shame being his second and Hunger, his first. Both of which has received rave reviews and either won or were nominated for some very prestigious awards. If he carries on the way he does, he’ll be at the same level as Christopher Nolan for nominations to movies ratio. Seriously, directed wonderfully.
My favourite scene may have to be right in the middle where Fassbender’s character is having dinner with his work colleague. Every moment is crucial, every movement of the boy and change of tone in the voice is important. An intimate period of time intertwined with the annoyance of everything else going on around you. (maybe only I noticed as I was writing a 10 minute short set in exactly the same situation).

‘Shame’, shame that there aren’t more films that are this captivating.
One of the best films that came out in 2011.
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Post by Admin on Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:48 pm

derek237:
Shame review

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Michael Fassbender delivers an exceptional performance as Brandon, a sex addict, in a movie that rises above what could have been a tawdry, explicit sideshow of deviant activity because it presents its content in a way that’s almost mundane. There’s a good deal of sex and nudity and graphic scenes in this film but it’s not really sexy or exciting or shock material and it’s not really done in a highly-sensationalized Hollywood way. Brandon’s lifestyle is very habitual and it’s shown in a way that must seem normal and day-to-day for the character. Like for example there’s no scene where he broods in his own darkness saying to himself, “this is tearing my life apart.”

Probably the best kind of movie about the psyche, particularly the male psyche, isn’t overly analytical. I mean, there’s no scene in Raging Bull where Jake LaMatta sits down and considers why he’s so insecure, right? With Shame we’re allowed to observe the character and take from it what we see at face value. We can take our guesses. I could guess that Brandon and his sister came from a sexually abusive childhood and their behaviours as adults reflect on that, and I could guess that because of this his feelings toward her are complex and confused given his lifestyle. I could guess there’s a lot more to their conversations than what’s on the surface. I could guess that when he openly hits on a woman in a bar in front of her tough-looking boyfriend in the most filthly, obscene way possible, it’s an act of self-destruction.

Fassbender was great in his role, and so was Carey Mulligan playing his sister…the movie definitely belongs to Fassbender though. After now having seen it, it’s beyond me why he didn’t get recognition from the Academy for it, but considering how hot he is right now and how fearless he is as an actor, I’d say the best has yet to come.

And yeah, I just got to talk about his p**** for a second. It’s pretty funny how a lot of the hype and talk surrounding the movie had to do with the fact that he goes full-frontal in it. And not only that, but it’s big. “Third leg” big. And the movie doesn’t really modestly build to it, either. We see it in the first 5 minutes. And yes, it’s a well-sized p****. Way to go, Magneto, I’m impressed. But you could scoff at all that talk and toss it off as immaturity on everyone’s part, but maybe deep down just a little bit you have to appreciate the sexual equality of such reactions.

Anyway this is a great movie you should watch it.
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Post by Admin on Wed May 02, 2012 4:18 pm

weplayedwithlifeandlost:
Shame

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“You wanna get out of here? I can take you somewhere”

It starts with a wait on a cold subway platform in New York. A well dressed, attractive man boards a train. He makes and sustains eye contact with an attractive young woman – the wedding ring on her finger making no difference to his approach. As she gets up to leave, he leaves, and he chases her through a crowded station as the music swells. This is Brandon, and he’s a sex addict.

And this is Shame, Steve McQueen’s follow-up to his acclaimed debut, Hunger. Much like his debut, Shame is an intensive character study of a man on the edge, this time setting the story in New York City rather than a prison in Northern Ireland, and studying a well adjusted sex addict instead of a hunger striking political activist.

McQueen paints Brandon as a seemingly well-rounded citizen: he has a great job, an apartment, and looks to be a relatively nice guy, yet in private he’s a cold, mechanical man with one thing on his mind; sex. His computer at work is “filthy”, as is his home computer, he has a stash of dirty magazines strewn around his apartment, and he masturbates at work. But, interestingly, while doing so he seems distant, ghosting through his various encounters as if they’ve become second nature to him.

It’s this ghosting that McQueen seems to focus on in his direction, placing Brandon in an eerily evocative environment. The impersonal nature of New York and the colourless walls of his apartment all reflect his passive lifestyle. By carefully choosing everything from the colour of his clothes to the colour of the walls, McQueen is able to build upon the languid and hypnotic quality he sets up so diligently in the film’s beautiful style - lingering camerawork, ironically romantic music and a Haneke style disconnect from the character.

Haneke’s The Piano Teacher seems an obvious reference point for Shame, as it deals with sexuality in a similarly detached way. Isabelle Huppert’s Erika explores the deviant sides of her sexuality in a way reminiscent of Michael Fassbender’s Brandon. The only difference is that The Piano Teacher looks at sex as something to be feared; Erika’s complex, abusive relationship with her mother fuels her repression and subsequent anarchic sexual exploration, while Brandon functions in a world where sex is the norm. This is where the film’s problem lies: A film about a sex addict immersed in a world of sex simply cannot deliver a cathartic resolution; only an intense yet unfulfilled observation, and this is true of Shame.

As The Piano Teacher is about an insatiable desire for sex in a sexless environment, it leaves the audience with some kind of catharsis, whereas Shame simply does not. Brandon’s routine is not hindered by the actions of those around him, particularly his sister, whose possibly abusive childhood has left her emotionally unstable and dependant on others, for a second, and even when he shows signs of change, it never arrives.

It’s isn’t until the final scene that we see that his routine isn’t even a routine at all, but rather a cycle, and his addiction is so entrenched within his personality that not even his sister’s desperate cries for help register in his hypersexualised mind. He simply continues as he did before; discreetly and mechanically, and we are left with the realisation that, in spite of everything, nothing has changed at all.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 05, 2012 8:22 pm

criticalofmovies:
Shame (2011)

Shame made waves last year when the Steve McQueen directed movie was branded with an NC-17 rating. The movie focuses on a sex addict (Michael Fassbender) whose life is complicated when his sister (Carey Mulligan) suddenly shows up at his apartment.

Michael Fassbender’s character, Brandon, is not in any way appealing. His character is despicable and desperate. He is a complete asshole and not at all sympathetic. Brandon even assaults his own sister. His character also feels kind of creepy. He does not show much emotion except during sex. Brandon has an actual sex addiction. The movie shows him owning a ridiculous amount of porn, having a ridiculous amount of porn on his work computer, masturbating at work, masturbating in the shower, having lots of casual sex, having sex with prostitutes, and even having sex with men when it is hinted at that he is not attracted to men*. This addiction has taken over his life and keeps him from being a functional member of society. He has to take breaks from work to masturbate and the amount of porn on his work computer crashes it. He has no interest in emotional connections with women, just sex. He tries to have sex with a woman he actually has a connection with and might even have feelings for, but he cannot get an erection. Immediately after that scene he is shown having sex with some random girl, so obviously the problem is psychological instead of physical.

Shame shows the dangers of an overly-sexual society. In a society where sexual gratification is so readily available it is easy to get addicted and depend on that constant gratification. Brandon is unable to have a connection with anyone in his life. He almost seems to hate everyone in his life. His best friend is his boss, who he clearly has a disdain for and makes fun of. He treats his sister terribly and looks down on her. His longest relationship was only four months. His personal relationships make a nice contrast with his sister’s. She seems to be overly dependent and trusting of everyone she knows.

The screenwriters/director try too hard to make Brandon sympathetic. We are supposed to feel bad for Brandon during the erectile dysfunction scene, but I just felt angry about how rude he was to her afterwards. When he sees his sister sing he starts to cry and I suppose we are supposed to see that he is human, but it just feels out of place and awkward. I can’t feel sympathy for a character that has completely dehumanized sex. Women are not people to him. With every woman he sees his immediate first thought is “would I have sex with that?” Women are objects he can stick his d*** into. He cannot even have sex if there are emotions involved.

It’s interesting that sex is considered to be a release, yet it clearly doesn’t work for him that way. He is continually getting a sexual release (even several times a day), yet he has severe anger issues. Sex does not relax him. His constant need for it causes more problems than it solves.

Is this movie feminist? Is it showing the dangers of objectifying women and an over sexualized society with its anti-hero? Or are we supposed to feel bad for him and root for him to have more sex? This is clearly a movie that is up for individual interpretation. Even the ending is up for the interpretation of whether or not he has changed.

Shame gets a few feminist points for actually talking about cunnilingus. It’s also pretty cool that is one of the few films in Hollywood co-written by a woman.

This is an incredibly visual film. In fact, there is hardly any dialogue. Shame relies on incredibly long lingering shots. It’s a poor attempt at creating tension. At times it feels like McQueen is trying too hard to make this an “artsy” movie. The movie is, however, directed well. The entire movie does have a kind of beautiful look to it. I give it 3/5 stars.

*Sidenote: if straight men doing gay porn is called “gay for pay” is straight men having sex with men just due to desperation called “gay for lay?”
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Post by Admin on Sat May 05, 2012 8:34 pm

kinoh7:
Shame (2011)

I must confess that I had high expectations with this one. Fassbender has proven to be a very prolific actor in the past few years and I have enjoyed almost any of his movies ever since he starred in Steve McQueen’s debut, “Hunger” (2008). In this one, while I agree that Fassbender’s acting is good, McQueen’s mise-en-scene doesn’t give enough support to elevate this material to a powerful character study. It just feels “empty.” I mostly blame the script. Why? Because you couldn’t care less about the protagonist. At first it’s interesting to see the everyday routine of this particular sex-addict, but after a while, the narrative lacks the elements to make us feel or think the implications of something as delicate as an addiction. Be it from the person who is actually going through the condition or the relatives or friends surrounding her. None of that it’s here. Just a series of linear scenes showing a guy either jerking off or having sex with prostitutes. No depth, no believable progression to self-destruction besides that opening shot, n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Not even his troubled relationship with his sister gives the film some form of redemption. Honestly, it’s a shame. Rating: 4/10
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Post by Admin on Sat May 05, 2012 8:34 pm

f-l-a-m-s:
Shame

Many people women would flock to see Steve McQueen’s Shame for two main reasons:

It has Michael Fassbender’s infamous gigantic anatomy, which was subject to teasing and jokes during the Awards season.
Michael Fassbender’s chiseled Sex God appeal. Nuff said.

And such a hunger would be sated, I’m sure, when people do watch the film. He’s naked in most scenes, and the things he does to people while he’s at it isn’t what one would say repressed.

This type of allure that Shame creates isn’t just a superficial hype, though. He’s not showing it just because. The nudity (and his character’s addiction to the basic instinct that is sex) only sustains the mystery enveloping this handsome and successful guy. You would keep wondering how a man who has revealed so much of his physical (and sexual self), actually reveal so little.

To buffer such a character up, McQueen is equally minimalist in his cinematic style of depiction. There is few dialogue. The backdrop is deliberately sparse — in color, in contrast, and most noticeably in sound. The cameras float in distant, perpendicular angles. There is so much thinking and moving done throughout the movie (you can see it during the first few minutes, really), and so few words are spoken (the character dislikes them) which says a lot about how symbolic the his actions can be. Everything is implied, deep-seated in the mind. Which makes sense, doesn’t it? Since where else does addiction thrive in but the mind? The body, after all, is the addict’s mere tool.

What I noticed about the film is that it focuses on the climax — not the sexual type! The whole film builds upon Brandon’s (Fassbender) sexual addiction and features also its denouement. The beginning of such an addiction, is never directly revealed. But — SPOILER ALERT — I think it may have something to do with his dependency issues, as revealed in the following two scenes:

That moment Brandon was watching a silent cartoon and his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) plops down beside him in an attempt to begin a dialogue and he shuns her and tells her about responsibilities. (His definition of responsibility is being responsible for the self. Hers is being responsible for others.)
That moment he goes out with the woman from work (the name has escaped me) and he has the most revealing conversation with her about how being in relationships is eventually pointless because they just sit there, silently, without talking, bored. (Consistent characterization. Aversion to words!) She explains to him that maybe some people don’t have to talk because they already feel connected. (Aversion to words possibly altered thanks to this.) It would later be implied that Brandon actually feels love for the woman: he can’t bring himself to have sex with him.

SPOILER ENDS.

I like how circular McQueen’s Shame is. If you strip it to its core, it’s actually quite a simple modern-day story. It holds no pretense, whatsoever. Yet it’s the type that isn’t quite easy to make — you can see that it was one engineered so painstakingly, or else the seams of the minimalist weaving would fall apart. It reminds me suddenly of Sofia Coppola’s films, which are also minimalist in style and engineered so artistically. The only difference between McQueen’s and hers are the resulting emotional affect: McQueen’s has this “that’s just how real life is” effect, while Coppola’s has this “this is real life, and it’s so beautifully sad” effect.

McQueen’s not the only one who should be given credit, though. I almost forgot to laud Michael Fassbender’s acting. This is probably because it looks so natural, so virtuously held together (for a not-so-held-together character) that it almost doesn’t seem like acting. The guy’s a natural. He can vacillate from cheating family man (Fish Tank) to new mutant villain (Magneto) to psychologist (A Dangerous Method) to Brandon the sex addict. And I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to shoot such aggressive, such baring sex scenes.

Overall, this is a film with such attention to detail. Well-polished is the word to describe the crafting of thoughts, actions, and subsequent implications which (as somewhat of an artist myself) I know was done with great endurance, stamina. This was one A+ effort. And one excellent film.
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Post by Admin on Fri May 11, 2012 11:46 pm

itwascoolandfunny:

Shame -

As a critic, I will encounter a film like Shame and end up drowning myself in thoughts. Directed by Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender, Shame is a textbook example of modern art-house cinema and an unflinching examination on addiction, more determined than any film about its subject matter.

Fassbender and McQueen previously rose to fame with their 2008 gritty masterpiece Hunger; a physically demanding and eternally frightening biopic. The two create a blend of transgressive and audacious art and the well won’t be drying out soon. For the sake of cinema, this duo needs to make a generation of films together; the two creative forces are beyond restraints of human efforts, they are immaculate.

It’s a little ironic to define, describe or critique Shame; a film that functions through emotion and rarely words. Yes, art-house films almost always follow such an agenda. But the brute artistic force and dexterity McQueen brings with his camera lens steals the words from my tongue and, like Houdini, makes them disappear. Both of his directorial efforts leave me stunned, effected and traumatized for severe amounts of time.

Sure, we can talk about Fassbender’s performance: his impenetrable forces put as an actor physically and cerebrally. We can bring up the undermined values of Shame: Carey Mulligan’s best career performance, ground-breaking cinematography, visual language and scene structure. We can also point out the unfathomable script the film has been built.

But instead of technicalities, I want to bring up a question. Why do people drink black coffee?

You might say, through the pain of the consummation, there is a new state of mind to be explored. Or maybe after a point in life, you get used to the feeling. Or perhaps one gets sick of cream and sugar; needing a kick in the head.

I say, there is an undefinable zenith humans can reach, but fear. It comes from getting addicted to a force like black coffee. It is this zenith found in Michael Fassbender’s vexation. It’s found through Steve McQueen’s unyielding exploration of the human condition. It’s a zenith known as shame, and this film was the mirror revealing its face to us.

(10/10)
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