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Hunger dvd reviews

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Post by Admin on Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:25 pm

http://www.seanax.com/2010/02/16/dvds-for-02-16-10-hunger-and-revenge-black-dynamite-and-spring-fever/

VDs for 02/16/10 Hunger and Revenge, Black Dynamite and Spring Fever

The DVD of the Week is, without a doubt, Criterion’s magnificent edition of the 2008 restoration of Max Ophul’s final film, Lola Montes, and I review it here. But along with something old, Criterion has something new, or rather a couple of somethings new, foremost among them Steve McQueen’s unforgettable Hunger (Criterion). Before he went out speaking the king’s as a crisply proper British officer in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Michael Fassbender played Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands who, at the age of 27, went on a hunger strike in 1981 to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize IRA inmates as political prisoners. British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen creates a film unlike any traditional biopic or historical drama: an overwhelming visceral experience composed of the sight and sounds and sensations of men in prison, played out as an almost abstract portrait in power and resistance until the film’s sole dialogue, a debate between Sands and a Catholic Priest.

Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands in "Hunger"

McQueen isn’t taking sides or making political points; in the brutal world of Ireland during the troubles, there’s plenty of reprehensible behavior to go around. Hunger is a study in the deterioration of the human body (we literally watch him waste away on camera) and the will it takes to endure such self-mortification in the name of cause. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, both featuring the tightly focused 13-minute documentary “The Making of Hunger,” bonus video interviews with McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender and a 1981 British TV documentary on the Maze prison hunger strikes, plus a booklet. As a side note, the menus are particularly haunting and unsettling.
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Post by Admin on Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:59 pm

http://antagonie.blogspot.com/2010/02/not-quite-best-of-decade.html

Hunger Steve McQueen, 2008)
Hey everybody, let's watch a man starve to death! Which isn't the only reason to see McQueen's unnervingly self-assured debut, but with Michael Fassbender playing the historical Irish hunger-striker Bobby Sands, the film's depiction of what happens to the human body in that situation is pretty much the definition of "visceral", and if you are not affected by it, then you are dead. The other reason (not that there are just two) is that McQueen's staging of the narrative is both entirely counter-intuitive and absolutely gripping: you will believe that a shot of two men sitting at a table talking, for ten uninterrupted minutes, can be as thrilling and intense as any horror movie.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:29 am

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=196781

"Hunger" (unrated, 96 minutes): Nominally, the feature debut of director Steve McQueen is about IRA activist Bobby Sands, who in 1981 died in Belfast's notorious Maze prison. But the film doesn't hew to conventional storytelling. Instead McQueen plunges viewers into the unspeakably harsh and violent world of the Maze in a series of scenes of shocking filth and spasmodic violence. In one extraordinary 22-minute scene that comes midway through the movie, Bobby (Michael Fassbender) debates the ethic of what he's about to do with an acerbic Catholic priest (Liam Cunningham). Staged in one unmoving, unbroken take, the scene is a tour de force of writing, acting and riveting moral complexity. Contains graphic violence, profanity and brief nudity. DVD extras: Theatrical trailer; featurettes.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:34 am

http://www.moviecitynews.com/columnists/wilmington/2010/100216dvd.html

Hunger, Contempt, Goodfellas, Clint Eastwood: 35 Films, 35 Years and more...

Hunger (Four Stars)
U. K.; Steve McQueen, 2008 (Criterion)

Harshly physical and scarringly violent, this stark drama about the 1981 I.R.A. hunger strike at Maze Prison in Belfast, and the death by starvation of strike leader Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), is full of ugly brutish deeds done in incongruously beautiful images. From the first moments, when the film plunges us into the famous H Block cells, where the walls of one cell are decorated with abstract s$#! paintings -- to the systematic beatings and humiliations, the threats, the assassination of a prison guard (Stuart Graham), and the slow awful wasting away of Sands during his strike, the movie bombards us with nearly unbearable visions of an awful time, while inspiring inevitable thoughts about hot topics torture and extreme prison abuse.

This is the first feature movie by artist Steve McQueen (no relation to the late American movie superstar) and it’s a heavily praised and much awarded picture: winner of the Camera d’Or for best first film and the FIPRESCI prize as Cannes and the Best Film and Actor awards at Chicago. The opening struck me a bit too weirdly photogenic: both the actor (Brian Milligan) and the images. Then the movie, and artist McQueen’s painterly style, started to take hold, to shock and wear me down. The film‘s best scene is also its most austerely visualized: a two-shot, one-take, immobile 22-minute-long sequence of Sands talking starvation ethics and strategy at a visitor’s table with a tough priest, Father Dominic Moran (Liam Cunningham). The ending is devastating. Even if McQueen never completed another movie, he’d have a place in Irish film history for this one.

Extras: Documentaries on the making of Hunger and the Maze prison strikes; Interviews with McQueen and Fassbender; Trailer; Booklet with Chris Darke essay.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:40 am

http://www.dvdtown.com/news/this-week-on-dvd-and-blu-ray---february-16th-2010/7403

Criterion has been putting out some great releases recently like "Paris, Texas" and "Che." This week, they´re offering three great films on both DVD and Blu-Ray. In my opinion, the best of the trio is "Hunger," one of my favorite films of 2008. "Hunger" was directed by Steve McQueen, no, not THAT Steve McQueen. This McQueen is a British video artist who directed this film about Bobby Sands, a member of the IRA who led fellow prisoners in a hunger strike. "Hunger" is a raw and intense experience and does not shy away from the horrors and violence of the prison. The film is also known for a dialogue between actors Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham which was done as a single, 17-minute take. Criterion critic Chris Long has reviewed "Hunger" on Blu-Ray and DVD.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:58 am

http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/criterion-files-hunger-revanche-and-lola-montes.php

Criterion Files: Hunger, Revanche and Lola Montés

Posted by Brian C. Gibson (brian@filmschoolrejects.com) on February 16, 2010

This week The Criterion Collection unleashed a few films, but none as powerful as the 2008 import, Hunger. Hunger is the most recent IFC film to end up in Criterion’s careful hands. It is also noteworthy that this is the debut film for director Steve McQueen. This release packs a punch with not only an amazing film to tempt your palate, but also a presentation that you would come to expect from Criterion.

Inside The Film

Hunger is one of those films that may be difficult to watch, but commands your attention. Compare it to a film like Schindler’s List and you will know what to expect as far as tone would go. Hunger is a somber film through its core, but beauty shines through every dark crevice. Director Steve McQueen, previously a painter, imposes a strict hand over the viewer with powerful images and sequences that could easily be just as dynamic if they were a single snapshot. Few scenes without dialog make themselves memorable in film, however McQueen composes a visual poetry that flows throughout the first act and build to a crescendo in the third. Make no mistake, McQueen directs this film as if he were a seasoned auteur.

Sandwiched within the film, the story is told with a sixteen and a half minute single shot with Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham. Fassbender portrays Bobby Sands, who garnered international attention as he forced himself to endure a hunger strike in the name of his people and his cause. Cunningham is a priest who simply wants to hear why Sands is willing to give the life of his people and himself. This scene is especially important, because it is the only noticeable extended dialog within the film and surmises the entire plight of Bobby Sands. As mentioned previously, the rest of the film is told in a very powerful, visual manner.

The film is beautiful and poetic, as well as a tale of the power of the human spirit. The film will not find its way on your shelf as a piece of entertainment, it is more like a painting. Like something you’d hang on your wall to find yourself occasionally stopping to look, watch and feel the art in front of your eyes. The film is art at its finest, orchestrated by a composer at his finest in Steve McQueen.

Beyond The Film

This edition of the Criterion Collection takes you into the world of Bobby Sands, providing a making of feature complete with interviews by cast and crew. Also there are two separate interviews with Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender. The interviews take you deep into the minds of both men, and how the true life events of the hunger strikes affected them. To top it all off, there is a 45 minute episode of the BBC program Panorama, which delves deep into the political, historical and possible future details in reference to these hunger strikes. I wouldn’t say that these special features alone make this release a must buy, but you can not imagine that the Criterion Collection could have included much more supplemental features given the fact that McQueen has such a limited history as a filmmaker, Fassbender is an actor really just starting to shape his career, and the hunger strikes took place only almost thirty years ago.

Presentation

Without a doubt, this film is a sensory experience. The film is very visual, and while there isn’t any CGI or glimmering special effects, the film still has a way of using every ounce of resolution the same way that a painter would attempt to extend himself to the borders of his canvas. As mentioned earlier, the film is very bleak. When McQueen has the chance though, he allows color to explode off the screen and creates scenes filled with beauty. Also, since the film features very little dialog, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect an auditory experience from Hunger. McQueen states in his interview that he wants the viewer to experience the film, to taste, hear, smell and feel everything within the story. He uses sound to create some discomfort throughout most of the film, and does so with impressive results.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:03 am

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/ae/s_667434.html

‘Hunger’ (Criterion Collection)

British filmmaker Steve McQueen's fascinating portrait of protests by Irish Republican Army members including Bobby Sands (played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender) in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison is at the heart of the unflinching "Hunger." This powerful picture marks the directorial debut for McQueen, who also helped to pen the screenplay. While McQueen succeeds in creating an uncompromising story, the film's foundation is its settings, both beautiful and horrific, that enhance the imprisoned IRA members' struggle. At the heart of the film is the prisoners' hunger strikes to protest the British government's refusal to recognize IRA members as political prisoners. The film was released in 2008, but it hits DVD for the first time in a superb Criterion package. Interviews with McQueen and Fassbender set the table for an original news report on the IRA prison protests and a quality making-of documentary. R; 2008. 3.5 Stars.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:55 am

http://www.biffbampop.com/2010/02/dvd-tuesday-with-scotty-g_16.html

Hunger – This film is one that should find an audience on DVD, as it is extremely acclaimed, and is being released by The Criterion Collection. Hunger is about the last six weeks in the life of Bobby Sands, who led the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike. Actor Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen received excellent notices for their work. Apparently some liberties are taken with the story, but it is supposed to be an excellent character piece about how far the body and the mind can be pushed.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:06 am

http://www.videoroomoakland.com/2010/02/new-releases-february-16-2010.html

Hunger - British artist Steve McQueen (no relation to the actor) made his film directing debut with this harrowing re-creation of an IRA hunger strike in a Belfast prison called The Maze in early 1980's. Michael Fassbender is riveting as Bobby Sands, the leader of a group of imprisoned IRA members who go on a hunger strike because the British refuse to recognize them as political prisoners. McQueen's depiction of the prison is extremely realistic and done in a straight-forward, almost documentary style. Also starring Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Liam McMahon, andKaren Hassan. With interviews and documentary. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. Unrated.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:07 pm

http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/hungerbluray.php

Case Number 18334

Buy Hunger: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray) at Amazon
Hunger: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

Criterion // 2008 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // February 16th, 2010

Judge Gordon Sullivan was hungry just watching.

The Charge

"I am standing on the threshold of another trembling world. May God have mercy on my soul."—Bobby Sands in his diary on the first day of the 1981 hunger strike

Opening Statement

What is now as the Trouble began in Ireland in the late 1960s with a rash of Protestant-on-Catholic violence. It went beyond sectarian terms because the Protestants, at least in Northern Ireland, seemed to have the backing of the British government in their persecution of Catholics. This led to the rise of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary group that wanted to respond to Britain's position with violence. The IRA carried out bombing campaigns and other violent actions which the British government frowned on. Despite their position, the IRA won concessions from the British in the early '70s: members who were captured were to be given Special Category Status, which meant they were to be treated more like political prisoners than criminals. That meant no prison work, they could wear their own clothes, receive more mail, and organize enrichment programs inside the prisons. In response to escalating violence, the British government repealed Special Category Status in the mid-'70s. In protest, the IRA members imprisoned in H block refused to wear prison clothing, instead going "on the blanket," covering themselves with only the thin blankets they were given despite the prison's freezing temperatures. When that failed they also engaged in "dirty" or "no wash" protest, refusing to shower and covering their walls with their feces. When that too failed, a hunger strike was decided upon, and Bobby Sands became the face of the 1981 Hunger Strike as the world watched numerous prisoners starve themselves to regain their status. Hunger (Blu-ray) dramatizes the hunger strike, especially Bobby Sands' involvement, and it's a harrowing, brutal piece of cinema.

Facts of the Case

Davey (Brian Milligan, The Boxer) is newly arrived to Long Kesh, aka H Block, aka the Maze prison, and with the help of his cellmate Gerry (Liam McMahon, Snatch) he slowly learns the ropes. His fellow prisoners are engaged in numerous protests to re-earn Special Category Status, and Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender, Inglourious Basterds) comes to the conclusion that a full-on committed hunger strike is the only way to achieve their goals.

The Evidence

Hunger is really three movies in one. The first, about 45 minutes long, introduces us to the Maze as well as its guards and prisoners. We see in extreme detail the brutality inflicted by the guards, as well as the depths to which the prisoners are willing to sink to protest their treatment, including smearing intricate patterns on the wall with their own waste. The second part lasts about 20 minutes, and features Bobby Sands discussing their options with his priest. Sands' commitment to the cause is obvious, as is the priest's desire to avoid having his charge commit what might be a suicidal act. The film's third part allows us to watch Bobby Sands transform from an underfed prisoner to a skeletal hunger striker. It's a painful transformation that occurs almost without comment as Sands wastes away.

All of the proceeding is filmed in oddest way. On the one hand, Steve McQueen creates strikingly formal compositions that make the audience totally aware that they're watching a film. But, on the other hand his compositions, and his refusal to use cinematic tricks to heighten the violence, allows us to reach our own conclusions about what we're seeing. It's like McQueen is manipulating us into being unmanipulated. The effect is a brilliant one, and produce a film that is not only emotionally effective, but simply gorgeous to look at despite the filth and vileness being depicted.

The film also succeeds in presents some of the most fantastic performances ever gathered into a single film. Every single actor is totally convincing in their part, from Brian Milligan as the newcomer to Michael Fassbender as Sands. The dedication it took to get to the skeletal state which many of the actors need is amazing, but I get the feeling from watching this film that they could all have been twenty pounds overweight and still have sold the emotional depth of their situation through their eyes and voice. Although the silent sequence (which take up most of the film's running time) are amazing, the real tour-de-force is the scene between Sands and his priest and the acting there is top notch since it has to carry both the emotional core of the film along with its exposition.

I'm running out of ways to say that Criterion has produced another excellent hi-def release. The 2.35:1 transfer is simply gorgeous, perfectly complimenting the bleak cinematography. Detail is high, and the muted blue-and-gray tones are excellently reproduced. The audio track is an immersive experience with clear dialogue and a beautiful reproduction of the ambient effects.

Extras include an almost 20-minute interview with director Steve McQueen where he discuss the film's production, what he hoped to achieve as well as how he achieved it. The interview with Michael Fassbender is equally interesting as the star discusses his interpretation of the iconic Sands as well as his preparation for starvation. The disc also includes a 13-minute making-of that covers much of the film's production and the history of Sands. The extra that provides the most background to the historical situation that led to the hunger strike is The Provos' Last Card?, a piece produced for British television while the hunger strike was still going on. Lasting 45 minutes, the show gives an excellent overview of the IRA and the hunger strikes. The booklet includes an essay by Chris Darke that provides a nice overview of the film.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Hunger: it is too harrowing, too brutal. If you want to watch it, by all means do so, but the decision to watch it should be yours alone. There are also those who will find it too realistic to watch, while others will find the long moments with dialogue boring.

On the filmmaking front, I think there are two moments that don't quite fit the film for me. When Bobby Sands discussing his drowning of a fawn that has been injured it feels a little too trite, and the ending, although it ties well with Sands' history and psychology, seems heavy handed considering what has come before.

Closing Statement

The 1981 hunger strike was a mixed blessing: the British government eventually restored all the freedoms the strikers were seeking, but ultimately denied them their actual Special Category Status. In the same way Hunger is a mixed blessing. It presents an honest portrait of an historically important moment, but the sheer brutality of the conditions make it a difficult film to watch. Whether one chooses to experience the horrors of Long Kesh, Hunger has been treated well by Criterion on Blu-ray with an amazing audiovisual presentation and informative extras.

The Verdict

It's up to history to judge Bobby Sands, but Hunger is not guilty.
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Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:27 pm

http://www.eyeweekly.com/film/dvd/article/83426

Hunger + Revanche (Criterion)
Steve McQueen’s unnervingly intimate Hunger takes us to the final six weeks in the life of IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands. Long before Inglourious Basterds, Michael Fassbender blew minds with his Christian Bale–level dedication to embodying Sands in his skeletal dying moments. Equally radical in its less-is-more formal austerity, Götz Speilmann’s Revanche unfolds like a neo-noir Greek tragedy. The film’s balance of city and countryside is downright mythic. Both broody slow-burners saw their North American premieres at TIFF ’08, and were among the best of the fest and arrive concurrently on home video. Grab these in Blu to enhance their visual might. In typical Criterion fashion, extras are top-tier: Hunger comes with a McQueen/Fassbender interview, a short making-of and vintage BBC doc on the Maze Prison hunger strikes, while Revanche has a new Spielmann interview and making-of, in addition to the director’s student film that has much in common with his latest.
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Post by Admin on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:34 pm

http://www.contracostatimes.com/movies-dvd/ci_14420275?source=rss&nclick_check=1

Nominally, "Hunger" — the feature debut of director Steve McQueen — is about IRA activist Bobby Sands, who in 1981 died in Belfast's notorious Maze prison. But the film doesn't hew to conventional storytelling. Instead, McQueen plunges viewers into the unspeakably harsh and violent world of the Maze in a series of scenes of shocking filth and spasmodic violence. In one extraordinary 22-minute scene that comes midway through the movie, Bobby (Michael Fassbender) debates the ethic of what he's about to do with an acerbic Catholic priest (Liam Cunningham). Staged in one unmoving, unbroken take, the scene is a tour de force of writing, acting and riveting moral complexity. Contains graphic violence, profanity and brief nudity. DVD extras: Theatrical trailer; featurettes
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Post by Admin on Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:50 pm

http://hamptonroads.com/2010/02/new-blurays-retro-comedy-black-dynamite-and-action-thriller-law-abiding-citizen-unrated-dire

“HUNGER: THE CRITERION COLLECTION”

Blu-ray widescreen and DVD widescreen, 2008, not rated (nudity and several scenes of intense physical brutality)

Best extra: A BBC news segment detailing the hunger strike is a useful supplement for putting the film in a historical context.

THE STUNNING DEBUT FILM from British director Steve McQueen (no relation to the American actor) is a multiple-award winner and rightfully so. Its searing, uncompromising voyage into Northern Ireland's Maze prison and the Irish Republican Army prisoners routinely brutalized there will knock you flat. The abuse sparks IRA member/prison occupant Bobby Sands to lead a hunger strike. The crucial scene lies in one unbroken, 15-minute shot that begins the film’s second half, in which a clear-eyed Sands defends his decision with a priest to die. Here, the stakes of all sides – moral, political and otherwise – is laid bare. Sparse dialogue and small, telling moments (the close-up of a guard's bloody knuckles as he washes them in a sink, Sands playing with a fly on a bent windowsill grate, contemplating freedom), add up to a momentous final product. As Sands, Michael Fassbender is so convincing and self-assured, you will be drawn in the moment he appears on screen.

Criterion took a lot of care with the film's treatment on DVD – including a first-rate, high-definition transfer that's presented in its original 2.35-1 aspect ratio. Extras include a 1982 BBC news special on the prison, "The Provos' Last Card," that was produced four months after Sands' death; a short making-of documentary, and separate interviews with director McQueen and actor Fassbender. McQueen emphasized his need for the film to have a visceral effect on the audience, while Fassbender offers his recollections on how the tensions in Ireland affected his family as he grew up.

— Carl Hott
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Post by Admin on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:29 pm

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=28224

Wilmington on DVD: Hunger, Goodfellas, Law Abiding Citizen, Troubled Water
Mike Wilmington on Wednesday 02/17/2010 4:00 pm

PICKS OF THE WEEK

Hunger (A)
U.K.; Steve McQueen, 2008 (Criterion)

Harshly physical and scarringly violent, this stark drama about the 1981 IRA hunger strike at Maze Prison in Belfast and the death by starvation of strike leader Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), is full of ugly brutish deeds done in incongruously beautiful images. From the first moments, when the film plunges us into the famous H Block cells, where the walls of one cell are decorated with abstract s$#! paintings -- to the systematic beatings and humiliations, the threats, the assassination of a prison guard (Stuart Graham), and the slow awful wasting away of Sands during his strike, the movie bombards us with nearly unbearable visions of an awful time, while inspiring inevitable thoughts about hot topics like torture and extreme prison abuse.

This is the first feature movie by artist Steve McQueen and it's a heavily praised and much awarded picture: winner of the Camera d'Or for best first film and the FIPRESCI prize as Cannes and the Best Film and Actor awards at Chicago. The opening struck me a bit too weirdly photogenic: both the actor (Brian Milligan) and the images. Then the movie, and artist McQueen's painterly style, started to take hold, to shock and wear me down. The film's best scene is also its most austerely visualized: a two-shot, one-take, immobile 22-minute-long sequence of Sands talking starvation ethics and strategy at a visitor's table with a tough priest, Father Dominic Moran (Liam Cunningham). The ending is devastating. Even if McQueen never completed another movie, he'd have a place in Irish film history for this one. (Extras: documentaries on the making of Hunger and the Maze prison strikes; interviews with McQueen and Fassbender; trailer; booklet with Chris Darke essay.
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Post by Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:51 am

http://www.kubrick.com.hk/kubrick/2010/02/watching-what-we-what-criterion504-hunger-%E5%A4%A7%E7%B5%95%E9%A3%9F-dvd.html

watching what we watch: (Criterion#504) HUNGER 大絕食 DVD

(Criterion#483) Repulsion 冷血驚魂 (1965) DVD - AEC

購買 | buy it
碟名 title:(Criterion#504) HUNGER 大絕食 DVD
導演dir:Steve McQueen
語言lang:英語 eng
字幕 sub : /
正價price:HKD288
bc會員價bc member's:HKD260
With Hunger, British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen has turned one of history’s most controversial acts of political defiance into a jarring, unforgettable cinematic experience. In Northern Ireland’s Maze prison in 1981, twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners. McQueen dramatizes prison existence and Sands’s final days in a way that is purely experiential, even abstract, a succession of images full of both beauty and horror. Featuring an intense performance by Michael Fassbender, Hunger is an unflinching, transcendent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure to be heard.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION

•New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Steve McQueen (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition) •Video interviews with McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender •A short documentary on the making of Hunger, including interviews with McQueen, Fassbender, actors Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham, and Brian Milligan, writer Enda Walsh, and producer Robin Gutch •“The Provo’s Last Card?,” a 1981 episode of the BBC program Panorama, about the Maze prison hunger strikes and the political and civilian reactions across Northern Ireland •Theatrical trailer •PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Chris Darke
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:18 am

http://www.combustiblecelluloid.com/2009/hunger2008.shtml

Hunger (2008)
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)
Jail Ache

By Jeffrey M. Anderson
Firstly, this Steve McQueen is a 39 year-old visual artist, and not the badass American action star who died in 1980. McQueen has made an astonishing feature debut with Hunger, which more or less tells the story of the final weeks in the life of Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender). It's 1981, and Sands and other Irish Republican Army activists are stuck in Maze prison in Northern Ireland. Sands leads a hunger strike against the horrible prison conditions, which are indeed truly horrible.

At the beginning of the film, we meet a sad prison guard who wakes up in his home and soaks his bruised, bloody knuckles in a sinkful of cold water before sitting down to his fine breakfast. The prisoners sit in cells with walls covered in feces, wearing only blankets, and sharing their bunks with maggots. Occasionally the guards drag them from their cells, beat them up and give them haircuts.

The movie is unrelentingly brutal, highly disturbing and sometimes revolting, but perhaps the showcase sequence is a nearly 20-minute, single, unbroken, unmoving shot in which Sands sits at a table and speaks with Father Moran (Liam Cunningham), about his plan. This is all the more amazing when you consider the almost total lack of dialogue during the rest of the film, as well as the intricate, powerful sound design; the film opens with the clatter of protesters banging plates on tables, followed by a startling silence.

As Steven Soderbergh did with Che, McQueen has totally subverted the stagnant biopic formula with this masterful piece of work; if it weren't so bloody sickening I'd be chomping at the bit to see it again. [Note: this is not to be confused with the many adaptations of Knut Hamsun's novel Hunger, including the 1966 and 2001 films.]

DVD Details: The Criterion Collection has released this amazing film on both DVD and Blu-Ray. The director-approved DVD includes an interview with director McQueen (18 minutes), a interview with actor Fassbender (13 minutes), a "making-of" featurette (13 minutes), and a 1981 BBC news program about the real-life events (45 minutes) and a trailer. The excellent film critic Chris Darke provides the liner notes.
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:17 am

http://www.film.com/movies/hunger/story/dvd-review-hunger-criterion-collection/32312753

DVD Review: Hunger - Criterion Collection
This triumph of the new British realism is beautifully ugly in this spectacular new edition.

Criterion Collection edition of "Hunger" (2008) - Criterion
MaryAnn Johanson, Feb 19, 2010

Hoorah for Criterion, for taking on this extraordinary film and giving it to us in a spectacular home version.

Pretty? Heh -- no. This is not a pretty film. It's a hard, harsh film -- powerfully cinematic, it veers from nearly wordless stretches of intense imagery so vivid they're surrealistic nightmares come to life to one 20-minute, unbroken dialogue between two men on opposite sides of the same side, an impassioned debate that underlies why one of them is enduring the nightmare we're enduring alongside him.

It's like some third-world prison, the block where members of the IRA are being held in 1981 by the occupying British forces in Northern Ireland. The Brits refuse to acknowledge that men like Bobby Sands are political prisoners, and so the prisoners fight back, which first-time director Steve McQueen, in the Criterion interview, calls "the most important event in British history in recent times." As Hunger opens, they are in the middle of a protest that sees them wearing only blankets -- they refuse to wear prison garb, demanding their own clothes instead -- and not washing. The horrible wonderfulness of how McQueen depicts the conditions here mires you in it: close-ups on faces or hands or feces-stained walls -- that's another prisoner protest -- so concentrated they become almost abstract; moody shadows in which lurk unspoken determination ... on the parts of both prisoners and guards. McQueen, who wrote the script with Enda Walsh, doesn't ignore the strange plight of the guards: one scene sees a terrible beating of several prisoners by riot-gear-clad stormtroopers who revel in their own viciousness, but much, much harder to take is the one young trooper hiding around the corner, sobbing, unwilling to participate in an atrocity that will surely change him forever anyway, for good or ill.

Soon, though, almost without you realizing he's done it, McQueen -- who was a painter and maker of non-narrative museum-piece art films before he made this, his feature debut -- zeroes in on a scarily resolute Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) as Sands. And by the time he has his 20-minute conversation with a priest (Liam Cunningham) explaining why he and his fellow prisoners have to up the ante with a hunger strike calculated to break the political will of the British, you're with him. In the cold light of day, once you've put the DVD away and you're no longer in that awful prison with Sands, it may not seem as reasonable and rational -- or, indeed, it may -- but McQueen has created such a potent argument, in the simplest, most visual terms, that you don't merely understand on an intellectual level but feel on a visceral level that sometimes going to the most extreme of extremes is the only way one has left to exert oneself.

This Criterion edition features a vibrant new high-def transfer at the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Also included on the disc is a making-of documentary and a 1981 BBC news program, "The Provos' Last Card?" produced four months after Sands' death.

Hunger is available now from the Criterion Collection.
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:03 am

http://www.northjersey.com/arts_entertainment/movies/84759597_New_on_DVD_this_week.html

New on DVD this week
Friday, February 19, 2010
The Record

HUNGER (2008, Criterion, unrated, $40) — The winner of the Camera d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival illustrates the harrowing last days of Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), the IRA leader who led a hunger protest against the British in the 1980s. The film is graphic in its depiction of the horrors of prison life, reminding viewers that Sands suffered torture, sensory depravation and psychological assault before his death. Filmmaker Steve McQueen (no relation to the actor) directs with so much gusto, it's as if his life depended on it. Extras: making-of doc, McQueen interview and a BBC program about the prison that housed Sands.
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:08 am

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/18/MVU51C2AUM.DTL

WILD APPLAUSE

Hunger A depiction of the 1981 hunger strike by IRA prisoner Bobby Sands (played by Michael Fassbender) with a brutality that will take your breath away. Not to be missed. Not rated. 96 minutes. - R. Harmanci

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/movies/84719462.html

HUNGER. Minimally staged, elegantly framed and visually haunting film about Bobby Sands, the first of nine Irish Republican Army prisoners who died in a 1981 hunger strike to protest their treatment at the infamous Maze Prison and the occupation of Northern Ireland by the British. Narrative debut of experimental film director Steve McQueen offers an unblinking, and sometimes hard-to-take, look at physical and psychological horrors of torture and terrorism. With Michael Fassbender. (Not rated; graphic and pervasive violence, nudity, language) *** 1/2
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:29 am

http://midcenturycharlie.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/hunger-2008/

Hunger (2008)

British artist Steve McQueen’s first feature film is a beautiful and often grotesque and painful look at the 1981 IRA prison hunger strike in Northern Ireland. It boy Michael Fassbender does an outstanding job as Bobby Sands both in acting as well as his physical transformation. Scary but real. Sean Bobbitt’s cinematography is lush, like a thousand paintings come to life. Most of the film is bathed in silence while visions that could be projected in a museum detail the story to the viewer. That silence is balanced by a 22 minute dialogue between Fassbender’s Sands and Liam Cunningham’s Father Dominic Moran. This stark contrast between an otherwise silent film and an extended dialogue scene with very little camera movement or editing propels the viewer further into the story in ways that are difficult to describe other than to say, “watch the movie. ” This is a political film about humans disguised as an art film. It’s gorgeous and yes sometimes grotesque but it is a fascinating look at what an artist can do with cinema. A must-see.
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:17 pm

http://artofthrowingstones.blogspot.com/2010/02/whats-up-netflix_21.html

Sunday, February 21, 2010
What's up Netflix!!
I can only blame the Olympics and my mad schedule this week for so few reviews. Oh well.


Hunger-- 5 stars-- Last night I opened a bottle of wine and sat down to watch "Hunger"- Wow! Steve McQueen makes not only one of the best feature debut's I've ever seen, but one of the most arresting and beautiful movies of the decade. His experience as a visual and performance artist really shows through- the framing of each scene could easily be a still photo/piece of art. The raw and truthful performances he elicits from his cast are a step above. The focus has been on Michael Fassbender (and deservedly so), however we must not overlook the other actors also laid bare before the camera. At times, Hunger made me angry, sad, hopeful, shocked, and proud. McQueen uses all the tools in his belt (never in an over handed way) to draw us in- extended periods of silence, static camera movements, lighting, and sound. It seems all 5 senses are at work while watching this film. Fassbender delivers a career making performance (I can't wait to see what he does next!!). With a glance of the eye, a deep inhale of smoke, the shuttering of his body; Fassbender makes us a witness in the room to the action, not a couch potato. His 22 min uncut scene with Liam Cunningham is magnificent. It is a real testament to this film, to McQueen, to the actors; that a static 2 shot is so compelling. I loved this movie and recommend it to anyone with an interest in "The Troubles" or more simply anyone with an interest in people and the human condition.
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:33 pm

http://www.ny1.com/8-queens-news-content/ny1_living/114072/ew-dvd-review---hunger-

02/21/2010 04:38 PM
EW DVD Review: "Hunger"

By: Chris Nashawaty - Entertainment Weekly

Hollywood has cranked out more than its share of movies about the IRA and resistance against the British in Northern Ireland over the years. Some are beautifully shot and rousing with big stars giving big speeches. But there's never been another one quite like director Steve McQueen's recent indie film, "Hunger."

McQueen is an art-world provocateur better known for shorter films and videos. This is his feature debut and it's a disturbing, grimy,
gut-punch of a coming out party. Recreating the last six weeks in the life and excruciatingly slow death of Irish hunger striker-turned-martyr Bobby Sands in 1981, Hunger is both a film about political protest and a political protest itself at the same time.

We meet a group of young prisoners in a Belfast prison. Watch them get brutalized and beaten. And see them slowly decide to turn their helplessness and captivity into an act of defiance. The leader is Michael Fassbender's Bobby Sands -- a whip-smart, sharp-tongued leader of men who sees his own death as an inevitable pawn move in a struggle that will go on after he is. But that doesn't stop him from the ultimate sacrifice.

If you aren't familiar with the actor's name, you might remember Fassbender from "Inglourious Basterds" as the genteel British officer who masquerades as a German to take down the Nazis. In that movie, he was wonderfully charismatic and smooth. Here, in what's an even better performance, he's unshakable. There's a scene between him and a priest who visits him in prison to talk him out of starving himself to death that is as great an acting lesson as I've ever seen. And Fassbender, who sheds a disturbing amount of weight for the part, recalling what Christian Bale did in "The Machinist," shows how far he's willing to go as an actor. I wouldn't call it an enjoyable film to sit through, but it's one that you won't forget anytime soon.
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Post by Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:35 pm

http://www.wickedlocal.com/provincetown/fun/entertainment/x196136659/Martyrs-frauds-and-Wild-Things-come-to-light-in-newly-released-DVDs


Martyrs, frauds and Wild Things come to light in newly released DVD's
Michael Fassbender plays a martyr on a hunger strike in director Steve McQueen’s ‘Hunger.’
By Howard Karren
Provincetown Banner
Posted Feb 21, 2010 @ 07:44 AM

Released Feb.6: “Hunger.” It’s been nearly two decades since the 1981 hunger strike by Provisional IRA prisoners in British custody in Northern Ireland that took the lives of nine men, but it feels like an eternity. “The Troubles” – the rebellion by Northern Catholics over Protestant and British rule – may be a distant memory, but British director Steve McQueen (a former painter making his feature-directing debut) has brought them viscerally back to life in this remarkable film, as accomplished and gripping as a Samuel Beckett play. McQueen pares down the narrative to its starkest visual components, using long, wordless takes, a slow-moving or static camera, and seamless shifts between objective and subjective points of view – of the guards, the inmates, and the dying hunger striker Bobby Sands. The ferocity of the violence inflicted on the prisoners is, paradoxically, both deeply felt and coolly observed, and some of the images – a rat crawling in the snow, a spiral painting made of excrement on a cell wall, a guard assassinated while visiting his mother in a nursing home – are indelible. As Sands, Michael Fassbender is a transcendent martyr, deliberate and calculating but thoroughly human, and the way McQueen dramatizes Sands’s sacrifice, without prejudice or a political agenda, it seems inevitable that the tragic hunger strike he initiated would become a moral victory for the Catholics and a turning point in Irish history.
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Post by Admin on Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:56 pm

http://moonwolves.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/hunger-left-me-full/


Hunger left me full

22nd February, 2010 by koutchboom

Hunger movie poster

Hunger is the first feature film from visual artist Steve McQueen, and man is he going to be someone to look out for in the future. While this movie is not going to be for most people, those who can stomach the nature of this beast are surely going to be impressed.

The movie is about the hunger strike lead by IRA member Bobby Sands, and the life and times of being in and working for the HM Prison Maze during the 1980s. What the amazing thing about the film is that pretty much 3/4’s of it plays out like a silent film. There is action on the screen and we hear a lot of background noise but there is no forced narrative or voice over work letting us know what is going on. SOOOO that means you are going to have to pay attention. The only real dialog we get in the film is a 16 minute single shot done in one take of a conversation between Bobby and a priest right before he starts his hunger strike.

Hunger Michael Fassbender

16 minutes of this

I would not be the best person to comment on the actual events or times of Ireland during that period but this movie is not really about that. It is more of a fly on the wall look of what these men did to them selves and what was done to them. The only time you ever question what is going on is when the priest tells Bobby that he doesn’t care about his life, and you have to think if what they are doing is really worth it.

It feels odd saying I like a film this brutal and intense, its grosser and more disturbing then any Saw film, yet its one of the most dramatic and well acted films I’ve seen in some time. Its similar to The Passion of Christ. But its not just beating we see on the screen, we see the gross things these prisoners did to themselves (like smearing feces on prison walls) to get their point across. Also we see how this life effects one prison guard. It’s a captivating film and certainly not for the weak. McQueen’s goal is to get you to feel the effects of the beatings, smell the nastiness of the living conditions and it does so to amazing effect.

This film is McQueen’s film but at the same time it would have been nothing if not for his lead, the soon to be well known Michael Fassbender. While pretty much being a blonde version of Christian Bale he also takes a page out of Bale’s book of acting and went all out crash diet for this film. Luckily for him though the hard work paid off thanks to the director. We first see Fassbender about 20 minutes into the movie as he is being thrown down a beating line for the prisoners, and yes they used real billy clubs on the actor. He looks like a typical skinny guy, but after he makes the decision to start the hunger strike he looks so emaciated and just skin and bones, covered in bed sores its almost sickening to see.

Hunger Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender

McQueen Directs Fassbener on how to properly smear poo

After hearing McQueen talk about the film on the DVD you can tell he is just a mad genius, also what was odd is that he is nothing like you would expect someone who has made a movie like this. He seems like this nice jovial sort of a guy and not some pretentious super artsy guy in love with his work. I think he knows he is good and is why he is a bit cocky. The funniest part about this interview was when he was talking about the 10 week hiatus they took from shooting so Fassbender could lose the weight. He talked about the toil in his head leading up to seeing Michael. Hoping at first that he had lost enough weight and then BRILLIANT HE HAS….is he alright? but BRILLIANT he looks perfect!

I cannot wait for McQueen’s next film, while hopefully its not as soul crushing as this, and not showing off what he can do with the camera. Either way it will be interesting none the less.
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Post by Admin on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:29 am

http://www.weekinrewind.com/2010/02/hunger-dvd-blu-ray-review.html

"Hunger" DVD, Blu-ray Review

2/23/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Review

"Hunger"

Directed by Steve McQueen, Written by Enda Walsh and McQueen, 90 Minutes, rated R.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Hunger" is not an easy film to watch. Not only does it depict the physical deformities resulting from starvation in harshly realistic ways, but it also is completely unflinching in its violence, and often its minimalist style can try the patience of even the most forgiving viewer.

But, boy, is it effective.

The film explores the 1981 Irish hunger strike instigated by the Irish Republican Army, which felt it was not receiving the political status it deserved. Bobby Sands, here portrayed by Michael Fassbender, was probably the most notable of participants, and the film first shows us fragments of his life in prison for some sort of political terrorism and then the last few weeks of his life, in which his body slowly deteriorated due to self-imposed starvation.

It's hard to elaborate on the historical context any further, because the film doesn't really allow itself any historical context, which is one of the oddest things about it. Anyone completely unfamiliar with the topic at hand will likely be lost for long spurts, because except for a few brief radio excerpts and a final bit of text at the end of the film, the viewer isn't really told anything of the political and social conflicts the film is actually about. Sure, some things can be assumed, but how are we supposed to be at all concerned for this character if we don't understand why he's doing what he does?

Of course, there are certain moments in the film that make up for this lack of information, notably one specific sequence the film is most well-known for, a 17-minute-long one-take scene between Fassbender's Sands and a priest who is attempting to talk him out of the hunger strike. Fassbender and Liam Cunningham, who plays the priest, allegedly moved in together and practiced the scene 12 times a day for several weeks before shooting. The preparation certainly worked. The conversation comes off quite naturally, and the absolute power of the scene does a surprisingly great deal for Sands' character development.

The scene is now the longest ever in a mainstream film. It's by far one of the best solely dialogue-driven I've seen from a modern feature.

With this scene, we are made aware of Sands' immeasurable persistence and his feeling that since no one else will stand up for those around him, that it's his responsibility to do so. Following his death, a lot of media outlets deemed his sacrifice misguided and unfortunate. Still, it brought a lot of international attention to his cause. The film itself doesn't really judge the man; it simply strives to show us the potential determination a man can have, even when he may be driven by a cause we don't agree with or understand.

The film is the feature directorial debut of Steve McQueen (no relation to the actor), and it's a strong start. His techniques--most notably the frequent long takes--occasionally fall flat, as in a nearly 5-minute scene of a man cleaning the floor of a prison hallway, but most of the time he succeeds, such as in the aforementioned dialogue scene or in the scenes late in the film, where he shows us Sands' starvation. I don't know what exactly was done to so accurately portray the body under starvation--presumably Fassbender went through a pretty painful diet for the majority of it--but it certainly comes across as startlingly realistic, and it's often hard to watch.

Fassbender is the real revelation of the film, though. In just the past couple years, the Irish actor has been incredibly impressive, both in recent BAFTA winner "Fish Tank" and in "Inglourious Basterds," where he had a very brief but memorable supporting role. Here, he's like another performer entirely, totally believable and fiercely dedicated to his craft, undoubtedly. He's definitely making a strong mark in very little time.

I can't say "Hunger" is an overwhelming success, but it's a fine introduction to McQueen, and it's got enough power in its few truly great moments to make up for the lack of historical context we're given and technical experimentation we're meant to put up with. And it's alone worth seeing for the phenomenal 17-minute dialogue scene.

Grade: B-

View the movie trailer for "Hunger" below. What are your thoughts?
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