Shame (2011)

Here is another in a long line of movies that went unrecognised by the Academy Awards, and in the case of this film, it is quite obvious why it happened.  The Oscars are an American invention, and if there’s anything that is frowned upon in American movies, it is explicit sexual acts.  A man’s naked penis tends to be the butt of many “jokes”, displayed in it’s flaccid state, usually belonging to some old dude or terribly unattractive man.  When the penis is taken seriously, whoa nelly, we have ourselves an NC-17 film and that is essentially the kiss of death for it making back its money, because many theatres will not play an NC-17-rated film.  It’s okay for them to show any number of films that have disturbingly large amounts of violence, but no way do we show the WANG on multiplex screens.  ANYWAYS, moving on from the hypocrisy of American movies onto the sham that the Oscars are.

Michael Fassbender should have been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Shame.  I’ve seen three of the performances that were nominated (not the winner, yet), and Fassbender’s performance as Brandon – a sex addict whose everyday functionality is beginning to be threatened by his compulsive addiction – was easily better than those three, no offense to George Clooney, Gary Oldman, or Brad Pitt.  Fassbender puts so much complexity and longing into his character, it nearly took my mind off of how much I – scarily – related to Brandon’s interactions with women and views on marriage/relationships.

Carey Mulligan should have been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Brandon’s sister, Sissy.  In the case of the Best Actress nominees, I saw four of nominated performances, including the winner.  Meryl Streep should not have won for The Iron Lady, and the only performance that was close to Mulligan’s was Viola Davis’ in The Help.

I still have yet to see The Artist, so I have no idea whether or not director Michel Hazanavicius actually deserved his win, but I did see three of the other nominees.  Terrence Malick’s nomination for The Tree of Life was terrible, but Martin Scorsese and Alexander Payne deserved theirs for Hugo and The Descendants, respectively.  I hate to use the word in this review because it will come across as a pun, but it is an atrocious shame that Steve McQueen was not nominated for a Best Director Oscar.  The performances he got out of Fassbender and Mulligan were nothing short of heart-stopping.  Five minutes after finishing the film I took a deep breath and realised I had been in such a tense, taut state since the end of Shame that it surprised me.

It is not a movie that you will probably want to re-watch anytime soon after viewing it.  It is a powerful, well-written and directed movie with absolutely intoxicating performances that will linger with you for days afterwards.  It’s not a fast-paced movie at all, more languid and sexual, but well-deserving of all the accolades it has been given.

5 / 5

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Drive (2011)

UNFH.  If I’d have seen this during my 2011 #movieaday self-challenge, it would probably have ranked at #2 for my Top Five of 2011 section, right behind Warrior.  The two movies have a bit in common, as Warrior starred Tom Hardy who was fucking amazing in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson and well, Refn directed this flick as well.  I have the Wiki page for Drive open in another tab (and I’ll probably end up researching Nathan Fillion’s “Drive” TV series as well, because that is how Wiki Progression works), and I’m looking forward to reading all about it.  I’m already giving the movie a 5, I mean duh, so no SPOILER ALERT about that.  But I’m trying to finish this write-up to see if I can remember what movie it most reminds me of without outside influences.

The Driver (Ryan Gosling) is an exceptionally talented uh.. driver.  He goes unnamed throughout the movie, and don’t worry about that because who cares.  The lead characters in Once were never named and that was a fucking great movie too.  He moonlights as a getaway driver, has a part-time job as a mechanic for Shannon (Bryan Cranston), and also as a stunt driver for the movies.  There isn’t a lot of exposition in this movie, things happen and they get dealt with.  Driver meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) in an elevator in their apartment building, and a series of events culminates in so much badassery that I do not want to spoil things.  Also, a love story.

I’m going to get around to purchasing this movie someday to re-watch it because it is so very good.  From the cinematography to the straight-out-of-Vice-City-soundtrack-that-is-actually-modern-music to the fact that Christina Hendricks is basically a blip in the movie, and Ron Perlman looks like a white Luis Guzmán and Albert Brooks has no eyebrows for some reason (he hasn’t answered my Tweet about that).  Also, I may be back in love with Carey Mulligan, after the hipster twaddle of Never Let Me Go last year diminished my intense passion for her.  Holy hell, my write-up is getting so lame, and for such an awesome movie, that is unacceptable.

5 / 5