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Shame & Immortals

by on March 10, 2012

Shame

Brandon is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. From director Steve McQueen (Hunger), Shame is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. (Taken from imdb.com)

Taking these plot summaries from imdb are a double-edged sword. They’re usually poorly written and either too simplistic or too verbose. On the other hand, I don’t have to come up with a plot summary by myself. Score. Anyways, I wanted to see Shame mostly because one of my acting crushes of the moment is in it. Michael Fassbender has been in everything recently it seems, Inglorious Basterds, Centurion, X-Men: First Class, Haywire, A Dangerous Method. Now that I think about it, I didn’t really like any of those movies, but that doesn’t change the fact that I like Fassbender.

The movie’s director, Steve McQueen (lol), had collaborated with Fassbender on a film from 2008 called Hunger, which depicted young Irish republican Bobby Sands who is imprisoned by the British and goes on a hunger strike to protest conditions and political imprisonment in general. That movie was difficult to watch, to put it mildly, so I was expecting a certain degree of unsettlement from Shame. I also went with three female friends from University, so the promise of  lots of awkward, naked, sexual moments meant it wouldn’t be a dull evening.

The centerpiece of Shame is Fassbender’s performance, which is nothing short of incredible. The fact that he didn’t win the Oscar this year, that he wasn’t even nominated, is a crime. He goes from a man who, although engaging in activities that are deemed outside the social norm, he is content in his routine. However, when his sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to visit, problems from the past arise that makes him question why he does what he does. His slow descent into oblivion is portrayed so beautifully by Fassbender that you can’t help but feel for him when he’s throwing out his piles of porn magazines (another crime).

The film definitely doesn’t fit the mold of today’s usual movie. It doesn’t have much of a plot, and leaves quite a few questions unanswered in the end, but isn’t that the standard of art-house movies anyway? Great performance by Fassbender, interesting movie, not for everyone.

Immortals

Mad with power, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has declared war against humanity. Amassing a bloodthirsty army of soldiers disfigured by his own hand, Hyperion has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens by Ares. The gods and mankind remain powerless to stop Hyperion…until a peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill) comes forth as their only hope.

I was tempted to have this review be one word: crap. That’s what this movie is, complete and utter horse shit. The director, Tarsem Singh I had heard of from his previous movies, The Fall and The Cell. Those films can be summed up in one line, style without substance. The Cell, depicting Jennifer Lopez as some kind of law-enforcement officer, travelling into the mind of a comatose serial killer to find his last victim. Cool idea, and insanely awesome visuals, but as a movie it wasn’t any good at all. The Fall was set in a hospital in 1920’s Los Angeles, where a patient tells a little girl a story about far-away lands, epic deeds and mysterious strangers. Again, a very cool premise, and intensely great visuals, but not a very fun movie.

Immortals doesn’t have a cool premise, and its visuals seem to be a rehash from the film 300. The acting is atrocious, the plot is worse, and even the action, which should have been the saving grace of the film (as it was for 300), was dull and repetitive. Henry Cavill, who has been cast in the new reboot of the Superman franchise is bland, Stephen Dorff is terrible as usual, and Freido Pinto, while a gorgeous girl, really can’t act. John Hurt, fulfilling his 30-film cameo deal (it seems), doesn’t really bring anything to the table either. I guess the only good thing I can say about it is that Luke Evans as Zeus, bare-chested with a golden cape, was quite nice to look at. Avoid at all costs.

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One Comment
  1. I’ve been wanting to see SHAME for a while now. The trailer and the story seem solid. Thanks for reemphasizing my expectation.

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