Newsweek‘s current issue features its annual pre-nominations “Oscar roundtable”–and either it’ll look dated when nominations are announced tomorrow, or we need to adjust our predictions! The panelists are likely nominees George Clooney and Viola Davis (the working-it pair both recently appeared together on an Entertainment Weekly cover, too), as Read More
Tomorrow morning will bring that early-morning announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees–with the attention-desperate wrinkle that no one knows how many nominees there will be. Herewith, our predictions, for last-minute entries into your office pool (if yours is the sort of office at which Oscar nominations are the subject of a pool. Ours is not, Read More
Just what we need — another violent comic-book fantasy about another covert government operative (a catch-phrase that describes just about everybody in escapist-action franchise movies from incoherent Tom Cruise Mission Impossible flicks to Jason Bourne cinematic Xeroxes with Matt Damon). This one is called Haywire. The only difference is that this time the battering ram doing all the kickboxing, slicing and killing is a woman, more or less played, since she cannot act, by kung fu expert, karate specialist, martial arts star and Angelina Jolie wannabe Gina Carano. She’s a female boxer who was defeated in 2009 by Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in the Strikeforce Women’s Championship, whatever that is. The men she beats the crap out of are an all-star bevy of camera-ready hunks baring their pecs in faceless roles to sell tickets. They are wasting their time, but, boy, do we need them. It is doubtful that the box-office flame exuded by Ms. Carano on her own could draw moths.
Haywire makes no sense whatsoever, which should come as no surprise. It’s the latest brainless exercise in self-indulgence from Steven Soderbergh, whose films rarely make any sense anyway.
Too much sex is bad for you. That’s the only message discernible to the naked eye in an interesting but hollow film about sex addiction called Shame, and believe me when I tell you the eye is not the only thing in it that is naked. The star is Michael Fassbender, the versatile and fearless actor of Irish-German descent who skyrocketed to attention as the imprisoned IRA hunger-strike martyr Bobby Seale in Hunger. He can also currently be seen, in and out of his underwear, as psychiatrist Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method. Mr. Fassbender is excellent and intense, but he hasn’t much use for clothes. Casting him in anything saves money on the wardrobe budget.
An antiseptic departure for shock jock David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method is a psychological tug of war between the father of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortenson), and his disciple Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) over the mind and sex of an overwrought mental patient named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a mad Russian with a craving for spanking. Whacking her on her naked bottom must have worked. She ended up, years later, analyzing patients of her own. Too bad she didn’t also analyze this movie. It would have saved so much wasted time.
A grim 1912 period piece set in a mental clinic in Vienna at the dawn of 20th century enlightenment, the movie flirts with the peculiar relationship between novice Jung and mentor Freud while they both flirt with the same patient, but aside from Ms. Knightley’s lurid whupping without her panties on, nothing ever happens. The “dangerous method” in the title refers to the experiment by both analysts to radically treat the same female patient by taking her to bed. Not very scientific, but very, very talky.
The Wee Hours
“Wow, this is it, this view, New York City!” Michael Fassbender said after opening the door to the roof of the Standard, where the glass buildings lining the West Side bound forth from the meatpacking district toward midtown.
It was Friday night, and The Observer had just watched the New York Film Festival’s screening of Read More
Running time 123 minutes
Written and directed by Andrea Arnold
Starring Kate Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing
Michael Fassbender, the versatile, highly acclaimed, Irish-raised hunk who nearly starved himself to death as IRA hero Bobby Sands in the harrowing Hunger before winning more applause in the colorful role of a brutal Read More
Running time 153 minutes
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger
Like all Quentin Tarantino movies, Inglourious Basterds is exasperating, absurd, cruel, cynical, sneeringly arrogant, racist, elitist, naïvely derivative and viciously funny. It is also one whale of a rigorous entertainment. Read More
Running time 96 minutes
Written by Enda Walsh and Steve McQueen
Directed by Steve McQueen
Starring Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham
Steve McQueen’s Hunger, from a screenplay by Enda Walsh and Mr. McQueen, provides a harrowing yet lyrical account of the fatal hunger strike of Irish Republican Army prisoner Bobby Read More
Running time 96 minutes
Written by Steve McQueen and Enda Walsh
Directed by Steve McQueen
Starring Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Liam Cunningham
Take an anti-nausea pill and put Hunger on your must-see list. After testing the waters on last year’s arty film festival circuit to see if audiences were Read More