Steve McQueen probably hated Django Unchained. Where Tarantino’s Django Unchained toyed with history’s facts to make the horrors of slavery a plot point, 12 Years a Slave is a film about a torture perpetrated on millions of black men, women and children. McQueen’s third feature isn’t interested in the audience’s comfort or catharsis, and tells a story full of vicious, hard violence and fractured souls. McQueen brings you as close as he possibly can to the horrors of antebellum slavery, not shying from bloody truths, and ultimately reminds us that far, far too often, history’s mad men and their ugly horrors go unpunished and unredressed.
Category Archives: In Theaters
Superficially, Her is striking because it’s entirely plausible. From the Apple-tinted future tech to the subtle revisions to fashion to the utter solitude found in a crowd, the film has a great deal to say about the near future, and the world we’re in the process of creating. And yet, Her isn’t about the science fiction. It’s not about predicting the future or scaring us straight. It is, simply, a love story in a different time than ours, with a different set of rules and the same expectations. Had he wanted to, Writer/Director Spike Jonze could have explored the futurist angle — there’s ample evidence that he designed his world far past what was necessary for the story he’s telling — but that’s not where his interests as a storyteller lie. They lie with people, and the connections between people, and the unexplored places to which these connections can take us.
And finally, Part Three of the 2011 Wertzies. This post includes not only my thoughts on the Best Pictures of the year, but a new section looking at the year’s Most Overrated films.
Here then is Part Two of the 2011 Wertzies. My thoughts on the year’s best performances. As a reminder, all Runners Up are featured in ascending order, with the Winner of each category coming at the end.
And so, the 2nd Annual Wertzies; my picks for the year’s best of nearly everything. I’m taking a slightly different tack this year, with expanded coverage of my picks and the Awards divided over three posts. Additionally, the format has altered a bit, with Runners Up revealed in ascending order, and each category ending with the Winner.
To be clear, I haven’t seen everything, nor do I consider these awards to be anything more than my humble opinion as an amateur film reviewer. Elaborate and considered these thoughts may be, but they are nonetheless informed as much by individual preference as real objectivity. And with that in mind, I eagerly await your supplemental thoughts and heated contradictions.
There’s a better version of Shame on the cutting room floor. Somewhere in the hours of unseen footage shot by Director Steve McQueen exists a film that lives up to the hype. A film less ambiguous, with a concrete arch, and character exchanges that don’t feel piecemeal. A film less dependent on intuition and more respectful of storytelling. A film not so thoroughly entrenched in a mood. And that would be a hell of a film to see, because Shame is built on some pretty powerful stuff as it is. The performance of Michael Fassbender will certainly get everyone talking, and almost as certainly garner a nomination. And there are things McQueen does as a director that prove he deserves the job. But the unfortunate reality is that Shame is only some of what it should have been, and simply not as good as it could have been.
If you need any proof that Seth Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg are BFF, just watch one of their movies. Thus far their three major titles-Superbad, Pineapple Express and now The Green Hornet–are all built up from a premise along the lines of, “so there are these two guys…” This is a charming conceit at first. Certainly in the case of those first two films the bromance was both the glue of the story and the vehicle for developing its two main characters. Meanwhile, it can actually be really sweet watching two regular dudes realize they have real love for another person. This formula had to lose its edge at some point though, and it seems to have happened smack dab in the middle of The Green Hornet.