Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Bird Box

Category : Movie Review

Director: Susanne Bier

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich

Year: 2018

The best part about Bird Box is that Sarah Paulson is only in it for 15 minutes.  Had she been strongly featured, I’m not sure I would have lasted 15 minutes.  She’s an awful actress, was the worse part of Glass, and shouldn’t be trusted in a cereal commercial, let along a horror flick that’s desperately trying to be something deeper.  But, luckily or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, Paulson is only one of the many terrible things about this film, so she mostly blends in, which is great for her, but not so great for us.  Bird Box is poorly thought out, poorly executed, and generally stupid, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but will crush the hopes of anyone looking for a mildly good time from a story that’s obviously stolen.  Audiences won’t even get that small consolation, and we really only have ourselves to blame for hoping.

Apparently the world does end in a bang, not with a whisper, as people all over the world kill themselves and blow everything up as mass hysteria sweeps the nations of Earth and what’s left is a whimpering remnant of what we used to be.  A virus or an entity or a toxin, something, makes anyone who sees this “thing” go mad, get scared, lose their shit, and kill themselves.  The only way to survive is to live indoors or with eyes closed, and in the days after the event, that’s easier said than done.  Malorie, pregnant and single, joins a house of random strangers who have all somehow survived, though for how long we do not know.  Viewed at the same time but taking place five years later, she must make her way, blindfolded, down a river with two children, toward a safe zone that she’s not sure exists, all while being pursued by an invisible force that wants to draw her into madness.

Sandra Bullock is beyond horrible; she’s entered a special category of acting in which only she resides, where she overacts at a broken mirror and tries to resurrect Ms. Congeniality in a black cauldron.  She’s awful; how do people not see that, and why does she still draw attention?  Her role in Bird Box is pathetic, and she’s incapable of pulling it off, we ought to have known that from the start; it’s our fault for giving the movie a chance.  All it’s good for is a meme of a blindfolded lady in a boat, that’s its legacy, and that’s all it deserves.  Bullock is bad, Paulson is worse, the “horror” is stupid, the side actors give us nothing, and the plot could not possibly have been more a ripoff of A Quiet Place, The Mist, and a little of The Happening.  It’s about as good as The Happening, maybe only slightly better because of Trevante Rhodes, who is a rising star.  I liked him, I wanted the family to succeed in their mission at the end, so at least I was slightly invested, but the quality of this Netflick is so far below par that it began to circle toward farce.  Had it got there, that at least would have been a positive, but Bird Box couldn’t even manage that, instead stumbling with with its eyes closed off a cliff and screaming for attention on the way down, hoping we would join it.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Io

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jonathan Helpert

Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie

Year: 2019

I knew I was in trouble when the main character started pronouncing words incorrectly, including THE TITLE OF THE DAMN MOVIE!  It’s Io, like EYE-oh, not iO, like aye-OH; everyone watching this film isn’t a Buckeyes fan who just heard someone yell “O-H!”  And then there was enclave, which she said as N-clave instead of On-clave, which I think is technically correct in English, but really bothers me because I think the original French sounds much better.  Anyway, I completely digress, but blame that on the content of the film itself, which offers nothing and only begs to be taken apart piece by piece and ridiculed.  Any other movie I would be forgiving to small flaws, especially ones that I was probably inventing, but Io doesn’t deserve our sympathy; audiences deserve it for wasting 90 minutes of their lives on something this pathetic and basic and awful.

Mother Earth has kicked us out of the house, and we won’t be invited back.  The air we breathe has become deadly to our lungs, and has also killed off basically every species of animal worldwide.  Most humans have taken Exodus transports to a space station that orbits Io, a moon of Jupiter.  There we can survive and look for new worlds to call home; the Earth has nothing left to offer us.  A few have stayed behind to study what went wrong and if there remains any way to reverse it, but they’re mostly losing hope.  Sam is the daughter of a famed scientist who preached refusing to give up, but she’s alone high in the hills where the bad air doesn’t reach, watching her bee colonies die one by one.  A man named Micah, on his way to the last Exodus shuttle, lands to see Sam’s father and the two begin to see in one another aspects they have lost within themselves, and the decision to stay or go, together or separately, will be the hardest they ever have to make.

I think Margaret Qualley has potential, if not exactly cemented yet (Novitiate), and I think Anthony Mackie is really likeable, if not exactly mega-talented (Captain America), but either they were the absolute worst pair to be cast in this film or else the movie itself couldn’t have supported the two greatest actors in the world, and I’m leaning toward the latter.  This duo isn’t magic, that’s for sure, and maybe they will prove not to be amazing talents, but the story couldn’t have been performed well under any conditions, its writing and its direction quickly proving to be a thing of maddening inadequacy.  It stole most of its ideas directly from preexisting sci-fi and from Z for Zachariah, which is SOOO much better, and the film’s three different writers were never able to produce something original and viable.  The dialogue was stupid, the pacing was glacial, the feel was chaotic, there was no evidence of talent around any corner, the surprises were not surprising, any sexuality was extremely awkward; there is literally nothing that comes to mind as a positive to point and to cling to.  Netflix should be ashamed that they released this movie after someone must have seen the final product and must have known how terrible it was, laying it on us anyway because it was scheduled, when it really should have been shelved for all eternity.

My rating: ☆

 


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Movie Review – The Little Stranger

Category : Movie Review

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson

Year: 2018

What a strange followup to Room for Lenny Abrahamson, with Frank really being the only other feature of note that he’s directed.  Thinking of it that way, it’s no so odd that an acclaimed director should stumble, since he’s really only acclaimed for one project and he’s only ever done three total Hollywood movies in the first place.  It shouldn’t be shocking that his latest film is no good, simply because his big hit might have been a fluke.  And he might be a talented artist who just made a mistake, the jury’s still out, but what have you done for me lately, Lenny.  Regardless, The Little Stranger will leave a bad taste in the mouths of audiences and will make them second guess their next spoonful.

Hundreds Hall in England has seen better days, and the old Downton Abbey ways have become pages of the past, not a way to live in modern times.  The Ayers family has lost their money, they are selling pieces of their land, Roderick Ayers is a wounded war veteran, and the house itself has a creepy feel that keeps the neighbors away.  The family clings on because of their memories, including a sister who died there, but no one else would want the place, until a local doctor with a tie to the mansion comes calling to mend an illness.  Mr. Faraday was once enamored with the old Ayers place, imagined himself as a rich young boy, and now that he’s in the Hall, he finds himself oddly drawn to it.  He’s also drawn to Ms. Caroline Ayers, who needs someone to protect her from the spirit of the place itself, which is writhing in discomfort and reaching out to touch the lives of the unlucky few who still live there.

It’s unfortunate that this film is so badly directed that you can point to specific times when doing the opposite would have been what any sane filmmaker would have done, because Abrahamson is someone who I want to like, for Room and for Frank, but who I can’t support if this is what he’s going to pump out now.  The pace was clunky, the transitions were sloppy, the timing was off, and the story wasn’t creepy enough to scare, wasn’t dramatic enough to compel.  It fell in the middle of many genres, and wasn’t good enough to be claimed by any.  Gleeson is talented, but he’s done much better.  Wilson was awful, and I’m sad to see her take that turn.  Will Poulter was the worse casting decision of the millennium and Charlotte Rampling was completely wasted, so the supporting cast didn’t do its job, not at all.  The “twist” is dumb, the plot is thin, the period is badly represented, and there’s really no compelling reason to watch this movie.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Rider

Category : Movie Review

Director: Chloe Zhao

Starring: Brady Jandreau

Year: 2017

The Rider was recommended to me as one of the best films of the year, an organic and windswept drama with a Western flare that has the power to capture hearts and then break them, cowboy style.  Its unique claim to fame is that it utilizes amateur actors, going for authenticity over pizazz, roughnecks over a-listers.  Color me surprised, but that mostly works, having non-actors playing the parts that perhaps only they were born to play.  It does set up a few scenes that won’t rise to the level of Daniel Day-Lewis on a soap box, but how many genre films and individual talents can reach that height anyway; perhaps it’s best not to try at all, to do it your way, if you know the end result would just disappoint.

Brady Blackburn is a rodeo cowboy, and that’s all he’s ever wanted to be.  He rides horses, he trains horses, he talks to horses, he understands horses; really, other than a few friends, he much prefers them to people.  But after a freak accident under the hoof of a bronco, Brady has to stop the passions that drive him and settle for a completely different, much more boring life.  He can’t ride, definitely can’t compete, and all that’s left to him, with not even a high school diploma, is to work and drink and become his old man.  That doesn’t sit well, and he’ll push the boundaries of sense in his quest to return to the saddle, to get back to the man he once was and to find the dream he once held tight.

I trust the opinion of the friend who recommended The Rider to me, we both love Westerns, and he was right about the power of this film, as it hits all the right buttons at all the right times to become something special, at a time when originality is definitely at a premium.  Brady is just a kid trying to find something to live for, and that’s all of us, rodeos and lassos and stirrups aside.  We relate to him because we’ve all been knocked down, and getting back up is about the hardest thing we’ve ever had or will ever have to do.  The inexperienced actors did bother me a bit, especially since that’s the single most important aspect I look for in a film, the quality of the cast and their performances, but The Rider is just different enough to earn a pass for its amateur status; it really mostly works in its favor.  And the cinematography, wow; words weren’t needed very often, because the landscape spoke for itself, and the relationships that were evident between the land and the animals and the characters and their passions was something to experience.  I’ll always choose a phenomenally-acted drama with clever writing and perfect appeal, I think most audiences would, but this film has something unusual to offer, and you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t take it.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Sorry to Bother You

Category : Movie Review

Director: Boots Riley

Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer

Year: 2018

Terry Gilliam should be proud to pass the torch of insane cinema to Boots Riley, with the knowledge that it’s in good hands.  Gilliam had his run with Monty Python and with several bizarre masterpieces in the 80s and 90s, but he’s long since stopped producing anything spectacular, and it’s beyond time for him to give up the throne and to let a different, much more current director take over giving us deep meaning in the form of dystopia.  Sorry to Bother You is just that; a volume of commentary on modern society set in an alternate and ridiculous future, but one that we can still readily recognize as our own.  It’s a bonkers flick, will be dismissed by most, but if you can find the humor in the madness and the secrets within the subtext, something spectacular will be revealed, and you’ll turn off your DVD player changed.

Cassius Green knows that cash is green, but he also knows that he has none, and it’s time to get paid no matter what.  He’s living in his uncle’s garage, his car is a POS, and his girlfriend is about to leave him for something better; it’s time to get off his ass and into a manager’s office with a resume in hand.  His friend works at a telemarketer and they’ll hire anyone, so Cassius gets a job, but he’ll never sell products with his current attitude; he needs a drastic adjustment if he wants to make it big.  So he starts using his White Voice, becomes a Power Caller, and is on his way up the corporate ladder, abandoning his community and his values along the way.  When the CEO of a mega-corporation called Worry Free notices Cassius’ rise, he’ll have to make the ultimate decision between his greed and his humanity, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

A Brazil for a new generation, Sorry to Bother You is also one of the absolute best films of the year, despite almost no notice or recognition.  It’s wacky to the point of distraction, but every daring choice was made for a specific reason, and I think they worked about every time.  I was worried when it started to strongly that it couldn’t finish the same way, but I was wrong; the story swerved a ton but never lost its true path.  Consumerism, racism, capitalism, greed, cultural appropriation; there are themes enough here for ten movies, but Riley wraps it all up so nicely you barely notice that your mind is about to burst with the truth.  Boots is a rapper, this is his first attempt at both writing and at directing, and he makes it look so easy, like all he had to do was splatter the paint and let his artists do the rest.  The cast was incredible; Stanfield is magic, Thompson is a natural, Hammer cracks me up, and even the supporting cast was great, which is fairly rare.  The music, the sets, the cloths, the odd futurism, the modern commentary, the casual coolness; it all works, it all shocks, and I’d watch it all again in a heartbeat.

My rating:  ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Damsel

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

Starring: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson

Year: 2018

Damsel DVDs are extremely cheap on Amazon right now, especially for a brand new movie, and there’s a reason.  Sometimes I see extremely overpriced movies that were awful and I think “dear god who’s paying that much”, and sometimes I see markdowns because it’s obvious that film is terrible and it’s like “oh yeah that makes sense”.  Damsel is an attempt at a comedic Western with an existential flare that fails when looked at from any angle, and especially when experienced firsthand.  I don’t exactly regret watching it, as bad as it was, because at the very least I can help people both make an important life decision and not waste their money.

Samuel Alabaster is bound and determined to marry the beautiful Penelope, and he’s gone to great lengths to make it happen.  He’s traveled far, made himself presentable, bought his bride-to-be a guitar as a wedding present, and is even accompanied by a miniature horse named Butterscotch because Penelope once told him that she thinks they’re cute.  Samuel hires a Parson, who isn’t really a Parson, tell him that his fiance has been kidnapped, which isn’t exactly true, and the pair of them head out through the western wilderness to save the day.  Only Samuel is an idiot, Penelope doesn’t need saved, and everyone’s probably going to die because some people only make bad life decisions.

Damsel is like all the worst parts of Buster Scruggs formed into a feature film, or perhaps The Sisters Brothers if the comedy had taken over the film itself and made the directors act instead of doing their jobs.  Oh wait; they chose to do that themselves, and David Zellner is the real star of the film, for some moronic, unknowable reason.  I really like Robert Pattinson, he’s extremely talented, but he isn’t the lead actor in this movie, that’s simply a trick to get us to watch, and it might be the most disappointing thing about this colossal disappointment of a film.  David’s brother Nathan joins in on the cluster, Wasikowska has perhaps never been worse or cast less appropriately, every joke appears dead on arrival, and the darkness that is supposed to offset it just seems juvenile and pitiful, never as deep and unique as was intended.  I can only imagine that Damsel was meant to be something completely different from what we just saw, because while I get that strange Westerns are in style right now, this could not have been the product meant to be delivered, unless someone has seriously bad taste.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Operation Finale

Category : Movie Review

Director: Chris Weitz

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Melanie Laurent

Year: 2018

Operation Finale is a new look at an old topic, but one that we never tire of examining.  I’m not sure how many years will have to pass before we forget the horrors of the Holocaust, hopefully we never do, because there is always something to learn, or more specifically, something to be reminded of.  It’s been said too many times that those who do not learn from the past are bound to repeat it, and that’s why we must always remember, study, and watch stories from this time period, so that it can never happen again.  So that those who would use hate as a weapon again will find their shells empty when they shoot, because we’ve taken away the power they once had.  Movies like this are important for that reason, so that we don’t forget.  And while not all can be as incredible or moving as Schindler’s List or The Pianist, each has a tale to tell, and that value is completely independent from the film’s quality.

In the years following WWII, many countries focused solely on recovery, while the people who lived through the worst of the war struggled to regain their sense of purpose after all they had been through and had lost.  In Israel, the Mossad received a tip about escaped Nazi Adolf Eichmann, that he was living comfortably in Argentina among allies.  Eichmann was monumental in carrying out the “Final Solution”, the master plan to eliminate the Jewish population.  To the Israeli people, his capture and trial would be a way to partially heal the open wound.  And so a tactical team was sent into Argentina to find Eichmann, capture him, and bring him out alive, all while keeping upmost secrecy.  Killing him would be too easy; forcing him to stand before the people he attempted to murder would be so much more impactful, with a hangman’s noose awaiting him after.

I just wanted to start the review out that way to make sure I was clear on that point; that no matter my opinion of the cinematic worth of movies, some simply have value based on what they’re trying to say, films like Operation Finale among them.  This is a true story, this means something, and we can’t let it become a faded memory of a past war that has nothing to do us, because that’s simply not true.  What the Nazis did impacted the world, and still does impact the world; the time to forget the tragedies because life is perfect now has not come, and let’s assume it never will.  Let’s assume we will always need fimmakers to remind us of what happened, and let’s hope they always have the strength to.  Operation Finale may not be the perfect vehicle, but what it’s carrying is precious.  It lumbers a little along the way; the side actors are fairly weak, especially Nick Kroll, the pacing is rather slow, especially when Isaac & Kingsley aren’t in the same room, and the overall feel is one of mediocrity, not uniqueness.  But the main actors are strong, the story is rich, the drama is high, there are positives to latch onto, and if all else fails remember the whole point, remember that this really happened, that justice is sometimes served.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Glass

Category : Movie Review

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson

Year: 2019

I was surprised when, at the end of Split (which you need to see before watching Glass, so please don’t read on if you haven’t; I won’t spoil Glass but Split is fair game), it was revealed that the story was connected to Unbreakable and that Shyamalan was creating a world, a universe, not just giving us another taste of his predictable unpredictability.  I didn’t see that coming, and although I always try not to guess his twists, because where’s the fun in that, this reveal caught me more off guard than any before, since I simply wasn’t looking in that direction at all.  Split was a return for the recently-maligned director, it seemed as if he was back from the dead, and the addition of a franchise element got us all very excited.  Too bad Glass is a letdown of epic proportions, a mishandled possibility that will make most audiences cringe with unfulfilled expectations.

So just to recap (and again spoilers galore if you somehow didn’t see the first two films), the world now has superheroes.  And supervillains, for that matter, but either way, it seems like superhumans are real, just like the comics told us they could be, and what’s left is to figure out how they fit into the collective existence of the rest of us.  David Dunn is extremely strong and can feel evildoers, so he’s become a vigilante called The Overseer.  Kevin Crumb escaped capture from the zoo at which he worked and in which he killed young girls, and his multiple personalities have morphed into The Horde.  And lastly, the genius with the brittle bones has been hospitalized in an asylum, this man who calls himself Mr. Glass.  The trio will meet and face off, with the fate of the world resting in their ultra-powerful hands.

I was as excited about where this series was going as the next guy, and I was doubly sure that Shyamalan was back with a vengeance, after some time away and some major mistakes.  It upsets me then that Glass feels like it was made in 5 minutes, when M. Night likes to tout that it’s been in the making for 19 years.  The concept is incredible; give us a taste of possible superpowers, let us forget that we ever experienced that, send us in another direction with a madman, bring it full circle, and lay down the final episode like dropping the mic.  It’s a phenomenal idea, and it worked at the beginning, even better in the middle, but sputtered at the end when a great finale was needed most.  Glass is a failure not because we didn’t care or weren’t ready, but because the director didn’t secure the ending with enough strength and it escaped his control, fluttering about in chaos while he tried to tell us what we were watching was what he had intended all along.

Rather obviously, something went wrong toward the end of the film.  All along the way there were down moments, boring parts, actors who couldn’t act, but we would have forgiven all had there been magic at the climax, had Dunn and Crumb and Glass delivered all the awesome promise that we were sold on.  But they didn’t, it didn’t come together, and there’s no one to blame but the filmmaker.  The climax, which is rather long, contained about a dozen characters, and Shyamalan forgot that they might all be doing something at one time.  He showed us one, then the other, then the other, but never together, as if he forgot that he should.  The result was a fight that tripped over itself the entire time, a clunky mishmash of cool ideas that only served to make the film feel like it was shot by a complete amateur.  And then there’s the twist, which was silly, and the writing, which was worse.  Willis, McAvoy, Jackson; they were perfect, couldn’t have asked for better.  But Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Shyamalan himself, the orderlies; they were all abysmal.  Anya Taylor-Joy might have been able to save the day had she been in the film more, but her character was a side note, and everything that made Split work was missing from its followup, resulting in a weak attempt at a genius idea that will go down as a stumble at the end of a relay that lost the championship for the runner you were rooting for all along.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Destroyer

Category : Movie Review

Director: Karyn Kusama

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Scoot McNairy

Tatiana Maslany, Toby Kebbell, James Jordan, Bradley Whitford

Year: 2018

Nicole Kidman’s transformation for Destroyer is being likened, or has been attempted to be likened by the studio, to Charlize Theron’s in Monster, so much so that a large portion of the movie is devoted to close-ups of Kidman’s uglified face to show off just how uglified they were able to make it, aren’t we all just so impressed.  That obvious ploy was so ridiculously featured that the entire film became a mockery of what others have done for their craft in the past, and for that I’ll never be able to like this project as much as, perhaps, I would have otherwise.  But there were other problems too, the film’s reliance on cosmetics wasn’t really its greatest flaw, in the end; it was riddled with bad choices which ultimately led to a movie that could have been so much more than it was.

L.A.’s Detective Bell has had a rough time of it, and it’s not about to get any easier.  Years ago, she and another agent were sent deep undercover to infiltrate a bank-robbing ring, and the relationships they made while imbedded have haunted their days since.  Bell had to stab a lot of people in the back after she pretended to be a hardcore criminal, and the ones that aren’t in prison aren’t too fond of their former mate.  A man named Silas, the leader, has come back all these years later for revenge, leaving Bell a body as a note to announce his arrival.  She’ll have to face her demons, walk through hell, and piss off the members of her former posse one by one to get to Silas and end this once and for all.

I was absolutely into Destroyer for the first half hour; it hooked me good.  Other than my annoyance that they kept zooming in on Kidman’s prosthetics, I was enjoying the story, it was cool to see flashbacks to her past as she tracked down each old buddy one at a time, and I liked where we were headed, it seemed like somewhere special.  But that’s where the excitement stopped, because Kusama didn’t know what to do with the buildup she had created once she created it.  There are two major death scenes that are pivotal to the plot, and they were both thrown away like nothing; a major mistake.  There went all the drama, there went the reason I was watching, because it wasn’t solely for Kidman; she was good but not great.  I was watching because I was curious, and although the twists and turns along the way had me surprised, it wasn’t enough, I needed more talent from the director, and it wasn’t on hand.  Kidman, Stan, McNairy, Maslany, Jordan, Whitford; they all did a fine job, but in tiny chunks, never shining out, because they were never allowed to, and Kebbell was awful, I don’t understand why he was cast, someone failed to do their job on that one.  Destroyer lures you in but never hits you over the head; it just startles you enough to stay partially interested without finishing the deed.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Shame

Category : Movie Review

Director: Steve McQueen

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carrie Mulligan

Year: 2011

I’m a big fan of Steve McQueen’s work: Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave, Widows.  That’s his complete filmography in 10 years, except for a ton of shorts, and I really respect that he puts time into his projects, time to get them right and deliver them the way he envisioned.  And he likes Michael Fassbender, casts him regularly, which is genius in my book, since Fass in one of a goddam kind.  Shame was the only McQueen movie I hadn’t seen, so I was prepared to like it as much as the others, even more perhaps, since it was so provocative and pushy, and that sounded like something I would enjoy.  But I was disappointed when it was nothing revelatory at all, just a recycling of old ideas and an overuse of sex, a film that felt forced from the very beginning and never found any traction along the way.

Brandon, an Irish-born New Yorker, lives alone, works hard, plays harder, makes money, and spends it on hookers.  Sex is something he controls and obsesses about, hiring call girls, paying cam girls, masturbating in the men’s room, and screwing strangers, all as acts of compulsion, not pleasure.  He can’t create real relationships, he wouldn’t even know how to start, and feels much safer, if severely depressed, watching porn alone in his luxury apartment.  When his sister, a lounge singer, crashes at his pad after a bad breakup, his routines and fetishes are disrupted enough to send him spiraling even further down the rabbit hole.  She’s spiraling as well and needs his help, but he’s in no position to give it, as he can’t even make it through the day without doing something he finds filthy and detestable and sad.

Yeah, that’s the gist of it, and it’s about as low as you can go.  I’m fine with heavy plots, but this is a weighty one, a story that will sink you down to the bottom as you drown along with the main character.  Brandon is messed up, unhappy, and it’s not even the weird ways he gets off that are upsetting, it’s how disconnected from feeling anything that he’s made himself, that’s the real bummer.  Fassbender plays the part well, Mulligan steps in nicely too, they aren’t the problem; the trouble is that McQueen let loose a virus and never could rein it safely back in.  The sex is ridiculously over-the-top, to the point that you lose focus on the reason it’s so prevalent, the reason why it’s a staple of the film.  It’s simply freed wildly without control, from watching Brandon pee to watching a random woman hook up her bra.  And that’s the next big problem; the unnecessarily long delays.  I get what McQueen was going for, but the shots lasted forever and showed us nothing, and I just wanted to turn the TV off by the end of most of them.  Shame is full of big ideas and high drama, but it feels forced and old and not special, making little impact when it was obviously trying to be an NC-17 spectacle that got everyone talking.  It failed in that regard, simply because it ran amok through hell instead of giving us small tastes, and we can only take so much.

My rating: ☆ ☆