The 3-D movie “Hugo” based on a children’s book and directed by one of my idols, Martin Scorsese, is now nominated for 11 Oscars. So, I recently went to see it, of course.
I thought it was a true masterpiece, in terms of its looks (superb lighting, cinematography, use of 3-D and other digital effects). How about its writing, acting, directing, editing? you might ask. Well, I can tell you, its a true masterpiece in terms of its looks!
I’m told that the story has a nice, touching ending, too. Only if I could stay awake to see it. Kids, in the audience? After 20 minutes, they all stumbled out of the theater, yawning and whining; you know how kids can get cranky for no reason.
I recently watched Scorsese deliver his acceptance speech as the “Best Director” for “Hugo” at the Golden Globes. The maestro explained that he made the movie because his wife had said “Why don’t you make a film our (12 year old) daughter can see, for once?”. Well, I guess this is what happens when an artistic genius decides to listen to his sweet and loving family rather than to his own inner-voice, delightfully dark and disturbed, just like we’d come to love and expect it. Now, I’ll be watching, for the umpteenth time, “Mean Streets”, “Raging Bull”, “Taxi Driver” or even “Goodfellas”, to regain my respect for the maestro. It won’t take me too long.
Speaking of dark and disturbed, “Shame” is a cutting-edge, well-made movie, directed by the talented newcomer Steve McQueen from Britain. Michael Fassbender does an excellent job playing the lead, a “sex-addict” living in Manhattan. Its a subtle but very layered and brave performance. Please go see it, yet consider yourself warned, this movie is not for the faint-hearted or Regan-Republicans (though, I suspect, Gingrich & Cain would love it, without admitting to it).
Now, onto the name and some whining of my own:
They named the movie “Shame”, I’m guessing, because its a catchy one-word, while risking the outcome that the audiences would now expect this name to reflect, at least to a degree, how the protagonist/male-lead feels. Yet, throughout his whole performance, Fassbender shows no sign of being ashamed at all (in full accordance with the script). He portrays boredom and depression, though. The man looks like a Greek God; has a great job in finance; plenty of ladies on the side, and an occasional gentleman, too. No wonder he would be bored and depressed, who wouldn’t?
In addition to having non-stop sex with all sorts of strangers, Mr. Fassbender spanks the monkey so often that, rumor has it, the producers were unable to claim “No animals were hurt during the making of this movie”. Whether unsuspecting audiences are being hurt is another matter.
Fassbender is also very good in “A Dangerous Method“, playing another idol of mine, the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung. No monkey business there, but this time Fassbender spanks Keira Knightley often (literally, as part of her therapy; she’s a patient of his, with severe daddy-problems, you see).
According to John Kerr who’s book the screenplay was based on, Jung’s inappropriate involvement with this particular patient is what put a permanent wedge between him and his mentor Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. Who knew? Upon finding out this novel reinterpretation of history, a Freudian psychoanalyst friend of mine burst out: “John Kerr should be spanked for this!” Apparently, spanking is quite popular among mental-health-care providers, old and new. I did not know that…
Meanwhile, back on planet earth, Fassbender is one up-and-coming actor, no doubt about it. Lets keep watching him as he conquers planet Hollywood soon, what choice do we have? Or him, for that matter.