I'm teased into a genuine smile in noticing your return. Your wall posts are like snail-mail letters, modest and personal. Your forum post yesterday was the first you've made in years. You're much appreciated!
I'm trying to rate every film I watch for awhile on a daily basis, for practice mainly I guess. I'm playing hooky slightly from my book but it's going well and nearly finished, so I guess I'm allowed. :p
"Zero Dark Thirty"... Bigelow has her epic moves down cold, at 2 and a half hours this galloped along like a thoroughbred. And it took some smarts to tell this multi-lingual, multi-nation story with the kind of density that this film has, it is entertaining without being at all "dumbed down." However, the politics are extremely muddled, and the Jessica Chastain role sometimes verges on being like the kid in The Tin Drum, a safe harbor for sympathies in an unredeemable world. She's one ball buster and at the same time we never feel like she's much more than a determined clerk. The best thing about this movie is not the climactic action scene, which is way darker than thirty and impossible to make out, but the way the entire CIA seems to be embroiled in banal office politics and people who just want to squeak through to the next promotion. It's telling that the Arab characters come off more honest and alive than the Americans. And why on earth Bigelow deprived Chastain's character of her moment of the triumph at the end, and instead of having her announce proudly "Take me to Washington" as she boards the private Air Force jet, just has her stare at the camera and cry, proves that exorcisms like this demand a certain all-out hokeyness at least here and there. Hey, maybe Bigelow *doesn't* have her epic moves down cold.
So, "Shame" ... This is an excellent film, a slow-burn examination of damaged goods that benefits from McQueen's "focused misdirection" and especially from Michael Fassbender's committed performance. At first I thought Fassbender was trying to "do" Jeremy Irons, and I thought, Wow, this movie needs Jeremy Irons, but by the end I was convinced that Fassbender has it in him to become the current equivalent of Irons. At times this reminded me of Mike Figgis at his most spellbinding and deliriously erotic, sort of a Figgis who has traded in jazz for new age classical, and though normally I would regard that as a step down, this had me going. Hint: this film can't be grasped through rational analysis of behavior, motives, etc.