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REVIEW: A Dangerous Method

January 24, 2012 1 comment
Keira Knightley in A Dangerous Method

She gets spanked by Magneto. Not as hot as it sounds.

In my review, kinda, of Beastly, I said there was a movie coming out this year that I couldn’t wait to see called Antiviral, as directed by a first-timer called Brandon Cronenberg. I also said that Brandon Cronenberg was the son of Canadian director David Cronenberg, who–when he was younger–had cinematic balls the size of boulders. All I have to tell you about the risks this man took is the image of James Woods pushing a betamax tape into his chest-vagina in Videodrome. This was a man who did not care less about being polite or conservative or conventional. And as Tarantino doesn’t want to happen to him, around middle age, Cronenberg the elder started reining all of that in. Either because he discovered maturity or had a family or just wanted to start being recognized for all of the courage he’d had earlier, his movies started being more about families dealing with true-to-life horrors than about Jeff Goldblum turning into a half-fly/half-human horror. He also started casting Viggo Mortensen in everything, but I think that was coincidental and a product of a good working relationship.

And so, in the Oscarbaiting twilight of his career, we have A Dangerous Method, the second movie this year wherein Michael Fassbender is compelled to have deviant sex. Only this time, instead of being a twenty-first century young man, he’s Carl Jung, the psychologist responsible for pretty much all of modern theory (statement not intended to be factual). One of his patients, later friend/mistress and fellow frontal lobe pioneer is Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a woman who–as a child–was sexually excited by her father’s beatings and the feelings of shame they aroused. To deal with this patient, Jung applies Freud’s theory of talk therapy. Of course, to make sure he’s doing it right, he writes to Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) personally, having him weigh in on all of his problems and discussing the issues in the field of psychology for hours on end. Read more…

REVIEW: Shame

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment
Michael Fassbender in Shame

Michael Fassbender's penis, the movie.

Shame was the other movie I saw yesterday at the most empty and dreary multiplex I’ve ever visited. Let me tell you, I drove a half hour into the depths of industrial nowhere to see these two movies because that was the only place they were being exhibited and if they’d been playing closer to home, I would’ve seen them already. Probably in a theater as full as the one out in Oakville. It’s the end of cinema, delivered to you by a Canadian theater monopoly and the disappearance of the local movie critic. But that isn’t what we’re here to talk about today, we’re here to talk about Shame, the new movie from director Steve McQueen that I’ve been told is one of the best movies I’ll see this year. Certainly the furthest pushing and most transgressive and entirely deserving of its NC-17 rating.

I’ve been told a lot about this movie, and it certainly lived up to its reputation as awkward, brilliant, minimalist, overlong, improvised and awkward. Very awkward. I was also told that I would see Michael Fassbender’s penis. Let it be known, if you have any reservations whatsoever about seeing Michael Fassbender’s penis, you should not see this movie. And I probably should have warned my girlfriend about the fact that she would be seeing Michael Fassbender’s penis. Michael Fassbender, you see, plays Brandon: a young Irish man who has carefully set up his life to support his crippling sex addiction without ever having to feel personally accountable for it. Without having to feel the shame. Read more…