Have you ever thought to yourself, “Gee, I wish there were something else for me to do at 6:30 on a Friday night besides talk to my friends and get prematurely drunk?” Yeah, none of my friends have either, which is why I saw The Master alone Friday night. But before you get too upset and start rushing out to the Bookstore to get me a sympathy card, don’t worry: it was awesome. If you’re looking to procrastinate in a more productive way than by teaching yourself yo-yo tricks and watching live baseball streams (maybe those are just me, actually), then head down to the Avon this week and catch The Master. You won’t be disappointed (unless you are, in which case don’t hold me accountable, you ungrateful bastard).
So, what is The Master about? It’s about a lot of things: how weird Scientology (or actually “The Cause,” but we all know what’s really going on here) is; how it might be a fun idea to test how many close-ups of Joaquim Phoenix’s face can be shown in one feature-length film without alienating the entire audience; how director Paul Thomas Anderson really wants an Oscar; how you, the audience member, are clearly not intelligent enough to fully understand the remarkable, important messages at play here. Mostly that last one, actually–this is clearly a film where you realize that there is a life-changing, maybe universe-altering revelation hidden somewhere deep inside, but your puny little brain just isn’t cultured enough to see it.
There is no shame in having sex, watching porn, and masturbating. Watch out, Department of Gender Studies: Shame, directed by Steve McQueen, is challenging these assumptions. Shame, written by McQueen and Abi Morgan, is an unconventional film that tells the story of the sex-addicted Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender). The film questions the value of emotionless sex and considers where the line between addiction and preference should be drawn.
This is the second joint project of Fassbender, McQueen, and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt. Their first film, Hunger, is equally worth watching. McQueen’s films are more art than anything else — he takes uncomfortable subject matter and displays it in such a beautiful and composed manner that the audience questions the assumed negativity of the film’s content. Cinematographer Bobbitt helps McQueen to achieve this end: Shame is visually stunning. Bobbitt keeps the film in a constant white and blue color palette that expertly contrasts with the emotional ending scenes of the film. McQueen was originally a film installation artist, and his films constantly push the boundaries of traditional film narrative.
Either you’ve been living under a rock all break, or you’ve heard that there’s a black and white movie out there that is actually entertaining. This silent film is making a lot of noise as Oscar Night approaches. The Artist is the first English film by French writer/director Michel Hazanavicius and is nominated for 10 Oscars – including Best Picture. The Artist alreadywon the Golden Globe; can they do it again? Scoring a staggering 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, this may be the best film The Avon shows all semester. Nothing feels more vintage than sitting in an old style theater, eating popcorn and watching a silent film. Sounds like hipsta-heaven to me.
After a seemingly endless Crazy Heart run and a brief Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and Fish Tank run at the Avon, The Last Station began showing at Thayer’s famed movie theater this week. The Last Station tells the story of Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s last year alive. The film is an Oscar nominee twice over: Helen Mirren gained a Best Actress nod for her role as Sofya Tolstoy and Christopher Plummer received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor (his first Oscar nomination ever) for his role as Leo Tolstoy.
The Last Station is an actor’s movie. While it lacks the drama of The Hurt Locker, the wit of Up in the Air, or the visual awe of Avatar, the real value of this movie lies in the captivating and emotional performances. I would liken this one to a film along the lines of The Queen: its an awards contender and critically acclaimed but it will probably not be being discussed and watched for generations.
All things considered, give this movie a shot and check it out. If you don’t like it, at least you can tell your friends you saw it when you are watching the Oscars this Sunday. You’ll seem really cool and intellectual.
Event: Into the Grind(s)
Location: The Underground
Time: 5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.
“Come sample coffee varieties from around the world and learn about different brewing techniques and blends in the Underground Coffee Co.” This event is totally free and will feature informational sessions on brewing techniques at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 1
Event: UCS Open Forum
Location: Salomon 001
Time: 8:00 p.m.
The Undergraduate Council of Students will be moderating a forum on the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The event will include both an overview of the plan and a Q&A with the following administrators: Rick Locke, Maud Mandel, Liza Cariaga-Lo, Mary Grace Almandrez, & Janet Blume.
Wednesday, December 2
Event: In Transition: A Thayer Street Pop-Up Exhibition
Location: 271 Thayer Street (Where City Sports used to be)
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Come to the unveiling of this exhibition about Providence’s street art scene. Sponsored by Artbeat, this event will feature artists from the community.