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.