Shame

The Reject Report

Out of all the family movies that were marketed towards reuniting families across America this weekend, and it’s the Twilight movie that came out on top once again. I can’t say I’m shocked, though. Only in its second weekend, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 dropped 69.8% from three-day weekend to three-day weekend. But its take last weekend was so huge that hardly any film could compete with it, even with such a massive drop. That level of drop wasn’t a shocker, either, seeing as how New Moon dropped 70% upon its release in November of 2009. As it stands, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is still in third place among overall domestic gross for the Twilight franchise, ahead of the first film and about $80m away from either New Moon or Eclipse. With a reported budget of $110 – nearly double the cost of Eclipse, the second most expensive film in the series – you would think Summit Entertainment is thankful that the series is headed towards its end. Still, you have to look at worldwide box office, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is running smoothly with $488.8m overall. It’s still a solid investment, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will only be putting more and more dollars in Summit’s coffers. The Muppets had fine footing over the weekend, too, even better when you factor in their 5-day total. It’s not quite the $65.2m The Muppet Movie pulled in total domestic in 1979. Of course, with inflation adjustment, The Muppet […]

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President Obama and Bill Murray

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a silly little thing. Just a thing that some people read. Nothing special, really, just the world’s foremost late-night independent movie news and editorial round-up. You know, the usual. We begin tonight with a picture of President Obama and Bill Murray meeting at the Towson v. Oregon State basketball game this past weekend. I wonder if the Prez got a chance to grill him about all the recent Ghostbusters 3 rumors. We’ve already submitted a formal inquiry to the White House, with no response as of time of our publishing deadline.

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Much ado has been made about the nudity and explicit sexual content in director Steve McQueen’s upcoming drama Shame. In it, Michael Fassbender plays a compulsive sex addict whose routine of perversion is interrupted when his flighty younger sister (Carey Mulligan) comes calling and crashes at his apartment for a few weeks, and the results are both a little titillating and a little repulsive. That’s understandable and everything, but the thing is, in all of the whispering and hullaballoo about wieners and boobs, I haven’t seen much reported about the fact that Mulligan shows off some of her talent for singing in this film. Which is a shame (pun acknowledged), because not only is she pretty good, but the scene where she performs “New York, New York” kind of becomes a huge moment in the film. Sorry to disappoint the pervs out there, but Shame isn’t all about sex stuff. So, while I have enjoyed the marketing for this film so far, this second full-length trailer played to me like a breath of fresh air. We get a lot of the same images from the first trailer, but this time they take on a whole other tone because Mulligan’s singing is playing over them. And then, once we’ve run through the already familiar images, the trailer ends with a scene of Mulligan finishing her performance, and her and Fassbender sharing a look. What’s really going through the heads of these two basketcases? You’ll have to check out the movie to […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that isn’t holding out hope that it will be chosen to host the 84th Academy Awards. It has never had a good working relationship with Brian Grazer. Earlier today the entire film world was talking about Brett Ratner’s departure as producer of the Oscars because of a whole bunch of controversy over some comments he made that offended fans of rehearsals. Everyone wanted him out, and they got it. The also got the bonus of Eddie Murphy jumping ship as host, two-for-one discount style. And now they’re getting something else, which might be seen as a bonus. The Academy confirmed this evening via a press release that Brian Grazer will produce the 84th Academy Awards telecast. The odds on Tom Hanks hosting just went through the roof.

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Steve McQueen is not the first established director to get the bug to direct a highly sexual film for adults, and he certainly won’t be the last. Sadly, most directors who have actually made bold films about sexuality ended up with sub-par movies. Verhoeven’s Showgirls is a punch-line, Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut is an interesting mess, and Cronenberg’s Crash is maybe the best example of these experiments. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Lars Von Trier do an adult film in the next few years; he’s already expressed interest in the subject. While McQueen’s Shame does a lot of things right, it stumbles just before the finish line. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a normal guy. He goes to work, goes out for drinks with co-workers, goes home. But every waking moment he has is devoted to sex. Thinking about it, watching it, paying for it, sex pervades his every thought. This goes beyond the normal human desire for and fascination with sex and actually consumes his life. When his sister, Cissy (Carey Mulligan), shows up for an unannounced and open-ended visit, it puts a cramp in his style. His normal evenings of watching porn, paying for webcams, and inviting prostitutes over don’t really work with his sister sleeping on the couch. Then he gets in hot water with his boss when IT checks his work computer and finds all kinds of pornography filling his hard drive. But he can’t stop. His is a true addiction and Brandon can’t stop himself.

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If you’ve been paying as much attention to the lineup for this year’s AFI FEST as the rest of us Rejects (read: quite a bit), you’ve surely noticed that the festival’s programming is packed with a number of films that have played some of the year’s biggest festivals. If you’re in Southern California, the Hollywood-based (and free) film festival will give you a chance to check out the same films that played at Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, New York, Fantastic Fest, Sundance, London, and more. It’s like traveling without leaving your own area code, or spending the cold, hard cash it would take to fly halfway around the world. Sounds pretty simple now, huh, shut-in? AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available right HERE). The complete schedule grid is online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, check out 22 festival favorites (and a sampling of some of the other festivals they’ve played) that you may have missed throughout the year. Not sure if they’re worthy of clearing your AFI FEST schedule for? I’ve linked to all of our previous coverage, too, so you really have no excuse.

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The sweat is from all the running Michael Fassbender‘s character seems to be doing, and the prestige is from the plastering of Award Wins all over a crisp trailer for Steve McQueen‘s Shame that takes its own time in telling a story. It’s rare that a trailer doesn’t just vomit out story points into our eyeballs, but this one is a symphony of short-form movie advertising. It’s quiet almost in purposeful contrast to the NC-17 rating emblazoned on the first few frames, and it slowly reveals Fassbender’s character as a high class hound dog with massive emotional issues. Check it out for yourself:

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Earlier this morning, my partner in LA film festival crime, the lovely Ms. Allison Loring, posted her list of Most Anticipated Films from this year’s upcoming AFI FEST presented by Audi. Of course, many of our choices overlap (Shame, Butter, Rampart), but we part ways when it comes to some of the smaller films at the festival. For all the big, Oscar bait flicks (J. Edgar) or the wang- and soul-baring Fass-outings (Shame again, always Shame), there are a few films that I’ve been positively rabid to see (Alps, Michael) that might not yet have the cache value and audience awareness of those other films. From the festival’s incredible list of 110 films, I’ve narrowed down my list to ten films that are my bonafide Most Anticipated Films of the festival. Like any list, I am sure that some of you perusing it will be displeased, weighing in on titles I’m a fool to miss. But hold your wrath for a few days, because many of the best titles of the fest are ones I’ve already seen, and those films might just crop up in an unexpected place (like, oh, another list). AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, […]

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With AFI FEST presented by Audi just one week away, fellow FSR-er and AFI FEST attendee Kate Erbland and I went through the impressive list of films on the schedule and selected the ones we are most looking forward to seeing. To the credit of those putting together this year’s AFI FEST, I found myself practically highlighting the entire schedule grid as I saw film after film that had already been on my “to-see” list. From films I have been anticipating for the past few months (Shame) to ones I had not heard of until now (Butter), this year’s AFI FEST looks to be one of its strongest lineups yet. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, check out my list of my top ten most anticipated films of this year’s AFI FEST. Which films are you planning on seeing at this year’s AFI FEST?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that brings life to the otherwise gray twilight of your day. It brings color where boredom once lived. Because what the hell else are you going to do before bed, read a book? Ballderdash! We begin tonight with something not exactly news, but equally as important. Above you will see a new product that ThinkGeek will release in 2012 called the IRIS 9000 voice control module for iPhone and Siri. It’s exactly what you might think, an iPhone dock that allows you to interact with Siri as if she were HAL 9000. It is perhaps the new holy grail of nerd things. And if you’re a member of the FSR staff still looking for a gift for your favorite boss, I will accept a pre-order of this item as an acceptable gift. Seriously, get on that. There’s even a video, which I’ve included after the jump.

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It looks like Brad Pitt will not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk in Steve McQueen’s next project Twelve Years a Slave. Pitt is producing the film through his production company, Plan B, and has reportedly worked on developing the project for a number of years, but now word is out that it won’t be just Pitt the producer showing up for filming, but also Pitt the actor. A small item in Screen Daily announcing the addition of River Road Entertainment as producers and financiers, along with the news that Summit International will handle sales of the film at the upcoming American Film Market, also included a cast listing for the project. That list included McQueen’s contestant star, Michael Fassbender, along with the already-announced Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Pitt himself. The Playlist went ahead and confirmed the casting with Plan B, who would only confirm that bit of news, but would give no further details. McQueen and John Ridley have adapted their script from the 1853 autobiography written by Solomon Northup, an African-American man who was born free and later abducted into slavery. Northup had an entire life in his native New York (complete with an education, a musical background, a wife, and three children) when he went to Washington in 1841 under the pretense of a job offer to play fiddle in a traveling circus. Once there, he was kidnapped and drugged. He was then sold into slavery and, for the next twelve years, was shuttled between owners and subjected to brutal […]

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Feel free to stand up from your seat and slow clap while loved ones and strangers stare, because one studio has decided to slap the stigma of the NC-17 rating right in its moronic little face. As we all know, that stupidity is two-fold. The first is in its existence in the first place. A betting man or woman could win easy money that most don’t even know that the NC stands for No One 17 and Under Admitted (because there’s a confusing C in there), but it might as well just stand for No Children. There’s an absurdly thin line between R and NC-17 that becomes all the more apparent when you hear a screaming 4-year-old in the theater where Jason Statham is beating a dude to death on screen before banging down Amy Smart’s doors. Come to think of it, the No Children of NC sounds pretty good in those cases. The second part of the stupidity surrounding the rating (which inherited its bad reputation from the X rating that it morphed into), is in the connotation that some doomed by Puritanical high horsemanship slather onto it. Yes, NC-17 means adult, but there’s also nothing wrong with making a film for an adult audience. Those that don’t think so, aren’t adults.  In a way, the rating’s reputation does a small service in weeding out those too emotionally, psychologically or sexually infantile to handle a solid adult drama (no matter their age). Sadly, that small service is a life […]

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A week ago, when I reported on Joel and Ethan Coen’s new movie Inside Llewyn Davis picking up Oscar Isaac as its leading man, I opined that further casting news would probably be coming soon. The Coens’ new film is about a folk singer coming up in the Greenwich Village scene, and it’s loosely based off the life of Dave Van Rank, so it’s going to be necessary for the brotherly team to cast actors as stand-in characters for all of Van Rank’s musician friends. Well, a week later the brothers have signed up their first, and this one is a doozy. According to Variety, Carey Mulligan has signed on to play the female lead opposite Isaac. Despite my conclusion-jumping that most of the characters in this film will be musicians of some sort, there isn’t actually any confirmation that the character Mulligan will be playing will be musically inclined at all. Variety is correct to point out that the actress has the chops to pull some musical numbers off if she has to, however. She plays a singer in director Steve McQueen’s upcoming sex addiction drama Shame and really knocks her singing scene out of the park in that film. It’s maybe the most crucial scene of the film, and Mulligan rises to the occasion admirably.

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As it turns out, I’ve been slightly remiss when it comes to praising this year’s 25th edition of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. I’ve tossed off comments about how the festival gets better with every passing year, but in the wake of today’s announcement of the festival’s Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings, I’ve realized that I have not gone far enough. AFI FEST has not just gotten better this year, the festival has made a dramatic jump to top-tier status, rolling out titles that play like a cinephile’s Christmas list for 2011. Today’s lineup announcement is essentially a “best-of” list of this year’s festival favorites, including Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Artist, Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Oren Moverman‘s Rampart, Lynne Ramsay‘s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage, Simon Curtis‘s My Week with Marilyn, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala, and Wim Wenders‘s Pina. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list, including descriptions and showtimes, of the films to be featured as AFI FEST Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings.

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Director Steve McQueen’s second collaboration with his Hunger star Michael Fassbender, Shame, has been getting almost universally effusive praise as it’s made its way through the recent festival circuit (Venice, Toronto). The film sees Fassbender as Gothamite Brandon, a sex addict who uses his very apparent addiction to keep emotions at arms’ length. Brandon’s tenuous lifestyle is thrown for a loop when his younger sister (Carey Mulligan), who is just as damaged as him (though perhaps in different ways), shows up to live with him. For all the chatter we’ve heard about the film (and, in particular, Fassbender’s very naked in every sense of the word performance), we’ve yet to see a trailer until today. The film itself is laced through with all manner of explicit and deviant sex acts, complete with plenty of nudity from its cast, but the first trailer for the film doesn’t capitalize on that aspect. Instead, it cuts together the different pieces of Brandon’s life, from his late night runs to his constantly leering eye, and it’s quite competent at showing a man whose multi-faceted appearance is really all in service to his carnal desires. Put on some protection (from the elements! for the running! obviously!) and check out the first (mostly SFW) trailer for Shame after the break.

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Steve McQueen is a proven visual artist and up and coming film director who I’m keeping my eye on very closely. So far he’s made two very challenging, and very rewarding films. The first was called Hunger, and it was about the famous 1981 IRA hunger strikes in a Northern Ireland prison. The second is a forthcoming feature called Shame, and it’s a very frank look at the life of a man who suffers from sexual compulsion. Both films are visually beautiful, experimental in their approach to filmmaking, and starring Michael Fassbender. I would highly recommend checking them out. It’s already been reported that McQueen’s next film will be a telling of the life of Solomon Northrup called 12 Years a Slave, and that Chiwetel Ejiofor will be starring. Northrup was a free man kidnapped from Washington in 1841 and forced into slavery for twelve years until he was rescued from a Louisiana plantation in 1853. The film will be based off his biography of the same name. The new information being reported about the film is that Fassbender has signed on to the cast as well, re-teaming him with McQueen for the third time. There isn’t any word on who Fassbender will be playing, but that doesn’t really matter. Any word of Fassbender and McQueen working together is big news in my book, no matter what the project. While McQueen is one of the directors who I’m very excited to watch develop over the next few years, Fassbender is […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the movie website equivalent of stuffing a turkey with three chickens and an eel. News of all shapes and sizes finds itself among some strange bedfellows here even if you can’t sleep. We get things started with a metric ton of images and information about The Muppets. If you’re willing to brave the spoilers, /film has everything from character descriptions to photos to trivia. Or, you can let the burning questions wash over you. Why is Kermit behind bars? Does it have anything to do with inter-species sex laws? Why wouldn’t it?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s nothing more than a nightly film news column that keeps fighting the good fight. The one that celebrates movies, good, bad and otherwise interesting, and is generally optimistic. It doesn’t attack other websites that smear its name. Though if /Film’s Page 2 keeps mean-mugging it, that bitch is gonna get smacked. That’s how we settle things in the streets. As you are about to see, this week’s final News After Dark edition comes on a very slow news night. So it’s all posters, future Blu-rays and articles I found interesting. Including this AV Club Q&A about first R-rated movies. Like AV’s Josh Modell, I’m fairly certain — almost completely certain — that my first R-rated film was The Blues Brothers, a film that has remained part of my beating, movie-loving heart ever since. What was your first R-rated movie? Feel free to let me know in the comment area below and we’ll have some fun discussing. Or not, whatever. I see how it is.

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This weekend’s 38th annual Telluride Film Festival has just announced their slate, including a number of buzzed-about titles from the likes of Cronenberg, Payne, Ramsay, Kaurismäki, Scorsese, Herzog, and McQueen. Telluride differs from other film festivals by keeping mum on its lineup until the day before the festival opens, though speculation runs high in the weeks before opening, with a bevy of well-educated guesses often revealing the festival’s top picks well in advance (an example from this year would be We Need to Talk About Kevin, as star Tilda Swinton is a consistent Telluride favorite). The festival will continue to announce additions to its lineup throughout its run. The festival seems to have a taken a number of cues from Cannes and Venice, with Cannes picks The Artist, Le Havre, Footnote, The Kid with a Bike, Bonsai, and We Need to Talk About Kevin showing, along with Venice films A Dangerous Method and Shame. The festival also announced that they will be bestowing the Silver Medallion Awards (which “recognize an artist’s contribution to the world of cinema”) to George Clooney (starring in The Descendants at the festival), Swinton, and French filmmaker-actor Pierre Etaix. The festival runs this weekend, from September 2 through September 5. Check out the full lineup for the festival’s main program, which also includes Albert Nobbs, Living in the Material World, and The Tuirn Horse, after the break.

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Visual artist turned visual artist who directs feature films Steve McQueen turned a lot of heads with his 2008 feature debut Hunger. It was a visual experience chock full of beautiful photography, great performances, and experimental filmmaking. His second film Shame, which stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and supposedly explores sexuality and human nature, is getting ready to debut in Toronto and Venice come their September film festivals. Before we even get a chance to take in that film, however, comes word of what McQueen plans to work on next.

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