Michael Fassbender Hub

Movies: "Shame" and The Awards Season Kick-Off

Michael Fassbender empties out in "Shame"

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

This time of year I am inundated with awards screeners. Studios send them out to awards voters hoping their films will be considered "Best". The disc for SHAME, a haunting NYC-set sexual addiction drama which opened yesterday in select theaters came in a minimalist pure white sleeve with only the title and a barely visible "for your consideration" adorning it. It's as naked as Michael Fassbender's star turn. Though I'd seen the film just two months ago, I popped it in the player hoping to let its riveting images and mesmerizing rhythms wash over me as I wrote a review. Instead the screen stayed black. The depressing message "Skipping Over Damaged Area" was all my DVD player would show me.

If one were to skip past the damaged, in a figurative sense, one would have to skip the entire film. Brandon (Fassbender) is a compulsive sex addict who lives in a pristine, virtually empty apartment and works in an equally characterless office. It's a smart bit of art direction as there's room for nothing in his life but sex. His answering machine, which we hear on loop in a ritualistic opening sequence, is filled with come-ons. His bed is only empty if he's out looking for someone to put in it. His computer is overflowing with porn ("your hard drive is filthy" his friend and boss remarks with amusement and whiff of judgmental incredulity). Just as we've become acquainted with Brandon's obsessive routines they're thrown off their usual course by a visit from his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan). Her brother may come across like a numb sex zombie, but she's a livewire, a needy open wound.

MORE, including the first cries of "Best!" for Awards Season, AFTER THE JUMP...


Sissy: I'm trying to help you?
Brandon: How are you helping me? You come in here and you're a weight on me.

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Michael Fassbender Finds No Shame in Going Full Frontal: VIDEO


Michael Fassbender (seen above as GQ's 'Breakout Man of the Year') talks to HuffPo about his full frontal scene in Shame, in which he portrays a sex addict, and which begins "begins with the actor naked and laid out on post-sex bedsheets like a strip of raw bacon," according to GQ.

Unfortunately, thanks to a very un-erotic full-frontal scene, the MPAA slapped the film with an NC-17, a rare label that effectively works as a muzzle, given that most theaters don't carry films with that rating. That concerns Fassbender, he says, because it's "a serious film that deserves to be treated as such." He also finds the whole controversy a bit silly.

"Half of us have a penis and the other half have probably seen one, and so why should it be more normal to, like, chop people's heads off and shoot people? Does that mean that that's more acceptable or closer to us as human beings?"

Check out a behind-the-scenes interview with Fassbender for GQ, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Movies: Ryan, Hugh, Armie and Other Prince Charmings

Gosling Leads The Next Wave

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

This weekend it's raining men in the nation's movie theaters, hugely famous men at that. Hugh Jackman headlines the kid-friendly REAL STEEL which I just heard described as "Rock Em Sock Em Robot: The Movie" but which I've been calling Boxes With Robots simply because it's hilarious to pretend its a three hour Oscar bait epic. Hopefully Hugh Jackman feels he's sufficiently filled up his bank accounts and he can get back to rewarding but less lucrative work starring in musicals where we belongs. Elsewhere in theaters political whiz kid Ryan Gosling faces down a very Presidential George Clooney in THE IDES OF MARCH, which is one to watch for the upcoming Oscar race. The Ides of March takes us behind the scenes at a fictional (fictionalized?) Democratic primary. Ryan Gosling leads the cast as a coveted game piece on the political chess board who finds himself deeper and deeper in dirty dirty politics with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and George Clooney all vying for his soul... or at least his spin.

Those are the newbies this weekend but elsewhere in movie theaters Brad Pitt is still playing Moneyball (excellent film) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is battling cancer in 50/50 (reviewed) while the trailer for Clint Eastwood's biopic J. Edgar (with Leo & Armie) keeps playing and Michael Fassbender keeps dominating the arthouse and festival conversation with sexually provocative dramas (A Dangerous Method, Shame). So essentially the current movie landscape is a snapshot of Hollywood's male movie star hierarchy with household name male stars (Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio) and the next wave (Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Armie Hammer, Michael Fassbender) who hope to replace them in the collective imagination of moviegoers.

Of course that's an incomplete picture just like this brand new shot of Armie Hammer as Prince Charming in one of two upcoming Snow White pictures.

A full picture AFTER THE JUMP... 


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Movies: Warrior, Contagion, Shame, and Festival Oscar Buzz

 Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are loving brothers at war in "Warrior"

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

, a sure to be crowd-pleaser features two down-and-out bruiser brothers (Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy) and their alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) all preparing for an Ultimate Fighting challenge with a $5 miilion purse. It's exactly the kind of movie you're expecting it to be. As the film begins there's Springsteen-like (Springsteen-lite?) warbling on the soundtrack and the palette's chief color, blueish gray, is smeared all over the screen. This is all handy shorthand for weary/bruised manly-man working class drama. Warrior wants you to feel as comfortable in your theater seat as you might on your couch as it works, sweats and trains towards its predictable but appropriately rousing conclusion. Which is not to say that Warrior isn't any good… just that it's both confident and content with its big meaty grip on the super familiar genre it belongs to and adores. The director Gavin O'Connor has been here before with the hockey centered Miracle (2004).

The first rule of Fight Club is: do not talk about Fight Club. Tommy (Hardy) is the only Conlon family member iwho obeys. He repeatedly gives his estranged father Paddy (Nolte) and his estranged brother Brendan (Edgerton) nothing but contemptful stares and silence; he's got a chip on his shoulder the size of his über bulked up trapezius. Come to think of it perhaps that very chip long ago metastasized into fleshy musculature!



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Movies: The Good (Gay Pride) The Bad (Teacher) and the Ugly (Cars 2)

Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake in "Bad Teacher"

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

Don't let us speak of CARS 2. It drops the formerly good name of Pixar down in a muddy field and plays demolition derby with it. There you'll find all the tired anthropomorphic humor you could hope for  -- 'See they're just like us. See how that car is wearing a wig?! Oh, haHA *chortle*' -- and awful pandering messages for the Ugly American in everyone. "Don't bother learning about other cultures; it's their problem if you act like a fool in their country!" The multiplex is also offering up Cameron Diaz as a man eating BAD TEACHER eager to nom-nom-nom on Justin Timberlake and, in limited release, Demián Bilcher (Che) seeks a good life for his son in the noble sounding A BETTER LIFE

 road Let's speak of happier things. Have you noticed how last century homophobia is becoming among male movie stars? All man-on-man chemistry used to come with "but I'm straight!" punch-pulling just as all interviews with straight stars in gay roles used to come with immensely repetitive heterosexual asides so that there could never be any doubt! Now, we've got movie stars like James Franco who enjoy the speculation, movie stars like Ewan McGregor who repeatedly star in gay roles or gay appeal projects (go see Beginners) and movie stars like Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy who just enjoy their hetero bromances with no hangups. Take this fun interview wherein McAvoy claims to have had sex with Fassy four times. It doesn't come with any weird I'M ONLY JOKING humor-killing so it's totally funny.

How many times has he had sex with Michael Fassbender? 



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Movies: Super 8's Nostalgia, Hugh Jackman's Singing, Magneto's Sexuality

 J.J. Abrams directs Super 8. The plot is secret but expect lens flares!

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

Kylechandlersheriff NOW PLAYING
This week's big ticket opener is a slice of nostalgia pie called SUPER 8. Director JJ Abrams (Star Trek) attempts to channel late 70s / early 80s Spielbergian wonderment in the sci-fi adventure about a group of young filmmaking kids who witness a deadly train crash which sets strange and inexplicable events in motion. The marketing has been tightlipped about what actually occurs which you have to respect given our current "give the game away" movie culture. But this secrecy has pundits debating whether the film will flop or open soft but win moviegoer's hearts anyway.

All I know is that the second I see Kyle Chandler as Daddy/Sheriff, I'm going to tear up... Friday Night Lights forever!

Road ALSO OPENING: Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer which is based on the bestselling kids' book; the British road comedy The Trip stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon; Trollhunter is a would be cult film about a group of students eager to catch actual trolls on camera in Norway; and the documentary Just Like Us details the emergence of Middle Eastern comedians and perceptions about Arabs having no sense of humor.


Road Hollywood still hasn't given Hugh Jackman a movie musical, so he decided to take his show on the road. He went to China!

Find out more AFTER THE JUMP...


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