Film Briefs: The Artist, Carnage, The Muppets and Shame

I feel that I need to preemptively defend myself for the following reviews. I have given them all extremely high ratings. Now, I want you to know that 5 star ratings are sacred to me but it just so happens that I hit a streak of luck where I was fortunate to see a bunch of them in a short amount of time. I have still only given 7 out of the over 100 films I have seen this year a 5 star rating and I consider all of the following must sees.

The Artist

The Artist is pure film making.  A silent film about the end of silent films.  Michel Hazanavicius‘ self aware movie is a tribute to the end of an era.  His direction is masterful as the films dramatic story is heartfelt yet it will make you laugh out loud without a seconds notice.  Jean Dujardin and Missi Pyle are phenomenal and Dujardin picked up the Best Actor award at Cannes for his performance.  If you are a filmmaker or a fan of film history, The Artist is a must see.

Follow the jump for Carnage, The Muppets, and Shame.

Carnage

Great acting, directing, and writing aren’t always enough, but with the team behind Carnage it would have been extremely difficult not to make an extraordinary film. Roman Polanski directs Jodie FosterKate WinsletChristoph Waltz and John C. Reilly in the adaptation of  Yasmina Reza‘s God Of Carnage.  The plot is simple: two couples meet to discuss an altercation that occurred between their sons in the school yard; what happens next, however, is not.  As the couples’ insecurities start to come out, their polite facades are quickly abandoned and chaos ensues.  The film is over-the-top hilarious yet it plays on emotional conflictions that we all have.  Although not a horror or suspense film, I would have no problem counting this as the fourth installment of Polanski’s apartment series as it is also focused on the stress and anxiety of city living.

The Muppets

I had never seen a Muppets movie in my life until now and I must say that I’m now a huge fan. I was skeptical at first as I really dislike most made for family movies (I even tend to dislike fun or happy movies in general,) but I loved this movie. The jokes never missed and the songs and dance bits were spot on.  In fact, this is by far my favorite Jason Segel and Amy Adams film (that will change next year when PTA’s The Master comes out.)  I never thought I would say this, but The Muppets is the best pure comedy film of the year so far.

Shame

This powerful, sad film shows us a man’s (Michael Fassbender) struggle with sexual addiction. This struggle is amplified when his younger sister (Carey Mulligan) shows up and needs a place to stay.  Once his privacy is taken away from him, his stress level sky rockets and he is forced to find other ways of dealing with his addiction and trying to remain sane.  Fassbender gives a powerful performance and Mulligan is great with what little screen time she has.  Director Steve McQueen is someone film fans should keep and eye on.

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