Michael Fassbender

Relentless Artistry of ‘12 Years a Slave’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – A man is chained to the floor in a dark, barren room. He has been ripped from his family and his freedom, and we watch as he’s whipped with amazing brutality. It goes on well past the point that most films with similar human suffering would have cut to a less stressful image. It will not be the last time that “12 Years a Slave” forces the viewer to turn away before the editor does it for you.

Fascinating Journey to ‘Prometheus’ Makes For Bumpy Ride

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” rides a wave of expectation, anticipation, hype, and an already-building backlash into theaters this weekend and all I have to say is something that most critics hesitate to do – you need to see this for yourself and make up your own mind. Is it the perfect blend of adult, intellectual science fiction and summer action that I was hoping for at the beginning of the season?

Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Haywire’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Steven Soderbergh is one of the few directors who can do whatever the hell he wants. Whatever genre, whomever he casts, whichever story he chooses to tell – he pulls it off. He hasn’t made anything approaching a stumble since 2004’s “Ocean’s Twelve” (and, believe it or not, there have been eight films released since including this one) and his latest, “Haywire,” serves as further evidence that any conversation of the best working directors that doesn’t include him is incomplete.

David Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ Needed More Risk

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There are glimpses of actual danger in David Cronenberg’s divisive “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley, and the film has a lingering power as it’s easy to roll around your brain and contemplate its themes, but I wanted a bit more actual risk to the filmmaking. Easily the masterful director’s most straightforward work in some time (possibly ever), this is a worthwhile piece that nonetheless disappoints in the context of the rest of his filmography.

Michael Fassbender Stars in Riveting, Daring ‘Shame’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Steve McQueen’s “Shame” is a daring examination of isolation and addiction with the best performance of the year courtesy of Michael Fassbender and one that nearly matches it from the always-stellar Carey Mulligan. This is dark, confrontational material of the kind that too few major filmmakers are willing to tackle and it will haunt you for days after you see it. Don’t miss it.

Matthew Vaughn’s Entertaining, Stylish ‘X-Men: First Class’ Rocks

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Matthew Vaughn rights the ship of mediocre superhero movies with the incredibly accomplished “X-Men: First Class,” the best Marvel Movie since “Spider-Man 2” and a film that proves that big blockbuster summer entertainment can be both commercially crowd-pleasing and intellectually complex at the same time. “X-Men: First Class” features a spectacular mix of well-choreographed action, revisionist history, themes of tolerance, and great performances. This will be one of the best movies of this season.

Mia Wasikowska, Judi Dench Float on ‘Jane Eyre’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Film adaptations of classic literature are often lose-lose scenarios. The ardent admirers of the source often sour on what is left out, and the average filmgoer might wonder what the fuss is about when experiencing a truncated interpretation. There is obvious passion behind the latest adaptation of “Jane Eyre,” with performances that follow that lead.

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ With Brad Pitt Lives Up to Expectations

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What truly distinguishes Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” from the cookie-cutter marketplace also makes its impact incredibly difficult to put into words. It’s a film that’s impossible to pin down - a thriller, drama, comedy, action film, and a slice of revisionist history played as modern revenge fantasy. And it’s a total blast.

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