Couch Pumpkin: Sofa Adventures
News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

Film Friday – the Artist and Shame

It’s been a while, fellow Pumpkins.

And what on earth have I been up to?

Working. Sleeping. Working some more. Sigh.

Anyway, as I rarely do anything on a Friday night (busy socialite that I am) I’ve made it something of a resolution to go to the cinema more often – alone, which has been oddly liberating so far. I’ve seen two of this year’s most talked about films: The Artist and Shame.

The Artist is, simply put, a delight. A pastiche of silent movies that somehow manages to be a homage, a comedy and a strangely moving love story at the same time, it knocks spots off many ‘modern’ blockbusters. It follows the story of a silent movie star (played with aplomb by Jean Dujardin) who finds his fortune changing as Hollywood turns to the talkies. Meanwhile, for the perky Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), the new style offers new opportunities…

Having very much enjoyed Paul Merton’s history of early Hollywood on the BBC earlier this year, and having recently seen Scorsese’s lush (but overwrought) tribute to early film, Hugo, I loved the period details in this film. Plus there is a super cute dog. A must-see.

Shame…well…what can I say? The critics are raving but this film really wasn’t for me. It follows Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a New York businessman living the dream life in the big city – except his sex addiction has reduced his life to an endless cycle of meaningless encounters. His sister (Carey Mulligan) disrupts his routine and threatens to bring his carefully ordered world crashing down.

Fassbender is a fine actor (and for those Fassy freaks out there you get to see everything, if you know what I mean) and his performance is skillful. But ultimately Brandon’s ‘journey’ left me cold. The long, drawn-out scenes bored me. The amount of flesh on show made me shut my eyes. Whilst some discomfort was no doubt the desired effect, I found the whole film toppling from ‘edgy’ straight into ‘self-indulgent’ – and don’t even get me started on Brandon’s ‘long dark night of the soul’. Don’t take your mother.

Recs for next Friday?

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