The Blob [1958] (6/9/12)

The BlobMovie One Hundred Forty

When a mysterious space rock crashes into Earth, the creature inside terrorizes a small town as it grows immensely in The Blob.

Almost two genres in one, The Blob is part teenage drama and part sci-fi/horror film. Steve (Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend, Jane are out at a make-out point as they see a meteorite crash into a nearby field. When they go to investigate it, they find the meteorite, the meteorite with the blob, and an elderly farmer. The blob then attacks the farmer and attaches itself to his arm and the two teens take him to the doctor. Before the doctor can help the man, the blob consumes him and begins to grow. Soon, the blob is out of control eating everything (and everyone) it can, growing to immense proportions.

Side note, it’s really hard to write “blob” and not “blog”.

Growing up I was more aware of the 1988 version of The Blob which is a remake of this version, albeit a violent remake. The original has a special charm that only 50s sci-fi flicks can really muster and even though it is cheesy and the acting is met with many an eye-roll, I was charmed by The Blob. As a monster, the blob itself is fairly terrifying. It’s unrelenting and it’s only goal is to eat and grow.  Being smothered to death by a giant ball of autonomous pink goo is pretty high on my list of “ways I’d rather not die”.

Still, even though I was taken with the setting of The Blob, as well as Steve McQueen before being THE Steve McQueen, it’s not a great movie. As I touched on before, the acting is especially horrendous for some of the townsfolk and watching the film 50+ years later it’s easy to call out all of its faults. The story seems to want to depart and become a teenage drama more than once, which is kind of odd and makes the pacing difficult. One thing I was impressed with was the blob creature, which looks exactly as a pink outer space blob monster should look. While I wouldn’t recommend The Blob outright, there is a lot of entertainment to be had if you’re like me and have a soft spot for movies like this. The 80s version, while violent, doesn’t have the same charm.

I give it 3 how did Steve McQueen pull off being a teenager looking like this? out of 5.

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Shame (4/18/12)

ShameMovie Eighty Seven

Shame is a film I would recommend everyone to see. It’s certainly not easy to sit through, but it is absolutely mesmerizing.

I watched writer/director Steve McQueen’s (no, not the Steve McQueen from The Great Escape) previous film, Hunger late last year and found it to be both horrific and beautiful. The acting is some of the finest in cinematic history and instantly shot Michael Fassbender to the top of my greatest actors list. There is a particular shot in that film that lasts for close to 18 minutes and is chock-full of complex dialogue that is probably more dialogue than the rest of the film combined. It’s absolutely amazing. Shame also has several very long shots and some equally awesome moments that show McQueen really can capture lightning in a bottle twice.

For Shame Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a sex addict living in New York. Soon after, his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), visits him and throws his world off kilter. Brandon and Sissy have a relationship that could safely be called “totally messed up”. Brandon clearly has a problem having her around and it seems that could be due to past events we are unaware of, or because it brings his addiction to the forefront of his mind. As the two interact, we find out more about them and their personal issues.

We are never given reasons behind Brandon’s addiction we are only shown it exists and how he deals with it. We see how it negatively affects his life and on a particularly self-destructive bender, we see how sick he truly is and he gets no pleasure from this, only pain. Michael Fassbender is absolutely resplendent in this role and you really sympathize with Brandon’s plight. Carey Mulligan also gives an amazing performance. The beauty in every shot is stunning at times, despite some of the ugly things happening on screen. Steve McQueen is new to filmmaking, but he has proven that his name means quality.

Shame is strictly for adults only. It’s NC-17 rating strikes me as a bit odd since I didn’t think the material was overly graphic, certainly not nearly as much as In the Realm of the Senses. That said, however, the subject matter is also very adult. I’m sure many kids (when I say kids, I mean teens) would see this film for the sex alone and not really grasp the point. Shame is very adult, but it’s not as gratuitous as I was expecting. Michael Fassbender was absolutely robbed for the best actor Academy Award.

I give it 5 singing Carey Mulligans out of 5.

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