New York City’s Cinema Sex: An Exploration of SHAME and the SHORTBUS

By Andrew Golledge,

In Steve McQueen’s Shame we see a moment play out that we’ve seen in many films before it: the protagonist hitting rock bottom. For Shame, the protagonist is a wealthy, gorgeous white man whose rock bottom is having beautifully lit sex with two gorgeous women at the same time. It’s a testament to McQueen’s direction, Harry Escott’s score and Michael Fassbender’s performance that the scene isn’t laughable, but instead a moment of pained surrender that seems to punctuate a lifetime’s worth of addiction.

It is a sex addiction, one with which Brandon has seemingly lived without incident for years as he pursued some anonymous corporate career in midtown Manhattan. There is certainly little for it to distract from outside his work; when he’s not paying for high-end sex or picking up girls from bars and clubs, he’s enjoying mid-day masturbatory bathroom trips and late nights with left over Chinese take-out, beer and porn. Yet as appealing as all that sounds, it’s upon the unexpected moving-in of his significantly more extroverted sister, Sissy, that we begin to see how deeply rooted his need for sexual release is. Not only does her presence prevent him from engaging in his usual escapades at home, but he’s also confronted with what is most likely the cause of his addiction: their sexual relationship. Continue reading “New York City’s Cinema Sex: An Exploration of SHAME and the SHORTBUS”

“The Adventures of Tintin” – The Antiscribe Appraisal

By Jonathan Morris,

As a scholar who is always interested in popular culture, and especially the ways in which it can be interpreted and reinterpreted across cultural boundaries, I found the idea of seeing The Adventures of Tintin to be an  intriguing prospect.  On the one hand, intellectually it was interesting to see how an internationally popular character would be interpreted for American audiences, and on the other, given the pedigree of its filmmakers, I assumed it would at least be a fun watch.    First illustrated by the Belgian artist Hergé over seventy years ago, the world-travelling kid reporter Tintin has long been a popular icon to many European, and especially French-speaking, countries, but otherwise has never really crossed the Atlantic’s cultural divide, standing as largely an unknown quantity to American audiences. And to be fair, outside of my own reading on the history of comic books and comic art, the character represents something of an unknown quantity to me as well.  However, now that I have seen director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson’s long in development film version, the appeal of the character remains unknown to me, and I’m assuming it will to others. Whether it’s truly a faithful version of the character and his universe, I’m not one to say, but what I can say, is that as a film, and perhaps more accurately, as a film going experience, The Adventures of Tintin just isn’t very good. Continue reading ““The Adventures of Tintin” – The Antiscribe Appraisal”

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