DID YOU READ

Call-In Commentary: Watch the “Shame” trailer with writer-director Steve McQueen

Call-In Commentary: Watch the “Shame” trailer with writer-director Steve McQueen (photo)

Posted by on

With a stunning, uncompromised performance from Michael Fassbender, “Shame” is easily one of the most powerful films of the year. Fassbender plays a deeply conflicted sex addict hopelessly seeking anything to fill his needs.

The endlessly talented Carey Mulligan plays his quirky and also troubled sister, and their broken relationship is an acute link throughout the movie. The film generated headlines after it was dealt an NC-17 rating, but everyone involved has now embraced it as a badge of honor. And unlike the last major motion picture to get that grade, the ill-fated “Showgirls,” the NC-17 delivers an unflinching and breathtaking experience.

Steering this ship is Steve McQueen, the award-winning director of “Hunger” who helmed and co-wrote “Shame.” To delve into his buzzed-about pic, McQueen was kind enough to participate in our “Call-In Commentary” series, where filmmakers provide audio commentary to their trailers. “Shame” opens in limited release on December 2.

video player loading . . .

MORE CALL-IN COMMENTARIES:

- Watch the “American Reunion” trailer with writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Watch “The Lie” trailer with director, co-writer and star Joshua Leonard
“Janie Jones” trailer with director David M. Rosenthal
“Trespass” trailer with director Joel Schumacher

View all Call-In Commentaries…

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

maryhartman

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

cooks2

Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

attitudes

Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

peaks

Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

stomach

The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

joey

Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

“Shame,” reviewed

“Shame,” reviewed (photo)

Posted by on

Michael Fassbender has become something of a sex symbol this year. I’ve personally witnessed more than a few ladies (and at least a couple guys) swoon over his rugged good looks and smoldering eyes in movies like “Jane Eyre,” “X-Men: First Class” and “A Dangerous Method,” and for those folks, “Shame” must sound like a gift from heaven. Fassbender naked? A lot? Like, a lot a lot? It’s true, but Fassbenderholics should be careful what they wish for. They’ll get plenty of man candy in “Shame,” but it’s bound to leave a bad taste in their mouths. Is “Shame” sexual? Yes. Is it sexy? Not so much.

Fassbender plays Brandon, a New York City office drone whose stylish clothes and suave pickup moves mask a crushing addiction to sex. Brandon might be able to seduce a woman on the subway with nothing but a look, but behind closed doors he’s a total mess. His house is filled with porn, his office computer is “filthy” with viruses, and he blows actual dates with real women to have sex with prostitutes. Things only get more difficult for Brandon when his needy sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) comes to town for a visit. Brandon avoids and ignores Sissy’s calls for as long as he can, then resents her when she decides to move in with him. The way they argue, wrestle, converse in the shower, hint at possible incest, and suggest that Brandon’s issues and Sissy’s distress have a shared root cause.

But what is that root cause? Some fellow critics I’ve spoken to complain about “Shame”‘s economy of character detail. They’re frustrated by the lack of information about Brandon and Sissy’s lives before the film begins. They want to know why they’re so screwed up. I respectfully disagree. “Shame” is a movie about sex addiction, but it’s also about denial. It’s clear something terrible happened to Brandon and Sissy, but it’s also clear whatever it was inflicted such brutal psychic damage on these siblings that they still haven’t come to grips with it. Why should the movie acknowledge that trauma if the characters themselves can’t?

More importantly, I didn’t miss that backstory because I was so entranced by “Shame”‘s beautiful but unsettling present. Its co-writer and director is Steve McQueen, the creator of “Hunger,” the film that made Fassbender an international star. Though that film was set in an Irish prison, and “Shame” takes place on the streets of New York, it feels no less claustrophobic. Brandon is trapped by the city and its temptations. In one powerful, unbroken shot, Brandon leaves his apartment (at 9 West 31st Street — McQueen’s Manhattan is wonderfully real and very specific) and jogs all the way to Madison Square Garden. But wherever Brandon goes, he can’t outrun his need.

Fassbender bares his body repeatedly in “Shame” but the way he bares his soul is even more impressive. Because McQueen and Abi Morgan’s screenplay offers Brandon so few places to talk about his true feelings, it’s all left to Fassbender to convey with wordless gestures. The only intimate relationship Brandon has with anyone in “Shame” is with McQueen’s camera. Scenes like the one where he stands alone on a pier silently overlooking the Hudson River are where Fassbender truly reveals it all.

“Shame” is the first movie from a major studio in a good long while with the dread NC-17 rating, which prohibits anyone under the age of 17 from paying to see the film and restricts the places where a movie can be advertised and even exhibited. The president of Fox Searchlight, Steve Gilula, said that he saw the NC-17 as “a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter” and I hope he’s right. Though it contains plenty of nudity and sex, “Shame” is not a titillating erotic drama. It’s a serious character study and exploration of addiction, exactly the sort of movie the NC-17 was created to promote instead of restrict. If adults miss it because of a rating, that would be a real shame.

“Shame” opens Friday in limited release. If you see it, let us know what you think. Leave us a comment below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

Exclusive: Watch Miranda July in the play that led to her latest film “The Future”

Exclusive: Watch Miranda July in the play that led to her latest film “The Future” (photo)

Posted by on

In a conversation this summer with Miranda July about her new film “The Future,” the celebrated performance artist described her goal of re-igniting the imaginations of adults. The movie certainly did that, delivering a dark comedy about the tired lives of a lethargic 30-something couple and the sickly cat they hope to adopt.

July’s inspiration for the feature-length dramedy “evolved” (as she puts it) from an earlier stage production entitled “Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely Not Going To Talk About,” and now we have a special treat for fans with an exclusive look at that very project.

The clip is part of the special features from the November 29 release of “The Future” DVD, so take a gander below and then pick up in stores tomorrow.

video player loading . . .
Powered by ZergNet