Michael Fassbender

Uncomfortable truths pierce through the mask of ‘Frank’

Frank steers away from almost-Almost Famous territory and into something familiar to anyone who’s seen The Devil and Daniel Johnston; director Abrahamson carries his deft balancing of tonal shifts from his 2012 film What Richard Did over to this effort.

Fantasia 2014: Frank is this year’s most heartwarming film about a gigantic head

Frank follows a post-internet age Billy Liar and asks, “What if he did follow his dream through, but his idol was a lunatic?” Jon (Domnhall Gleeson), a young middling English songwriter, gets invited to play keyboard for the aforementioned Frank (Michael Fassbender). Frank wears a giant fake head made of papier-mâché and refuses to take it off. Soon, Jon is invited to spend a year in Ireland with the band as they record their painstakingly overblown album, all the while secretly filming it and posting clips to YouTube.

Haywire

‘Haywire’ is an effective counter-argument to every claim used to dismiss action heroines

In early 2012, while most of the film world was caught up in Oscar prognostications, one film quietly came and went through theatres, earning less that $20 million domestically, and just over $30 million internationally. That film was Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, with Gina Carano taking on the lead role of Mallory Kane, and its quiet box office reception is in no way indicative of the film’s quality. While it may appear, on the surface, to be a standard action thriller – and there’s certainly no issue with that, as the genre is littered with efforts that fail to even be competent in their execution – in true Soderbergh style, there’s a lot more going on in Haywire than it may appear at first glance.

‘The Counselor’ a Cormac McCarthy tale of venality and death through and through, save one bit of miscasting

In his later years, the novelist Cormac McCarthy has circled like a vulture around the theme of death, specifically its inevitable grip on humanity. No Country for Old Men and The Road presented very different worlds, both filled with men trying desperately to withstand the inexorable hand of the reaper, and eventually realizing that there wasn’t much left but to give into what comes for us all. Such an existential fear is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the foundation of McCarthy’s newest foray, his screenplay for the crime thriller The Counselor. Its director is the prolific Ridley Scott, and its cast is impressively stacked, but this is a McCarthy story through and through, which is mostly heartening news.

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