Monday, March 12, 2012

Take Shelter

Jeff Nichols, 2011 (8.5*)

An intense young man, brilliantly portrayed by Michael Shannon, begins having apocalyptic dreams, leading him to think a huge storm is coming. He slowly drifts toward his vision and away from his everyday duties. He begins to spend more time and money building a safe tornado shelter for his family behind their house. 

This descent into obsession could have been ineffective without a performance such as Shannon’s, in his most intense role since his Oscar®-nominated part in Revolutionary Road.

His wife is played by Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain, who had an amazing list of films released in 2011: her nominated performance in The Help; the updated Shakespeare play about the Roman military, Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Feinnes; and perhaps her best acting, in Malick’s The Tree of Life. In my opinion, she was likely nominated for her least unique and most predictable performance.

Director Jeff Nichols handles this with a subtle hand, and the film won 31 awards for 2011, most of them at film festivals. Critics have rated it higher than fans, 85 from Metacritics, 76 from fans at IMDB, far too low, in my opinion – I’m with the critics on this one.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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