Showing 13 posts tagged shame

Actor-ology: Nicole Beharie

I love looking back the careers of actors who have suddenly stepped into the big spotlight of Hollywood because of one reason or another and have a certain blerd (black+nerd)-esque quality about them. I usually do a small survey on twitter for Blerdnation to see is on everyone’s mind for the purpose of this profile; no need to do that this time (though I love to hear your feedback for next time!). I’m taking a moment to talk about my girl crush of the moment, the smart and adorable Nicole Beharie (cue women trying to discover her secret to getting their own tall, goodlooking, European arm candy): 


Born and raised in the south, Beharie hails from West Palm Beach, FL and finished high school at the well known South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities. She then attended the famed peforming arts conservatory Juilliard where she was granted a fellowship to continue her dramatic training in England.

From all the interviews, panel, and photoshoots I’ve seen her in, Nicole Beharie is the ultimate bestie. That’s what makes her so great; she is bubbling with happiness, appropriate sass, and infectious laughter that makes her relateable and makes you feel good in the process. And as they should, big and small screen has taken notice. Here is a retrospective of what I consider the high points in her career for anyone would  like to get up on their Behar-ology.  

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Happy Weekend!


Anyone doing anything great this weekend? One of my friends is having a Pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday with a bunch of people so I’m excited about that. It’s potluck so I still have to decided what I want to bring. Other than that I’ll be doing alot of writing. I have been contracted to work on some project in my freelance writing business. I’m very grateful to have work coming my way. Hope you have a good one, and here’s a short list of some film-related posts I have come across the web this week…

Cloud Atlas too intellectual for American audiences?

Bored to Death the movie

The Comedy

Looking forward to Jon Hamm’s Brit accent.

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I’m heading off to New York next week on business. I adore NYC; just being there is always exciting. I plan on doing some fun things while I’m there (hope to share some pictures with you soon!). What better way to express my anticipation then highlighting one of my favorite movies set in NYC - Shame - and one of the most famous songs about NYC - “New York, New York”/Frank Sinatra. Like the movie, this rendition of the song is delicate and heartbreakingly beautiful. In my discussions with people about Shame, some have expressed to me that they were alittle baffled about why so much attention (and screen time) was given to the performance of this song. For me, it comes to represents the hopes of the main characters (Fassbender, Mulligan) to escape from their past experience, past mistakes and have a better life in a city where anything is possible.  

From my earlier film review, I discussed Carey Mulligan’s character and her importance to the story:

The brother-sister dynamic is also very paramount to the story and it is through this relationship that we come to understand Brandon’s character in depth. Carey Mulligan (Sissy) is great here as the sister whose unexpected visit puts Brandon on edge.  She is herself a very lonely character riddled with her own problems and who forces Brandon’s own issues into the light. She represents an emotional relationship that he can never really detach himself from. This is only exacerbated by her neediness, not only in her need to be taken care of but also her physical need for his affection. He is scared that he can never have normal contact with a woman because of his addiction which often affects him getting close to his sister.  She also is aware, at least in part, of his sexual obsessions, which also causes him another layer of shame. Though she is in alot of ways his opposite - open, carefree, affectionate - she has a recklessness and her own inappropriate sexual inclinations that Brandon recognizes in himself. A combination of these things often causes him to lash out at her in both a verbally and physically abusive manner. Just when we are left to wonder if he cares for her at all, his heartbreaking response to her suicide attempt shows us that he is more scared, ashamed, and lonely than he is apathetic.”

It is even more powerful to see the song performance from the film:

100 Things (Independent) Movies Have Taught Me

I came across this idea after reading a post on Cinematic Corner so I decided to put my own spin on it and discuss some of the actual life lessons I have been taught by movies. These are things that when I turn off the TV or walked out of the theater, it made my think about how I live my life and/or affected how I think about certain situations. I want to do this as more of a series, spreading out this post over time so I hope you come back to read more.  And of course, I always lean toward arthouse flicks as my movies of choice so this list will discuss all things independent. So sit back and read some of the little pearls of wisdom I have gained along the way… 

1. There is a level of trust implied in telling someone your real name. [Closer]
2. You can be truly alone in a city full of people. [Shame]
3. You can’t run away from your past forever. Also, never assume how far along a pregnant woman is. [Away We Go

4. Saturday morning detentions are a bitch. Plus, applying lipstick with your cleavage is a lost art form that I must master. [The Breakfast Club
5. Humanity is so connected that your actions, no matter how inconsequential, can have an affect on someone of a different culture, a different language, a different societial status. [Babel]
6. Domestic partnerships are so much like traditional marriage, it’s scary. And beautiful. [The Kids Are All Right]
7. Music is the soundtrack of our lives, so play on. Also, the process of coming up with a name for a queercore dance band will always be pure comedy. Oh, and never get a car that can be mistaken for a taxi cab. [Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist]

8. There is more than one way to love a city. [Paris, Je t’aime]
9. Reality. truly. bites. Plus, lead singers of bands usually have alot of angst to get off their chests. [Reality Bites]
10. A picture can really be worth a thousand words. In some cases, it can even define a man’s whole life and leave him with too great of a burden to bare. [The Bang Bang Club]

Stay tuned for more… 

Best of 2011/ My best in film list, including (from top to bottom) Shame (best of the year), Beginners (drama), Bridesmaids (comedy), 50/50 (dramedy), Drive (action), Martha Marcy May Marlene (psychological thriller), Another Earth (sci-fi), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (remake/adaptation), and Margin Call (social commentary). Read more on why I choose these here.  

Best of 2011

Today marks the end of a great and memorable year for film. I’m excited to see what 2012 will hold. Here is what I considered to be the best in film for 2011, and therefore great suggestions if you haven’t seen them, depending on your mood:

Best Film of the Year: Shame
The movie that showed the brilliance of the collaboration of Steve McQueen as a director and Michael Fassbender as a breakout star. I can’t say enough great things about this film that was both stunning in a visual sense and in the raw emotions it conveyed. 

Best Drama (which made you both smile and reach for a tissue): Beginners 
My favorite film of the year next to Shame, I was drawn in by Mike Mills’ story of his father’s coming out after the death of his mother that he brings to the screen so thoughtfully. Christopher Plummer is a frontrunner for supporting actor for the major awards and he definitely deserves it. For me, this film is also Ewan McGregor’s reemergence as an actor to watch for his touching portrayal of a man who carries a sadness with him only exacerbated by the death of his parents. 

Best Comedy (which made the thought of getting married even more fun): Bridesmaids 
No one can deny that this movie was a force all its own. Mistakenly dubbed a “click flick” initially, it was the little movie that ignited laughter through masses of women AND men. While everyone was anticipating the release of Hangover II, Bridesmaids stole our hearts instead. Big props for this strong cast of women that demonstrated just how funny and wonderful we can be. 

Best Dramedy (which made you glad you have a BFF): 50/50 
I think the
formula appeared to be a simple one at first - combine the bro humor that Seth Rogen provides with the enduring everyman nature of Joseph Gordon-Levitt to bring to life this film that mirrors the struggles of the screenwriter’s battle with cancer and support from his best friend. What we learned however is that Seth Rogen is sweet and enduring in his own way and JGL, in one of his best performances, can bring the funny.

Best Action Film (which was so much more than choreographed fight sequences): Drive
I’m not one for action movies and violence but I tolerated it in this stylish, arthouse entry starring Ryan Gosling and a certain white leather scorpion jacket. Sure it wasn’t some Jason Stathom action flick but that’s why it was so good. I could have done without the movie soundtrack but Ryan’s performance as the mysterious Driver made it worth it. 

Best Psychological Thriller (which made you look over your own shoulder): Martha Marcy May Marlene
The film that introduced us to the great potential of Elizabeth Olsen and made us invest in her performance as a young woman who flees from an abusive cult but she is working on her psychological escape. Is she paranoid or are they really after her? That is the question this film explores. Did it make us paranoid in the process? Yes. 

Best Sci-fi Film (which really wasn’t sci-fi): Another Earth 
Set against the backdrop of the discovery of a second Earth, or “Earth 2”, the story is really an engaging drama of a woman who struggles to live with what she has done and in some way make it up to the man who has lost everything. Though it probably wasn’t “sci-fi-y” enough for some, the second Earth that literally hovers background and the constant wonder of what we would say to our doppleganger if we were faced with them keeps you on edge. 

Best Remake (which showed it can be done right): The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A worldwide best-selling novel. A popular, original Swedish source film. David Fincher. Trent Razor.
Oscar-winning editors. Rooney Mara in the role of her career. And that’s how it’s done, folks.

Best Social Commentary Film (which justified OWS): Margin Call
If you are like me, you sometimes wonder what the point of OWS protests. Then you watch a movie like this and get it. Loosely based on the Lehman Brothers debacle, the film was both fast-paced and a slow-burn on corporate ego, greed, and backstabbing, highlighting pros in film (Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey) and  newer kids on the block (Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley).