Vanishing Point (1971) Review

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Vanishing Point (1971)

Directed by Richard C Sarafian

Starring:
Barry Newman
Cleavon Little
Dean Jagger

Running time: 98 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Kowalski (Barry Newman) is a car delivery driver who makes a bet that he can get a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum from Denver to San Francisco in less than 15 hours. (Yes, of course I had to look up what kind of car it was. I’m a girl.)

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My Opinion:

This is one manly, groovy, cool, super fly 70s movie. It’s Easy Rider meets Smokey And The Bandit. It’s a total GUY movie. But I liked it because I’m a sucker for 70s films. They’re effing cool & we don’t get anything with that same sort of look & feel these days.

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This was 1971 so it has that late 60s vibe as well (another era that’s way cooler than our current one, which is uncool & sucks). I was reading about this movie on Wikipedia to refresh my memory as I watched it over the summer & it says “The film is notable for its scenic film locations across the American Southwest and its social commentary on the post-Woodstock mood in the United States.” Had to use that quote as it really does sum up the feel of the movie. I’d love to have lived during that time. And everyone & everything was so ugly! I love that.

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I’ll keep this short: If you’re old like me and if you love 70s movies (and especially if you’re a dude & you like cars), you’ll definitely like this movie so go & watch it right now. It’s very “American” and captures a time & place that’s really like no other.

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The acting is dodgy (especially from Kowalski’s girlfriend), Kowalski’s backstory is actually very interesting but poorly explained in that 70s movie type of storytelling way (I filled in the blanks reading about it online afterwards), and it’s also very slow paced (again, in that total 70s way) considering that it’s about a guy driving really fast.

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But it’s cool. There’s a super cool blind DJ named Super Soul (Cleavon Little – in the pic above) who hears about Kowalski’s mission & the cops who are on his tail so uses his radio broadcast to help him evade the police. There’s also a guy in the desert collecting snakes for his religious cult, two “just married” male hitchhikers who try to rob Kowalski, plus a biker who tries to help by giving him pills to keep him awake. Oh – And, of course, the biker’s girlfriend who rides around on a motorcycle fully nude. As you do. Then we get a “WTF?” ending they’d totally change if (when?) some unoriginal Hollywood idiots decide to remake this. (Oh shit – in just now looking for pictures to use in this review, I see this WAS remade in 1997. Except Viggo Mortensen’s Kowalski is trying to get home to his wife who has gone into labor. Puh-LEASE! Argh! I hate Hollywood!!!!)

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Summary:

Vanishing Point is Seventies Goodness.

My Rating: 7/10

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Shame (2011) Review

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Shame (2011)

Directed by Steve McQueen

Starring:
Michael Fassbender
Carey Mulligan
James Badge Dale
Nicole Beharie

Running time: 101 Minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Michael Fassbender is a sex addict and isn’t shy about walking around fully nude.
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My Opinion:

Seriously – I’ll make this a quickie (Ha!). Because, obviously, I’m not mature enough to do a proper review for this. But I have at least decided to not grab a thesaurus and use the word “large” in as many ways as possible throughout the review.
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Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict. So it’s already a movie I can’t relate to in the slightest (TMI?). He struggles with this & it’s very serious & it’s ruining his life and OH MY GOD he’s walking around FULLY NAKED! And I totally didn’t rewind that & freeze frame it & actually take a picture of the TV screen. Who would do that? That would be immature.
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Then Fassbender’s equally messed-up-in-the-head sister Carey Mulligan comes to stay with him unexpectedly (and totally uninvited). And OH MY GOD we see her fully naked too!!!!

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Seriously, though, Fassbender’s acting in this is very very good. I hate to say that I was slightly disappointed with Carey Mulligan, though. Oh I hate saying that as I do like her! But this is the second movie recently that I DIDN’T like her in (The Great Gatsby being the other one but I think that was mainly the fault of the script). She’s fine – she’s not bad in Shame but… I don’t know – Maybe she wasn’t quite right for the role. And I think she just couldn’t out-act Fassbender. They had a good creepy incestuous sexual tension thing going on that worked, though. I guess. Ew.
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Summary:

Does Shame really explore sexual addiction & do we learn anything by the end of the film? No. Only that no addiction is ever a good thing. Oh, and that most of us are totally f*&ked up in some way but some are better at hiding it than others. So the movie only states the obvious and I suppose it was successful for A) a truly great performance from Fassbender and B) being a bit racy, which always gets attention. Heck, it turns into almost full-on porn there for a scene toward the end (I think. I’m not an expert on porn).

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Is it good? Well, yeah. It’s a bit artsy, it’s filmed well (not that I know anything about filmmaking but it all looked very good), and it has some great acting including a very memorable performance from Fassbender. Did it change my life? No. Did it ruin my life? No. Am I glad I watched it? Yes. And I have a picture saved on my phone of my favorite part.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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